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I first considered working with an online coach when I decided to compete in Olympic Weightlifting a few years back. I knew I needed some help with my lifting, but there were no clubs close to where I lived and hiring a coach for one on one work was not within my budget. 

At that point, I was really excited about the sport, ready to give it my all. I had decided it was time to “get serious”. But I also realized that I was out of my depth when it came to the technical aspects of the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. I needed an expert to coach me on these movements in order to better my weightlifting skills. 

I had no car at the time, and all the weightlifting clubs in the area were more than an hour away. I also had a busy schedule, which meant I needed something flexible that I could incorporate into my week, without having to organize my life around gym hours.

I went on to work with an online coach for almost two years. He helped me qualify for the regional championships twice and made me stronger than I ever thought possible. Although it worked great for me, online coaching is not for everyone.  

What It Takes To Make It Work

Online Coaching has some great advantages when compared to one on one Personal Training. You receive a program tailored to your needs that fits your schedule and your access to equipment. Your coach also provides your with support for questions and training feedback. Most packages also come with accountability check-ins to make sure you stay on track, all this for a fraction of the price of regular PT.

But the remote nature of this service requires a few key factors:

You need to be motivated- There’s nobody showing up at the house/gym/field to force you to train. You have a plan with clear instructions, but you need to be dedicated enough to put in the work, even on the days where you don’t feel like doing it.

You need to communicate - Feedback is a major part of online coaching. Without it, the loop is incomplete and your coach can’t adjust your plan to fit your needs as you progress. Be open with your coach and give him/her clear feedback on how you are feeling (soreness, recovery), how you are performing and on anything else that might affect your training plan (holidays, sickness, etc.).

You need to manage your body - Training inevitably comes with highs and lows and these are nearly impossible to manage in real time for the remote coach. When you go through your workout and feel miserable, don’t be afraid to hold back just a bit. On the other hand, if you feel great, it might be a good day to push a bit more than the usual and go for a personal best. 

You need to pay attention to detail - You might already be familiar with most of the movements your coach programs for you, but it’s important to always strive for great movement before adding weight, reps or sets. Quality will always trump quantity in terms of long-term progress in exercise. If you want to avoid injuries and ensure long-term progress, focus on quality before adding quantity to your training.

 

Woman Facing Gym Mirror

 

If you have what it takes to work with an Online Coach, it might be a great way for you to reach your fitness goals, even if you have a tight schedule and a small budget to dedicate to training.

Have you ever considered hiring an Online Coach? If so, what were your biggest reservations about it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Sean is a personal trainer and strength coach who loves teaching beginners how to safely get stronger in the gym. He lives in Vancouver BC with his wife Lynne, and their children. Sean has a keen eye for good movement and encourages a positive lifestyle to support good training results.

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