Online vs. In-Person Coaching
I’ve had many online coaches and in-person trainers over the years, and I’m currently working with both online and in-person clients! Being on both the coach and client side of things, I’ve really been able to get a good sense of the pros and cons of working with a coach online vs. a trainer in-person.
Although both settings have some serious benefits, they equally have some struggle points.
But no matter what I’ve got to say here — the type of coaching that will work best for you is very dependent on your lifestyle, preferences, finances, and how you learn best!
While there are many different types of online and in-person coaching, today, we will discuss1:1 training in both scenarios.
Let’s get started!
Communication and Access to Your Coach
Communication and access are the most important aspects to assess when signing up for any coaching relationship.
With online coaching, communication is EASY. Many online coaches have either an online platform specifically made for easy communication or text/email access set up for clients to reach out to them whenever they need.
As the client, this means that even if it’s a weekend or day that’s not your typical day to check in with your coach, you’re able to reach out and ask for advice.
When training in person with your coach, you can have face-to-face conversations and voice whatever concerns you may have. This is great if you really thrive off that type of communication.
That said, most often, in-person trainers are doing just that, training in-person clients.
Let’s say they work 40 hours/week, and you train with them 3x/week for 1 hour. That means they’re busy for the other 37 hours each week and unable to respond to your questions or concerns in a timely manner outside of the time you have with them during your session.
With an online coach, you’ll have more access and more frequent communication. With an in-person coach, you’ll have less frequent communication and access, but the benefits of speaking with someone in a physical setting.
Keep in mind, though - during your training session with your in-person coach, the focus will be on your workout, meaning there is less time to chat and learn.
At KJO Coaching, each client gets personalized forms and spreadsheets, and we provide comprehensive, weekly check-ins with our clients. This allows clients to make in-the-moment notes on how they are feeling or jot down any questions they may have!
Our clients also have access to their coach 24/7 via email or WhatsApp, depending on the package they choose! Of course, if you text your coach at 3am you won’t get an immediate response, but the goal is always to get back to you as soon as we can. You won’t find this kind of accessibility and support with an in-person trainer.
Now, this is not the case for ALL online coaches, and many teams have their own accessibility protocols. However, in almost all scenarios it is easier than reaching an in-person coach.
Having a training program that fits into your schedule is going to be crucial to your success. In my eyes, this is one area of coaching where having an online coach is going to win hands-down.
Picture this: You decide to work with an in-person trainer and want to work out 3x/week after you wrap up work at 5 pm.
But, you find out that their only openings you can make are at 8 pm. Yikes.
Scheduling conflicts aren’t all that uncommon. In-person trainers tend to fill up during the most popular hours (immediately before/after work). This means that, at least for now, you are tied to a less-than-ideal training time, and who knows how long it will be before someone gives up their “golden hour” time slot.
On top of that, what happens when something comes up at work, you have a work event to attend, or your kid has a sporting event? Suddenly you can't make the time you had decided on with your coach, resulting in a missed workout for the week.
When working with an online coach, you can walk into the gym whenever you like and have an individualized plan right there at your fingertips, ready to go.
Doctors appointment? No problem, move that workout to another day.
Kid’s sporting event? Switch to a workout before work.
Working with an online trainer offers the most flexibility of all training options. However, there’s a trade-off here.
In exchange for more flexibility, you’ll be working out alone (so there’s no trainer there to guide you). Working with an online coach means you’ll be given a personalized plan to execute on your own.
That said, if you work with an online coach like us at KJO Coaching, you’ll have access to your coach if you have a question while you’re at the gym. For example, you can say, “I’m at the gym right now, and I can’t figure out if this is the right machine to use. Can you help?” Or, if you need help with your form, you can send your coach a video and get feedback that way.
NOTE: Not all online coaches will provide this level of support, but at KJO Coaching, it’s like having a personal trainer in your pocket.
For obvious reasons, this is going to be one of the top decision-makers for people when deciding between online and in-person training.
With both in-person and online training, there will be a variety of price points available. When considering the investment, it makes the most sense to look at the logistics from the coaches’ perspective.
In order to work in person and make a livable wage, the coach has to charge a certain rate (or else end up working way too many hours).
This is due to the fact that they literally have to show up somewhere to make money, and their income is capped based on the number of hours they can work each week. Since we are talking about 1:1 coaching here, this means you pay a premium because you’re taking up a set number of hours of their workweek.
Online coaching works a bit differently. Coaches are able to carry more clients because they don’t have to show up in person and be tied to one client for an entire hour or more.
This allows them to carry more clients on their roster and coach more people each week. In return, online coaching tends to be the more affordable option for the client!
Not to mention — many online coaches that are providing personalized workout programs to their clients are also providing additional support in other areas related to a client’s health and fitness goals.
At KJO Coaching, we’re equipped to help you with personalized nutrition guidance, education, self-care support, mindset work, and personal development opportunities (in addition to personalized workout programming).
And you can get ALL of this for less than the typical monthly investment you would pay an in-person trainer for just a few workouts per week, which is pretty crazy!
Quality of Coaching
When looking into in-person coaching, you are limited to the trainers available to you in your geographic area. This isn’t to say that you can’t find a great in-person coach, but you get to be much pickier when looking online!
Looking for someone who has a great knowledge of lower back issues? You can certainly search for and find online coaches who are trained in just that!
Need a coach to help you with your digestive issues? You can find a coach online who can not only write you an awesome workout program but can help you work through other health concerns as well.
Feel like you always self-sabotage your goals? You can work with us at KJO Coaching. We specialize in helping women work through mindset barriers like all-or-nothing thinking, self-control issues, coping with stress, your relationship with food/body/exercise, and the overall psychology of health and fitness goal achievement.
Depending on your location and schedule, you might be “stuck” with an in-person trainer that lacks the specialized education you’re looking for. Or, they might be inexperienced in general!
There are endless options of coaches with unique specialties and high levels of education if you’re open to training with an online coach.
At KJO Coaching, we happily boast nearly 30 years of combined fitness and nutrition experience and an impressive lineup of educational backgrounds from Ph.D. to Registered Dietitian to Physician Assistant to Registered Nurses. You can learn more about our killer coaching staff here!
Here’s how in-person training could look:
You show up for your training session, and your coach has their clipboard all ready with your training program set up and ready to go.
You complete the hour-long workout and head home.
You do this, week after week. You show up, work out, and leave.
Months later, you realize you’re interested in doing this on your own and save some money by working out on your own. That’s great!
But, have you ever even seen your program? Do you know how to build one yourself? Do you have a template to use if you DO want to design your own?
Most likely not. In most scenarios, the client never gains any true KNOWLEDGE from the in-person trainer on how to program their own workouts.
This is not the case with online coaching.
Sure, your coach still writes down your workouts for you, but a good online coach will provide education along the way — as we do at KJO Coaching.
So when you decide to navigate things on your own, you not only have the knowledge to do so but you literally have “the receipts” of every workout and program you have done with this coach since day one!
If you’re really interested in learning how to create your own program, many online coaches are happy to teach you (plus, as mentioned earlier, they actually have the time to do so, compared with in-person trainers). This leaves you in a much better position to confidently “graduate” from coaching and keep up your progress on your own.
Client independence is something we’re very proud of at KJO Coaching.
Clients leave our team feeling fully equipped with the knowledge and skills required to continue independently. In fact, we frequently hear from past clients about how they’ve been able to keep up their weight loss and healthy lifestyle efforts months after the coaching relationship came to a close. It’s pretty cool!
When it comes to finding the right coaching relationship, it’s important to think about what matters most to YOU.
Be sure you consider all of the different aspects of hiring a coach and how that will fit into your busy life. From communication and access to flexibility, investment, quality of coaching, and how independent you’ll want to be in the future, there are plenty of available coaching options to suit your needs!
And you can check this article to learn more about what to look for when hiring a coach.
The choice is yours. Everyone is different when it comes to how they learn best and what they need!
Maybe you’re a busy mom, professional, and/or a high-achieving woman with a lot on her plate, leaving you with little time to dedicate to yourself. You want to focus on your health, fitness, and personal development but struggle to make yourself a priority. Your lifestyle looks very different compared to someone in college who doesn’t have the priorities and time constraints that you do. So, you need a coach that fits your unique situation.
If this example resonates, I want you to know that you’d be a perfect fit for the team at KJO Coaching. We’re obsessed with helping busy women finally achieve their body composition, mindset, health, and life goals.
If you’re interested in learning more about online coaching and if it’s a good fit for you, we’d love to schedule you with a FREE consultation call with our client support team. Start by filling out a quick application and booking a call here!
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