The Best Solution For Online Personal Training

I’ve been spending a lot of my time over the past several weeks trying to figure out the best way to deliver online personal training. Live video technology is really exploding, and there are a lot of different options to choose from. The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be a one-size-fits-all solution.

online personal training

Benefits of Online Personal Training

While I would recommend working with a trainer in person, particularly if you are really deconditioned or have severe limitations in movement, working out with a trainer online can be a fantastic substitute. Let’s look at some reasons for training online from the perspectives of the trainee and the trainer.

You Want To Receive Online Personal Training

Here are some reasons that you might want to seek out an online trainer:

  1. Your favorite trainer doesn’t live by you, or has moved away.
  2. You’re following a trainer’s workout program and would like instruction directly from them.
  3. You enjoy working out at home.
  4. The trainers at your gym aren’t worth the money.
  5. Variety!

Sometimes I get emails from people who have questions about some of the exercises that I post on my Kettlebell Moves page. Some exercises are really challenging and are hard to master from only watching a video. I would love to provide more in-depth instruction through some online personal training.

You Want To Provide Online Personal Training

If you are a personal trainer like me, here are some reasons that you might have to develop an online training program:

  1. There are people who want you to train them, but they don’t live close to you.
  2. You can set your own hours and work from home.
  3. You won’t have to travel to multiple facilities.
  4. You want to fill open time slots in your schedule.
  5. You want access to a larger pool of potential clients.

These are some of my top reasons to develop my online personal training program; I’m sure that other personal trainers have similar reasons.

My Ideal Online Personal Training Solution

After giving a lot of thought to what I wanted my online training program to look like, I decided to write down some components of my ideal online training program.

  • Must be in HD (High Definition) with minimal lag time – Seriously, if you want to be professional and worth the money then you don’t want to appear choppy, grainy, or out of focus.
  • Is easy to log in and set up a meeting – Have you ever tried to log into an account or program and been unable to get it to work right? It needs to work for all parties involved with no headaches!
  • Secure and private meeting space – Client confidentiality is an important component of personal training. The meeting needs to be secure and protect private information.
  • Has the ability to record the video conference – Not only are there wonderful moments that can be caught on video, it would be extremely helpful to the clients and to the trainer to be able to revisit previous sessions.
  • Includes file and desktop sharing – It would be nice to share previously recorded exercises, tutorials, workout logs, nutrition guides, and other information directly through the program that you are using to train with each other.
  • Options to send reminder emails for scheduled meetings – Managing client information, calendars and appointment reminders can be a real challenge. It would be nice if this functionality was built into the meeting software.
  • Has a built-in payment gateway for collecting PayPal or credit card payment – You can always create separate invoices, purchase buttons, etc., but wouldn’t it be convenient if you could handle that through the same software that you are using to set up your meetings?

This list of criteria is what I’ve been going by as I’ve looked through various solutions trying to find the perfect one for me. I have yet to find the perfect one, but with the exception of HD video (a must have), the absence of the other features doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a deal breaker.

Just Say No To Skype

Online Personal Training

You might be thinking, “Why don’t you just use Skype?”

I really hate using Skype! My every experience with Skype includes difficulty logging in; randomly getting dropped off calls; and seeing grainy, choppy, and generally crappy video.

To tell you the truth, I cringe when I hear other trainers delivering personal training through Skype. To me, it’s kind of like surfing the internet with AOL. If you don’t quite understand that, then you can download Skype here.

The difference between average trainers and great trainers is the willingness to constantly learn more about your craft, communicate your knowledge clearly and effectively to your clients, and exceed what the competition is doing.

You can go for cheap, free, and easy, or invest a little bit in yourself and your product to help deliver an astounding experience.

Online Personal Training Solutions

These are the products that I’ve tested or researched during the exploration phase of developing my online personal training program. They are presented in no particular order.

Video Conference and Webinar Software

FuzeBox

Features:

  • High Definition – Yes
  • Log In & Set Up – I didn’t have any trouble logging in. It does require a software download to video conference.
  • Secure & Private – Yes
  • Record Video – No
  • File & Desktop Sharing – Yes
  • Email & Scheduling – Sort of… It opens up your default email client and embeds the meeting information.
  • Payment Gateway – No

Con: You are unable to enlarge just one of the video conference feeds. All participants in the video conference are the same size on screen.

LifeSize Connections

Features:

  • High Definition – Yes
  • Log In & Set Up – Requires adjusting the settings to work optimally. It does require a software download.
  • Secure & Private – Yes
  • Record Video – No
  • File & Desktop Sharing – Yes
  • Email & Scheduling – No
  • Payment Gateway – No

Con: Both parties need to be logged into the software to start a meeting. While testing, the outgoing video feed locks up on my end, however the receiving video computer sees the video feed just fine. Customer support has been prompt, and I’m still in the middle of testing for a solution.

RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite

Features:

  • High Definition – Unknown
  • Log In & Set Up – Appears to be browser-based
  • Secure & Private – Yes
  • Record Video – Unknown
  • File & Desktop Sharing – Yes
  • Email & Scheduling – Yes
  • Payment Gateway – No

Con: Not available at the time of writing. Open to public March 2013. I get the impression that it’s more corporate based than individual user, and that it’s going to cost some real $$$.

WebEx

Features:

  • High Definition – Yes (Premium Version)
  • Log In & Set Up – Requires you to run a Java applet on joining an invitation. User interface is slightly more complicated than basic teleconferencing.
  • Secure & Private – Yes
  • Record Video – Yes
  • File & Desktop Sharing – Yes
  • Email & Scheduling – Yes
  • Payment Gateway – No

Con: Requires invited users to adjust some of their own settings in order to set up the audio and video appropriately.

GoToMeeting

Features:

  • High Definition – Yes
  • Log In & Set Up – Robust and advanced user interface requires a software download. Confusing for first time attendees.
  • Secure & Private – Yes
  • Record Video – Yes
  • File & Desktop Sharing – Yes
  • Email & Scheduling – It opens up your default email client and embeds the meeting information.
  • Payment Gateway – No

Con: Teleconferencing is not as smooth to set up and join as it is with WebEx. Seems more complex than I would need for personal training.

Meeting Burner

Features:

  • High Definition – No
  • Log In & Set Up – Easy to log in, entirely browser based, but does require flash.
  • Secure & Private – Yes
  • Record Video – Yes
  • File & Desktop Sharing – Yes
  • Email & Scheduling – Yes
  • Payment Gateway – Yes

Con: Pretty basic online meeting software. The lack of full screen and HD video conferencing is a deal breaker for me.

Live Streaming Software

The live streaming software that I looked at seemed to be more for bigger events rather than what I would use it for. I believe all of them included the ability to stream in HD, charge pay-per-view, and really have complete control over the viewing experience. I’ll look forward to hopefully expanding my need for video into one of these solutions one day.

Livestream looks amazing, but I would need to embed the video on my website, and the premium package for that functionality is beyond my budget.

LavaView is the only one that I actually demoed. The pay-per-view worked but you will need to set up your own SSL connection, or otherwise have your subscribers enter their private information on an unsecured server. There were no instructions provided on how to do that. Also, the video stream that I embedded on my website simply didn’t work.

Livestream

Ustream

DaCast

LavaView

Website-Based Online Training

A website-based online training solution is a website that handles just about every aspect of setting up online training for you. You give up a degree of control with this type of solution; but if you’re not technically savvy, or if you’re looking for something easy then this may be a good offering.

Powhow

Features:

  • High Definition – Unknown
  • Log In & Set Up – Entirely browser-based.
  • Secure & Private – Yes
  • Record Video – No
  • File & Desktop Sharing – No
  • Email & Scheduling – Yes
  • Payment Gateway – Yes

Con: A third-party controls the money and takes a cut. I believe they also maintain the video rights, which would make it impossible for any trainers to re-purpose recordings later on. I emailed their customer service for a more clear explanation regarding this and they never even responded.

Are You Ready To Train With Me Online?

I have a few more live tests to perform before I make my final decision; but, you can be assured that I’m doing my homework in order to provide an amazing online personal training experience!

Subscribe to my mailing list so that you won’t miss which solution I choose. Also, contact me if you would be interested in online personal training. I’ll make sure that I reach out to you when I get it all squared away!

Update

I have chosen a solution for my online personal training. Read all about it!

Revolutionary Online Personal Training

Online training is not currently offered. You can train with me in-person at JohnnyFit Bootcamp & Yoga!

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  • Jenny

    With all the great technology available to us, you would think that live online training is just a button away! Skype and iChat are great for a lot of things, but for training I agree it doesn’t hit the mark. From my perspective as a client I’d rather email my trainer a 30 second video for critique in between personal sessions, than try to set up live training on Skype.

    It sounds like you’re on the cutting edge of what’s available and this was a great article :-) I look forward to hearing more as you learn!

    • http://www.johnnyfit.com JohnnyFit

      Thanks Jenny, sometimes being a perfectionist has its drawbacks, but not this time!

  • http://www.fitfix.co.uk/ Sara

    It is an Excellent post with all the details on online personal training. I have got the insights on how to provide online personal trainings from your precise descriptions. It is a commendable write-up, thanks for the details.