Online coaching is a complicated business

Online coaching is a complicated business

The odds are stacked against it working. Most people want their strength training to contain doses of community, outdoors, options, equipment, physical experiences and of course human interaction. Even with all of that, gyms suck at retaining members. And people also don’t try hard enough to make informed choices at gyms. 

Getting coached online can be effective. You can get a well crafted program and a person to nudge you to eat better and stick to your plan. That’s the essence of online coaching. A person nudging you to follow a plan. And making tweaks as you progress. And mixing it up when the clients enthusiasm wanes. 

But for a majority of the population, the above format just does not work. They want the live experience.

I try to find some middle ground by coaching live online. Basically coach people on how to do a whole bunch of moves well, scale it for them and then throw them into our class to practice and scale what they learn. 

I personally love ‘live’ online coaching. Managing an hour of training, communicating clearly with some humour, getting details right, keeping people engaged through it and getting people stronger is a challenge I enjoy. And there’s the joy of working with constraints such as limited spaces and less equipment. That forces me to work with a lot more single leg work, bodyweight exercises and unconventional exercise choices.

Zoom fatigue means there is a large section of the population who are wary of the format and don’t like it. And that’s OK. The small percentage for whom it resonates is big enough for me to find enough willing and paying participants to work with. 


Online coaching is a sensitive game. The first 3-4 weeks are critical to push clients into a regular schedule and make a habit of training. They need to learn the names of exercises. Both the coach and trainee need to figure out if they learn better by seeing someone do it and follow along. Or verbal cues produce better outcomes. 

There’s a lot to get right. And the client needs to quickly see the value of what they are doing. Much like a baby turtle crawling to the sea. The predators of inertia and lifestyle are looking to snatch the baby turtle before it reaches the relative safety of the seas of consistent training. 

I am just going to keep pacing the coastline and see how many turtles I can get to the sea and keep them swimming.