Virtual Training became my Battle Ropes: A Personal Trainer’s Path to ZOOM

by Colleen Moran

It’s almost a year.

March 2020.  Massachusetts gyms were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our entire Stow Fitness Team was working on solutions to offer virtual classes to our members.  Initially, the team was expecting the closure to last a few weeks.  No matter how long Stow Fitness Center had to remain closed, I had clients that depended upon our appointments to stay committed to their wellness.  The gym was a meeting place.  But, it is literally my toolbox for effective client workouts and challenges.  I was unsure of how to keep my clients going on their fitness paths without gym access.

COVID has pushed me to be open and learn new things.
Listen, I am super confident in my personal training skills.  Work with me and I will build a unique program that meets your personal fitness goals and body needs.  I am fine with presentations and public speaking.  But, tech and computers are not my things.  This pandemic was forcing me to pivot on this.  The thing is – I NEVER HEARD OF ZOOM before the pandemic.  As a trainer, I prepare to push others out of their comfort zones.  Now, I was being pushed out of my comfort zone if I wanted a solution to connect with my clients during COVID.  The tables turned (and twisted) on me.
I looked to my friends when in doubt.
Our awesome instructors showed me the power of ZOOM for our group classes.  It inspired me to explore ZOOM for virtual training solutions with my clients.  Virtual personal training is not new. Personal trainers have been coaching people remotely for a long time.  However, this COVID-era forced our gym doors to close,  And, now, virtual training was the only way to work with my clients.  Our crew of Stow Fitness Center instructors and trainers helped me become familiar with ZOOM.  Pleasantly, my clients were relieved to have a solution to stay on task to reach their goals.  We weren’t stopping!  The training must go on….
VIRTUAL TRAINING work with these 4 things!
  1. GOALS  I have dozens of clients with unique needs and fitness journeys.  One is not like any other.  Each client has individual goals that are the foundation of how I design programs – regardless of in-person or virtual training.  As I moved into streaming workout meetings with my client, I reviewed those goals with each client to ensure we were aligned.   This was a great opportunity to modify and/or recommit.
  2. SCHEDULE  Intention is not action.  My clients look to me for accountability.  Scheduling each workout provided a successful shift to Virtual Training.  Clients have preferred time slots and we attempt to honor a consistent schedule.  But, life happens and schedules have to fluid.  I get it.  And, my clients appreciate my attempted consistency.  Moreso, we learned that flexibility was necessary to have a successful, long-term training schedule.  Many clients are working from home, have children, and manage other things that can pull them away from fitness.  A consistent schedule and a flexible attitude helped assure my clients that I am would be there for them on the other side of the screen.
  3. USE WHAT YOU’VE GOT  If clients are working out from home, they typically have an entire different arsenault of equipment than what we may have used at the gym.  When we evaluated goals and schedules, we have to examine available tools and equipment that was available to each client.  Before developing a virtual training plan, I meet with the client to identify available equipment.  I may have to get clever with using water bottles, but we make it work with what is available.  From there, I am able to design a customized workout plan that maximizes body ability and equipment availability.
  4. KEEP IT FUN Workouts have to work and have to get us on a path towards our goals.  But, there has to be short-term satisfaction out of each training.  First and foremost, each workout has to be fun.  Otherwise, motivation will die.  Typically, I do the workout on the other side of the screen.  This helps with keeping energy levels hight.  Most importantly, it helps my clients feel more connected to me and vice versa.   We all miss connecting with other people.  And, moving together has been incredible to help us feel more connected.

A client feels successful with me when she is confident I know what she is thinking and feeling.  Virtual personal training requires open communication to be successful – from the planning to the sweating stages.  Throughout a workout, I am constantly communicating with my client to assess her motivation levels and endurance during a workout.  I am eager for client feedback to ensure fitness goals are being achieved within each workout.  While virtually training, I am limited to a 2-dimensional screen.  The size of the screen is vastly different than in-person workouts.  Hence, it is challenging to assess full body position and form.  Client feedback during – and after a workout – is imperative to design a successful program that is safe, effective, and fun!

Contact Colleen to Learn More

Virtual training will remain, while hybrid training is likely to gain in popularity with my clients.  We will have the best of both worlds, where they will literally have me in their pocket when they need flexibility with their workouts.  Complete the form to explore in-the-gym, hybrid, or exclusive virtual training solutions that will meet your unique needs and schedule.