In the old days, working with a coach or trainer was a strictly in-person procedure. After all, how else would someone give you feedback on your performance if they weren’t right in front of you?


This is still the gold standard of coaching. However, technology is redefining the interaction between coaches and clients as more people try online training.

If you follow any fitness figures, you might’ve noticed a number of them offer online training or coaching services. You might’ve also wondered how that works.

Online training can be highly customized based on the client’s needs. Services can include meal plans, self-guided workout plans, nutrition coaching, remote group coaching (via private Facebook groups), and one-on-one remote coaching, to name a few. And while a coach might not be able to give you instant feedback on your form, it’s common for clients to record videos of their lifts and send them to their coach for evaluation.

DSCF8111Online coaches and programs can be a great fit for some people and not quite ideal for others. It’s a similar concept to taking an online class; whether or not it works for you depends on your experience and preferences.




Who is online training for?

  • People who have experience working out
  • People who are familiar enough with lifting form to workout independently
  • People who want someone to do their nutrition and/or training programming for them
  • People who are self-motivated to workout

Generally speaking, online training works best with people who already know their way around a gym, but need some direction and accountability. Online nutrition coaching is also popular, as the educational component and check-ins can be easily managed in a remote capacity.

Who is online training NOT for?DSCF8820

  • Beginners who have never worked out before
  • Beginners who have not mastered proper form
  • People who thrive on face-to-face interaction
  • People who prefer group exercise classes

Complete beginners will, in most cases, need to work with an in-person coach to learn different exercises and correct form. This is the safest option to prevent injury and ensure that the person develops body awareness and the proper mechanics of each movement. There are also people who need the accountability of an in-person coach or group class to get their workout done.

Pros of online training

  • Accountability
  • Access to coaches around the world
  • Ability to work with someone specialized or someone who gets you
  • Usually lower price point than in-person personal training

For people looking for a coach to check in with at the end of each week, online coaching can be very helpful in keeping them accountable. Also, thanks to social media, you get to vet coaches before working with them. This reduces the chance of hiring someone who might not be the right fit for you.

Cons of online training

  • You don’t get immediate feedback
  • Lack of connection
  • Lots of unqualified coaches


There’s something to be said about the rapport between an in-person coach and client. This relationship can often make or break a client’s results. The ability to give coaching cues on the spot or have a meaningful face-to-face conversation about a client’s habits are important interactions, and they usually don’t happen in an online capacity. Another issue with online training is the number of unqualified coaches who offer services.

What to look for:

Someone with experience and credentials. Pay attention to their social media. Do they clearly list their certifications/degrees? Do they spotlight the results of their clients? Do their values align with yours? It’s easy to buy into the fantasy when an online coach has a great body and a huge following, but those things don’t make someone a good coach who listens to and understands their clients. Remember, a coach’s job is to help you, not get lots of likes.

While nothing trumps face-to-face coaching, online training can be a very viable option for the right person. If you’re interested in trying it out, Crossfit Soul has a number of online training options. We have general self-guided program templates, individualized programs, and more. To learn more, CLICK HERE.