What is online fitness coaching? How does it work and what’s in it for me?

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Coaching

Online fitness coaching is relatively new (within the last decade) and is a quickly growing phenomenon in the health and fitness industry. More and more people have experienced its benefits first hand, but many people still wonder how, exactly, it works.

So, what is online fitness coaching? Well, the pandemic of 2020 skyrocketed the popularity of online fitness training, partially because of gym’s closing and personal trainers needing to adapt, but also because we needed that extra morale support during an otherwise rather un-motivating time! On top of this, people were and still are wanting more and more flexibility when it comes to a workout and nutrition regime.

With working from home and lots of meetings in the diary already, we are moving away from rigid appointments that can be difficult to re-schedule (such as a personal training session) and moving towards a more flexible approach.

I’ve been online coaching since 2020, and went full time with it in Summer of 2022, working exclusively with my dream soulmate clients (which are women who struggle with a poor relationship with food and exercise, and desperately want to feel better within themselves).

As many of my in-person clients were switching to online coaching, they asked a lot of questions like, “What is online coaching, exactly?”, “How does online coaching work?”, and “What’s in it for me?” I aim to answer all these questions for you here.

I’ve worked with clients in person since I first got into the industry in 2018, I was so incredibly proud of what I’d built, as I went into a fully male gym environment, with a personal training package that was unrivalled and above and beyond what had been seen in that gym before (the gym managers words, not mine).

I was passionate about delivering results for my clients, and this showed as my client numbers grew, and better yet, client’s stayed – because they really felt like they were getting value for money, long term. But as the year’s went on, one thing I noticed, was how much clients valued their personal training session, rather than everything else I’d built to support them (an app, a training programme, the nutrition etc). If you know personal training, you’ll know your results stem from way beyond just 1-2 training sessions a week in the gym. Your nutrition makes up most of your results (where fat loss is concerned), and your mindset is what will help ensure you will get there.

Whilst I did get incredible results for many of my clients, I could also spot gaps in results, where some clients just couldn’t physically stay consistent to the other elements of the programme. And whilst I would have loved to be checking in with them most days to help them stay on track, I physically couldn’t due to 1) how busy I already was with those long gym hours and 2) Frankly, I would have had to charge them double to be able to do this.

By 2022, I also started to think about the longevity of my business – weighing up the pros and cons of opening my own gym or going online, as these were the natural next steps for a fully booked personal trainer. It goes without saying that online coaching can benefit the coach too, because there are less overheads (you are not paying a gym extortionate rental prices), and you are not bound to a certain location – so when I did go 100% online, I didn’t have to leave my clients behind, because location doesn’t matter, which is awesome for both me and my clients, who I’ve built a solid relationship of trust with.

What, exactly, is online coaching?

Online coaching is the most flexible, cost-effective, kick-ass way to reach your fitness goals in the known universe (OK, so I might be a bit biased). If you were to schedule 4 sessions a week with your in-person trainer, you’d be looking anything from £140-200 per week to get you in shape. And this is just for your training sessions, not even looking at your nutrition and everything else. Online coaching is like having a personal trainer, nutritionist and mindset coach all in one, without having to hire all 3 separately and for thousands of pounds I imagine!

Having the flexibility of an online coach also means you can work out where and when it’s convenient for you – instead of relying on someone else’s location and availability. Even check-ins aren’t fixed, so you can send in your updates whenever suits you, whilst getting all the support, accountability and education you need to reach your goals. Pretty sweet right?

Every coach runs their online programs a bit differently, but as a minimum, every coach will provide clients with fitness and nutrition guidance, detailed workout plans tailored to your specific goals, ongoing support, and a virtual kick up the bum when you need it.

So, what do I actually get with online coaching?

I think firstly, it’s important you consider ‘who you will become’ over simply ‘what you get’, because as much as I can list out the specific features included with my 121 client programmes, it’s not really that that you care about, it’s the RESULT that you get from it.

Every client is different, so the main focal point of my coaching, is that I am designing the programme specifically around you and your lifestyle. No stone is left unturned as we deep dive into your training history, lifestyle, current nutritional habits, sleep, stress, activity, work, menstrual cycle, relationships and anything and everything that could be a current blocker towards achieving your goals. Having this level of detail from an expert, is what turns the tide for so many of my clients who have been stuck in the cycle of stop-start for years if not decades, because they’ve never truly understood and got to the bottom of what stops them getting results, that is where I come in.

I don’t give clients prescribed meal plans for the simple reason that they don’t work in the long run. A diet plan is not empowering; it takes you away from your own decision-making process – which you need for long-term success. Not to mention, fitness coaches are not within their scope of practice to provide exact meal plans, even though many do so anyway! Only registered dieticians are legally qualified to create specific meal plans for their clients. Instead of restrictive meal plans, I empower you to take charge of your own nutrition in a way that works for you – and get kick-ass results in the process. You will still get meal inspiration and ideas, but feel empowered to make your own choices and prepare meals that work for you and your lifestyle. 

Online fitness coaching involves ongoing and continuous support, not just scheduled sessions. If a client needs help, they can reach out at any time. I see details of every single workout my clients complete (and every one they miss!), and every single meal they eat. I reach out proactively multiple times per week, but I am always open for queries and questions or a kick up the bum when needed.

Client’s also have unlimited video exercise form analysis (like having a personal trainer in your pocket) to help improve gym confidence and tweak and improve your lifts. They also receive a personalised 121 coaching feedback video, where I give them guidance on their week; suggest improvements and get them hyped up and motivated for the week ahead.

Fitness coaching

For my fitness coaching, I use an awesome app called Trainerize. My clients receive workouts, log them as they get done, and track their progress. I get automatic notifications whenever a client completes a workout (how’s that for accountability?!) and I can easily keep tabs on everyone’s progress. I also receive notifications when clients miss scheduled workouts! Clients also have the option of saving – or printing out – their workouts as PDFs if they like.

Nutrition coaching

There is an in-app meal tracker for nutrition coaching, where clients log their food and I can automatically see their entries without them having to send me anything. Keeps things nice & simple. Some clients track all macros, some just protein and calories and some take pictures of their meals (where we focus on habit-based nutrition coaching) instead of tracking calories. Food logging in an app isn’t for everyone. A few of my clients (like those with histories of disordered eating patterns, for example) choose to track their meals in other ways. Again, this all revolves around the client and what works best for them. If they prefer to use an app such as myfitnesspal, they can! It syncs with my app still and gives me the information I need.

During the week I keep tabs on each client’s food logs. Every check-in day, client’s just need to make sure all their nutrition data is up to date.


Client’s have unlimited communication with me, on top of a more formal video check-ins. They can also book in calls as and when they need, so they really do get absolutely all the support they need from a coach who truly cares about them and their success!

It may sound like a lot of tech, but it’s really not a huge time investment. After a short initial learning curve, my clients spend most of their time focused on their workouts, nutrition, and overall bad-assery, not spending hours glued to their phones or computer screens. 

If a client can’t spend 2 minutes after a workout to enter weights used and reps performed, and 5 minutes to create a food log for the day (less if you eat similar things every day), do they truly want the life-changing results that come from fitness coaching? I sure would be happy to invest 7 minutes per day if it mean’t achieving a life changing body and mindset transformation! The more engaged you are, the better your results will be!

Who can benefit from online coaching?

A huge variety of people can benefit from online fitness and nutrition training. I’m one of those people myself! (I think it’s important that all coaches have their own coaches.) You may be an especially good candidate for online coaching if one or more of the following describes you:

-You are currently feeling stuck, lacking guidance, direction or accountability on your journey

-You have tried personal training before and need way more support than what they offered

-You have a super busy schedule and need the flexibility of an online coach without the time commitments of a personal trainer

-You have tried diet after diet, exercise programs after exercise programe and can never seem to make it stick

-You have no idea what you’re doing and you need a programme that is built for you (either from home or in the gym) that can be changed as needed based on your needs

What type of person might not do well with online coaching?

If you’re the type of person who needs an appointment with a trainer at a gym in order to work out, online coaching might not work for you. But again, if you need to rely on someone to meet you at the gym in order to get there, you have to ask whether you’ll continue the habit if and when you stop working with that trainer. Another benefit of coaching is that you’re actually building up the habit of going in alone.

But yes, with coaching, you are going to need some level of self-motivation and self-discipline to actually get to the gym, and show up for yourself and your health. You get structure, direction, support, and accountability of course, but you’re coach is responsible for setting you up to succeed based on your lifestyle and requirements, it is your responsibility to implement.

Online coaching is a great way of empowering yourself to take ownership of your own fitness and build bulletproof health habits. It could be what you need to level-up your fitness and life!

Ready to kick-butt?

You can apply to work with me in one easy step – my form takes just one minute of your time, and then I’ll be in contact to have a chat with you about how I can help, and set up your action plan for success!

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Hi I’m Nicki

It’s my mission to help you live diet free, get fit, find balance, lose fat and better yet, keep it off, FOREVER through weight loss journals and online fitness coaching.


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