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July 18, 2022

Do You Need To Train People In Person Before Online?

Do You Need To Train People In Person Before Online with Annie Miller

2020 and the pandemic that came with it, trainers were pressed to explore the online space even if they planned to stay in person for the long run. I’d argue that those who had at least one foot in an online platform (YouTube, Instagram, a podcast, something), were ahead of the game, and perhaps better off than those who didn’t. So, the question is, if a new trainer wants to ultimately work online in some capacity, do they need to work in person first? And if so, for how long? Fair question.

I am openly biased because I come from a collegiate strength training and in person background. With that, when I started Fitdesignbyannie in 2014, the end goal was always to be online. The thought of waking up, pulling my laptop onto my lap and programming for clients was my DREAM. I think two things can be true:

  • You can start working online immediately after finishing education and/or certification.
  • The value one gains from working in person is unmatched in the online space.

Things I personally found valuable about working in person:

  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Assessment of bodies
  • Seeing and coaching different body types
  • Ability to manage time/programming
  • Learning a variety of cues/analogies to help clients understand a movement/skill

And the list goes on. It’s not that you can’t learn some of these things online, but I heavily encourage in person experience. It only makes your life easier once you transition online. You’ll know your strengths, and how to leverage those online.

In another post, I asked coaches if they found in person or online more challenging and hands down, online was the popular answer. There are clear perks to working online. But it may also come with challenges around communication and ease for the client.

The graphic below lays out my answer but in short, there is no rule of thumb. One person may get the same “experience” in one year as someone else gets in three years of being on the floor.

  • Do You Need To Train People In Person Before Online with Annie Miller
  • coaching in person before coaching online with Annie Miller
  • coaching in person before coaching online with Annie Miller

Moral of the story is, there are invaluable tools and lessons you’ll learn in working the gym floor, or with clients in any capacity. These things translate to the online space. And I believe they are needed. That doesn’t mean you can’t begin building your online platform NOW, while still working with clients (in whatever capacity that is for you).

How long did you work in person before transitioning FULLY online? Or even partially online? It was seven years for me. But started online two years in!

Looking to transition to the online space? Then I’d recommend my FREE workshop –  Your biz, your way – 3 steps to build a profitable online health and fitness business. Or, stick around for more free content.

And while you’re on the site, snag all the free resources – you’ll find goodies for trainees and coaches or entrepreneurs alike. Much love.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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