Congratulations! You’ve taken an important step towards kicking your health and fitness goals. You’ve become aware that there are people who can help guide you and support you along the way. You don’t need to do it alone and the path is going to be clearer and more enjoyable with others by your side. The decision now is around who can best meet your needs.
What’s the difference between online personal training and online fitness coaching?
As part of your decision-making process, you might have come across a few terms for the people who can help you in the world of online health and fitness. Do you choose an online fitness coach or an online personal trainer? Or do you need an online health coach?
All about online personal training
Let me first explain what an online personal trainer does. An online personal trainer may also be known as a virtual fitness trainer, virtual personal trainer, online fitness trainer, online physical trainer, virtual workout trainer, online workout trainer, or virtual physical trainer.
Essentially, they all offer a similar service. They will ‘train’ you, i.e. take you through workout sessions via an online medium. This could be skype, zoom, WhatsApp, or whatever digital tools they use. Instead of hiring a trainer at your local gym, you’ve hired one that can train you wherever you are. It can be a great option for people who have high-paced or travel-based lifestyles.
Maybe you’re considering (or have even tried) using an online fitness trainer to help you with some virtual personal training? The problem with a ‘trainer’, whether it’s an online personal trainer or even a face-to-face personal fitness trainer is that often they’ll simply train you for that session. You’ll need to find intrinsic motivation to get additional sessions done on your own. You may not get additional support around changing your behaviors and establishing healthy habits to create a fitter lifestyle overall.
Of course, all online personal trainers make up their own ‘packages’ which could include additional services, so if you’re considering hiring one, then check out what they have to offer. If you’ve struggled with making time for fitness or have found it hard to stick with your fitness plan in the past then you may be better suited to choosing an online fitness coach. I’ll explain why.
What does an online fitness coach do differently than a personal trainer?
A coach typically doesn’t take you through an exercise session. They may in some cases, again depending on what packages the coach offers. Personally, as an online fitness coach myself, I like to take my clients through a few virtual fitness tests as part of overall benchmarks to measure progress. I may also demonstrate exercises, or use our chosen virtual platform to help you with exercise techniques.
However, the core reason you make appointments with an online workout coach like me is not so you can get sweaty (you’ll do that at other times!).
The reason you get on a phone or video call with me is so that I can help you form sustainable habits towards your long-term fitness goals. Together we discover your deep internal drivers so that you will have the self-motivation to push yourself to exercise and to enjoy the journey.
I’ll make sure you always have a plan and program that sets you up for success, so you know exactly when and how your exercise sessions are going to happen. Your potential barriers to success will be clear to both of us from the beginning and you’ll have an intervention for when things don’t go as planned.
When you do slip up the support you’ll get will be second to none. A great online health and fitness coach has empathy and will appreciate the challenges you’re facing. You’ll talk through where things went wrong, tweak the plan if needed, and will be excited to move forward and push on.
What’s a holistic health practitioner?
Maybe you’re getting a bit clearer about whether an online fitness coach or personal trainer is right for your overall online fitness training plan. Or perhaps you’re even going to opt for both services?! That’s great news! But first, let me tell you a bit about what a holistic health practitioner does.
You’ve probably heard of the terms online health coach, online health practitioner, or virtual health coach. These types of health providers will usually take a wider look at your overall health and lifestyle, as compared to a fitness coach. After all, there are a number of important elements to address for optimal health. Some may branch out further and call themselves a ‘life coach’. Really, there is a crossover between all these sorts of services and it’s ultimately up to the coach to decide on the title that suits their services best.
Do you need a holistic health practitioner?
A holistic health coach or practitioner focuses on taking the whole person into account when they carry out their online health coaching services. This is centered on the belief that optimal wellness is created when the unique needs of each and every person are looked at in depth. A great holistic health practitioner will really dig deep to find the root causes of health problems you might be having. They have a clear understanding of how interwoven and inseparable the various elements of health are (e.g. physical, mental, spiritual).
A holistic health practitioner will usually offer or recommend alternative/complementary health therapies. These might include things like acupuncture, herbalism, or naturopathy to name a few. A GREAT holistic health practitioner will respect when there is a need for conventional medicine too and they will support an integrative approach. If you want to find an online health coach who fully embraces natural methods for healing and strengthening the mind and body, then a holistic health practitioner/holistic health coach could be a great choice for you.
A holistic model of health EVOLVES
Throughout almost 20 years of working with clients in the health and fitness industry, my personal health methodology has become clearer and stronger. It has never involved diets or fads or deprivation so even as a young sports science graduate I wanted to focus on the real things that would help people lead longer, fitter, healthier and happier lives.
I started as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Over the years my holistic philosophy started to grow, and then it grew stronger and stronger. At the same time, I felt myself starting to lean a little further from training and a little more into coaching. For years I was a personal trainer, but I would sit down with each client at the start of each session, and talk to them about how they were. We’d talk about what they’d eaten, how energetic they were feeling, how well they had slept, how stressed they were, how they were feeling mentally, and more.
On a basic level, this would determine what went into our training session and how hard we trained. After all, it’s certainly not safe to put someone through a HIIT session if they haven’t slept well or eaten in a long time.
An online fitness coach and holistic health practitioner rolled into one
Some people really needed a lot of help in areas other than their physical training. I found that I would sometimes spend half of our session time sitting down, asking questions, and working on behavior change. I realized that working on things like mindset helped my clients get better results than focusing primarily on the training session.
By helping them with their mindset and other aspects of their health that were affecting their physical training sessions they became EMPOWERED to make health and fitness a core part of their being. So from this explanation perhaps it’s easier for you to understand how I evolved to be a holistic personal trainer and then further into a holistic fitness coach.
Now…I’m an online fitness coach and holistic health practitioner rolled into one package. I love helping people get to the root cause of their problems and creating a personalized plan that is unique only to them. Because we are all different and we all deserve to lead fit, happy, and healthy lives.
Are you ready to find out more about working with me?
The top 3 reasons to use a holistic health practitioner and online fitness coach
If the concept of holistic health makes sense to you and you think that an online fitness coach would suit your lifestyle needs, let’s cover off a few more points just to be sure:
1. Accountability for long term results
Health and fitness coaching holds you accountable for what you really want to achieve. With agreed plans and targets you’ll know exactly what’s in store to get you the results you’re after. The focus is on helping you with the long-term fitness goals and lifestyle you really want to achieve. The best part is that you get small bite-sized targets to work at along the way. This helps you take one small step at a time rather than a giant leap that will hurt your results and maybe even send you backward.
You’re never alone on your journey with the ultimate accountability buddy and cheerleader. Health coaches should always support and inspire you and help you to move forward on your health and fitness journey.
2. A holistic approach will help you work through the roadblocks
All holistic health coaches will have a slightly different approach. In my methodology, the ‘holistic health highway’, we have six lanes. These are exercise, nutrition, stress, sleep, thoughts, and relationships. When one lane is blocked there can be a pretty significant knock-on effect to all the other lanes.
For example, if you haven’t slept well your body will be crying out for a ‘feel better quick’ fix, probably in the form of highly processed foods or perhaps caffeine. Your body won’t be able to handle an intense exercise session. Perhaps you weren’t able to sleep well because there was a blockage in the relationship or stress lane of the Holistic Health Highway? Whatever your situation, once you find the main culprit, the whole highway will flow a lot more easily.
3. How valuable is your time and freedom?
Online interactions are the preferred medium for many people with busy lifestyles. Whether you’re a corporate executive working long hours, a digital nomad who’s regularly on the move, or a mama who needs to grab every moment of time she can, online health and fitness coaching can fit into your lifestyle needs.
If you find it hard to make time to work with a personal trainer but still want the personal trainer touch, then online fitness coaching could be a great option for you. You’ll still be guided on exactly what to do and will receive your own personalized plan and program but you can get it done at a time that suits you. You don’t need to be tied to any particular location for your workouts; you can do them at home, in the park, your hotel, gym, or anywhere.
As an online fitness coach with a holistic health approach, I understand how to work with busy successful business owners who may be parents and/or spend time on the road but want maximal results in the short time they have. An online fitness coach like me is ‘on the go’ with you so you can improve your health and fitness on the road without having to put lots of time and effort into it. You won’t need to worry about what to do because you’ll have a plan to get stuck into, wherever you are.
Why use me as your online fitness coach or holistic health coach?
With almost 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry, I’ve seen plenty of fads come and go. I’ve never been a fan of diets or quick fixes because I know that long-term lifestyle changes are what really matter in the end. You can rest assured that your individual needs will be well looked after and there are plenty of people who have been pretty stoked about the help they’ve received from me in the past.
Throughout my years in the industry I’ve…
- Helped thousands of people make positive changes to their health and fitness through 1:1 coaching and training, group training and online influence
- Been published in several high profile publications including Total Health magazine and Huff Post UK.
- Written and published a holistic weight loss book
- Been a finalist in the NZ fitness industry awards for three consecutive years. This included three times for freestyle group exercise instructor of the year and two times for personal trainer of the year
- Run several live seminars and workshops aimed at helping the general public to achieve their health and fitness goals
- Helped clients achieve and sustain BIG goals. A couple of these include 30kg weight loss and going from not running at all to running a half marathon
- Stayed accountable to my own health and fitness goals (i.e. I ‘walk the talk’). These included completing a full marathon, and getting leaner and stronger post pregnancy than I was pre pregnancy.
- Published and ghostwritten several hundred articles, blog posts, audios and videos (including ‘live’ ones). All of these have been dedicated to helping people lead fitter, healthier and happier lifestyles.
- Invested around $75k in degree qualifications, courses, and ongoing professional development
- Mentored and tutored a number of fitness industry professionals so that they could go out and effectively spread the message of health to more people.
Take the next step towards getting an awesome holistic health coach
I’m currently taking on a small number of 1:1 clients for online fitness coaching and holistic health coaching. Find out what’s on offer by visiting my work with me page. I’d love to help you take the next steps towards your fitness and lifestyle goals.
If you’re not quite ready for that, then start with a virtual coffee with me. This is a limited-time offer where you can ask me anything you like about your health and fitness. I’ll draw on my 20 years of industry experience to provide you with as much value as I can. The advice I provide may be just what you need to get enough momentum to kick on and make progress.
Have you used a holistic health coach or online fitness coach in the past? How was your experience? Or do you want to know how to become a health coach? Please leave a comment in the box below to share your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you’ve achieved through working with health coaches in the past or what you’re achieving now. I’d also be happy to share any insights on becoming a health coach, that may be useful for you xx
I really like your explanation of how these are all different. It’s so great that you can really address the whole body with your training and certifications.
Thanks for your comment Amanda! Yes it all stems from knowing that I can’t train or coach someone effectively unless I have a good understanding of what’s going on in various systems of their body and areas of their life
Thanks for explaining how fitness coaches can inspire you to be more accountable and move forward with your health and fitness goals. I’ve been wanting to shave off a few pounds this year to no success because I always find myself making excuses to postpone workout sessions. It certainly looks like I’ll need a personal trainer that can keep me in line and help me become more accountable to stick with my goals.
Nice revelation! Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help you reach your goals:-)
nice post. thanks for sharing the information. quite useful and informative one.
I am all for someone that creates movement and direction in your life.
Often this means looking at points beyond the goal you are working towards.
Personally when I look for any kind of support, it is someone;
Who has done what I want to do
That I allign with
That challenges me
That enlightens me
I look for very specific outcomes xx
I loved this
Thanks for your comment and great points Abbey!