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How To Manage Both In-Person and Online Training Clients

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Fitness Business, How To Manage Both In-Person and Online Training Clients

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There are countless benefits of being a personal trainer—you get to do what you love, promote physical activity, help people, and, most importantly, work anywhere! In-person personal training and online personal training are great options for a fitness professional and it doesn’t have to be either/or. Once you’ve started your personal training business, you can do both modalities! 

Managing training clients in an online fitness business is very different than an in-person training session. Both can be one-on-one or in a group setting, but the way you market, communicate, and train current and prospective clients will differ. Whether you’re a gym owner or you rent space out of a fitness studio, let’s discuss how to best manage your client base no matter how you train them.

In-Person Training Business

The traditional personal training method is in-person and, often, individual training. Group training has been gaining popularity and is a great way for trainers to see more clients in a shorter amount of time and boost their earning potential. This face-to-face training affords you the opportunity to be deeply engaged in your client’s workout and easily correct form. Plus, it’s a great way to build rapport and a personal relationship!

Virtual Training

Known as online coaching, virtual training is exploding in popularity. Clients can workout remotely and you can manage their progress. Some online training programs involve live video conferences while others involve the online personal trainer sending a client a workout and they complete it on their own. A virtual training plan must be concise and managed well to be successful. 

Have you taken your personal training business online yet? If not, you’re missing out on a huge market segment! Check out the ISSA Online Coaching Certification for more on how to take your training business online! From marketing and email strategies to the client intake process and assessments, this course has everything you need to get up and running quickly!

Time Management

No matter how you train your clients, managing your time is key for success. There are three things that you should spend a majority of your time doing when you have an online personal training business with in-person training clients:

  1. Training – After all, this is what you do! Train your clients and get them results.
  2. Marketing – You must market yourself and keep a steady pipeline of prospective clients.
  3. Learning – It’s not enough to have your personal training certification. Expand your knowledge to better offer your clients a well-rounded experience.

Everything else is secondary! 

Let’s be realistic—most of your time will be spent working with your clients. Completing a personal training session at the gym here, running an online session there, and maybe walking a client through a meal plan now and then. Keep a calendar that helps you manage your training sessions and don’t be late! Your training sessions reflect you, your training philosophies, and your brand both online and in-person. Build a community with your clients that is inclusive, empowering, and supportive. This will promote client consistency, improve motivation, and create a sense of belonging. This is especially important for an online client.

With in-person sessions, you’ll come prepared with your workout plan. For online training sessions, you’ll have to establish how they are to be completed. If you are on a call with the client as they train, you’ll come prepared with your training plan. If they are to do it on their own and send you videos or report back, you’ll need to plan ahead and send the client their training plan. Set expectations early in the process- especially with online clients!

Marketing is a must. If no one knows who you are and what you offer, you’ll never draw them in. You can opt for an email marketing strategy or stick with social media to spread the word and offer valuable content to your followers. Set aside dedicated marketing time on your calendar in between clients or on slower or off days. Spend the time to get yourself quality training clients that you’ll enjoy coaching!

Personal training is a relationship business and referrals are a prime way to get new clients. Make your current clients happy and they will tell their friends and family! 

Finally, always be learning. There are so many options for certification available to an inquisitive fitness coach. One of the best ways to hone your marketing is to decide on a population that you want to work with and get really good at training them. Like seniors, youth, or weight loss clients. There is a certification for nearly everything! Plus, you solidify your reputation as a knowledgeable trainer in the fitness industry. 

The time you have left on your calendar is your time! Use this time for self-care and be sure to plan a few days off every now and then! Managing clients and running a training business is tough work. You preach recovery for your clients, so take some time for your own recovery—mental and physical. During your own workouts and when you are out in the community are two great times to rep your brand, make appointments, and hand out your information! Marketing never sleeps!

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Fitness Business, How To Manage Both In-Person and Online Training Clients, Laptop, Fitness Equipment


Gone are the days of pen and paper…for most of us anyway! Client management has gone technical. Software for the personal fitness trainer helps you manage client information and fitness goals, intake documents, marketing, training logs, assessments, assessment results, and how you communicate. Personal training software comes in two forms- desktop applications or a fitness app. Often these two modalities will overlap, and you can access the platform in both ways.

Client Management

The most important aspect of any personal training software is client management. A good software program will help you organize client intake forms, store assessment data, photos, and measurements, and track client program phases and progress. The more it can do for you the better. The more automated the process can be the better as well!


Effective fitness coaching requires frequent and clear communication. Whether sending emails to prospective clients, posting content on social media, or messaging existing clients, a personal trainer is constantly reaching out! You can choose to do these tasks on your own or find an online personal training software that can manage it for you. Either way, it is important to keep records of your communications and posts in case you need them in the future.

Marketing and Business Growth

You already know that marketing is one of the top three things you will spend your time doing when managing your clients. A good software program will help you write, manage, and send emails to your client pipeline. It may also help manage text messages to clients, collect referral contact information, and even process payments. 

What’s the best software for you? That depends! There are a ton of options! Do some research and maybe even download a few to test their functionality. Pay for the one that suits you the best!

Your Other Services

You are more than a certified personal trainer. An effective training business addresses nutrition, behavior change, lifestyle management, and even a client’s motivation. These are all things that you will have to manage along with your in-person and online training sessions, marketing, and education.

Nutrition Coaching

If you’re not certified in nutrition, do it! A basic certified personal trainer will have a brief introduction to nutrition, but a nutrition certification will better help you prepare clients for making changes and choosing healthy foods to support their goals. Your nutrition-based session will likely be separate from your training sessions so you can focus on what clients need to know.

Health Coaching 

This is a wholistic approach to fitness! Health coaches address physical activity, nutrition, behavior modification, and overall health in their coaching. These sessions will need to be calendared separately as well as they are very in-depth and your clients are sure to have questions and points of discussion. 

Weight Loss Coaching

A majority of personal training clients are seeking weight loss. They walk int a gym or contact you because they don’t know how to get results. You have the opportunity to help clients manage their eating patterns and physical activity to reach their goals and maintain their successes.

Stay Organized!

There is a lot to manage when you have both online and in-person training clients! However, if you stay organized, make use of a calendar, and manage your time on the important tasks wisely, you will see your personal training business flourish. There is no limit to who you can reach with your expertise with the right tools, personal trainer software, and coaching model.

Ready to take the leap into virtual training? Get started with your personal training certificate—check out the ISSA’s personal training course and get started today! 


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