Training Tips

What Equipment Do Your Online Personal Training Clients Need

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, What Equipment Do Your Online Personal Training Clients Need

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Many fitness professionals make a good living by offering online personal training services. That said, this type of training does come with one disadvantage: no guaranteed access to gym equipment. Some clients will still have a membership to a gym, but many plan to workout from home. So, how do you determine the items these clients need for your virtual personal training session?

Questions to Ask When Creating Your Fitness Equipment List

No two fitness programs are the same. So, the equipment needed for your exercise program is likely different than that required by another online fitness instructor. To help you create a complete list of items your students must have before starting your program, answer these questions:

  • What pieces of equipment are must-haves based on the type of training that I offer? This list will change depending on the type of virtual training you offer. For example, if you offer online yoga workouts, your clients will need a mat. If your services include providing sports nutrition advice, they may need a food scale, food journal, or portion-controlling containers. Thinking about your fitness program, what are the items they cannot do without?
  • What equipment is beneficial when taking my program, but not exactly necessary? While some clients will only purchase the minimum equipment required, others are willing to invest more in an effort to reach their fitness goals. That’s why it’s also helpful to have a secondary list of equipment that can add to your training session, but isn’t absolutely necessary. Going back to the example of being an online yoga instructor, your clients can also benefit from having a mat towel and a few props (such as a block or blanket strap). Letting them know this gives them the opportunity to purchase these items if they wish.
  • Can my online personal training clients do my program with no equipment at all? Some workouts will still provide results if no equipment is used. Informing clients of this up front gives them the ability to join your program even if they don’t have money to invest in other equipment. It’s also good for those who want to hire you as their online trainer but don’t have the room to store a bunch of exercise items.

Training Equipment Good for a Home Workout

When creating your equipment list, there are a few items that can help at-home clients get a more effective workout. These are items that can be purchased at most any sporting goods store (or online) and don’t take up a ton of room. 

Quality Athletic Shoes

Admittedly, high-quality athletic shoes are also a must-have for clients who work out in a gym. But they are just as important for those who will be exercising at home. This provides their feet, and the rest of their body, adequate cushioning and support. If possible, they may want to keep a pair of shoes solely for their at-home training sessions. This keeps them from tracking dirt and other debris into their living spaces.

Hand Weights

If your online fitness classes involve strength training, your clients will likely need a set of hand weights. For clients new to exercise, one or five-pound weights may be enough. Clients who are more fit may need heavier weights to reach their fitness goal. Some hand weights are adjustable. This allows the at-home client to adjust them based on their individual needs. It also enables them to keep increasing the weights without having to buy an entirely new set.

A Resistance Band

Another strength training option that is great for an online personal training session is a resistance band. They come in a variety of strengths so your clients can choose the one that best complements their current fitness level. Resistance bands are also compact and don’t take a lot of space to store. They can be used in several different exercises, providing a full-body workout.

Exercise Mat

In some cases, it is fine to work out on carpet or a hardwood floor. But if you do any floorwork, an exercise mat can make this portion of the workout more comfortable. A mat is also helpful if the floor is slippery. The extra grip reduces their risk of slipping and falling. Keeping online personal training clients injury-free is good for your fitness business.

Water Bottle

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend that women consume 91 ounces of water daily, with 125 ounces the recommendation for men. Roughly 80 percent of these amounts (73 ounces for women and 100 ounces for men) come from beverages, the other 20 percent comes from foods. Depending on how much they sweat and whether they live in a hot environment, they may need more. Keeping a water bottle handy helps them stay hydrated during your virtual personal training session.

Compression Sleeve

An ideal client is one who is healthy and strong. However, this isn’t always realistic. If clients have weak elbows or knees, they may benefit from using a compression sleeve while performing your online program. Compression sleeves are also helpful if they’ve had a previous injury, offering that area more support. As a certified personal trainer, it is outside your scope of practice to prescribe this type of device. So, encourage your online clients to talk to their doctor to learn whether it would be helpful or is recommended.

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, What Equipment Do Your Online Personal Training Clients Need

What Equipment Do Your Online Personal Training Clients Need If They Are on a Budget?

Some training clients will want to join your program but not have a lot of money to spare in their budget. So, be prepared for the question of how they can get by with little to no equipment costs upfront.

Depending on the type of personal training program you offer, this may not be an issue. For instance, if your strength training relies solely on bodyweight exercises, they don’t need equipment anyway. 

However, if you do typically use weights, resistance bands, or other equipment in your fitness class, consider whether your clients can do these same moves without these items. While they may not get as good of a workout, it may be enough for a beginner exerciser or someone who wants to stay active but doesn’t have a lot of extra cash to spend.

Also, consider ways they can supplement an equipment-free workout and still hit their weight loss or muscle building goals. For example, skipping rope burns 10-20 calories per minute. Incorporating two 5-minute sessions a day can increase their calorie output without doing damage to their pocketbook.

Technological “Equipment” Helpful for Online Coaching Clients

In addition to actual fitness equipment, think also about whether any technologies could be helpful to your online personal training clients. Are there any apps or software programs that would increase their ability to reach their goals? 

Some of these technologies are set up to help people track their meal plans or physical activity. Others are designed to remind them to get up and move or drink more water. Finding areas where clients struggle gives you a better idea of the apps or programs that would be most beneficial to them.

As an online personal trainer, clients want to know how you stay in shape. So, if you have any technology that you use, this is a good place to start. Another option is to do a survey. Contact past and current clients you’ve worked with in your personal training business. See what type of apps or software they’ve found helpful in their fitness journey. Share what you find so other training clients can check it out too.

Including Necessary Equipment in Your Personal Training Packages

If you want to set yourself apart as an online personal trainer, offer your virtual clients the equipment they need in your training package. You don’t have to buy and store these items upfront either. Once a new client signs up, go online and purchase the items yourself, shipping them directly to the client. 

This ensures that they get everything they need to follow your workout plan. It also reduces the number of steps they must take. The easier you make the process, the more likely it is they will choose you as their online personal trainer.

Expand your expertise! The ISSA offers Online Coaching certification if you want to learn more about how to create a successful virtual personal training business. This course covers marketing, onboarding, scaling, and more. 


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