Online Coaching Is NOT Easier

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There’s a common theme I’ve seen gaining traction amongst fitness professionals of late – mostly from the young bucks out there, but from some experienced trainers too – stating something to the effect of “online or distance coaching is easy.



Pffffffft, riiiiiiggggghhhhtttt.

  • Beating an eight year old in a game of H.O.R.S.E is easy.
  • Warming up a Hotpocket is easy.
  • Swiping right is easy.

Running a successful online training business?

Not easy.

I can understand the delusion, though. We’re seduced into thinking that those coaches/trainers who decide to pursue online coaching will, in a matter of months (or even weeks), be traveling the world enjoying libations on the beach one week and the culinary delicacies of Paris the next.

Their only source of stress….a reliable WiFi connection.

As a matter of fact there are some fitness pros who have built this sort of lifestyle for themselves. But I can tell you with almost certainty it didn’t happen overnight, or in a matter of months.

But lets omit the outliers out of the equation anyways.

Lets talk about you and what it takes to build a successful online business.


I picked up my first online client back in 2006. I was moving from Syracuse, NY to Danbury, CT and a client of mine back in the ‘cuse still wanted to work with me.

He asked if I could just, you know, still write his training programs and send them to him via email.

I was like, “yeah, alright, sure.”

Actually, come to think of it, Bobby K. invented online training! Well done Bobby.

Back then all I did was send out a monthly Excel sheet – the present day equivalent of messenger pigeon – and if Bobby was ever flummoxed by anything I programmed, I’d just record something with my digital camera and send that along as well.

I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and it’s any wonder I was able to send anything over the internet without burning down my apartment.

As I started writing more and getting my name out there, I started receiving more inquiries from people to provide online programs. One client turned to five, five turned to ten, and eventually things evolved to the point where online coaching turned into a viable revenue stream for me.

Mind you, it wasn’t private jet trips across the Atlantic levels of revenue. But, I was able to start using the income I made from coaching people online to help pay for my car and/or student loans.

Fast forward a few years, it wasn’t long before I found myself with what seemed like a second job. I was still coaching people at Cressey Sports Performance full-time, only to come home at the end of each day to an inbox full of questions and programming tweaks from online clients.

It was exhausting.

Demand was high…

But there was only one of me, and I wanted a life outside of starring at my computer screen for hours on end (answering emails, writing programs, invoicing, developing/updating an exercise database)….not cool.

Something had to change. I had to find some form of distance coaching Darwinian natural selection process that would make my life easier or more efficient.

TA-DA: The Online Trainer Academy

Full-Disclosure: Most of (if not all) successful online coaches I know were first really good in-person coaches. There are innumerable nuances that go with coaching people in person that it’s almost impossible – I feel – to be a good online coach without having first mastered that.

How are you going to be able to tweak someone’s deadlift technique over the internet if you have zero or little practice doing it in real-life?

Likewise, it’s not as if all you have to do is set up a YouTube of Instagram account and post a bunch of selfies or videos of you breaking down optimal bicep peak exercises and the floodgates will all of a sudden open.

There are a thousands of trainers vying for everyone’s attention, and I wholeheartedly believe that those who do well virtually are those who have experience coaching people in-person and have more of a “feel” (<— non-creepy) when it comes to human interaction.

Having said that…I also believe that those who do well are those who are organized and have their shit together.

They have systems in place.

This can entail everything from:

  • What sort of liability insurance should you get?
  • Do you have a waiver system in place? LLC?
  • How do you collect data to best ascertain if someone’s a good fit for you?
  • What’s your assessment/screening process look like?
  • How do you send out programs? How and when do you update them?
  • How, when, and where do people get a hold of you?
  • What system do you use to demonstrate to clients appropriate exercise technique?
  • How do you track and collect payments?
  • How do you keep people accountable and on track?
  • How do you gauge progress? How do you know when to make programs more challenging or less challenging?
  • Why did Carrie break up with Aiden?1

Doesn’t seem so “easy” now does it?


It’s been more than a decade since I started building out my online training programs. Since then, I experimented with dozens of different systems and programs, finding out what worked and what didn’t work through months and years of trial and error.

I wish I didn’t have to do that back then.

I wish I’d been given a proven system that works.

That’s why I love the Online Trainer Academy’s in-depth program materials. Developed with input from 40+ professional online trainers, marketers and business owners, it’s perfect for you if you’re tired of chasing tips and tricks and feel energized by the idea of finally learning everything you need to know to build your own profitable online training business.

That’s the good news. The bad news?

There’s only less than 24 hours left to enroll in the Academy this year. Once it closes, no one will be able to enroll in this game-changing course until September 2018!

Plus, next year the cost goes up by $500. But if you register today, you have lifetime access to all future updates at today’s price!

You have just hours left to get in, get access to the business-building materials, and become one of the first certified online trainers (OTC) in the world. It all comes with a 90-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee.

—> Get In Before Enrollment Closes <—

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • Steven Head

    Great Article, Tony. Thanks. I finally decided to step into on-line training and I went with Jon's program. Its in the mail as we speak. Seeing guys like you and EC endorse/recommend it makes me feel pretty damn good about my decision. I too, have worked with a few clients in the way you describe your start with Bobby. Get this-- I posted on FB to get an indication of interest from my friends here in my home town area. An hour ago I get a private message from the woman who I lost my virginity to 44 years ago! She and her husband want to do on-line training with me. Ain't that a kick in the head!?

    November 14, 2017 at 10:50 pm | Reply to this comment

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