Jonathan Goodman Jonathan Goodman is the creator of the PTDC. He is the author of several books on personal training and creator of the first-ever certification in Online Training (Online Trainer Academy). Originally from Toronto, Jon and his wife Alison spend their winters traveling the world.
What You'll Learn In this lesson you'll discover some of the best online training softwares, how they work with your business and who they're ideal for.
Why is This Important? Online training software is for your clients, not for you. So choosing one that's based around your clients technical level and what they need from an app is crucial. In this lesson we'll discover how.
Step 1: Understanding Online Training Software
Online personal training software is designed to compliment your business, not run it completely. It's very tempting to start your search for a PT software with the intention of finding that "perfect" solution to business automation.
But in reality, this just doesn't happen.
Most online training software is built to accommodate thousands of PT businesses and no two PT businesses are the same.
What to do instead?
Find a software that SUPPLEMENTS your business. A software that fills a huge gap in the services you need to provide.
But is a PT software absolutely necessary at all? While it’s very possible to start an online training business without any online PT software, the days of Excel spreadsheets are long gone and your clients know it. Presenting your online training in an Excel spreadsheet is kind of like showing up on stage for a bodybuilding competition having done zero training.
The audience, the judges and your fellow trainers all know you haven't prepped. Despite this, I have seen some online PT’s boast about their excellent Excel skills. Whether or not they’re successful with it, I have no idea. To me, it just makes more sense to use software.
If you can pay a small fee to have 90% of the grunt work done for you, it’s a no-brainer. A good online PT software will save time on:
Creating instructional videos
Creating written exercise instructions
Allocating workouts to client
Creating off-the-shelf programs
Viewing client data and analytics
Delivering meal plans
Sending workouts to clients
Keeping clients motivated
Integrating with social media
The list goes on, but you see what I’m getting at. All of this could take months or years to put together with Excel. Not to mention the ongoing work of maintaining it all, costing valuable time and money. With an online training software, all of this is done for you and you can usually put your own brand name on it!
Step 2: Reviewing the Most Popular Online Training Softwares
This is the fun bit. Well, it is if you’re anything like me. I love nothing more than sitting down with a cup of coffee and signing up for free trials. That’s what I recommend you do to find the right software for you. Each software is different and you know your clients better than I do.
If coffee and software marathons aren’t your thing, use this handy Online Personal Trainer Software comparison chart (click to download):
And here’s a break down of the three most popular PT softwares, with links to a review for each.
PT Distinction is the software for personal trainers designed and built by a personal trainer, Tim Saye. Admittedly, my first encounter with PT Distinction was not too good. The software was in it’s infancy, looked like crap and didn’t work that well.
When I returned to check it out three months later, it blew my mind. Don’t get me wrong, the design still isn’t to my taste, although that’s slowly getting better. But the exercises are something else.
PTD boasts a lot of features, but the exercises are enough to let the design issues go. You see, to me, online personal training is about training people who do NOT want to train in a gym. If they do want to train in a gym, they should hire a face-to-face personal trainer.
So the exercises on the PTD software are perfect. Think squat to lunge to jump squat to burpee to press up to mountain climber. That’s my idea of something you could give a client at home that actually get results.
For that reason, use PTD if you plan on training clients who never intend to set foot in a gym.
Total Coaching is another great piece of software made even better by David Gill and his support team. Every Total Coaching free trial receives a free call with a member of their team to guide you through the features and set you on the right track.
Two things that stood out to me about Total Coaching
The nutritional features
The feedback feature
The nutritional database was way more comprehensive than I expected it to be. And it integrates exceptionally well with the exercise database, creating reasonably accurate calorie calculations.
The feedback system is probably the most important feature I’ve seen so far, because it enables clients to tell you how each end every exercise was, no hassle. So you, the trainer, get to find out what you can be doing better at a set-by-set level, making Total Coaching an excellent tool for trainers who feel nutrition and client feedback are paramount.
Trainerize is another big hitter. I never liked it too much, just from first impressions. And the support itself was pretty shocking. However, I later found out that Jon Goodman from the Personal Trainer Development Centre, whose opinion I respect, had affiliated with them.
Naturally, I took a second look. And previous opinions aside, I could see why he endorsed them.
While Trainerize comes complete with all of the standard features you’d expect from a software, it also has a reputation for
Ease of use
An effective mobile app
Social media integration
These are the features that makes Trainerize perfect for any trainer who wants to sell gym workouts.
Step 3: Choosing the Right Software For Your Business
In reality, you should be choosing the right personal training software for your clients, but it also needs to fit with your business, your technical levels and the systems you create to deliver online personal training.
The best way to choose is have a bunch of your existing clients try out 2-3 softwares you think you can work with. The feedback you get back from them will be invaluable and could save you heaps of transition time should you need to move to another software later because you didn't do your research.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES FOR A TRAINING SOFTWARE? As previously mentioned, if you choose the right software for your business and clients, it will save you time in many areas. If you insist on running online business without one you can use the available social media: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter but be prepared to spend more time with taking and editing videos and most of your programming will need to be done manually.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I AM NOT VERY GOOD WITH TECHNOLOGY? Check our reviews on features, pick a few which sound suitable to your business and get a few clients to test them while you're testing them. The right one will be the one you can work out how to use easily and your clients like too.
WHICH IS THE BEST SOFTWARE? The best software will be the one which is best suited for your business model and your clients' needs, e.g. PTD is best suited for clients who don't want to train in gym environment, Total Coaching has great nutrition and feedback feature, whilst Trainerize works best for people who want to train in a gym. And these are only the highlights, ensure you check all features important to your clients' goals.