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The Rise of Remote Coaching – WODwell

Odds are if you’ve ever worked with a fitness coach it was in a group setting. But advances in technology and evolving preferences of both coaches and athletes* are changing that.

* “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” — Nike

The broader personal training industry ($9 Billion/year in the US) is currently growing at a modest 1% as it competes with a seemingly never-ending list of fitness trends:

  • Less expensive do-it-yourself exercise methods (e.g.: BeachBody’s P90x, Sean T’s Insanity)
  • Pricey but popular group training options (e.g.: CrossFit, Orange Theory)
  • High-end home workout technologies (e.g.: Peloton, Mirror**)
  • Traditional commercial gyms (e.g.: 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym)

** Mirror announced they now offer personal training on a pay-per-session basis.

Incredibly, in the the long list of popular fitness options, including traditional coaching, every single one is either location-dependent, requiring the athlete and/or the coach to be in a specific place (whether in a gym or at home), or time-dependent — requiring at least one party to be available at a particular time (e.g.: when class starts). Or both.

Remote Coaching Gives Athletes *both* Flexibility and Personalization

Meanwhile, a growing segment of fitness coaches is offering “remote coaching” to serve clients who want both flexibility (to workout whenever/wherever) and personalization (individualized training and nutrition programs, feedback, and accountability).

At the same time, these entrepreneurial coaches are seeing the benefits of their own flexibility — to work where and when they want. Some coaches are shifting their entire business online.

On-Site vs. Remote

To be clear, for athletes for whom money, time, and location are not an issue, and who can find the right coach nearby, on-site training one-on-one with a coach is the way to get personalization, real-time feedback, accountability, and results. But for many athletes, the need for time or location flexibility is what tips the scales in favor of remote coaching.

Technology has evolved to make remote coaching more effective and easier for both parties. Mobile devices gives athletes the ability to work with the right coach for them, wherever they are and gives both parties the ability to work together on their own schedules (asynchronously).

Just a few years ago “online trainers” used Skype, text messages, email, and spreadsheets to manage and deliver their athletes’ programs. Now, as apps like Future and Trainiac promise to bring lower-cost trainers to the masses, new tech like TrueCoach allows specialist fitness coaches to streamline the individualized experience with their athletes as well.

This all adds up to everyone from weekend warriors to elite athletes unlocking access to bespoke training programs from anywhere — at the gym, at home, even on the road.

Over the past several years, the number of coaches offering remote coaching — not to mention online programming (workouts without the coaching)— has exploded in the “functional fitness” space generically referred to as “CrossFit.”

The CrossFit training methodology truly took off when crossfit.com started posting their daily workouts online, which may help explain why coaches in this space are leaders in the development of remote coaching as a profession.

The Problem

About 25% of WODwell’s users are coaches — and a third of them offer remote coaching. Most of the rest of our users are athletes at all levels from beginner to competitive, but many of them don’t have access to a coach.

Over the past few years, we have had countless athletes reach out asking us to refer them to coaches. Until now, we’ve pointed them to the CrossFit map and suggest they find a local box. But so many replied to explain that they travel too much, or are deployed abroad, or have to work out at home due to family obligations.

The Solution

We believe we are in a rare position to use WODwell’s workout platform to make it easy for more athletes to discover remote coaches and accelerate the growth of remote coaching even more.

Follow WODwell to get notified when we post about how we‘ll do this.


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