In recent years, online personal training has become an increasingly popular way to leverage your time as a fitness professional, allowing you to help more people with less in-person hours. However, it can’t be denied that some people prefer to have that one-on-one contact; they like to see their trainer face-to-face, get real-time feedback, and feel the rush of really getting pushed during a session—if not all of the time, at least some of it.
You may think that your only option for such clients is to solely train them in person. And while that is an option, there is a popular variation in personal training on the rise. It’s called hybrid personal training, and it offers clients (and clubs and trainers) the best of both worlds by combining both in-person and online training.
What is Hybrid Personal Training?
Just as the name implies, hybrid personal training is a multifaceted approach that combines both in-person training and online training.
With this style of training, you’ll still work with your client in person but the frequency of those face-to-face sessions is dependent on how you wish to create your packages. Between sessions, when you’re not training physically alongside your client, you’ll stay connected to them through online training, prescribing workouts, nutrition goals, check-ins, etc. through a personal training software like Trainerize.
With hybrid personal training, your clients get the face time they want or need, and you get to deliver programming and accountability between sessions to help your clients get great results without necessarily seeing you as frequently as your strictly in-person clients.
Why You Should Offer Hybrid Personal Training
First and foremost, offering hybrid personal training allows you to maximize your time. It’s no secret that personal trainers work long and varied hours. And with early mornings and evenings often the most popular times, at some point, you’re going to max out on the hours you can work (and the clients you can train).
Switching to online training is one possible solution to this predicament—and one that can have huge benefits to your business. However, not all clients are ready or willing to commit to training strictly online. But these people still deserve your time and expertise, which is where hybrid personal training comes in.
Instead of having a client see you three times per week, you can schedule one in-person session per week and provide them workouts to do on their own in between. This frees up training spots in your schedule for other clients, and also helps your client stay consistent with their programming. Instead of only being connected to their training 12 times a month, your clients are connected to you and their program 30 days a month!
It also provides an affordable option for clients who want to work with you in-person but can’t afford to see you in-person three or four times per week. Instead of letting them go, you can offer them the ability to work with you face-to-face on a limited basis, while still getting your programming expertise, coaching, and accountability.
Plus, on the trainer side, because there’s the additional touch point of an in-person session, your hybrid programs will cost more than your online-only personal training packages. Essentially, hybrid personal training allows you to serve more people and earn more money in less time.
And finally, offering a hybrid model allows you to move away from selling sessions and towards creating and selling comprehensive programs and packages. Many great trainers already provide workouts to their clients to complete in between sessions. By getting creative and bundling this offering along with in-person sessions and other inclusions, such as a complimentary group class, you will come across as more professional and will be able to charge a higher premium.
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The Right Type of Client for Hybrid Personal Training
The hybrid model of personal training is a great way to empower your in-person clients to take ownership of their fitness journey and increase accountability during some of their independent workouts. Because you’ve already been working with these clients in person, you’ll know their strengths and weaknesses and what areas of technique they need to work on. You can save the complex moves for your in-person workouts and provide them workouts with exercises they are (uncomfortably!) comfortable with to do on their own, or, after reviewing technique with you in-person a few times, you can add special instructions and notes to their solo workouts to remind them of specific corrections or care.
The hybrid model is also great for potential clients who already have training experience. They may have been working out on their own for a few years and feel comfortable continuing on somewhat independently, but are looking to learn some new moves or to take their results to the next level. You can use your in-person sessions to teach newer, more complex movements, and give them the opportunity to practice those as well as incorporate their own workouts in between.
The other great thing about hybrid personal training is that you can structure it any way you like. You can change the number of in-person sessions included as your client progresses, or offer a “kick-start” month that includes a few extra in-person sessions above what you’d normally include in a hybrid personal training package, just to get clients started. This is an especially good idea for brand new trainees. Those clients coming to you without prior fitness experience or just beginning their fitness journey will definitely benefit from more hands-on experience in the beginning. The extra accountability that comes from seeing you multiple times each week may be just what they need to kick-start their routine.
Similarly, clients who are dealing with injuries or seeing you specifically for rehabilitative purposes will fare better by seeing you more frequently. That’s not to say that some of these clients will never be great candidates for the hybrid model; you may just find that they need a few months of seeing you more frequently before they can safely and effectively make that transition.
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Pitching Hybrid Personal Training to Clients
Now that you know why hybrid personal training could be a great option for some of your clients, how do you communicate that to them?
It really depends on which type of client you’re talking to and what their underlying challenges with fitness are.
If you’re offering this as a transition to in-person clients who may no longer be able to sustain the cost or time-commitments of in-person training, be sure to emphasize the fact that they will still get in-person time with you. This isn’t just online training—it’s the opportunity to take charge of their health and fitness and continue accessing your knowledge, expertise, and accountability only at a price-point or with a revised scheduled that works for them.
For new clients, let them know that hybrid personal training allows for more accountability and hands-on experience than online training, but with a smaller financial investment than strictly in-person—without compromising results. Don’t forget to emphasize that this will be more time-efficient for them, as they won’t need to coordinate their schedule with yours for multiple sessions per week.
If you have online-only clients right now who seem to be struggling to meet their weekly goals or who aren’t demonstrating a high level of motivation, it might be time to suggest hybrid personal training to them. Sometimes, clients can be drawn to online training because of its affordability, but they aren’t really the right fit for this style of training. For clients with slightly lower internal motivation or who have difficulty staying accountable to themselves, an occasional in-person session might just be what’s needed to get them back on track. (Pro-tip: while this approach only works for online clients who are local to your physical training location, you could always consider offering these clients an “enhanced” online package with additional one-on-one video calls included to supplement that in-person time.)
Lastly, if you are already offering your in-person clients workouts to do on their own but aren’t charging for it, don’t worry—you can still transition these clients. As mentioned above, create packages that include varying numbers of in-person sessions and solo workouts. Add in a few bonuses to increase the value of the package, and then communicate to your client how this is going to help them achieve their goals to a greater degree.
Hybrid personal training will allow you to continue helping your clients get amazing results while empowering them to take more responsibility for their own habits and actions.