Tim Hennigan is the owner of The Body Shop, a small boutique-style space in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. He provides fitness and nutrition coaching utilizing multiple training concepts and strategies, including: free weights, cable machines, strength ball, TRX and RIP Trainer.
What made you look into an online training software?
I am a full-time paramedic / firefighter and I train clients on my days off. Working 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off, it didn’t take long for me to run out of personal training windows on my calendar. Not surprisingly, the majority of my clients work similar schedules (8-5 Monday through Friday) and have similar demands on them at home. This means that everybody wants to work out at the same time… either early morning or evening.
Unfortunately, my studio will only accommodate private or semi-private sessions, so I am very limited on client numbers. I didn’t want to turn clients away, but there are only so many people one trainer can work with.
Additionally, I was putting together custom workouts for clients and giving them notebooks that I created for them to take to the gym or use at home, depending on where they exercised when not training in person with me.
“Anyone who has done this with clients knows what a hassle it is to try to keep a paper training program updated. I found that I was spending hours every month updating and inputing client training notes and progressions into my Excel-based data base in order to provide graphs and stats to show clients their improvement.”
My limited time to train clients in person and the amount of “down time” I was spending crunching numbers and updating programs the “old school” way, was preventing me from growing my business and was less than efficient for client tracking. Bottom line is that staying on top of managing clients was taking so much time, I didn’t have any time for myself or my family. I was searching for the vehicle to allow me to continue growing my business and help me leverage my time, and that’s when I found Trainerize. So here is my Trainerize review!
How are your clients liking it so far?
Since rolling out Trainerize to my clients, I think about five months ago, I have received nothing but great feedback. One-half of my clients are completely “virtual training” with me through Trainerize, the rest of my clients train with me from one to four times per week and they use Trainerize to guide them through their “homework” workouts.
People pay to train with a specific trainer for a reason. They want that trainer to train them, and they want to feel like they matter to that trainer.
My biggest Trainerize undertaking, by far, has been making videos. I have spent countless hours creating videos of myself demonstrating the exercises in my programs. It’s becoming an ongoing project as I continue to develop new programs, but it is well worth it.
” Creating a personalized video exercise library is long term project, but it’s well worth it. ”
The greatest feedback I get from clients is that they really appreciate being able to tap a video and actually see me doing the exercise. Seeing their trainer on the screen demonstrating the exercises is value added for them.
They comment on the time that I have obviously spent creating these custom videos “just for them.” They appreciate the work and enjoy the “personal touch” that it creates for them. The time I take creating these videos show my clients that they matter to me and I want to give them the best experience I can.
One of my new clients was training with me one morning. While she was here, she explained that she runs Trainerize through her television screen when working out at home. Her husband came into the room and saw the videos of me demonstrating exercises and he said, “No way. He’s actually training you without even being here.” Apparently he went on for quite some time about how cool it is to have her trainer “interacting” with her and guiding her through a workout with Trainerize.
“As a trainer, Trainerize has really helped me leverage my time.”
Being able to create a large and constantly growing database of workouts that can be copied into client programs is wonderful. With just a few clicks of the mouse, I can take a “generic” workout and customize it for a specific client and then schedule an entire month. Between setting up the month for a client’s program and making adjustments as needed during that month, I probably spend about an hour a month per client.
As I got more proficient with Trainerize and developed more of a system when creating new programs, the time required is getting less and less per month. That being said, even an hour a month is a huge improvement over what I was doing.
The client tracking features are also fantastic. Seeing the look on a client’s face when they look at their photo from day one right next to the current photo has been really fun. Also seeing the graphic representation of their progress over the weeks or months is truly a great thing. There is something about seeing those little lines on the screen moving in the right direction that really gets clients fired up to hit the workout and keeping that momentum going.
How do you use meal planning services in your business?
As a trainer, health care provider, and life-long fitness participant, I have developed a solid foundation in nutrition and macronutrient profiling for meal plans and have the results to show that my meal plans work. I am not, however, a dietician or certified nutritionist.
“With Evolution Nutrition, I have found it to be a perfect dove-tail to complete the health and fitness picture for my clients.”
In addition to all of the great features the Trainerize platform offers, the partnership with Evolution Nutrition is a wonderful addition. I have found it to be a perfect dove-tail to complete the health and fitness picture for my clients. It’s no secret that no matter how hard a client works in the gym, if they have a poor nutrition plan, they will not achieve their goals.
In order to provide my clients nutrition coaching, I had to walk the fine line and not operate outside my scope of practice. I used the K.I.S. (Keep It Simple) approach. I provided basic information about calories and macronutrients; provided suggestions for them to consider when deciding how much of each macronutrient to include in their diet; provided sample meal plans of my own diet to give them an example of how they might break up their food intake throughout the day, and then turn them loose to create their own meal plan. Needless to say, it was a constant struggle for them and an on-going conversation about how best to get the proper nutrition.
I was researching different options that would allow me to provide more comprehensive nutrition guidance in order to be competitive as a trainer. What would my business model look like if I partnered with a local dietician to whom I could refer clients? Is it realistic at this point in time to become certified myself? I have developed my own food database over the years and even created an Excel-based workbook to track my meals. My goal was to eventually take this clunky, amateurish workbook and turn it into something my clients could use once they had a dietician designing their meals for them.
“Then one day, out of the blue, Evolution Nutrition showed up in Trainerize! What a gift!”
I have been using Evolution Nutrition for a few months now and it has proven itself to be an invaluable resource. Whether my clients are vegetarian, lactose intolerant, vegan, or straight up carnivores, Evolution Nutrition has them covered. I no longer have to worry about the micronutrients my clients are getting because dieticians and nutritionists have done the work for me. All I have to do is input my client’s information and stats, any food or dietary preferences and in a few seconds, I have a list of meal plans to select from. Then, with just a few mouse clicks, I can massage the plan and make it perfect for the client.
The Evolution Nutrition feature that seems to really sell the program for my clients is the food swap feature. When we talk to our clients about a meal plan, they usually get concerned about lack of choice and lack of control with their diet. Let’s face it, none of us like to be told exactly what we have to do all day every day. Especially when it comes to food. I have had clients say, “Just tell me exactly what to eat and I will do it.”
That usually lasts about a week and then they tell me that what I suggested just didn’t sound good when it was time for that meal, so they had something else. With Evolution Nutrition, our clients are still in the driver’s seat. The power to click on a food item and swap it for something that sounds better has been huge hit with my clients. In fact, I’ve had clients choose Evolution Nutrition’s program over whatever structured commercial diet plan they were previously using when they started training with me.
Autopilot is also a tremendous benefit when it comes to the meal plan. Evolution Nutrition’s inclusion of a shopping list is another great selling feature for my clients. What a deal! They look at the meal plan for the week, swap out any food they feel like changing to keep the plan fresh and interesting for them, then they have an auto-generated shopping list! How easy is that! I can tell you how easy it is. Easy enough that each and every one of my clients that is using the Evolution Nutrition meal plans has seen results within the first week of following the plan because it is all laid out for them and they are still in control.
Because Trainerize makes it so easy to monitor and manage my clients, I have more time to spend prospecting new “virtual training” clients, creating new programs, writing my blogs, reading up on the latest research, staying on top of my own fitness regimen and most importantly, spending more time with my family.