In 2016, I was a busy in-home personal trainer in New York City. I worked primarily on the Upper West Side (where I lived), and I spent every weekday popping in and out of people’s apartments (and apartment gyms) twice a week for 60-minute sessions.

My schedule was packed, and these were rich and rewarding relationships – I’m still friends with many of these confident, very cool women.

When I ran the SHAPE Half Marathon with two of my clients in 2016

But I started offering online training as a sort of supplement to my in-home practice because I noticed a surprising pattern…

Anytime I went on a vacation for a week or two and left my clients with DIY assignments, they got better results than when I was actually around in person!

At first I was confused.

But when this happened more than once, I realized that there was an important psychological shift that my clients experienced during these periods:

Self-empowerment and independence, with structure and support.

Instead of relying on me to bring a healthy lifestyle to them, my clients used the DIY workouts and nutrition assignments to connect the dots themselves. Instead of exercising just two hours a week with me, they strung together my daily assignments into a self-driven, time-efficient health lifestyle that was more consistent, more frequent, and more integrated.

I noticed that:

  • Clients who had been stalled out on weight loss would suddenly lose 4 pounds in a week while I was out of town.
  • Clients who had struggled to make our appointments would suddenly have no problem exercising 4-5 times a week when they could do it on their own time.
  • Clients who were relying on our 60-minute workouts to “burn off” indulgent meals started paying more attention to their nutrition, and got better results.

For these busy women, the lack of appointments was a time management relief, and shorter, more frequent workouts made life easier.

I started offering online training as an option to these women in 2016, and almost immediately started picking up clients all over the country, as well, because of my online health writing. Women (especially moms) who didn’t have time to exercise – when exercise meant going to the gym or going to a group class – suddenly realized they did have time to exercise, if they could do it in 30 minutes on their own. They needed the structure, specifics, and accountability of a personal trainer, but they realized the value of doing it on their own time.

They didn’t need someone breathing down their neck, screaming instructions, or counting reps – they just needed someone to give them direction, and to put together the big picture of workouts and nutrition.

Over 2019 and 2020 (especially once the pandemic hit and I had Gabriella), I started shifting my business more and more toward online training. Now, it’s the only service I offer to new clients, because I know it works so well.

Just last week, I did an “exit interview” with one of my very successful online clients, Kelly, who lost 80 pounds in 6 months during the pandemic. She mentioned that she had been very skeptical about online training. “Through the phone, I was like, ‘How does this work? How can this even remotely be successful?’ But the way you support people, you don’t make their schedules and say, ‘See you later.’ You make it so that it’s customizable for them, and you support them so that you’re constantly checking in and making sure that the workouts are making us feel good and having an effect. The support is just insane.”

So, if you’re wondering, “How does online training really work?” … Today’s blog post is for you!

What Online Training Is

Basically, I become the project manager of your weight loss or fitness goals, so you can live life. I see the big picture and put it all together, and give you digestible small goals to accomplish day-to-day. No more getting bogged down in what the Today Show says is the new superfood to eat for weight loss. Instead, you can rely on me to be in charge of the latest research and to create a plan for you that really works, weaving together exercise, nutrition, and mindset.

The service consists of:

  • DIY workouts – I can create personalized workouts for you that emphasize your goals, with an easy video format and follow-along timer, which you can do anytime and get harder as time progresses and you get fitter
  • Nutrition planning – I take your individual body and lifestyle into account, and create nutrition goals for you that will help you achieve your goals, whether you want to lose weight or just get into better shape
  • Tracking and structure – you get access to my online app, where you can see how your healthy lifestyle fits together and track your workouts, your nutrition, and your progress (weight, measurements, etc.)
  • Goal-setting – we collaborate to create realistic goals and milestones for you, which may include a combination of weight-related goals and performance goals (I have had clients complete triathlons, half/full marathons, and more)
  • Mindset coaching – we cultivate a peaceful and positive relationship with your body image, the scale, and the journey of a healthy lifestyle, especially if your goal is weight loss
  • Collaboration – if you have a “team” (i.e., a dietitian, a therapist, a physical therapist, etc.), we work together to create the right program for you
  • Zoom calls – depending on the package you choose, we talk once a week, twice a month, or once a month on a Zoom video chat to strategize your lifestyle, troubleshoot problems, and talk through the issues that are bugging you most
  • Unlimited messaging – we chat via messenger between calls so that you can get questions answered quickly

Online training is a comprehensive program of support to help you achieve your physical goals, but the magic is that you can do it all on your own time. It’s incredibly efficient and effective, and gets right to the issues of what holds most women back: time, motivation, and body image pressures. Plus we create a great long-term relationship that you can come back to over and over when you need that extra bit of accountability!

This is not group training or a one-size-fits-all downloadable program. This is one-on-one coaching! 

Common Questions about Online Training

Especially because I often work with beginners to strength training, I get a lot of questions about how online training works. Here are some common ones:

Q: How do you teach strength training without seeing the client?

A: The videos I provide give tons of tips and instructions for form, and if you have questions about anything, we can resolve it on a video Zoom call. 

Q: How do you provide accountability without being there in person?

A: You get a calendar with your workouts all scheduled out (including cardio). I can see your calendar and your food tracking every single day. In other words, I stay on top of you and make sure you’re on track. If things seem out of whack, I message you and we work together to create a solution before our next Zoom call. I limit the number of client I take on in order to provide this high level of attention.

Q: Do I need a gym?

A: A gym membership can be helpful (and I work out at the gym myself), but many of my clients work out at home for various reasons. We can get a lot done with just a few pieces of the right equipment. Book a free consultation to learn more about what’s right for you. 

Who Does Best with Online Training

It works best for people who:

  • Are self-starters – as in, they have a track record of being organized, responsible, and getting the job done, but food and exercise is lagging behind work and family
  • Want personalized attention vs. being in a group environment 
  • Are open to growth and change 

If you are ready to work on your goals with accountability, structure, and support, and lean on me so that you can cut out all the unnecessary learning curves… you’ve come to the right place. Schedule a Zoom chat with me to learn more about my packages.

Rachel Trotta

I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Physique and Bodybuilding Specialist, and Women's Fitness Specialist. I live in New Jersey in the NYC metro area, and I coach clients online all over the world. As a trainer and health writer, my mission is to make healthy living sustainable for the average person. I’m also a wife, mom, nature lover, runner, avid cook, weightlifting aficionado, history nerd, travel addict, and obsessive podcast listener. Get in touch!

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