How to Run a Virtual Coaching Session

Joshua Chewning | 29 Sep 2017

Do you have any clients that travel on a regular basis and find it extremely difficult to keep them on a regular plan? I'm quite confident these clients even find it difficult to allocate time to go down to the gym their hotel provides to their guests.

What if there is a way that you can help those clients stay on track and keep them consistent all from your location, regardless of theirs?

Well, I'm excited to share with you a SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE way that you can coach those clients from the comforts of your location (office, studio, gym, etc.) with a small investment of a couple of items that only takes seconds to set up which they bring with them when they travel.

I know you're probably getting anxious already wondering HOW you're going to achieve this, because you're not with them and they aren't with you.

Stick with me...

All you are doing is conducting a NORMAL session with this client but, virtually.

Seriously, everything that you would share with the client when you are with them “physically,” you are sharing with them “virtually.

Think about it:

Your client shows up at your gym (or, you show up at theirs) and they do their warm-up. Once they are done with their warm-up, they come to you and say, “Yo Coach! I’m done with my warm up! What do you want me to do now?" You then have them start with exercise #1 after giving them an explanation of how to do the exercise, how many repetitions and how much weight.  Once they have done the first exercise, you repeat until it's time to do the cool-down portion of the session.

The only difference when you are doing this virtually is that you are seeing each other on a computer, tablet, smart-phone or television.

That's the ONLY difference!

How about we bust open the jar of AWESOMENESS and get to the part where you learn how to make this happen!!


For your convenience, I've broken down the logistics of setting up before the session and running the actual session into 2 parts:

Part 1 (Before session):

  • Fit Pro
  • Client

Part 2 (During session):

  • Fit Pro
  • Client

Don't worry!!!  I'm going to walk you through this step-by-step and even provide you screenshots (from an iPhone) of what it'll look like along the way. If you have an Android device, it's going to be the same steps, but with a slight variation to what the screen shows.

PART 1 (Before Session)

STEP 1 - Download the Skype App - (Fit Pro & Client):

  • Go to your App Store to download the Skype app.

STEP 2 - Create an account - (Fit Pro & Client):

  • Once the app is downloaded to your device, open app and follow the prompts to create a free account.

STEP 3 - Share your account with each other - (Fit Pro & Client):

  • Complete your (phone #, email address, etc.) profile so that you can share it with your client(s) before their session.

STEP 4 - Getting into position - (Fit Pro & Client):

  • Set-up the device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) in a well-lit location with enough room to demonstrate an exercise in full view of the camera.
    • I recommend placing your device in LANDSCAPE mode chest to eye level when standing in camera view.
    • I also recommend having 8-10 feet of space between the camera and the client/trainer to allow all movements to be seen by the other person.


I know some of our screens are super small and it'll be hard for us to know if we're in view when standing 8-10 feet away. I'm going to include at the end some cables and adaptors that could help if you or your clients are able to plug into a TV using an HDMI cable.  It'll allow you to mirror your devices to the TV.

Part 2: The Session Workflow

STEP 1: Schedule

  • Schedule a day and time when your call will take place.

STEP 2: Send them the workout

  • Before the session starts, send them a copy of the workout that will be done during the session.
    • I recommend having your program contain not only repetitions, sets and weight to be used, but also a description on how to perform the exercise.

STEP 3: Ask client to look through workout

  • Send client a text message to remind them of the appointment and to go over the workout you sent them before the training session begins to become familiar with what will be covered.

STEP 4: Advise the client what to do before session

  • Just like you would in an in-person training session, have your clients warm up before the call begins.

STEP 5: Call client

  • At the scheduled time, call the client using the Skype app.  Make sure they do not have their notifications turned off because your call will not go through.

STEP 6: Greet him/her and give overview

  • It'll help to briefly going over what the workout will entail and ask if they have any questions/concerns.

STEP 7: Start/Finish workout

  • Begin this session like you would every session you did in person.  Ask them if they had any trouble logging in, how their day is going, etc.

STEP 8: Congratulate them and schedule next session

  • If your client has never been coached in a virtual setting like this, congratulate them for having the courage and determination to try something new.  Remember, this is about keeping them accountable and removing the barrier of out of town trips.

STEP 9: End call

  • After the call, try to jot down as much info you can about the session.  What did you like/dislike about the setup?  Were there any technical issues?  Because you were not right next to them to coach their form, what additional ways could you cue them next time?

I know this all seems a little overwhelming.  It's something that'll get easier and easier the more comfortable you get using this AWESOME method in your virtual coaching sessions!

Before I leave you to your own devices, I want to hook you up with some helpful tips to consider:

  • Create a virtual training session that requires little to no exercise equipment.
    • Remember, we are trying to limit all obstacles/barriers (space needed in their room, space in their luggage, etc.)
  • Lighting is EVERYTHING!
    • Make sure you and your client are well lit.  When the lighting is low, the video quality is going to suffer.
  • Music can definitely help break the ice and keep the energy level high.
    • Try to keep the volume at a level that you can hear them and they can hear you talking.
  • If you are using your smartphone/tablet, it would help if you were able to connect to a television so that you can see everything from up to 8-10’ away when demonstrating exercises.  Here are a couple of items I recommend:
    • Tripod
    • Smart phone or tablet tripod adapter
    • 4-6’ HDMI cable
    • HDMI cable adaptor
      • Lightning to HDMI (iPhone/iPad)
      • MicroUSB to HDMI (Android)
  • If using your computer/laptop, I also recommend being able to connect to a television, but it's completely up to you. Normally you would only need an HDMI cable.
  • Ask a friend or family member if they could do a Skype call with you so that you can get comfortable with communicating via skype.
    • This will help you determine how far you need to be away from your smartphone/tablet/computer when demonstrating an exercise. For some exercises, you may need to adjust the angle of the camera.
    • After completing the trial run, write down anything you can think of to make things on your side run smoother.


Now that you have this AWESOME way of keeping your traveling clients on track with their workouts, here is some homework for you to help get your wheels turning:

  1. Create a simple workout that requires only body-weight exercises
  2. Pick a friend or family member who will allow you to coach them using the above method.
    1. This “trial-run” session does not have to last an entire 30-60 minutes duration...15-20 minutes will work just fine.
  3. Ask your friend or family member for feedback.
    1. What they liked/disliked about the experience.
    2. What you can do to improve it.
  4. Schedule a client for their first VIRTUAL coaching session

I am excited for you and would love you to share your experience below!!

If you have any questions, please know we are here to help you grow as a fitness professional!!

Good luck!!!

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Joshua Chewning

About the author: Joshua Chewning

Josh is a personal trainer and lifestyle coach with 11 years of experience in the fitness industry. He has done both group and individual training, with expertise in developing personalized programs to meet his individual client’s needs. He engages his clients in practical and fun ways to incorporate fitness and healthy living into their everyday lives. He also works as a strength and conditioning coach for a high school football team. He enjoys working with athletes of all ages, in all sports, focusing on agility, speed, endurance, and injury prevention. As a cancer survivor, Josh has also worked with others fighting cancer and other serious illness. He partners with his client’s healthcare practitioners to develop programs that help promote health and healing, while ensuring safety. Josh has acquired his CPT and PES through NASM. Josh loves learning and enjoys researching health, wellness, and fitness related topics and incorporating those learnings into his programs.

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