It seems like the digital age permeates through almost every aspect of our lives these days. Almost everyone has a computer or smart device now for games, work, and social networking. So why do we as trainers still use the age old pen/paper to track our client's progress? The only software tools available to us before were spreadsheets (or if we are really advanced: Google docs) to keep track of client's progress. Recently there has been an increase in online tools that help give trainers more flexibility in creating our workout plans. Online training apps WILL improve your training sessions. I'm about to throw you eleven reasons why. Here we go:
Of course we can all know about the tried and true pen and paper method to track our client's progress. But this is the digital age! There's simply no need to keep a paper copy of a client's workout card. Having this information online makes keeping track of your client's data easier for both you and your client by giving you access to the information from anywhere. My clients really love editing and looking at their workouts from the gym on their smartphone. Going electronic also gives you more flexibility in creating your workout plans. I can more easily change the amount of weight or reps per set.
Recording client progress is important to keeping them motivated. This is where fitness apps like FitSW.com really shine. For my clients trying to lose weight, I track body-fat, weight, waist measurements, and hip measurements. For my clients going for those all-important gains I can keep track of chest, bicep, and leg measurements. All measurement items are customizable and are all graphed on a chart over time so clients can see their progress. The graph is automatically generated too which means no more creating spreadsheet charts by hand.
I'll admit it - I am lazy. If I have a workout or nutrition plan I've built for someone that I think will work for another client, it's annoying for me to copy that plan to the next client's card. With fitness apps I can copy that workout or nutrition plan to my new clients (changing weights or reps) without having to repeat the workout plan I've designed already.
Some apps include a scheduling system where trainers can create calendar events for training sessions. This is useful for me because it allows me to input my schedule and manage it from anywhere. The calendar also has an appointment reminder feature that notifies your clients when they have an appointment the following day.
Online personal training sites make it easy to manage multiple clients. With fitness apps, I can look at each of my client's stats, workouts, and progress without having to dig through a file drawer to find their workout sheets and other documents.
Online training tools are INCREDIBLE at keeping your clients motivated. It makes it so much easier for them to see their improvements over time. This has significantly decreased my client turnover rate. I also feel like it gives clients more of a reason to stick with me in the long term since they can use the site for free as my client.
All our clients are different and what works for one person might not work for the other. Matching up my client's progress graph with what exercises or nutrition plans they've been doing has been extremely useful for me to find out what works best for them. Having this data stored on fitsw.com is invaluable and really has helped my clients achieve their goals.
There are ways of tracking payments with online software as well. This is hugely beneficial since it automates payment tracking, sends payment reminders, and creates automatic payments. It helps you keep track of what clients have paid and when. It has made managing my finances much easier.
I've sort of touched on this point before so I'll keep it short. Online training tools let you manage everything at once. It simplifies keeping track of every aspect of your business so you can have everything in a one-stop shop.
Social networking is everywhere these days. Training apps are beginning to incorporate Facebook logins so that your clients can automatically make workout and progress posts to Facebook if they want. I've never really gone all in on social networking, but I know some clients really like this feature and encouragement from friends/loved ones of your clients could be another way to keep your client's motivated.
This point is interesting one and maybe not as important to some of the others, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Using online training tools like fitsw.com makes you look more dynamic and professional in this ever changing digital world. A trainer tracking their clients on a tablet or computer gives off a more professional and high-tech feel compared to using workout cards. It may not be a make-or-break deal for most people, but I feel that many clients now-a-days prefer to keep everything electronic and I feel like it goes a long way when you show that you can be fast-paced and keep up with the times.
There are many apps out there and I encourage you to do a search just to see what is available. If you're looking for a recommendation of an app that encompasses all of the above, I can also help. I've used many different applications, but so far I prefer a web app called fitsw.com. So far this is my favorite app and I'd definitely recommend it. It's cheap, useful, and highly customizable. This is my tool of choice and it has all of the above capabilities.