To say the online coach industry is having a moment is an understatement given its continued popularity since the spike in searches during the pandemic.
The sudden move to online completely transformed the way we live, from shopping to communicating with friends and family, to the hospitality sector and education.
It didn't take long for qualified professionals to re-package their services to meet society's requirements, and while online coaching was by no means a new concept, the unpredictability of daily restrictions forced many to take the leap. This was mostly because they had no other option due to the inaccessibility of in-person meets.
Many people believed online coaches would be a temporary novelty – similar to banana bread's 15 minutes of fame – but, they are seemingly here to stay and flourishing in their own right.
From spiritual and career guidance to mental health and relationships, every corner of the online coach sphere is seemingly covered. But, arguably one of the most popular remains to be online personal trainers.
Kim Weston, 26, remains one of the highly-regarded online coaches on social media, having helped over 500 women achieve their desired results.
One client called Kim's coaching "one of the best decisions they ever made" when they fell ill with Covid. "Being able to message you for everything – whether it is to help with a workout, general advice, or even to tell you how I've felt – you've picked me up," they wrote, adding that they "couldn't be happier with the plan."
Another gushed about how Kim had helped them gain confidence and "love the skin they're in, which I never thought was possible."
Kim's coaching, soon to be rebranded to The New You Movement,catapulted to success when she kickstarted her online journey in April 2020.
Currently known as Kim Weston Fit, the rebrand epitomises everything Kim stands for to "create a healthier, happier & better version of yourself."
"I want to help women understand that it is possible to have a social life and sustainably achieve their fitness goals," she told indy100.
Kim believes the online shift is here to stay, as she suggests "online clients get much better results," which people have learned for themselves.
Kim finds it offers more flexibility to all, with a catalogue of workouts, nutrition advice, meal plans and much more all under one app. She also delivers advice and conducts weekly check-ins with all her clients taking part in her one-to-one programme.
Kim, who spent years as a personal trainer in the UK before relocating to Dubai, finds that people tend to ask more questions and are more accountable during their online coaching programme.
While Kim believes that in-person training is "essential" for gym newbies to learn the ropes and become familiar with gym equipment, she also feels it can sometimes result in the client becoming "reliant on a personal trainer to push them through the session."
Not to mention, physical PTs are often much more expensive – especially several times a week.
Instead, "online coaching teaches self-motivation, use of equipment and understanding towards fitness by doing it all themselves," she continued. "They are given the necessary tools but have to find the drive in them to do it themselves."
Online coaches are seemingly having a social media boom, with the masses taking over social media with savvy content.
Kim advises those looking for a coach to seek someone "who has a lifestyle they want to live."
"If they want to be a bodybuilder or someone who competes a lot they will get a restrictive and firm trainer," she explains. "If they want to enjoy life and don’t want to give up their social life, they should find someone who is enjoying that whilst training alongside."
Online coaching brings a lot of personal responsibility too, as for Kim, it's important that clients feel comfortable talking about anything. She also encourages women to go with female trainers, as they understand "how women’s bodies work," and helps tailor workouts and check-ins around PMS symptoms and cycles.
"There will be a lot of things in life that come and can affect your training and you need to be able to open up to your coach about this to ensure they understand why in particular you may not have been able to follow something that week," she says. "It can be difficult to stay motivated 24/7 and if you can tell your trainer when you’re feeling low they can be there to pick you up."
Kim continues: "Communication is key and I always tell my clients to treat it like a relationship."