How to Succeed in Remote Training

Most of my clients are remote, meaning they live too far away from me for me to work with them everyday in person.  When we start to work together, we talk about their goals, I do an evaluation of their lifting technique, and we make a plan.  After more than ten years of Coaching via email and facebook, I’ve noticed certain qualities which make for success in a remote coaching relationship.


Communication is the most vital component of a successful remote coaching relationship.  Telling your coach what works and what doesn’t on a daily or weekly basis has to be done; otherwise your coach will just go ahead with a plan in a haphazard manner.  If you don’t tell your coach what you need and what is and isn’t working, then you’re not going to get a better program individualized to your needs.  Likewise, your coach should tell you what the plan is and be open to discussion about how it works and what their philosophy is.  Yes, sometimes you do stuff because Coach says it, but the vast majority of the time a good coach will be able to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing and how it will specifically make you better.

Use video review wisely.  Sometimes your coach needs to see every lift in a workout, but not really all the time.  Send videos of lifts over 80%, and one or two of lifts below.  The coach needs to see development of the technique based on different percentages, but will not necessarily reply to every single lift in a set or every video.  You, however, don’t need to watch every lift you send.  I prefer my athletes to focus on one video review a day of each major exercise even if they’ve sent me more videos.  Furthermore, I can break a video of a lift down into dozens of pieces of information and detail, but good coaches won’t do that for most lifters most of the time.  Good coaches focus on one major fix and one or to minor fixes over an entire training cycle. 

Take notes on your training and show them to your coach.  I like to know how you felt on days you did well and on days you did badly; I like to know about sleep and diet in general. Your putting notes in your training book or on the online file help me understand how to coach you as an individual.  The notes don’t need to be written in exhausting detail,, but they should tell me quickly how difficult exercises felt, if there was any pain, ask any specific questions you might have, and overall the general quality of your workout and lifestyle that day.

You should also try to meet with the coach in a skype or person to person session as much as possible.  I travel all over the East Coast and get to see many of my remote clients one or two workouts a month.  They get better faster because we develop rapport and understanding.

Michael McKennaComment