The time for remote coaching is now.
I’m guessing that as a cyclist, you’re somewhat comfortable with the concept of remote training already. Many riders happily follow published programs from the internet, Peleton, Zwift, WattBike or even hire coaches directly in Training Peaks.
Not that many though are as comfortable with using remote coaching for their off-bike training, despite the many advantages it has over the alternatives.
One tenet of effective off-bike training (and indeed all training!) is consistency. Short blasts of strength training simply don’t work, leave you sore and increase your risk of injury dramatically.
In these times of uncertainty, however, regular, consistent training has become difficult. Many commercial gyms have been forced to close for long periods because of the Covid pandemic, with the possibility of variants leading to further lockdowns and restrictions in the near future.
So, a huge advantage of remote coaching is having the ability to hire a specialised coach at a reasonable price, that gives you the ability to train regularly, no matter what else life throws at you.
This is why I started using Trainheroic; it allows me to use the tips & tricks I’ve learned through nearly 2 decades in pro sport with far more people. I can keep in regular contact, building quality relationships with everyone I train; making sure they’re working hard, recovering properly and (most importantly), doing everything safely.
Below are 9 of the most compelling reasons to give remote coaching a try. Give it a go, you won’t regret it…
#1 Get the program that’s right for you.
Traditionally, if you wanted a coach (be it a cycling coach or strength coach), you were limited to what you had available within a 20-30 minute drive from your home or work. The advent of easy-to-use training apps like TrainHeroic means that anyone can find the coach and program that fits in exactly with what they need.
No longer do you need to settle for the trainer at the gym who squeezes you in between his bodybuilder at 6 and his powerlifter at 8. Now you can benefit from specialised coaches who plan your training and perfectly understands what you need!
Did I mention I was a strength coach at British Cycling for 4-years? ? I understand that your cycling performance comes first and all my programming reflects that. If you’d like a free consultation to discuss how my remote coaching can help you click here.
#2 Get what you need.
One of the disadvantages of in-person coaching is the perception that you need to make every session “worthwhile”. This means that you have to leave each and every session with a sweat-on, having spent the last 60 minutes grunting and grinding away.
Most trainers are limited by their calendars and therefore have to run sessions by the hour, whether that’s what you need or not.
Because remote coaching can be sent straight to your phone, it means that any type of programming is possible. This can be a 10-minute mobility session 3x per week, specific high-performance recovery sessions or even shorter, tapering sessions as you approach a major event.
Remote sessions don’t have to be hard and they don’t have to be 60-minutes long!
#3 Own your training.
As I’ve just eluded to above, when you have in-person training sessions, you’re limited by the availability and location of your trainer. This is compounded when your coach is successful; everyone wants sessions at the same time.
If you’re a successful, busy person yourself, then your time is a precious commodity and I’m sure you don’t want to be squeezing sessions in at 6 am or 9 pm because they’re the only times available. Sleeping and spending time with your family are far more important things to be doing at those times!
What if you’re travelling for business or away on holiday?
One of the main advantages of remote coaching is that you can do your sessions at times that suit you, from anywhere in the world. Do your 10-minute mobility on your lunch break, get a strength session in after a meeting is unexpectedly cancelled or maintain your training on your Greek holiday.
The convenience and flexibility of training remotely allows you to be in control of your own training plan, while still being accountable.
#4 Everything you need, all in one place.
This is something entirely dependent on the coach you choose and their style of programming, but remote coaching provides the option to have all your programming in the same place, written by the same person. This creates consistency and unity, rather than individual coaches fighting for their piece of the pie!
I’ve worked with athletes before who have used my services for their strength work, employed a physiologist or cycling coach for their on-bike work and also used other practitioners for other methods like yoga, pilates, etc.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this (and, assuming the communication is up to scratch, it can be very effective), there is plenty of room for things to go wrong:
Who controls the core work, the pilates instructor of the strength coach?
Who decides when and how recovery training should be done, the cycling coach or the strength coach?
To make matters worse, I’ve known many coaches who get quite territorial about their particular mode of training and expect all others to be secondary, whether that’s best for the athlete or not.
The advantage of having the same person designing the overall training plan is that none of this is an issue. That’s why I’ve made a point of including all on-bike and off-bike programming into all of my teams & programs. It’s simply part of the package.
If you still prefer to work with a bike coach, then good for you. You can still do that and get amazing results. Just remember to communicate!
#5 Easy to use and easy to follow.
Gone are the days when distance-based training meant downloading a PDF, printing it out, then trying to decipher what the coach meant. No longer do you need a PhD to fill in that excel spreadsheet with your results.
Modern programming apps like TrainHeroic allow coaches like myself to include written descriptions of each exercise, along with explainer videos. You can see your programs in advance, which allows any planning to be agile; if you have important meetings or dates you can’t rearrange, it’s simple to move sessions within the app and still get the work done.
Now we have the ability to load videos, so there is no excuse not to post them for form checks.
#6 View your progress.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that cyclists love data! One of my favourite features of having any kind of training app is the ability to view past data and see your progress over time.
With strength training, in particular, it’s often easy to overlook the progress you’ve made, but with inbuilt charts and reports, it’s now easier than ever to sit back with pride after all that effort!
In the TrainHeroic app, simply press your avatar on the bottom right of the screen, then you’ll see a snapshot of your training volume, number of reps and training hours. These can be filtered to show the last 10 sessions, 30 days, any of the most recent 3 years or all your training data.
You can also drill down into individual exercises to see how you’re progressing over time.
#7 Work with what you have.
As a coach, one difficulty when writing strength training plans for people remotely is that I never know exactly what, if any, equipment you may have.
Some people follow my programs from commercial gyms, some have invested in their own home/garage gym and some simply have nothing at all.
Previously, this has been a major headache as I’ve had to include alternatives (along with video links and written descriptions) within the PDF or spreadsheet. If any results were recorded, these became inaccurate as the loads no longer match the prescribed exercise.
Think for example of someone who was prescribed 10 reps of goblet squats at 20kg, but instead completed 10 reps on a leg press at 150kg. The results would be all over the place!
Conveniently, many modern app solutions make it easy to swap exercises from within the actual session. Loads and reps can then be recorded correctly…as I believe it’s the movement pattern that’s important, not a particular exercise, it’s easy for me to suggest suitable alternatives in the exercise descriptions.
When you’re in a session, press the 3 dots on the right of the screen (next to the name of the exercise), then press “swap exercise”. From here, simply search for the exercise you want, then press it. You’ll now be able to complete that exercise, as well as having access to its video, description and exercise history (so you can select an appropriate weight).
#8 A ready-made community of like-minded people.
Coming from a background of professional sport, I didn’t realise how important this was until I started working privately. In the bubble of a sports team or NGB like British Cycling, there’s a built-in support network; after all, that’s why everyone’s there.
If you’re an individual athlete, even if you ride with a club or with a group of friends, the support simply isn’t on hand in the same way. Over the last few years, this is something that’s improved with the introduction of things like Facebook Groups.
In my group: “Off-Bike Support for Cyclists” I provide a place where riders can ask questions about anything off the bike. I also video regular sessions in full and try to explain my thought process within the session. This is a free group, so if you’d like to join, just click this link.
Training apps have also helped this, especially for regular subscription teams (rather than individual fixed-term programs). TrainHeroic has a team feed called TH Chat, where anyone who’s subscribed to the program can message, comment and feedback.TH Chat is similar to Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp and can be used for support and feedback from sessions. Equally, it is easy for athletes to send me videos for form checks which gives us both peace of mind that the program is working safely and effectively.
I utilise TH Chat in the app every day. The importance of reaching out and communicating with my athletes is vitally important with them being remote, but also easier than ever!
This is the essence of coaching and separate people who simply prescribe training from coaches who are invested in the people they’re working with and who care about their wellbeing and improvement.
Regular communication with my athletes, so they understand what I’m asking them to do (and why I’m asking them to do it) is the most important factor in effective coaching. Not only remote coaching but any coaching!
#9 Value for Money.
Everything above boils down to amazing value for money!
For example, for a full-bodied in-person coaching package with me, I charge £450 per month, around $620, and that’s purely for the off-bike work.
Not only that, but they have to travel to my facility and fit in around my other clients and commitments.
Compare that to the $79 per month I charge for my remote services, which do include on-bike sessions, as well as strength, mobility, recovery and regeneration. Granted, this option doesn’t give you the pleasure of my company for several hours each week, but it’s a no-brainer!
From a personal point of view, this method of coaching allows me to work with far more people and their feedback, in turn, allows me to refine my programs, packages and services, so I’m continually getting better at serving you!
The advent of modern training apps on smartphones is making remote coaching easy, affordable, effective and safe for anyone.
Features such as TH Chat keep you interested and motivated while giving you a way of contacting your coach to ask questions and make sure you’re doing things properly. The analytics let you clearly see how you’re improving too.
If you’re interested in learning more about the programs I offer, visit my marketplace on TrainHeroic by following this link.