Best Personal Trainer App
Even if you aren’t a fan of technology, you’ll find it will help you when you find your best personal trainer app. Part of the personal trainer process is preparing for client sessions, developing programs, and ongoing coaching with education, accountability, and motivation. There’s a wide array of desktop and mobile applications with designs and features just for personal trainers. These apps can reduce the time you spend on different areas of your new fitness profession. You should first know the different features available, and then prioritize which are most important in the environment you’ll be working in. From there, selecting the app that works best for you will be an easy decision. The bottom line, however, is that technology and mobile applications are only as good as how effective they make the fitness coaching process. Therefore, both you and the client (if they’ll be using them too) need an app that you rely on, rather than avoid.
- Describe various features available in fitness and nutrition apps
- Prioritize app features to start personal training
- List common fitness apps available for personal trainers and cli
Fitness And Nutrition App Features
The market availability of fitness and nutrition apps are ever changing. And, not all apps will have the same features. Likewise, different features will have different importance depending on the fitness professional using them. Therefore, rather than describing the current landscape of the best personal trainer apps available, it makes more sense to discuss the features available on the market and how they fit into a personal training practice. Then, it makes the app selection process easier. Here, we’ll describe the list of features with an explanation of why they’re important.
Historically, trainers would write out workouts by hand. Then, they began emailing workouts or storing them as digital files. These are both still viable options, but you can use a mobile fitness app to accomplish the same thing. An app that has the ability to provide client workouts is valuable. When looking at this feature, consider the ability to customize. At first it might be helpful for a newly certified trainer to have workouts already created for the client. However, over time, you’ll realize the importance of being able to create custom workouts. Ideally, this feature will give you the option to choose a pre-existing workout plan, edit it, or create a custom workout on your own.
As you look at the programmable workout features, also consider the detail this feature provides. For example, are all the acute variables in the program. For example, in addition to telling a client the reps and sets, other elements such as rep tempo, rest, duration, and modality are also important. Additionally, look for a display of progressions and regressions. These workouts will be used during your one on one sessions as well as when the client works out independently. So, next, consider the sharing and feedback options of these workouts.
Once you build the daily workout for your client, how will you share it? Will the training plan be exported as a document they can take to the gym with them? Or, will the feature notify the client within the workout app? It’s also important to consider how the client will track any difference between the workout you sent them versus the workout they finished. This means, you might want your feature to have the ability for the client to share back with you details around how they completed their workout. This can include changes in weight (resistance or intensity), exercise selection, or other strength training variables. If you’re looking for a fitness app that provides workouts over to clients, consider also the exercise library.
Some apps will have an exercise library with video demonstrations of how to perform each exercise. This is especially helpful for the client, when they are at the gym doing their workout independently. However, it’s also helpful for a trainer. An exercise library can remind you of other exercises you can include in the workout. This helps you avoid getting into a rut. Also, as you’ll see over time, there are sometimes different terms for the same exercise. Therefore, a good exercise library will help avoid confusion. As you analyze the app, look to see whether the exercise library is independent of the custom workouts. For example, does the client have to go to a different section in the app to view the recommended exercise? Or, is it readily available in their training plan for the day?
Also, consider the quantity of exercises in the library. It’s simple, the more the better. Ideally, you’ll have exercises not just for general fitness or weight loss. Instead look for strength training, advanced exercises, and other choices for various populations. This ensures that, as your clientele base grows, you won’t have to change apps.
Finally, see if the personal training app allows you to add your own exercises to the library. In this case, you would record yourself performing the exercise, upload it to the app, and then name it. This is a great feature to have if you recommend a workout rich in exercise variety.
Intake And Assessments
You might work at a gym that has a custom assessment process for you to follow. Or, you might be an independent trainer with your own unique intake session process. Regardless, if you’re tracking a client’s workouts in a training app, it makes sense for there to be a feature for the client starting statistics. Some apps will have client paperwork in this section that you can send to the client in advance of your assessment session. This is helpful because, if you get the paperwork back in advance, you’re able to plan the intake session (rich with motivational interviewing) for a more effective training session. This feature should also include properties for you to enter the client’s fitness goal. Some apps will have a basic section for the fitness goal, like weight and resting heart rate. While others will let you customize the goals and include goals around lifestyle like nutrition, daily activity, and sleep.
So, when looking at a feature for initial fitness assessments, look to see how much detail is provided. Ideally, the more, the better. This will help you paint a clear picture of the client’s starting fitness level. You can also look for progress tracking so the client can see, month over month, how well they’re doing.
Meal Plan Capabilities
The ability to develop a meal plan or provide nutrition recommendations vary from state to state. If this is important to you and your personal training business, look for an app with this feature. In these instances, a qualified dietician or nutritionist will have helped build the app. The client will fill out a nutrition questionnaire and the software will provide high level meal plan recommendations. These aren’t for clients with health or medical conditions. Instead, it’s for general fitness clients looking to track their calories or count their macros.
Healthy Eating Support
This is not a specific feature. Instead, it includes the additional support a client will need to make healthy food choices. This type of support can include healthy recipes, portion size recommendations, education on reading nutrition labels, and more. In fact, some will have such robust features that it will generate a shopping list to support the recommended food plan. Still others will allow the client to scan a barcode at the store for instant feedback on the food choice quality they’re about to make.
Since nutrition is such an important part of the client’s fitness journey, it’s common for a personal training app to include a space for the client to log their foods. Especially with weight loss clients, logging food is important for a new fitness client. This is great, because it allows the fitness professional to keep an eye on potential setbacks in between sessions. A good fitness coach will see these setbacks and send a communication to get them back on track.
Most apps will have a communication system built in. This allows you to maintain conversation back and forth with your client. However, the communication platforms vary and you should choose one that you feel most comfortable with. For example, some will have in-app messaging. This way, you and your client can get a notification on your phone for communications. Others will send these messages through email. Like most other features, it depends on how you want to structure it. For example, if you don’t want a notification each time your client messages you, email might be better. This allows you to control the communications. On the other hand, some online personal training packages will charge a premium for on-demand access to their personal trainer. In these instances, the client is paying more to reach out to you as needed.
In addition to email and in-app messaging, you might be looking for other ways to communicate. Some others will have texting capabilities. This is an option if you want even more direct access.
Automated Emails And Marketing Tactics
Email marketing is an impactful way to get new clients, retain existing clients, and win back old clients. If you don’t opt in for an email marketing platform, look for a mobile fitness app that has one. Advanced apps will let you customize messages and create triggering events. For example, the first time a client completes their goal of HIIT workouts, they get a congratulations email and incentive. Or, 30 days after a client terminates their package, they get an automatic email asking about how they’re maintaining it and if they want a free follow up session. Automation will greatly cut down on your general communication. And, certain technologies will allow you to segment the audience and communications in such a way that it comes across with a personal touch. This is a quick and easy way a new online personal trainer can scale their business.
Let your clients book times with you when it’s convenient for you both. Most apps will have this feature. Clients can view your availability and set appointments that work for them. Likewise, they can cancel or reschedule if needed. If you use this feature, make sure you update your availability on a regular basis to accommodate for changes and maximize the sessions you fulfill.
Billing And Payment
Some trainers find it hard to ask for payment. Or, they have difficulty organizing and timing payment cycles. Using an app to manage billing and payment makes it easier and more professional to get money. It also prevents bargaining between the personal trainer and client. This feature sends a billing notice and allows the client to pay in the app. If you’re looking for this feature, also consider if it has back end bookkeeping. This can help you project your finances and further grow your business with revenue goals.
Prioritizing Features And Apps
There isn’t one app that includes each of the features here. And, if there is, it’s likely that one area is a strength and the other is less robust. For example, one app might have great programming capabilities and a vast exercise library. However, the back end operation and organization system isn’t as great. This is okay and, in fact, ideal. If you’re working out of a gym or fitness studio with a set pricing structure and in-place-marketing systems, you won’t need 30 percent of these features. Instead, you’ll care more about the workout plan development, nutrition recommendations, and progress tracking. Likewise, if you’re starting your own online personal training business, you’ll realize quickly you have a need for automatic communications and emails. Therefore, the best way to select an app that works best for you is to determine where you want to work first. Then, prioritize which features will help you the most in that fitness business environment. Only then should you start shopping for apps. Trying to decide on the app that’s right for you without knowing this will make the process difficult and overwhelming. But, if you go into it knowing what you want, you’ll have a better chance at finding the right fit.
Also, most apps have free trials. So, you should test a few of them out first on a fake client account. See how user friendly the personal training software is and if it accommodates what you’re looking for. You can even ask some potential clients or friends to check it out and give you feedback before making your decision. Be selective and sure. Because, once you start using one of these apps for client management, it will be difficult to make a transition once your clientele grows.
And if your budget isn’t ready for the price tag of the best personal trainer app, you can find the majority of these features in free apps like Google (for documentation and communication) and HubSpot (for client management and email marketing). So, going free until you know what you need is another viable option.
Quick Review Of Well-Known Apps
There are too many apps on the market to summarize here. However, here is a breakdown of some that are common. Even if you don’t use a coaching app to manage clients at first, you should have some recommendations that your clients can use as tools. Therefore, this review includes apps for the fitness coach as well as apps for the personal training client.
Apps For Coaches
Here is a short list of some apps to consider to help with your personal training business or client management.
This is an all-in-one office manager not specific to personal training, but has appeal for wellness coaches and life coaches too. Therefore it’s helpful if you plan to expand your offerings. Practice better allows you to:
- Set your availability and allow clients to schedule appointments through their portal or even through your personal website.
- Keep client and personal to-do lists.
- Provide client templates you can easily modify and personalize.
- Store your professional recommendations and documents for clients to refer to and download.
- Secure messaging for client and trainer communication and interaction.
- Provide client access to packages, session options, and payment options.
This one is simple, straightforward and affordable. It allows you to keep client information, progress and scheduling in one place. Some of the features allow you to:
- Keep progress photos.
- Use interval timers.
- Calculate caliper readings.
- Give clients scheduling capabilities.
- Email custom workouts to clients.
- Use pre-made program templates.
Free is always a good choice. You can use the Google suite in these ways:
- Google Drive and Share to save client records, share workouts, and track progress
- Google Hangouts to host group workouts or one on one sessions
- Google Forms to collect client feedback or survey your market
True Coach offers intuitive and customizable options to help you keep track of client data. It also has:
- An exercise library of over 1,200 exercises.
- Ability to create custom videos and upload them to the app.
- Client progress tracking features
This is a cloud based website and mobile app to help with your operations such as:
- Client management
- Payment processing
- Administrative task management
Apps For Clients
If you aren’t doing a one stop shop app for your clients, you should still recommend apps that will help them be successful. Any tool you can give them and educate them on the importance will assist you in the coaching process. It also will help you with your coaching as they serve an additional form of accountability, or they can be incorporated into your accountability agreement tasks.
It is one of the most popular apps available because it has a free version and includes most needs for general clients such as:
- Food logging capabilities
- An 11-million food item database
- Physical activity tracker capabilities
- Customizations according to health and fitness goals
- Hundreds of pre-designed workouts
- Integration features with other apps and activity trackers
- Healthy recipes
- Client education
Clients can share their food diary with their trainer and receive feedback through the app. It is available as both a smartphone based app and a web based platform.
This app has the strongest nutritional focus. It will help your clients understand why nutrition plays such a critical role in achieving fitness goals and maintaining good health. It helps clients make good decisions independently with features like:
- A barcode scanner for understanding the foods.
- Letter grades assigned to the bar codes before a client buys.
- Healthy recipes.
- General proper nutrition tips.
- An easy-to-understand food grade system.
- Daily nutrient counts to provide ongoing feedback
- Display of macronutrients
Includes the ability to:
- Create customized workouts
- Track progress
- Analyze performance data
- Use evidence-based exercise from the library
This is another fitness and nutrition inclusive option offering custom meal plans, shopping lists, and workouts.
This offers your clients workouts ranging from 7 to 32-minutes so it can accommodate the busy client when they’re in a bind. It leaves them “excuse-free” when life gets hectic. It also offers instructional videos explaining how to do the movements correctly. Therefore, it’s a good choice for the client you don’t work directly with on a day to day basis but still want them to have guidance.
You can also look to apps to enhance areas you may not excel in. For example, if a client wants to add Yoga to their exercise routine and it’s not your area of expertise, help them find a good app. Even if you don’t know yoga, know how to monitor their activity and progress in the app so you incorporate it as part of their overall fitness programming.
The app features included here are those most helpful for personal trainers. However, the apps are meant for different businesses, therefore finding one that suits all your needs with minimal cost is not easy. However, you can evaluate what is most valuable to you and your training needs at this point. This will help you make better purchase decisions. Further, the abbreviated review of apps helps you realize the options are vast and ever changing. Because of the changing landscape of apps, schedule a time once a quarter to evaluate new features against your fitness business needs.
Remember clients came to you because they want that personalized experience of exercising and training with someone who can give them real-time feedback. Camaraderie, interaction, and a personal connection are the things that will set you apart from the apps. Therefore, never consider technology a threat to the services and outcomes you provide. Just like trending diets, be ready to provide your take on client apps with your recommendations and why. Be sure to point out areas of the app that will allow you as the personal trainer to stay connected with them and even allow you to give them feedback within the app on the days you are not training together.
Become an EMAC Certified Personal Trainer to learn the art of fitness coaching. It’s a personal training certification for people who love fitness and is built by career personal trainers. You can start today and finish the program online, at the comfort of your own home in a month.