Posted on 07. Aug, 2009 by in Marketing Fitness

It’s been less than two months since the new Super-Trainer blog has been up and already this ONLINE FITNESS thing has set off a storm …

The heated debate set-off by Online Fitness

The heated debate set-off by Online Fitness

It seems to have struck a nerve, because I’ve noticed a response different from anything I’ve seen recently in the fitness industry, and definitely far different from anything I’ve ever put out there.  It’s getting debated on the forums, talked about on other blogs, and my inbox is getting pounded like never before with reader questions.

You could call it the right message at the right time …

The fact is that at the very least, many, many trainers are looking for something new – at most, trainers are looking to break out of the gym and find a way to get the most leverage, enjoyment, and money out of fitness.

And when it comes to ONLINE FITNESS, you see it around you at a level today that’s impossible to ignore.  Sure, the projects I’m partnered in are with some upper-echelon trainers … but fit-pros at all levels are pulling in huge figures, reaching large numbers of people, and making a huge impact with their ONLINE PROJECTS.

The haters get mad at what these seemingly “average” fit-pros are able to accomplish through their seemingly “basic” information – the do’ers are waking up and seriously looking into how they can step up and claim their spot.

Although we’ve covered the key success principles to starting an online fitness business (at least superficially – details to come), I think the exact meaning is getting a little lost …

What is this ONLINE FITNESS stuff really?!?!?

It’s time to put forth a definition of it, because the questions I’ve been getting from readers are showing me that the meaning is still very much in the air:

Should I give diet plans?

How do I give online workouts?

What’s the best online workout software?

If my info products isn’t selling, does that mean I need to re-write it?

From the questions, it’s clear we’re not on the right track …

What ONLINE FITNESS is really is your online presence.  It’s becoming somebody – a leader, an educator, or a personality – to a select group of people using the internet.

And I although on the surface they appear to be diametric opposites, fitness and the internet go hand in hand …

  • You can communicate and educate much more powerfully through a wide range of media (video, blogging, twitter, email).
  • You can  reach and serve precisely the people that are looking for your information, and not have to dilute your message in any way to be accepted by the rest.
  • You can network, share information, and help your colleagues spread their message much more easily.
  • You can use fitness as your tool to enjoy life, rather than it being the “job” that actually prevents you from doing so.

I think that last point is the key, and it’s something that I’ve always kept in mind, and what I think helped me get such good results with my personal training business.

I realized that my clients don’t necessarily want to get in shape just so they can swing a heavier kettle-bell or dunk a basketball. They want to look better and enjoy life.  So it only makes sense that somebody that has made fitness their calling should be the example of it – it’s part of the job description (aka, the fitness lifestyle).

So when you’re looking good and enjoying life, you’re actually setting the pace for what your clients (whether real world or virtual) will want to follow.  I know when I’m bragging talking about some of the cool stuff I do on this blog as a result online fitness, that sets the goal for what you may want to do.  When it comes to actual fitness, that’s just elevated to a much higher degree.

Ok – I hope somewhere in there, you found the definition you were looking for- in case you missed it, here it is:

Online Fitness is about being a leader through your online presence. That’s the central message.  All of the other stuff, like e-books, online fitness programs, information products, blogs, video, and all the rest are just the vehicles to make it happen (and make big money from it too).

So is it personal training?  In some ways you could say so, because it has many similarities:

It’s about educating people about fitness on as personal a level as possible.  It’s about being a leader and mentor to the public.  It’s about relationships and giving much more value that what you’re asking for in return.

But there are major differences that make it completely different:

Online fitness is about empowering people with knowledge to change their lives, not physically standing there all day to make sure they do it.  It’s not about listening to their problems – it’s about giving them information.  It’s about you really pursuing fitness yourself and being an example, rather then breaking yourself down physically and mentally through grinding work.

But can you be a trainer without the hands on practical application?  Not really …

That’s why it’s called ONLINE FITNESS, not online training.  Online training is just more of the same – an extension of the same drawbacks that can take place in a gym environment.

But online fitness is reaching your audience as a leader and mentor and filling the need they have.  In reality, it’s what personal training should be, and what a career in fitness can be.

So in that way they’re one in the same -and very different at the same time.

I swear I wasn’t drunk while writing this … it’s just a reflection of the complexities of the stage we’re at as fitness professionals, and the new possibilities we have in front of us with communication and technology channels that never existed before.

Sometimes, grappling with a shocking new realizations can be overwhelming – if that’s the case for where you’re at right now with your fitness career, hopefully you’ll take it a little better than the guy in this video:

[youtube PSPtSEIlp8A nolink]

Hope that cleared the air – if it did or didn’t, let me know why and leave your comments below:

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Sarah Rippel

07. Aug, 2009

I feel there’s a broad spectrum & my definition of “leader” may be based on standards many feel are too “lofty,” but oh well. I’m not a hter in the least, I just feel the public isn’t being serviced by the plethora of nimrods out there who could care less about spreading the fitness “truth.” What they care about is making money online, period. Fitness is just the easy vehicle. Those who claim they are “experts,” yet have no hands-on interaction with people make me giggle. ;) Funny how easy it is to actually work with clients/bootcamps AND spread your message online…I guess my definition of easy is probably much different from most other’s, tho…go figure, right?! Mediocrity ain’t my thang! Great topic, K.


08. Aug, 2009

Good point Sarah – I’m not so naive to say that going ONLINE is the ONLY way to grow your fitness career – there are of course a lot of ways to do it – just want to put the message out there that no one should be boxed into a job description.

J. Dixon

09. Aug, 2009

Good description of what online fitness is. This should be real clear now to anyone who wasn’t exactly sure of where you were going with the term. (Hopefully this should calm a couple of haters down who are knocking your hustle on the body building forum:)


11. Aug, 2009

Ha – yeah James- Ryan Lee told me that once I started getting big, the haters would come out – that’s why when I saw that thread, I was thrilled.

Sarah Rippel

11. Aug, 2009

Hey Kaiser!
Exactamundo…you can’t box yourself into a job description. I guess the real issue is that there are a pletora of people out there offering services/etc who are flat-out unqualified. This will always be an issue, so no use stressin’ about it. All I feel I can do is continue along the path i’m on, and stick to my guns. I love what you said about getting big and the haters coming out. I’ve experienced that to a greater extent the more that I put myself out there. I have been accused of being both a sellout (on the forum, by one person b/c I do offer online stuff and do have an Internet presence) as well as a “hater” b/c I continue to share my opinion that there are too many sellouts. Funny how the sellouts get riled up. I dunno. If it didn’t bother me, I wouldn’t be doing what i’m doing. If it didn’t bother me, I would probably be amongst the herd of copycats.
Bottom line – you CAN have an internet presence & offer info products/services WITHOUT being a complete douche who obviously knows very little about fitness. Sorry, it just had to be said. ;D


12. Aug, 2009

Hey Sarah – definitely not short on feelings on the subject – difference is I know you’re really hustling out there so you can talk.
I think what defines a hater is someone that isn’t willing to make an effort, has tried and failed, or is just watching from the sideline and doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and is then offering a negative opinion – if you fall into any of the above, just keep it to yourself …

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