If we know anything about health and fitness trends, it is that impermanence is a consistent theme. From bodybuilding to Jane Fonda to massive globo-gyms—to the functional fitness craze—some posit that we will start to see a recycling of old philosophies, and what was popular in the 80s may come into vogue again.
With a sea of options and technology at our fingertips, the fitness landscape continues to evolve, and thus our experience is changing as well.
Many of you have probably heard about remote coaching. With an estimated 250,000 personal trainers and coaches in the United States alone, and roughly 25% of them offering some sort of online training plan or remote coaching service, fitness is going to keep moving in a new direction.
In order to compile a list of the top remote coaching platforms, we have to create an operational definition for remote coaching:
Remote Coaching is a personalized, progressive fitness program, applied both in functional and non-functional settings where there is a one-to-one relationship between the coach and client.
Here is the list of the top 4 remote coaching platforms that were ranked by:
- Years of experience
- Coaching knowledge and skill set
- Reputation among Strength and Conditioning professionals
OPEX is the OG of remote coaching. More specifically, James Fitzgerald, winner of the inaugural 2007 CrossFit Games, was the first remote coach to gain global fame and attention. Although he is no longer coaching clients, he is the “coach of coaches” and has developed the OPEX Coaches Certification Program.
These OPEX fitness professionals built the model and popularized the concept of using a comprehensive assessment within the model of remote coaching. Clients pay $250-$400 per month to work with their coaches—and their results speak for themselves. This is the “long game” of fitness. OPEX coaches work with clients on a yearly basis and specialize in functional fitness.
These mavericks can be considered a spin-off from OPEX Fitness. Max Al-Haag worked with OPEX Fitness when it was officially named OPT. Word on the street was that he and the OPEX founders didn’t see eye-to-eye, and Training Think Tank was born.
TTT is heavy with CrossFit Regional and Games hopefuls and they specialize in competitive functional fitness. They not only offer remote coaching services, but they also offer athletic camps and education courses.
If you’re looking for a lower commitment, these professionals might be a good place to start. For $500 for an 8-week training program and initial consult, these fitness experts offer a fairly good value.
Power Athlete HQ started with a bit of controversy since their roots were from John Wellbourn of CrossFit Football. John had overwhelming success with CrossFit Football but realized that athletes were either “field strong” or “weight-room strong”, but rarely both. Through Power Athlete HQ, he was looking to bridge the gap. His relationship with CrossFit faltered but he transcended his former image through Power Athlete.
The stigma around Power Athlete is that it feels templated and the personalization is not to the degree of Training Think Tank or OPEX Fitness.
Central Athlete works with a different market entirely. While OPEX, TTT and Power Athlete work with a more competitive athletic population, Central Athlete consults with working professionals who are seeking a more fulfilling life and see health and fitness as the vehicle to empowerment.
The primary aspect of the CA business is educating and guiding clients to live and create habits that are aligned with their genetics. Health and fitness have multiple arms, but a primary deliverable that Central Athlete specializes in is helping clients achieve a healthy body composition that will enhance their quality of life, confidence and health.
The dilemma for many working professionals is the lack of routine: London one week for a board meeting, back home the next and then Greece for a “walking holiday.” Working professionals struggle to stay consistent with an inconsistent schedule.
Central Athlete consults with clients on a monthly basis and has its headquarters in Austin, Texas where many of its global clients travel for assessments and one-on-one time with their coaches.
Although this article is about the Top 4 Remote Coaching Platforms, there are a few notable mentions. These platforms did not make the list since they do not fit our operational definition of remote coaching. However, these are excellent choices for certain people, depending upon the goal at hand.
If you are looking to develop beginner to intermediate gymnastic skills, this is the place to go. They have a solid website that is easily customizable and allows for the development of various skills. You choose where you want to go.
Although many people want to become like Ido, few will ever reach Ido’s level, even with his training plan. The program is a pseudo-template in which clients personalize the training based upon their time commitment. Clients also need to manipulate the volume and intensity based upon succeeding weeks, and there is a high price tag associated with the 3-month training blocks. That being said, if you are willing to shell out the money to be a part of this exclusive group and follow the program, which sometimes entails 4+ hours of training daily, split into 2 sessions, you will be able to do things you never thought possible.
Think: beaten-up desk jockey meets yoga, meets gymnastics training. These guys must spend several thousand dollars on advertising but it seems to be paying off. More and more people have “flirted” with GMB or have heard about it. It’s probably one of the more cost-effective options for someone who isn’t looking for a personalized approach.
As we are on the precipice of self-driving cars, drones delivering whatever we want in under an hour and being able to participate in space tourism, it is clear that humans crave a unique experience.
Currently the state of the fitness industry has lost sight of the most important aspect of fitness—results.
Remote coaching is the solution to that dilemma. Clients just need to make sure that they choose a platform that is aligned with their best interests. If you are looking to spend under $100 per month on fitness, you should expect a group class or templated program; but if you pride yourself on the Japanese principle of kaizen, or constant progress, trust the process and hire a professional remote coach.