How am I held accountable if I'm doing online coaching?

There are many ways you can be held accountable doing online training. For example, if you were one of my online training clients you would be given the option of how you would prefer to communicate with me. Whether it be via email, text, phone, or a combination of all. If you like the more personal interaction and prefer speaking with me directly on Skype, then that is also an option. Whichever channel of communication is chosen, each day I would require you to touch base with me and let me know how your workout went for that day.  You would also be required to send me a food journal of at least three days each week (two weekdays and one day of your weekend). At the end of each week we then spend some time going over how your week went. What went well, what could be improved, and if you are on track to achieving your goals. I'm also available each and every day as a support system, if motivation is low or you need a little extra encouragement.


The downside of online training is that as your trainer, I am not physically there watching you do your workout. Therefore I cannot ‘see’ if you are really doing what has been asked of you or not. I rely on what you tell me. This requires you to be extremely honest (whether things are going well or not) if you want to truly see results and achieve the goals you have set for yourself. In the end - it is your body, your health, and your goals. If you cheat, you are only cheating yourself.

There are many ways that you can be held accountable when you are working with a virtual coach.   Some common ways are having weekly check-ins via phone, email, and/or text messages, as well as maintaining daily food and exercise journals.  The more responsible you are for your own "book keeping" the greater the results you will achieve because you are held accountable for what you ate each day, what exercise programs you successfully completed, and where you stand when aiming toward a particular goal.  These are just a few suggestions on how you can hold yourself accountable, but your accountability strategies should be determined when working directly with your virtual coach.

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT

Your virtual coach will help you set up your goals and guide you through the process!  Learn more...
Chris Embry

There are a number of ways that one can be held accountable when working with an online coach. As part of the regularly scheduled check-ins, the client can provide updated statistics including current weight, body measurements, an updated nutrition log, and the percentage of the plan that was adhered to. Of course, all of these things can be manipulated by the client so the coach may not know for sure. In these cases, the client would only be cheating themselves. However, one thing that can be really effective is providing update progress pictures. Sending the coach update pictures every 2-4 weeks, can let the coach know if the plan is being adhered to and whether or not it is working.

Online coaching teaches you self accountability.  Having a coach in person is great but the expense can be great and eventually almost client / coach relationships move on.  If you are relying on your personal trainer to hold you accountable then honestly it does not teach self accountablitity.

Self accountability is what is going to keep you in shape long term and that is what online fitness coaching does.  The online coach leads you and directs you and coaches you but it forces you to have greater accountability to yourself first and your coach second.  

An online coach needs to see your journals, an online coach needs to know what you did and many times this is better than a trainer because most trainers do not do this in person.  You go in, you see your trainer and perhaps you focus on your nutrition.  Online coaches lead you and direct you and it is up to you to communicate with your trainer and hold yourself accountable.

Sarah Johnson

As an ACE Health Coach, I often use online resources with my personal training clients, especially when they're traveling or taking a break from our sessions (but not their workouts!)

Online coaching is effective if you are honest with your coach and honest with yourself. Since we are not with you physically, we have to rely on what you tell and show us to evaluate your progress.

Some of the ways I hold my coaching and training clients accountable are:

  • Weekly Weigh-ins - they must text me by 8am with their morning weight
  • Weekly Phone Calls - scheduled in advance, so no excuses come up
  • Bi-Weekly Photos - in close fitting outfits, or the same outfit that used to be tight and now fits well!
  • Daily Emails - anything from a friendly reminder to weigh-in, to a recipe or article I'd like to share
  • Text Messages - I like to send questions without warning, like asking how many pieces of fruit they had so far that day, or how did they fit in exercise at work today - texting is the easiest way to get a quick response and remind your clients that "I'm always watching you!"

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.