The digitalisation of health and fitness services has caved in to the ecosystem with an extremely gradual yet visible shift. Most lifestyle coaching spaces now either have both physical and virtual funnels or have gone entirely virtual with respect to their mode of engagement. Indeed, gyms are always going to be crucial simply because of the vast range of machinery and equipment they have to offer, nevertheless, the approach towards all coaching and training related services is now taking a ‘digital’ turn – more so now because of the pandemic. Over the years, the focus of lifestyle service providers has evolved from extremely generic consumer services to personalised ones. This gradual shift in the quality of service can be attributed to the increasing consciousness and self-awareness among users.
Online health platforms are progressively taking the forefront in the industry because of their ‘personalised’ style of customer service. Given the benefits of this approach, users are developing a more sustainable attitude towards health and hence ascribing to the increasing demand for customised health and nutrition plans. Let us understand why online health platforms are vouching for personalised lifestyle coaching over generic fitness training.
HOLISTIC IN NATURE
While traditional dieticians and gym trainers mostly focus on just one aspect of health, i.e. training and diet, online coaching integrates all aspects of health to foster a sustainable transformation. The focus on nutrition, exercise, lifestyle modification, and behavioural aspect covers an individual’s health with a holistic approach.
The basic premise of online coaching is to start with whatever you have, in terms of time, equipment, and situation. These platforms inculcate the same fundamentals in their customised plans, thereby providing the flexibility to users where they can start and progress with whatever resources they have. This structure promotes home-workouts, cost-effective diets, and time-saving. For example, it is easier for a new mother to spare 30 minutes for a routine walk when her kid is sleeping instead of taking time to move-out for a gym workout.
MAINTAINS HIGHER ACCOUNTABILITY
Most people who start their fitness journey under a coach fail because of the huge baggage of bad habits or past failures that they have and hence the process needs a lot of handholding through the initial three to four weeks. An online coach can connect with the client almost daily and sometimes even multiple times in a day – the daily check-ins makes sure that the clients stay on track. In fact, in the event of a cheating activity, the coach has the access to bring the client back on track without any further delay as they both are constantly connected through phone or WhatsApp. In the traditional approach, a cheat meal can easily become a cheat day, a cheat week, or even a cheat month.
SETTING RIGHT EXPECTATION
Most people who start on their fitness journey either have unrealistic goals or give up too soon. An online coach (through the close contact model) can always set the right goals for their clients and always remind them about the journey being a ‘long-run’. This type of paradigm shift for clients requires a lot of communication and is possible only in a remote/online setup.
REAL-TIME QUERY RESOLUTION
It is often that individuals end up undergoing guilt phases due to a series of cheat meals. In situations where a client might end up eating extra because of a spontaneous dinner plan, he/she would require real-time help by a coach to go about his/her following meals and exercise. This kind of accessibility to quick guidance is another advantage of personalised coaching as the client can be guided closely through WhatsApp/phone etc.
Personalised coaching is all about building deep and meaningful connections. Since the frequency and intensity of client-coach conversations is at par with that of two close friends, it is likely for a coach to teach the client valuable lessons about goal setting, accountability, discipline, and habit formation. These values taught and incorporated during the process of health transformation turn out essential for success and sustainability.
The writer is Founder & CEO, MyHealthBuddy