You need a personal training software to manage your face to face or online clients but there are so many to choose from, literally dozens, that Total coaching looks no different to the rest!
Total Coaching, and most other apps for that matter, look the same on the surface except a for a few distinguishing features like a booking system or a mobile app. So to help you streamline the process of choosing and save you the time it takes to sign up and check it out yourself, we've written a comprehensive Total Coaching review for you.
Disclaimer: My Personal Trainer Website NOT affiliate with third party sites so rest assured this Total Coaching review is our 100% genuine opinion.
It was 10:30pm on a Friday night when David Gill gave me the same 1:1 Skype demo of his Total Coaching software that every client gets. Despite my ability to be more impartial than Switzerland I was impressed from the get go. Here's what I found:
Total Coaching Features
One of the first things I noticed about Total Coaching was their rather modest list of features! Usually I'm inundated with feature after feature like bookings, calendar invoices and my biggest pet peeve, personal software websites!
Not Total Coaching. The software, while comprehensive, doesn't stray from its purpose and I instantly got the feeling that David was intentionally trying to avoid becoming the Jack of all trades. Here's a quick overview of some of the defining features they have to offer.
Total Coaching iPhone and Android App
The Total Coaching iPhone and Android app enables you to connect with your clients in the easiest way possible by delivering programs and accountability straight to their smart phone. In todays fast paced world, smartphone apps for people who don't like to exercise are simply essential.
Total Coaching have certainly done this well. The app is nice to look at and comes equipped with everything your client needs to stay accountable. Including exercise videos, private messaging to their coach (you) a forum and my favourite feature, a feedback system so you can see if your clients are training too hard or too easy! (<-- more on that later).
Another pretty essential feature for personal trainers who need to train clients face to face or from a distance. The animated exercises are great and the extremely comprehensive list of exercises make up for the slightly robotic feel of the animated characters.
Don't confuse this with a booking or invoicing system. Instead of spreading themselves too thin, Total Coaching have simplified client management by making it instantly clear which clients need your attention and which ones don't. This feature makes your online personal training software way more scalable.
You didn't come here for a list of features and let's be honest, you can find them on the Total Coaching site so so here's a quick rundown of the main one...
A simple yet complete training entry system that enables your clients to:
A comprehensive nutrition database containing over 20,000 food items.
Workout feedback systems, messaging and forums.
Like I said, Total Coaching has a reasonably modest list of features compared to a lot of training apps. Next up in this Total Coaching review we're going to dig a little deeper in to their strengths and weaknesses from a practical application point of view.
Total Coaching Weaknesses
Listing the weaknesses of a personal trainer software is never something I enjoy. It's bearable when you haven't spoken to anyone but David and I had a great conversation during the Free 1:1 Skype introduction for his software that it's 10x worse!
But this is an impartial review so let's crack on!
No Questionnaires and Legal Form Templates
I was a bit disappointed to find an empty Questionnaires tab within the app. Don't get me wrong, they have a cool system that makes it really easy to create questionnaires but most PT's who sign up to Total Coaching are probably new to online training and therefore have no idea what to ask. This is especially true for any legal forms.
We give away a 15 part series of forms for free in our Fitness Marketing Lab. Perhaps I can persuade David to send people there or add these forms to his site. Whichever is easiest for the personal trainer!
No Notification for Skipped Sessions
I brought this up during our 1:1 Skype intro and David aware that it could be a very useful feature. One of the really cool things about Total Coaching and we'll talk about it some more in the Strengths section of the review is the really easy to use dashboard that notifies you when a client isn't happy (they show up red in the left sidebar).
Unfortunately, there's no notification to say a client has skipped a session or not logged it in so you can jump straight on the messenger and find out why they're struggling to adhere to the program. After all, adherence is a pretty important part of online training, if not the most important part!
The Award System
On first inspection I thought this feature was pretty cool. Clients get awards for adherence and it almost gamifys the personal training experience. Gamifcation is a really really strong marketing tool and this is why I was please to see it within the app.
Unfortunately, it just doesn't work. The awards are very non specific, how you get to the next award isn't apparent and this makes the whole thing just slightly confusing. I think it could work if the PT could add in more details about each award and possibly rename them but I imagine this would require some pretty heavy coding for a feature that just isn't that important for online personal training.
Ok, on to the good stuff. next up in our review of the Total Coaching app is the strengths.
Total Coaching Strengths
OK, on to the good stuff. This is where, if you're looking for things to support the decision you've already made to go ahead with Total Coaching, you'll find some.
Workout Templates is a really great feature that enables you to create a template workout, say a "Kickstarter" program you might get every new client to do, and assign it to as many clients as you need to.
For example, you might find that every new online personal training client needs pretty much the same set of foundation exercises for four weeks to help you assess their fitness. You create these workouts in a template and then assign that template to any new client.
Alternatively, you could have a very low end online personal training package with strict exercises, sets and reps that a client can purchase. You would then assign those clients to the template workout.
The Total Coaching nutrition log system is probably one of the most comprehensive nutritional logging system I've encountered, inside and outside an online personal training software. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it rivals that of the popular iPhone app, My Fitness Pal.
The nutrition log takes in to account your clients' body statistics they entered when they signed up and calculates how many calories they need based on their daily activity levels. but this is where it gets cool. it also takes in to account the energy expenditure from the workouts you give them!
At the moment this feature seems like somewhat of an add on but it should be front and centre in my opinion.
Last but certainly not least, my favourite thing about Total Coaching. And it's a surprisingly simple thing... the feedback system. As an ex personal trainer myself, I know how important feedback from your clients is during face to face sessions. In fact, it pretty much dictates every single session.
If they're working too hard or too little you can get feedback from their reaction to the exercise. Most of the time you don't even need to ask if it was too hard or too easy because you're there and you can see for yourself.
But as an online personal trainer, you're NOT there! So you need your clients to give you feedback on each exercise they do.
With the feedback system you allocate each client an exercise, some sets and reps and it's up to them t complete them. Once completed they're prompted to tell you there and then how easy or hard the exercise, set and rep range you gave them was.
Here you can see the client giving feedback on for the exercise.
And here you can see the view from the personal trainers dashboard. Now you instantly know that you need to load up next weeks workout and make the exercise a little bit more challenging.
The feedback system could literally be the difference between well managed and challenging workout that your clients don't enjoy and to difficult or too easy exercises that make your clients want to quit. Guess which one is going to make you more money as an online trainer (<-- that's rhetorical).
The Total Coaching software is genuinely mind blowing. It's great to look at, works well, has a beautiful client facing mobile application for both Android and iPhone and comes complete with all the features you'd need to run a successful online personal training business.
But it's not for everyone.
Total Coaching is perfect and maybe even the best online personal training software for personal trainers who wish to train clients that feel confident enough to go to the gym. Or for face to face clients who only train with you once or twice a week but need accountability for extra sessions on their own. This in itself is a huge market.
Sure, the exercise library is HUGE and you can even add in your own exercises if you can't find one that you need to assign to a client, but the exercises are still very... gym like. They're single exercises that can be prescribed in supersets or even giant sets but they're still exercises you would prescribe someone who wants to train in a gym as opposed to train at home.
The best thing you can do? Book in a free 1:1 Skype introduction to the software, get a feel for it, have a play around, understand it's capabilities and see if it fits in with what YOU need from an online personal training software.