Phone / Video consultations

Posted on August 4, 2014


(Last Updated On: March 28, 2016)

Most of my clients fit into one of a few different categories:

  • Has no idea what they’re doing and genuinely needs someone to guide them through an exercise program. (Nutrition is sometimes a part of this.) “I’m afraid of hurting myself. There’s too much information out there and I’m lost.”
  • Is tired of trying to figure things out on their own; has decided to let someone else do the thinking for them. “Just tell me what to do.”
  • Has a specific area they want to work on. Usually this is a shoulder, knee, hip, etc. that’s been bothering the person for a while. They often want to 1) Get rid of that issue 2) Take care of that issue while still getting a workout. “I want to workout without being in pain.”
  • Needs a small kick in the ass. Without someone helping them along they’re prone to program hop, half-ass things, or fall off the wagon. “I need someone to hold me accountable. I need something structured so I’ll stick with it.”

There are a lot of people out there who don’t quite fit into the above though. They’re people who often have a good sense of what they’re doing; they just need some guidance, have one or two particular questions, need some reassurance on something, only need a tweak or two in their program. They don’t need a GPS with step by step directions, but checking the GPS before they start their route gives them some peace of mind, helps them know if they’re missing something, whether there’s something unusual with traffic.

I’m hoping these consultations can bridge that gap. The one between those who are lost, those who want someone to do the work for them -those who want or need a GPS- and those who are alright, but in need of some direction. They might know they can go this way, this way, or that way, but want some help figuring out which route is quickest or has the least traffic.

I try to bridge this gap by responding to every email sent my way. Email has shortcomings though. There is always something to be said for a phone call or video conversation. Things don’t always get properly conveyed in text, there’s no intonation, no facial expressions, there is just something to be said for having a non-text based conversation. Not to mention, I can talk a lot faster than I can type. It’s also easier, and I’d like to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.

As anyone who receives a lot of advice requests can tell you, one of the worst aspects of giving advice is when nothing comes of it. A lot of times I’ll write a thorough, well thought out reply to someone, only to never hear from them again. A thank you goes a long way, and it’s even better when someone tells you what they’ve done with your advice. I think verbal communication not only makes these things more likely to happen; it will give me a greater sense of if what I’m saying is clicking for the other person, and it makes the person receiving the advice more likely to use it than an email. Actual talking with someone has a different sense of investment than typing to someone. It’s like online dating. You start with text, move up to the phone, then eventually to in person.

“What can we talk about?”

This is very much open to you. Common areas I’m asked about include:

  • ACL reconstruction
    • Should you have it?
    • What graft is best for you?
    • Preparation
    • Anything and everything that comes with the rehab process
      • A common question I’m emailed is, “Do you have any advice on dealing with the depression? I’ve never been so down.” Talking with someone who has actually (successfully) been through the process can be a nice help. But I also have some advice specifically for this.
  • Program design
    • “Is this a good program for me?”
    • “What do you think of such and such method?”
    • “Is this a good exercise for me?”
    • “What should I not be doing?”
    • “How many times per week should I do this exercise?”
    • “I have a history of (e.g.) shoulder pain. What do you think about this program?”
  • Exercise form
    • You can send me some videos of your form on various things and we can go over corrections.
      • Squatting and deadlifting are two common ones I’m asked about.
      • Running form.
      • This is where video, something like Skype, can be handy. You can show me some things in real time if you wish.
        • You can also send me some video links and we’ll go over them together. I like to screen shot people’s technique at various times. We can do this in real time, I can draw on the pictures, etc.
    • If you have one of my manualswe can go over your form on the exercises contained in those.
  • Activity of Daily Living modifications
    • “How is this sleep positioning?”
    • “I have an ergonomic set up at work. What do you think of it?” It’s to help me with, X, Y, Z.”
    • “How can I make sitting more friendly for my knees?”
    • “What do you think of this chair?”
  • Personal training / Physical therapy career talk
    • Two odd things here. First, I’m asked by way more physical therapists than personal trainers about career advice.
      • “Is physical therapy school worth it?”
      • “How did you acquire your knowledge base without going to physical therapy school?”
    • The second odd aspect, to me at least, is going into the personal training sphere, when I was about to start working full time, I was much more concerned with “How the hell do I make a living doing this?” than I was “How do I train people?” If anyone else has the same concern, we can discuss this.
    • Other things that can go here. Some “talking shop” if you will:
      • How to assess clients
      • Working with athletes versus everyday people
      • For personal training, how do you get someone a workout without hurting them, particularly if they have a bum joint?
      • Training older clients
      • Training obese clients
      • Training difficult clients. Those who are stubborn, have personality disorders, hell, maybe they even have an amputated limb.
      • Structuring training sessions
      • How to start out in the personal training world
      • Personal training versus physical therapy
      • The value of college for these fields
    • I’m happy to talk about anything and everything with these fields, for people who are in them or thinking about it.
      • This includes starting a blog or website, building an online audience, monetizing a website, and all that goes with that. At the end of the day, the way you make a living in this field is primarily through working with people in person. That said, an online base can be quite valuable. I’ve had more interest in this than I thought. Happy to talk about it.

I want to make one thing clear, this is not the way to go about getting rid of your knee, shoulder, or lower back issue that’s been bothering you for years. Nor is this the way to go about getting an entire, individualized program. That’s what the remote client process is for.

If you believe you have some minor changes here or there that you’d like advice on, maybe a couple of exercise recommendations, a form check on something(s), want to talk shop, sure, no problem. If you’re looking for a complete overhaul, a structured program, a full assessment, this isn’t the right avenue.

“How much is this?”

This is one of the beauties of money. When you put your money towards something, you’re more likely to use that something. I believe charging for this will help both parties get more out of these exchanges.

It’ll be $1 per minute.

“How long is each call or session?”

Up to you. I’m going to do my best to schedule these at times where I’m not time crunched. Where I’m going to eliminate the risk of me having to say, “I only have X minutes.” I don’t want to be rushed in any way. Unless I have an appointment at a brewery, I’m usually happy to talk all day about these topics.

If you only need 10 minutes though, that works too.

“How does payment work?”

After we’re done talking I’ll shoot you an invoice to your email.

“How do we set this up?”

Shoot me an email,, with a rough idea of what you’d like to talk about. Feel free to include videos or pictures if you already have some. Let me know when might work for you, and we’ll get the ball rolling.

Whether we use the phone or something video based will likely depend on what you want to address, as well as where you’re located. If you’re in the States, phone should work no problem. Otherwise, something like a Skype or Google call will probably be best.

Then, obviously, the more visual based your questions are, the more likely we are to go with something video based.

In terms of what we use for video, whatever is easiest for you. Some prefer Facetime, others Skype, there’s Google Hangout. Any and all are fine by me.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.