With phenomenal growth in the past five years, the relatively new online personal training industry is here to stay.
Year after year new trainers join the online marketplace and experienced veterans expand their businesses by offering their expertise online, vastly extending their reach and influence.
With this comes parallel growth of personal training software which has made online training scalable, efficient, and more legitimate compared to the days of spreadsheets, emails, and sketchy payment practices.
Software companies continue to hone their product and reach ever closer to that ideal platform that fulfills coaches’ logistical needs and gives them the freedom to pursue what they’re truly passionate about – coaching.
One notable company which fits this mold is TrueCoach and in this review, we will fill you in on everything you need to know about this software option. Whether you already train clients remotely or are beginning to consider it, the details on TrueCoach will be helpful.
TrueCoach Company Overview
TrueCoach, formerly known as Fitbot, is a software company founded in 2015 and headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. The company is estimated to have 10 employees and generate $1,000,000 in annual revenue.
According to the TrueCoach mission statement, they strive to “help coaches save time, deliver a better experience for their clients, and grow their training businesses.”
So far, over 5K coaches and gym owners have used TrueCoach to serve over 100k clients. In 2018, TrueCoach received awards from the software rating site Capterra for Best Value and Best Ease of Use.
TrueCoach Features Overview
Online training software which remotely links coaches to clients relies heavily on mobile access, TrueCoach is no exception.
In any software you choose, the mobile app will be seen most often by your clients – at minimum every time they workout – so the opportunity to customize an app with your own brand should not be missed. Keep reading to see what TrueCoach has to offer.
– Custom-Branded Web & Smartphone Apps
While TrueCoach directs coaches to utilize the full desktop platform to make the best use of their software, clients will almost exclusively interact with the smartphone app for inputting workout results and communicating with their coach.
For both the online platform and mobile app, there is a limited level of customization often referred to as skinning with your brand. You can however add a logo to appear at the top of automated emails and on your full browser version and you can pick from a handful of color schemes.
Note that your company logo does not appear within the TrueCoach app. The only customization that will be evident to clients while using the app is the theme color selection, assuming there is a color option that matches your brand. Additionally, the app icon and the app’s loading screen will always maintain the TrueCoach branding, not your company’s.
Thus, TrueCoach does not offer what most would consider true custom-branding. This places it behind certain competitors that offer complete customization like Exercise.com.
Another critical limit of the TrueCoach app is that it is only available for iPhone, not Android devices (as of June 2019). The only option for your clients with phones using the Android OS will be to access the platform through their phone’s browser.
Exercise.com on the other hand, fully customizes your app from top to bottom. Just like quality personalized coaching, we begin with the client’s needs and build a solution from there, not just giving everyone the same old template.
Best of all, it will be your brand clients find in the App Store and Google Play. With ‘white-label’ app design, your brand stays front and center.
– Workout Creation
TrueCoach’s flexible and easy-to-use workout builder is its bread and butter. Here’s how it works:
Coaches can pre-design programs to be used as templates and later assign these to individual clients. A program consists of multiple workouts built individually and then designed and scheduled to complement each other and progress toward an overall goal.
Creating programs that can be used (and tweaked as needed) for many clients saves a great deal of time for the coach. This is much more effective than recreating the same workout numerous times from scratch, but one-time standalone workouts are an option too.
Aside from universal programs, coaches may also select an individual client and, within their personal calendar, create a plan day-by-day.
When it comes to building each workout, within a program or solo, TrueCoach’s interface is as capable as a coach could want. The one simple reason for this – and the distinguishing feature from other platforms – is that each exercise added to the workout is an open text field which allows you to type any details in any format.
This free-form editing gives the workout creator a vastly different feel from the rigidity of most workout tracking software which typically have separated fields for predetermined values such as sets, reps, and weight. With TrueCoach, a trainer can utilize their own preferred format for conveying instructions.
For example, in the free-form editor, I can add Squat – 3 x 5 x 275. This is much faster than separated values for 3 sets, 5 reps, and 275 pounds. Additionally, I was able to quickly add the warm-up sets by simply separating weights with a comma rather than the slow process of laying out each warm-up set individually.
When you can type anything you want within an exercise description, the possibilities are endless. You are free to assign a particular tempo, rest time between sets, even give mental cues you want the client to keep in mind for that exercise. As long as you maintain a uniform style and educate your clients on interpreting it, free-form entry is a great time-saving feature.
Note that in addition to adding individual exercises, you may select +Circuit to add a series of movements to be performed consecutively for multiple rounds. Again, free form entry allows you to input any instructions you like for that particular circuit of movements.
When building workouts, you can choose from the library of over a thousand exercises each with its own demo video. The videos pre-loaded in TrueCoach are short, simple visual demonstrations without instructions. They serve best as a quick reminder to your clients of a movement you have already taught them yourself.
The exercise library is a vast collection which can be searched by keyword or filtered by criteria including primary muscles, plane of movement, and movement pattern. Users can use the same tags when adding custom exercises to the library as well as linking or uploading a video.
Exercise.com’s workout creation system is a simple yet powerful tool that helps you organize your programming ideas to deliver exactly what your clients need. Go as simple as sets and reps or as detailed as a strict movement tempo, our software lets you tailor every workout to your exact specifications.
– Workout Delivery
When it comes to delivery to the client, the TrueCoach app provides a simple, no-frills presentation. It opens directly to the clients’ workout schedule in which they can preview upcoming workouts. The coach can set up how far in advance these previews show up by making adjustments in the app settings.
When a given workout is selected and begun, exercise details written by the coach can be visible in addition to the corresponding video. The entry of results by the client is similar to the free-form entry explained above.
For example, they may see the instruction for the Squat as 3 x 5 x 275 and choose to enter their result as: “5 reps @ 275 for all 3 sets.” They may also enter a comment about the exercise along with the numerical data, “These were ROUGH. I took an extra 2 min rest before the last set.”
Understanding the workout and entering data is quite easy for the client in TrueCoach, just make sure your clients are on the same page with you when it comes to the parameters for recording results and feedback.
Use Exercise.com to have clients log workouts, view performance history, and send progress photos all within your custom-branded smartphone app.
Let the team at Exercise.com show you how to grow and manage your fitness business better!
– E-Commerce / Point of Sale
As of June 2019, TrueCoach did not have an onboard billing and payment function in which coaches can charge clients for their service.
Thus, businesses using this software will still need an outside method of processing payments and conducting the extra communications, such as payment reminders, that are necessary to ensure billing runs smoothly.
In comparison, Exercise.com offers the full package of e-commerce and payment functionality. You can sell training programs with one-time payments or memberships with automated recurring payments all on a secure platform your clients can trust.
– Performance Assessment
For coaches who want to begin new clients’ training with a fitness assessment or provide ongoing assessments to gauge progress, the Metrics feature of TrueCoach is the go-to tool.
So what are Metrics?
Within the TrueCoach platform, they are any piece of data you want to track results over time. While the software comes preloaded with some commonly used metrics, you can add to or edit these just like exercises in the library.
You can create a metric for anything you deem useful as a benchmark to indicate a client’s present fitness level.
To make these work, you obviously need data input when the client performs an exercise or other test which corresponds to a metric. That’s where things get tricky:
TrueCoach will not automatically pick up on a metric test being performed just because you add the exercise to a workout, this comes as a result of the free form entry method which the software can’t necessarily read and extract values from.
Thus, you’ll need to either manually enter new values for the metric when a client completes one, or during workout creation indicate that a particular exercise relates to a metric by selecting Link Result to Metric.
When an exercise is linked to a metric, it will still be up to the client to manually enter the result while using the app during their workout. The link reveals to the client a button next to their input field which they click then type the numeric value for the metric result.
For use as a performance assessment, a workout can be created which specifically includes the exercises that are set as metrics. When the client performs the workout and saves their results, you have your first performance data giving you their baseline.
With Exercise.com’s customized client assessments, you can more easily collect data that helps you build the most effective initial training program for a new client and retain current clients with progress tracking that proves results.
– Nutrition Coaching
While TrueCoach lists Nutrition Tracking among its features, it’s a rather bare-bones, unimpressive system when it comes to its implementation, especially compared to other competing platforms.
For each client you can set daily intake goals for Carbs, Fat, Protein, Fiber, and Total Calories. Each day, the client would then enter their values in the app. If you wish to get more specific and provide the client with a meal plan, you may do so by uploading a document containing those instructions.
Here are the weakness of TrueCoach’s nutrition system:
Though clients will certainly want a way to log what they eat and calculate the macronutrient and calorie values, TrueCoach does not provide this function nor does it partner with any external apps in order to sync the clients’ fitness and nutrition.
This means clients will have to perform the extra – rather inconvenient – step of manually transferring their numbers to TrueCoach from a separate nutrition app like MyFitnessPal.
Once entered, TrueCoach compares the values to the client’s assigned goals and will keep track of how well they adhere to the coach’s instructions. As the coach, you may assign a compliance Threshold, which is the percentage the client is allowed to deviate without getting flagged for going outside the guidelines.
For more complete nutrition tracking, consider the Exercise.com software which lets you set and track goals plus automatically import clients’ information directly from MyFitnessPal.
Exercise.com knows firsthand how important it is for trainers to guide their clients in both workouts and nutrition, so they made it a goal to have their integration be a quick and painless way to help clients stay on track with all of their fitness goals—in one place.
– Workout Management
When it comes to managing your clients’ workouts, TrueCoach comes through with the same simplicity and practicality found in Workout Creation.
To begin, you have the option of creating a program Skeleton for each client. The skeleton is a simple outline of the overall plan of a training phase laid out on a weekly schedule. It does not contain exercises, just a brief description of the theme of a particular workout.
For example, the training phase pictured below called Intermediate Strength has the goal of each Monday being a heavy workout for the lower body and a higher volume workout for the upper body. This is reflected on the adjacent calendar where these tags will now appear above the day’s workout as a reminder to the coach of how the workout being created should fit in the framework of the program.
When it comes to the workout calendar, TrueCoach makes it easy and efficient for the coach to adjust training schedules. You can drag and drop workouts to different days as well as copy and paste workouts or even entire weeks to replicate them without retyping them all.
Though they may not sound very impressive, these are notable features that make the coach’s job much easier compared to the multi-step processes of many other software platforms. These added conveniences mean less time performing mundane tasks and more free time to take on new clients.
Ease of use is key for busy trainers, which is one of the areas Exercise.com focused on being the best at. You’ll be amazed at how efficiently you can schedule, view, and manage all of your programs and workouts with the cutting-edge software from Exercise.com.
– Client Engagement
In-app messaging is a long-standing feature of TrueCoach, but just recently the company released a tool making it much more convenient for coaches to communicate with clients, an app called TrueCoach Connect.
While clients have always had the ability to send and receive messages from their app, coaches using TrueCoach were required to do their side of the messaging via a desktop computer which lead to very delayed response times.
With TrueCoach Connect, coaches can now take their messaging on the go and respond to client questions without the hassle of having to sit down at their computer.
In addition to basic messaging, an awesome engagement feature of Exercise.com software is the ability to host Workout Challenges which connect your in-person or online clients to build adherence and consistency. It can even generate Leaderboards to show top performers from all your participants and fuel their motivation.
Lastly, a unique benefit of coach-client interaction in the software is the ability for clients to upload videos from their training into the TrueCoach app to be visible for the coach’s review. When it comes to monitoring clients for quality of movement and making sure that they performed exercises as intended, this is huge.
Given the somewhat specialized and limited scope of the TrueCoach software, only a few automations are relevant, those which pertain specifically to the clients’ workouts.
By default, TrueCoach sends clients a reminder by email for every day they have a scheduled workout and another if they miss a workout. They’ll also be notified when their coach messages them or comments on a workout. Likewise, the coach is notified of all client-initiated messages.
Clients may opt out of these notifications in their personal settings, and they also have the option to add an extra weekly preview email, which is sent on Sundays.
Want to get even more out of automation? With Exercise.com you automatically send clients new workout plans, videos, and assessments as well as communications like workout and appointment reminders.
Who is this fitness software for?
While TrueCoach is used by some businesses which offer a mixture of in-person and online services, when it comes to marketing they plant their flag firmly on the side of online coaching.
– Target Market / Positioning
The company emphasizes how the software can help gym owners and coaches maximize efficiency and have more time to spend working on their business rather than in their business.
– User Perspective
TrueCoach has a good overall reputation with positive ratings from the well-known software review sites Capterra (4.5 / 5), GetApp (4.75 / 5), and FinancesOnline (8.7 / 10). The company is rated particularly well for customer service specifically across all sites.
TrueCoach’s social media following is also a notable marker of their clients’ satisfaction and the software’s growing popularity. Despite having fewer users, (around five thousand), TrueCoach is blowing away larger competitors in Facebook likes (15K) and Instagram followers (14K).
For comparison, Trainerize which has over seventy-five thousand users has only 12K Facebook likes and 5K followers on Instagram.
Exercise.com serves some of the top fitness professionals in the country, check out our review from strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle:
“The Exercise.com team is amazing and their web and mobile workout technology is more than we ever expected! Not only can clients watch exercise video demonstrations, but they can also select alternative exercises, log workouts, and track their performance. All of this is made possible by a high-quality platform and tremendous team!”
Like the majority of gym management and training software options, TrueCoach is priced based on the number of clients managed on their platform.
While monthly payment with no contract is the default method, users may pay annually for which TrueCoach grants 2 Free Months on their plan.
There are no other fees associated with using TrueCoach including the additional cost most competitors charge to add more coaches to your account.
– Trial / Registration
New users may sign up for a free 14-day trial that includes full use of the software. If the user chooses to upgrade to a paid subscription, all saved data will remain in the platform for a seamless transition.
To help you get set up quickly and make the best use of the software, TrueCoach offers an ongoing live webinar called Mastering the Basics which takes place approximately every two days. Additionally, there are many pre-made tutorials accessible through the help section which assist you in learning how to fully utilize everything the software offers.
- Workout Creation: With a huge library of exercises and free-form instruction entry, you can deliver any workout you can imagine.
- Create Metrics and Track Progress: Use built-in measures or create your own – based on your training style – and monitor your clients’ advancement over time.
- Stay in Touch with Clients: With in app messaging, you can answer client questions quickly. The new TrueCoach Connect app makes it even easier.
- Go Beyond the Numbers: TrueCoach lets your clients shoot videos and embed them in their workout results without ever leaving the app. You can provide more complete coaching when you can see them move not just read their results.
Top Direct Competitors
In the web-based training software category, TrueCoach’s biggest competition comes from these companies:
Exercise.com, offering the most complete custom branding for your business’s online platform and mobile apps. Our software is an all-in-one solution which fulfills the needs for payment processing and better nutrition tracking.
Trainerize, one of the most popular training platforms which offers an impressive list of integrations with outside services.
My PT Hub, offering a long list of features for exercise and nutrition coaching at one of the lowest prices on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why did the company change names from FitBot to TrueCoach?
A: According to a statement on the company’s website, the rebranding was an effort to avoid confusion based on the term “bot” which could lead consumers to believe it was merely an automated or A.I.- based service. They feel that the name TrueCoach better exemplifies their emphasis on the human connection between client and coach.
Q: Can I use MyFitnessPal or another food logging app with TrueCoach?
A: No, TrueCoach currently has no integration with any nutrition tracking apps. Data on daily calories and macros would need to be manually typed into the nutrition section of the clients’ TrueCoach app.
Q: What problems can the software solve for trainers?
A: TrueCoach helps trainers combine numerous tasks in one flexible, easy-to-use platform. Workout creation and delivery, as well as communication with clients can be streamlined by using this software.
Q: What smartphones are compatible with the TrueCoach app?
A: Only iPhones with iOS 11.0 or later can use the app. It is not currently available on Android.
Q: Is TrueCoach just for online training?
A: Online training with remote clients is the best use for TrueCoach, but certain brick and mortar businesses – like those offering custom programming for their clients – would benefit from using it.
Q: Is there a cost to the client if their trainer uses this software?
A: No, TrueCoach doesn’t charge clients to use their product. Only coaches and gyms are the company’s customers.
Q: How much does TrueCoach cost?
A: Pricing depends on the number of clients the coach will manage in the software. It can range from $19 per month for five clients to $339 per month for 200. (Pricing for greater than 200 clients can be obtained by contacting TrueCoach)
Q: Is TrueCoach useful for in-person training?
A: Most of the software’s benefits are specific to online training; however, one potential use for an in-person trainer would be to keep digital records of client data which are more organized and accessible than hand-written logs.
Q: Will TrueCoach help me with client retention?
A: Assuming a high level of quality in your coaching methods and full use of its features, TrueCoach can add convenience and professional appearance to your business—both of which will keep customers committed longer.
The Bottom Line
It features an aesthetically pleasing, simple design where all the software’s functions are not crowded together but also never more than a couple clicks away.
While TrueCoach lacks certain features it would need in order to be called an all-in-one software (payments and nutrition tracking), it is an excellent tool for coaches looking specifically for Program Planning, Workout Creation, and Goal Tracking.
TrueCoach deserves consideration for coaches about to expand their business to include online training and those already online who want a more flexible, efficient workout delivery option.
If you like the features of TrueCoach but need an all-in-one solution for your business, you need Exercise.com’s Business Management Software. Book your demo call with our team and learn how we’re helping our clients manage some of the most successful fitness businesses in the country.
Let the team at Exercise.com show you how to grow and manage your fitness business better!