There is little doubt that the personal trainer industry is in a boom. Just ask Google, where searching for "become a personal trainer" yields somewhere around 35 million returns. There is also little doubt that the industry is well represented online - websites that deal with nutrition, bodybuilding, and health crop up almost every week. And if you are a personal trainer, you should take notice: client expectations are rising and being a technically savvy trainer is no longer an option. It’s a requirement.
Thus, TrainSync was born.
The whole thing started when world-class athletic trainer Paul Balsom started searching for a tool that would help him make workout programs for his clients.
Trainers like Paul Balsom set the gold standard for the industry. He has experience as a decathlete and bobsleigh team member for Great Britain, was involved with the English Premiership Rugby League both as a player and head of strength and conditioning. He has also coached some of the world’s greatest Olympic athletes, sprint coaches and conditioning coaches. And for the past few years, he has been working to make his gym, The Athlete Factory, one of the most sought after in Canada.
Paul tried several applications that advertised routine building for clients. As he muddled his way through them, he decided that something much more simple was in order and got in touch with the nerdiest people he knew.
"The programs I tried were good at what they did - to a point," Paul tells us. "The problem was that so many of the existing program builders only allow you to select from a library of pre-made excercises and routines. I wanted something that was simple, and let me enter anything I wanted. When I couldn’t find it, I decided to make something."
In the end, his goal was simple: make an app that would allow him and his gym’s coaches to create, track, and manage training programs for all of their clients with ease.
Paul’s vision has just become a reality with TrainSync now entering it’s beta. TrainSync makes it easy to enter all of your clients, custom tailor routines for each of them, and watch them get checked off as they complete the tasks.
"Ease of use - that was key for me," says Paul. "I have tremendous respect for my coaches, they are all world-class individuals and trainers. But they aren’t computer science grads - they want something simple that just works."
That could explain why, at first glance, that TrainSync might seem light in the features department. It really focuses on just making programs for clients, but, as Paul explains, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
"We are starting with program creation, but have plans that would have us encompass more of the business aspects of the industry down the road," says Paul. "We are looking at schedules, gym management, and even billing - but our clients are calling the shots, and we’re listening to them to find out what they want next."
Even with that modest approach, when you peel back the layers of the current offering there is a lot to like even early on. What’s most intriguing about TrainSync right now is the interaction available between trainers and clients. Programs are delivered to your clients email, and is compatible with all mobile devices (and good old fashioned desktops). Both trainers and clients can make notes on any session, and clients can check of exercises as they are completed (Physiotherapists take note!) This kind of interaction goes a long way to letting your client know that you’re watching their progress, and can’t be found in any other application like this. Clients are saying that the simple fact that the routines are presented as a tasklist makes them want to check off the exercises and really goes a long way in giving them a sense of accomplishment when all the little boxes are checked off.
It’s only the beginning too. The guys tasked with creating the piece of software have been paying very close attention to their beta testers and giving them what they want. They are also of the mind that the trainers who use the software should be the voices that guide development.
Currently, because the application is still in beta testing, you can sign up for a completely free account that gives you unlimited clients during the beta. After the beta, the free account will limit you to 3 clients. Still - what a fantastic way to show you what the software is capable of and might even give you some ideas of what you need in the future. And finally - the 3-client version will always be free, making TrainSync a huge resource for those of us either starting out in personal training, or constantly building food and workout routines for ourselves and a couple friends; one that requires no investment whatsoever.
To say that Paul and his team have created a wonderful tool for personal trainers is an understatement. They have made it easier for personal trainers to navigate the increasingly competitive and transient nature of their business and given them a tool to help their customers realize just how much they need them. Personal trainers are adapting to the needs of their 45 million some odd customers by working in their homes, offices and different training environments every day. TrainSync is trying to help them out.
"We really are going in the opposite direction of a lot of the online fitness trends," says Paul. "There are so many sites that promise you a workout routine that a ‘personal trainer’ has made for them. It’s rubbish, and short term thinking. We are trying to make a tool that helps personal trainers build their business, not replace them."