After reading this article you’ll be 100% sure whether TrueCoach personal trainer software is the best fit for you or not.
I cover unique features, what I liked and disliked, and the #1 reason TrueCoach rocks.
You don’t have time to take every personal training software program for a test run – so I did it for you!
Intro to PT software
If you’re a personal trainer like me, I think you’ll agree when I say: client organization and communication is overwhelming.
I’m testing and reviewing popular personal trainer software with my own clients to help you figure out the best option for your business.
But before we jump in….
I can’t emphasize this enough:
Personal training software will set you apart from your coworkers and competition.
Trainer view of client’s monthly workout schedule.
As a trainer you have to keep track of a ridiculous amount of information. You’re responsible for remembering your clients’:
- Personal preferences
- Workout history
- Gym and personal schedule
- Even kids’ and pets’ names!
You also need to have some way to monitor your clients’ actions when they’re not with you. This means custom workout plans, how-to videos, nutrition plans, and endless text messages and emails.
Once you have more than five clients, personal training software is a necessity if you’re interested in doing more than just “putting your client through a workout”. And while I’ve tried the spreadsheet (or even worse, notebook) approach, that will only get you so far.
This is why I’m testing out personal training software and filling you in on the pros and cons. I’m not getting paid by any software company. These are my personal opinions based on my experience working with 40+ clients as an employee at a big box gym for three years.
Personal training software has made me a significantly more effective trainer and I enjoy my job more today than I ever have. If you’re experiencing burnout as a personal trainer, a good software program may be what you need to feel inspired and driven again.
What is TrueCoach?
TrueCoach, based out of Boulder, CO, is a newer player on the personal training software scene. The founder is a former CrossFit gym owner and his co-founder worked for Onnit prior to his work at TrueCoach.
They also have extensive education and experience working as software developers. This experience in the fitness industry AND the coding industry is evident in their software.
TrueCoach is on the more expensive end of the spectrum with the likes of Trainerize (one of its main competitors), but it does offer a lot more functionality than cheaper options like MyPTHub.
The software includes a website for both coaches and clients, as well as accompanying apps.
How Much Does TrueCoach Cost?
Three main TrueCoach pricing tiers.
For my personal training business of about 40-50 clients, TrueCoach costs $99/month.
They offer two other price tiers below that:
- Five clients or less = $19/month
- Twenty clients or less = $49/month.
The tiers increase in 25-count increments above 50 clients, all the way up to 250 clients. Users with more clients are advised to contact TrueCoach for a price quote.
This is definitely an investment for the average trainer, and may require a training rate increase if that’s in your control. Thankfully, TrueCoach is entirely free for your clients.
What Else Should You Know About TrueCoach?
TrueCoach client app view vs. trainer app view.
The TrueCoach Connect app for trainers is available for both iOS and Android. It’s a simple app that really just allows you to access the client communication portion of the software. You’ll have to edit workouts – and anything else – from a desktop or tablet.
The TrueCoach app for clients is only available for iOS and allows clients to access their workouts, their nutrition tracker, and their communication with you.
It doesn’t cost extra to add more coaches to your TrueCoach account. The monthly cost is based on the cumulative client count amongst all trainers. This makes it an appealing option for gym owners or trainer managers who want to create a consistent client experience in their gym.
Or you may want to consider sharing an account with other trainers to save money if that makes sense for your situation.
The software currently offers a generous 30-day free trial.
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What I Liked
As a Coach, I Felt In Control
Above all else, this software is remarkably customizable. As a coach, I was able to edit almost every portion of the page to reflect my preferences when it comes to program planning, workout structure, and nutrition options.
Why does this matter? Well, begin using almost any other personal training software and you’ll quickly encounter a lack of functionality that requires a creative workaround at best and giving up at worst.
I really didn’t encounter any issues with lack of features in TrueCoach, which is remarkable given the level of variability amongst my clients and their circumstances and needs.
Client compliance rate easy to track from the main client screen – 100%, 89%, and so on.
Here are a few features that really stood out to me:
- Easy to Track Client Compliance
On the main client screen, you can view your client’s “compliance rate” – communicating at a glance whether they’re completing all their workouts, following their nutrition recommendations, and logging the appropriate metrics. This is ultimately what personal training is all about: getting your clients to do what they need to do consistently. I love how you can ‘check in’ on your clients in a split second with this feature.
- Remote/Dual/In-Person Formats
As online training has taken off (and as many trainers are adapting their businesses to online in light of the coronavirus pandemic) the difficulty of running an organized personal training business has grown. Whenever you add a new client on TrueCoach, you can select whether they’re remote, dual, or in-person.
This is one of the best features this software offers, in my opinion.
You can also select whether they want to use the app and website to work out on their own, or whether you’ll simply use the software to track your work with them without their involvement.
This means that I can use the software for a knowledgeable powerlifting athlete I train entirely online, AND for a 70-year-old client I see once a week who doesn’t have a smartphone. There’s even an option to print workouts directly from the website if a less tech-savvy client requests a paper copy of what they did in a session. This saved me a fair amount of time in retyping notes for printing.
Remote clients can upload videos of themselves performing exercises for form check purposes on the coach’s part. I could see this serving a great way to track form progress over time as well.
- Customizable notifications
As a coach, you can opt in or out of a variety of notifications regarding client workout completion, client messaging, and more.
I’ve used other software that bombards you with emails and notifications with no capacity to cancel some while keeping others. Again, the customization here is remarkable.
- Adapt to home workouts/different gyms
Alongside more general client profile features, there’s a section for listing what equipment your client has available at their gym or at home (if you don’t train them in person). Having this information readily available within the software makes it easy to plan workouts that make sense for your client’s circumstances.
Client equipment tab.
- Easy to switch from coach to client mode
If you use TrueCoach as both a coach and a client, it’s easy to toggle between your two accounts. Again, this is a small feature, but a really important one if you’re using the program everyday.
- Exercise Video Library – Plus Options to Create Your Own
The exercise video library included with TrueCoach is amazing – it includes a wide variety of modifications and progressions, utilizing most types of gym equipment. Gone are the time consuming days of searching YouTube for appropriate exercise clips and manually linking them to emails.
It’s super easy to link exercise videos in clients’ workouts. The software will even suggest pertinent videos as you’re typing in exercises.
Add your own exercise form.
Even better – it’s simple to add your own personal exercise descriptions and videos. You can link videos that you might already have out there on Instagram or YouTube easily as well. This function is priceless if you’ve already invested a lot of time compiling content on other online platforms.
This goes a long way towards mitigating one of my clients’ favorite excuses – “I try to follow a workout program on my own but I can’t remember how to do the exercises!”
My Clients Raved About Their Custom Website and App
While I was a little wary about getting my clients onboard with a new website and app, for the most part they loved their TrueCoach experience. Compared to the coach website, the client software is very simple and easy to navigate, with minimal options.
There’s a big emphasis on coach/client communication, so it was easy for them to reach me if they were confused about anything.
These were the features my clients specifically mentioned to me:
- Easy for clients to reach out for help
The amount that my clients and I texted and emailed back and forth reduced significantly thanks to this app. It was nice for both of us to have all of our communication organized in one place. Clients can comment on specific exercises and workouts or send general messages. This made it a lot easier to answer questions and offer guidance as a coach.
Simple and direct website interface for contacting coach with questions.
- Capacity for clients to update metrics remotely
One of the main reasons that my clients weren’t consistent with weighing in, taking progress pictures, and tracking workouts while on their own is that there was no accountability.
TrueCoach makes it easy to update weight and measurements, take progress pictures, track workout consistency, and more. My clients liked the simplicity of tracking their metrics through the app and the fact that I was checking in on them more promptly than usual.
- Visual measures of progress = increased motivation
TrueCoach generates graphs based on clients’ progress over time, in any area you and your client decide to track (from waist measurement to overhead press 1RM). Again, this makes it customizable and appropriate for literally any client.
Clients also see how many workouts they’ve completed with the app every time they open it up. These simple visual measures did a lot to increase my clients’ consistency and interest in training and tracking. It also helps me sell clients on the benefits of long-term training by giving them a sense of the big picture.
Simply tracking progress in an easy and visually appealing way is one of the most effective coaching techniques I’ve ever implemented. If you use TrueCoach for one thing only, make it this.
- Notification and reminder options
Clients can choose how frequently the website sends them emails, and for what occurrences. Receiving a weekly workout plan in their inbox each Sunday was really helpful for some of my clients, while others preferred to just visit the website or app for instructions whenever they went to the gym.
Client email notification options.
Just Enough Nutrition Oversight
TrueCoach’s nutrition coaching capacity is limited, but the software offers enough for most personal trainers to track their clients’ habits and help them get results. Coaches can assign daily macronutrient, fiber, and calorie goals, and upload documents like meal plans and nutrition guidelines.
Clients can track and share their daily intake in those categories through the app and the website (though most clients would need to also use an app like MyFitnessPal to determine the macronutrient distribution of their intake prior to updating TrueCoach).
Adjustable adherence standards.
My favorite nutrition feature is an adjustable ‘Threshold’ option – you can decide how closely a client needs to follow your nutrition recommendations while still maintaining their ‘compliant’ status.
This means as a coach you can hold clients with specific physique goals to a higher standard, while keeping things a little more lax for lifestyle clients.
I think the creators of TrueCoach included as much nutrition accountability within the software as they could without turning the program into a full-fledged nutrition tracker.
Software Design = Both Clean and Dense
Initially the coach’s view of the software is a little bit overwhelming, but once you start using TrueCoach you begin to see that it’s laid out in a very usable and intuitive way, and that each option serves a necessary purpose.
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TrueCoach’s creators have made the design as clean as possible while still packing it full of the features you need if you want to coach at a high level. This makes the software both dense and clean, which is an unusual but welcome combination.
What I Disliked
This section of my review is shorter than the previous, because honestly, there’s not a lot to complain about.
TrueCoach has been around long enough to go through rounds of user recommendations and software updates, which means most of the major frustrations and limitations have been resolved by the savvy and responsive designers.
That said, here’s a few things that could prove challenging for some trainers and clients:
Getting Lost in The Weeds of Customizing
With as much functionality as TrueCoach offers, it’s easy to get hung up on crafting the perfect workout plans, filling in everyone’s schedules accurately, checking on clients’ nutrition progress constantly, and refining your metric schema for each client.
I noticed myself obsessing over flawless organization rather than being present with clients on occasion. This might not be a challenge for some people, but if you’re a perfectionist or a tech geek, it’s easy to go into a tracking spiral.
There’s a lot packed into this screen. It’s all important…but still.
If you can use the software to reconcile pre-existing issues you’ve noticed with yourself and your clients, rather than feeling pressured to take advantage of every single feature TrueCoach offers, you’ll likely avoid this pitfall. The software should serve the training, not the other way around.
Not Appropriate for Less Tech-Literate Clients (Or Trainers)
If, rather than obsessing over tech, you have a hard time using it in the first place, this software may not be for you. It’s definitely user-friendly, but it’s geared towards people who are comfortable using apps and cloud-based software. That’s almost everyone these days, but there are exceptions.
Clients’ capacity to adapt to technological advancements varies as well. If you work with seniors exclusively, or in a rehab context, this software may be too much for your clients. It’s worth a try, but pay attention if your clients seem frustrated or overwhelmed. There are simpler options out there if you’re looking for something a bit more barebones.
Not Primarily a Nutrition Platform
If you consider yourself a hybrid fitness and nutrition coach, you will need to pair this software with an app or program that focuses more on nutrition. Clients can’t log their food or share their food logs with you through TrueCoach.
There aren’t any accountability options built into the app for clients who don’t want to track calories or macronutrients.
The nutrition options offered by TrueCoach will best serve well-educated clients who are comfortable managing and tracking their nutrition on their own and just need accountability to stay on track.
Increased Functionality = Increased Learning Curve
If you have more than ten clients, getting started with TrueCoach is going to take a decent chunk of time. And even if you don’t, it will still take time to learn how to access and use the many features the software offers.
If you’re already stressed and strapped for time and looking for a very simple, no-brainer kind of software, TrueCoach might not be right for you. What it offers in functionality it trades in simplicity to some extent.
The software’s creators do offer helpful learning tools, however, including how-to videos and email guides.
No Android App for Clients
While there is an Android app for coaches, TrueCoach does not currently offer an Android app for clients. You can create a homepage shortcut on your phone that mimics the client app to some extent, but this may be a major drawback if your clients aren’t Apple users.
Hopefully TrueCoach will reconcile this shortcoming soon.
Pros/Cons Short List
|Easy to customize just about every aspect of the software||This software is overwhelming unless you’re a confident and experienced trainer and techie|
|Free app/website for clients to access workouts, track progress, and communicate with you||No Android app for clients|
|Extensive workout video library and capacity to create your own as well||On the pricier side|
|Great for creating long-term training plans for dedicated clients||Not ideal for trainers who focus primarily on nutrition|
|Easy to track and measure progress||May not be great for older or less tech-savvy clients|
|Great for teams and managers||Probably too much if you have fewer than 10 clients|
Is TrueCoach Right For You?
After testing out TrueCoach’s personal trainer software, I am confident recommending it for almost all trainers.
It will help you provide your clients with a comprehensive, professional, detail-oriented experience, and it will help them stay consistent and get results.
It also serves as a powerful way for both you and your clients to track progress, visualize the big picture, and collaborate together on long-term goals.
This software may be more than you need if you don’t work as a full-time trainer, or if your clients are not particularly dedicated. It is fairly easy to use only the features you need, however, and ignore any that you don’t.
If you struggle to keep all of your plates spinning as a trainer and know that you could do better with more organization, TrueCoach will help you level up your business. It’s flexible, adaptable, and designed by people who have dealt with the same difficulties as you.
Features – 5/5 Stars
This program is comprehensive and hugely customizable.
Ease of Use – 5/5 Stars
Despite the variety of features, use is intuitive.
Support – 5/5 Stars
TrueCoach makes changes and updates based on user feedback continuously.
Price -3/5 Stars
This is one of the more expensive programs on the market.
Overall – 4/5 Stars
I think TrueCoach offers the best personal training software experience available. The price may deter some people though.
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