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Brianne Snell - Contena

Brianne Snell

Hi! I'm Brianne, and I love content. Writing, reading, doodling, scratching things down in a notebook - you name it! I live just outside of Toronto (Canada, eh!) and I'm so excited to help people and businesses communicate with their tribes. I've worked in corporate communications, agencies, and most recently work for myself building an online fitness business. I love to talk about what I'm passionate about and I love learning about others' passions. Can't wait to get started!

The Life of a Dog Mom
Front Page
3 minute read

It's Saturday morning. I had a late night last night and all I want to do is sleep in. As I'm dozing, I hear a scratch on the door and sniffing as my dog shoves her nose into the little gap between the floor and the door. It's 6:45 a.m. 

I don't have kids but sometimes being a dog mom feels like I do. You know those dogs that you could swear are actually people, with thoughts and ideas and everything? Maybe everyone feels that way about their pets. 

Let's be honest - dog mom-ing is hard, but you wouldn't change it for the world. 

When I picked up Charlotte she was eight weeks old, four pounds and so timid and scared on our car ride home. "This won't be so bad," I thought to myself. "She's so cute and calm!" I bought her a dog bed, tucked her in for the night, and went to bed so happy I'd picked a nice one. 

Fast forward to two days later when I'm having a meltdown because I went out for groceries and came home to my laundry all over the condo, what appears to be the remaining stuffing from a couch cushion, and Charlotte forcing her face into the grocery bags trying to eat whatever she can get ahold of. Also the dog bed was completely destroyed.

That was the moment I realized this is going to be a lot more work than I thought... 

Teaching Charlotte new things was not the hard part. She's actually very intelligent and understands things quite quickly. The hard part was convincing her to follow orders or do things she just didn't feel like doing. If she didn't feel like sitting for a treat as a puppy, she'd just walk away.  

 In short, she's been a handful. 

One time we took Charlotte swimming with a dog friend. It's very important to note here that she doesn't enjoy swimming. She can swim, she just doesn't like to. Her dog friend, on the other hand, loves it. After about half an hour of watching her friend chase sticks into the water while she ducked away from even the tiniest waves, Charlotte got brave... or maybe jealous. In one swift movement, Charlotte ran up the pier and dove straight into the water. I didn't even have time to register what was going on until she surfaced with a look of pure shock on her own face. Apparently she hadn't had time to register what she was doing either. She swam back to shore and for the next hour was so uncomfortable with herself she didn't want anyone to pet or comfort her. 

Another time she decided she should claim her bed in the house. It was my bed. She took every pillow, blanket and sheet she could find and made a massive next right in the middle of the mattress. When I found her on her newly claimed throne and tried to rearrange the bedding back to it's original state, she threw a full tantrum. She jumped from corner to corner, trying to pin things back down as I picked them up. She rolled around on her back to keep from losing the work she'd put in. Eventually she gave up, jumped off the bed, and didn't acknowledge me for a full hour. 

It's been almost two years and lots of adventures since my meltdown in the kitchen, but things feel just as hectic. Although her energy is levelling out and is starting to take direction even if she doesn't feel like it, she's finds ways to keep things interesting and absurd every day. And that's okay with me. 

With that high level of intelligence comes a kind of understanding that can't be broken. When I'm stressed she will bug me relentlessly until I play, as if she's trying to take my mind off of things. When I'm sad she will forcefully place herself on my lap and snuggle until I'm in better spirits.

Being a dog mom comes with a lot of ups and some downs, especially at first. But every single day I'm grateful I picked her. When Charlotte gets SO excited to see me after an hour out of the house or when she does something to make me literally laugh out loud, it's all worthwhile.

Yes, Charlotte is a dog, but she is a handful and she has a ton of personality. As much as I had no clue what I was in for getting my first adult pet, I wouldn't change it for the world. She keeps it interesting and challenges me to be the best (dog) mom I can be. 

So even though it's before 7 a.m. and I have no interest in getting up, I roll out of bed and give her a big hug before we go outside to play. 

Published June 6, 2020
Six Easy Ways To Up Your Nutrient Game
Front Page
2 minute read

Getting started with healthy eating can seem daunting. Most people believe they have to completely overhaul their diet to see health benefits, but that's not necessarily the case! You don't need to eat kale all day or spend hundreds of dollars on supplements to increase your nutrient intake. There are actually smaller steps you can work into your current routine that can have big benefits too. 

A good first step to any change is to build on what you already know. Check out these six super easy ways to increase your nutrient intake without sacrificing your daily routine (note: this does not guarantee weight loss - we're speaking specifically to increasing nutrient intake here):

Throw flax into your morning cereal or oatmeal

Flax is high in omga-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and research suggests it can help people manage or decrease high blood pressure, stabilize or reduce blood glucose levels, and help protect against a variety of chronic diseases. Plus, it's nutty flavour and crunchy texture add a little zip to your favourite breaky!  

Combine whole grain rice, beans, and lentils to create a complete vegan protein source. 

If you're on the Meatless Monday train, dip into some burrito bowls with rice, black beans, chickpeas, and other lentils to create a high-protein meal. Lots of plant-based foods provide partial proteins so it's important to get all kinds of different sources into your diet! Food combinations have been widely studied, and evidence shows that rice, beans, and chickpeas are a great combo,  combining all the essential amino acids you need to fuel your body - plus they're delicious!   

Throw chia seed pudding into the blender. 

Chia has built itself a reputation as a 'superfood' - proven to be high in dietary fibre, good fats, and essential minerals. If you've tried chia seed pudding and can't behind the texture, try throwing it in the blender with a milk alternative, a sweetener like honey, and top it with cocoa or cinnamon! Blending chia will crush up the seeds and make the texture thick and rich. It ends up being a great alternative to your usual afternoon snack filled with sugar and fillers. For a super smooth texture, throw some avocado in as well!    

Soak fruits, veggies, and spices in your water. 

This not only makes drinking water easier and more enjoyable, drinking infused water will help increase your intake of certain vitamins like Vitamin C. Toss lemons, limes, strawberries in with cucumber, mint, or basil for a refreshing sipper!     

Throw mild-flavoured veggies in your smoothies.

I know not everyone loves a kale smoothie, but there are other ways to get fibre and nutrients into your smoothies without 100% sacrificing taste. A handful of frozen cauliflower is a great start. Without really impacting the taste, this glow-up veggie adds extra vitamins and fibre into your drink, as detailed by the USDA. You can also throw some cucumber in with apples and spices for a fresh and fruity blend!    

Mix fruits and veggies into a salad. 

Ever mixed spinach and strawberries in a salad? They go together like PB and jelly! Maybe not exactly the same but you know what I mean... Another great combo is watermelon, mint, and feta - try this recipe if you're ready to level up your salad game. Not only do fruits help to create a delicious salad you'll want to eat, you'll also get a large diversity of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients!

What's your favourite way to up your nutrition game? Have you tried any of the above for yourself? Try these out and let me know how they go, or share your own hacks with me! 

Published June 10, 2020
I Asked A Holistic Health Coach How She Approaches A Balanced Life
3 minute read

Ever wonder what it's like to work in an industry where personal perfection seems to be the only way to thrive? Health and fitness professionals face pressures to showcase perfection every day. Instagram 'stars' like Anna Victoria are applauded when they go against the norms and post more 'realistic' photos of themselves - sitting in a relaxed pose or showing their cellulite in unedited photos. 

The truth is that health and fitness pros have their flaws too. They don't eat perfectly all the time and they don't always feel like working out. One of the biggest emerging topics in the health and fitness industry is that it's okay to have balance! The rise of the 80/20 rule is a perfect example of how people now seek to find that balance. But what does a balanced life look like in practice, and how can we apply that to our own approach to health and wellness?

I sat down with Holistic Health Coach Nicole Tripone to talk about her own approach to nutrition and wellness, healthy habits she sticks to, and how to balance healthy eating with the rest of her hectic life. 

What does your daily routine look like?I am fortunate enough to [work] full time from home … most days I wake up at 7 [a.m.] and start … my day with my 5 minute journal and meditation reading. Then I usually check my work e-mails and drink some water. Then it's time for the holy trinity - water, coffee, and green smoothie ... I have been loving working outside, [and] I feel way more energized and motivated in the day with some sunshine and fresh air. For lunch I try to keep it light so either a homemade soup, salad or my go-to fave chickpea pasta with sautéed kale and mushrooms. The afternoon is pretty much just work and maybe a workout if I can squeeze it in. I think it's important to move throughout the day so I try to get up and walk around often or do some stretches… Dinners are kind of all over the place but I try to eat plant-based [meals] most days and only eat meat/fish 1-2 [times per] week.

How would you describe your approach to health and nutrition?The biggest thing I've learned with my own habits and helping others is that mental wellbeing is key. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical and nutrition, so I love focusing on the "why". Habits are created for a reason, and this goes for both unhealthy and healthy habits so I think it's important to figure out why you do certain things and how to reframe [your mindset] for the better.

What is one healthy habit you stick to consistently?WATER! I am all about hydration and no matter what kind of day I'm having, "healthy" or not, I make sure I drink a ton of water throughout the day.What do you do when you face setbacks in your own health?Checking in with myself to figure out how and why I've had a setback. You can't make changes if you don't know how you got there!

How do you balance your health goals with the rest of your life?[Taking it] one day at a time and not being too hard on yourself. I think it's important to take care of your body by eating well and exercising but I also love things like enjoying a glass of wine with my girlfriends or making homemade pasta with my mom. Life is all about balance, but it's important to take care of your body because you only get one of them :)

What advice do you give to clients who struggle to make change to their nutrition?Start off by focusing on how to improve your favourites. So if you love pasta and tomato sauce try switching to brown rice pasta and making your own sauce at home. Another great trick is to add veggies [to] every meal … instead of changing your nutrition [by putting restrictions on yourself] start off by adding side salads to your meals or snack on some raw [veggies]!

What is one thing you're currently working on with your own health/wellness?Being gentle with myself. When I get overwhelmed I tend to shut down and I'll experience setbacks physically, nutritionally and mentally. I find when this happens it's really easy to spiral so it's important for me to keep in check with myself and listen to what my body needs....sometimes that's taking a break even when you don't think you have the time!

It turns out that there are lots of ways we can live a healthy life, but one of the most important things we can do is make sure to build our healthy habits into existing likes and behaviours. Swapping in healthier versions of foods we enjoy, sneaking extra veggies into our meals, and making time to fully enjoy treats with friends and family! 

Next time you wonder which diet or lifestyle is best for you, remember your approach is totally up to you! Finding balance is part of the game, and like Nicole, there is no need to be perfect with it. 

Published June 10, 2020
Five Affordable Resources You Can Use To Create An Amazing Instagram Page
2 minute read

If you ask any online business what their top tools for online promotion are, many of them are going to tell you social media marketing. A very large majority of companies these days engage on social platforms in some way, and that's because they have big selling power and potential to make a big impression on potential customers.

Of course with all this opportunity, the pressure to create engaging, lead-generating, search optimized and beautiful content can be crippling to business owners who don't specialize in social media. On top of that, Instagram specifically can be intimidating even for skilled marketing professionals who aren't confident in their design skills. 

The truth is that although people might find it tempting to spend lots of money on professional photographers, designers, or other pros when planning their Instagram strategy, there are lots of less expensive resources to use that will help make your feed beautiful. 

Here are five platforms that provide free or inexpensive services that will help you up your Instagram profile:

Canva. Free or paid subscription. Canva allows you to create beautiful designs from scratch or choose from preset templates for a variety of graphics including Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest tiles, posters, ad banners, logos and more. You can upload your own photos or pick from a variety of stock pictures, digital drawings, shapes, etc. to create your Instagram masterpiece! With unlimited colour options and tons of font options, Canva is a great place to start if you're looking for a cheap way to design things on your own.   Adobe Lightroom. Free or paid subscription. To make the most of Adobe products, you generally need a subscription to the software you'd like to use.  However, Lightroom provides a free online and mobile app that allows you to work with photos right from your phone or computer and download them to post to Instagram. Play around with hues, exposure, and effects to make your Instagram photos pop! The mobile app is especially useful because it allows you to edit your photos without having to send your photos back and forth between your phone, computer, or tablets.   Image presets: Paid image packs. There are tons of resources to download preset image filters, and Graphic River (linked) is just one of them. These inexpensive sets have been created to use in Lightroom, so if you've got the free app on your phone you can just download your presets and start using them on your own photos! The process of installing presets is a few steps, but this article breaks down exactly how to go about it. Google Lightroom presets, purchase the one that fits your aesthetic, and install to start creating amazing photos. Hootsuite: Free or paid subscription. Hootsuite offers lots of features that allow you to improve your content across whatever social media platforms are most important to you. The free version allows you to easily review your posts and mentions, and lets you schedule all your content in one place. Opting to upgrade to the paid Professional plan gives you access to data such as your audience demographics, breakdowns of post engagements, and sentiment tracking -- each are important metrics to understand how to tailor your content. Instagram: Free. It may seem silly to mention Instagram, but there are a ton of useful items directly within the Instagram app if you're using a Business or Creator profile. Not only can you see a snapshot of your audience's demographics so that you know who you're actually talking to and can speak to them directly, but you can also see how people find your posts -- i.e. were they following you and saw your feed? Did they find you through a hashtag? Also, you can use various tools on your stories to increase your reach! The more you experiment with the options Instagram has to offer, the more familiar you'll be with the best ways to engage your audience and create beautiful content.

Once you start taking a look around the internet, you'll find there are a ton of free resources that can help you up your Instagram game! Of course, none of this is useful unless you have a solid social media and marketing strategy, so make sure before you start using these tools you know what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and how you want to say it. Planning is the most important tool of all! 

Published June 23, 2020
A Comprehensive Guide To Planning An Online Conference
Front Page
6 minute read

Many companies by now have mastered the art of the Zoom meeting. With the increase of work-from-home orders through the spring months, and some companies continuing it into summer, Zoom and other video chat apps have become a new staple in companies' digital resources. However, lots of companies who previously hosted more complex in-person events, like conferences, may be struggling to figure out how to host a productive and meaningful online event.

What companies need right now is an understanding of what online events, specifically larger conference-style meetings, will entail.  Here is an outline of how to plan online events as well as some general considerations when thinking about hosting your own!

Before Event

Plan event theme, topic, and overall messaging. This isn't new to event planning. You want to know exactly what value your conference will provide attendees and speakers, as well as how your own company will benefit. Make sure to tie the event in to a larger company strategy or marketing campaign. 

Organize sponsorships. Most in-person conferences include sponsorship opportunities. For online conferences, sponsorships can still be managed for items like digital speaking opportunities, digital ad space on your event landing page, or background banners during certain meetings and keynotes! Make a list of sponsorship opportunities, set up an online sponsorship application, and advertise these through email campaigns or even paid advertising!  

Book meetings and speakers. Before you even start promoting to the general public, make a list of all the potential speakers you'd like to have present, contact them with a pitch, and book them in for a time slot. Because the event isn't in one physical space there unlimited availability to host multiple presentations at once.   

Finalize a schedule. Remember to include breaks for people to stretch their legs, freshen up, or eat lunch!   

Set up digital infrastructure. If you are not already registered with an online conferencing app, create an account and ensure your subscription type will support the large amount of meetings and attendees required. Each meeting will require its own room, and therefore each attendee will need to register themselves for each meeting they'd like to attend via Zoom or other conferencing apps. Most apps provide the option for people to register themselves for a meeting. It's also highly advisable to require a password to each meeting so 'Zoom bombers' don't take over.  

Host registrations through a third party. The easiest way to manage event registrations is through a platform like Eventbrite. You can input custom questions to gage peoples' interest in topics you'll be presenting on. Then you can vet the list and send personalized emails suggesting specific meeting sign-ups through Zoom links or whichever conferencing app you use.    

Plan your communications. How will you let potential attendees know about your event? Will you email an exclusive list of newsletter subscribers? Will you post about it on LinkedIn? Perhaps you'll get your presenters to publish a piece relevant to their topic with a call to action announcing their participation in the event? Lock and load your strategy beforehand and be very clear in your instructions about what to expect for this new type of event.  

Send multiple reminder emails or social media posts with the same clear instructions used in the first communication so that attendees and interested parties don't miss out on any of the amazing content you and your speakers are ready to provide!   

Book physical presentation spaces. Anyone hosting a presentation or running a meeting should have a designated professional-looking meeting room or set with good lighting, no distractions, and a very strong internet connection. For larger meetings, it's a good idea to book a studio space where only a few people need to be present to film and record the speaker. Other smaller meetings might only require the presenter to have their own private meeting room.  

Vet your attendee list. As with any new endeavour, there will always be some hiccups. Remember to minimize the amount of confusion by cross referencing a registrant's interests (as pulled from the Eventbrite registration) with their confirmed meetings. If it appears they're missing out on certain meetings, be sure to communicate with them and send links to meetings they might be interested in. This is extra work for the event planning team but it goes a long way in helping people gain respect and interest in your company and your event!  

Assign roles for day-of activities. During an in-person conference you have multiple team members taking care of various items. While online meetings mean lots of elements are taken away like catering, setup and staging, there are some unexpected roles that team members will need to take on. Be sure to have someone assigned to each meeting to check attendees, contact those who have not made it after the first five minutes, and mediate the conversation as needed. Surprisingly, with multiple meetings going on at once, this can add up to a lot of people dividing and conquering!  

Set up run-throughs with each presenter. Make sure each presenter is in the space they're booked to present in and using the devices they're planning to use so that you can work out any technical, lighting, audio, or other issues beforehand. Ensure that they understand who their mediator is and what their cues are. 

During Event

Hit record. Make sure all of your meetings are recorded so that you can repurpose them for future use, or redistribute them to people who couldn't make the conference.  

Check attendees against registrants. Make sure to contact anyone that has registered and not shown up within the first five minutes with a reminder that the presentation has started.   

Mediate. Make sure that whomever is assigned to mediate the meeting can establish the meeting outline and ensure attendees and presenters understand the structure of the meeting and how they can communicate with each other. Point out features that people can use such as the chat to ask questions, visual cues on their video if needed, etc. Also, establish whether people will be automatically muted or if they are encouraged to use their microphones during the meeting.  

Set up breaks. If meetings are longer, remember to take small recesses for people to freshen up, absorb the information, and grab a refreshment.  

Request feedback. This is a great way to solicit written feedback directly from attendees. Ask them to answer questions throughout presentations in the comments, or send them a link at the end of the presentation to fill out a feedback survey! 

Following Event

Communicate with your attendees. Thank them for attending your online conference, and for bearing through the inevitable technical challenges you'll face. Remind them of a few highlights and takeaways from the conference, and even send them snippets of some of the recorded content so that they get a refresher about how amazing and insightful the presentations were!  

Communicate with the wider audience. Here's where the repurposed content comes in handy. Use snippets of content for ongoing communications through repurposed videos, blogs and newsletters with takeaways and stats from the conference, news and thought leadership about any announcements or new ideas made in the meetings!  

Debrief. Be very aware that because this is a new way of hosting a large event, things will not go smoothly the entire time. Make sure to celebrate your successes with vigour - hosting an online conference for the first time is a brave move! Debrief on the good and the bad. Whatever hiccups you experienced are items you know to focus on more intently next time.   

Set a baseline for future events. Every company is going to operate and host conferences in different ways. Use your first event as a playbook to plan other online conferences. The more practise you get, the more direction you'll have with future events! Keep updating your playbook as you continue to learn and get better at online event hosting. 

Qualify feedback. Use the feedback you received from attendees (whether through in-chat Q&A's or a follow-up survey) and incorporate it into future event plans. Make sure that you complete this step. Every event should focus on creating an amazing experience for your attendees, so their opinions are extremely important! 

General Considerations

Consider the structure and how to break it up. Conferences usually begin with a keynote, break out into smaller sessions, and finish with an end keynote. It is possible to do the same with online meetings by hosting one online keynote to kick things off (possibly with one speaker still on 'stage' to deliver the address) and smaller breakout webinars, town halls, or other interactive rooms.  Make sure to have links to each room registration scheduled before you announce the conference, so that people can automatically click and register to participate.

Appoint the appropriate people to run different meetings. Each meeting will look different depending on whether it's an address (where one speaker is talking and others are simply listening and watching), a collaboration session (where all participants are able to speak and share ideas), or a webinar (where there are presenters followed by a Q&A portion). Any meeting that allows participants to speak and engage with one another needs a moderator who can mute and un-mute participants, read comments in the chat, and establish the house rules for the call.  

Set rules. Since video calls are still the 'new' normal, people will need some guidance about what to expect and how to behave during the call. Write out a list of guidelines that all participants can review beforehand, and have the moderator review them at the start of the call. For example, during a collaboration session, perhaps create a visual cue that participants use if they'd like to say something, or during a webinar, ask all participants to write their questions in the chat bar and keep other comments or chat items to a minimum so that the moderators can filter questions more easily at the end. 

Schedule breaks. If the conference is spanning the full day or multiple days, remember to schedule breaks between the meetings just like you would in person. People will still need time to stretch their legs, freshen up, and grab a drink or debrief with colleagues via text or phone calls. 

If you've previously planned or thought about planning an online conference, I want to hear from you! Let me know the good, the bad, and the unexpected in the comments! 

Published June 23, 2020
Case Study: Providing Online Fitness Training To Beginner Exercisers
6 minute read

Online fitness training has been gaining popularity among fitness professionals in recent years, but until recently only a few forms of online training have really caught on in a mainstream way.

Self-guided programs and fitness apps have become popular over the last five or so years. Other options like one-on-one virtual training haven't received the same amount of online hype. However, closing gyms and other public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many personal trainers and fitness professionals to shift their training programs from in-person to online channels.

Are there benefits to online training programs that can't be realized with in-person training? Are there setbacks? During October of 2019, we hosted an eight-week online training program with 10 women, and saw some notable results. Here are a few of the takeaways.

Program Setup

Overview

The eight week program consisted of a weekly workout schedule, nutrition coaching, individual check-ins with participants, as well as coaching videos about various fitness and nutrition topics. These topics were specifically focused on learning how to incorporate health and fitness into your lifestyle, what to do when you experience setbacks, and how to stay accountable to yourself. The majority of communication was through text message, email, Facebook comments and the coaching videos.

The goals for each woman by the end of the course were:

To lose inches and improve overall body shape, as shown through progress photos.  To improve movement patterns, as shown through various functional movements such as squats and planks. To incorporate healthy habits into their lifestyle, such as learning new healthy recipes, finding healthy alternatives to foods they enjoyed, and incorporating more movement into their weekly routine. To establish habits that would last long-term, measured through follow ups approximately three months following the end of the program.

Structure

Participants were invited to a private Facebook group where they were encouraged to share their experiences, ask questions, and provide thoughts on health and wellness information they were gathering themselves. 

Before the program began, participants were required to submit their body measurements, photos that were posed to show their body shape and composition, and videos to showcase their movement patterns. They were also asked to submit these documents four weeks into the program and during the last week of the program. 

Each participant was provided feedback based on their movement patterns, and provided individual stretches or exercises to practise on top of their workout schedules. Participants were also required to keep a journal of all their meals and workouts each week and submit them on Sunday for review by their coaches. Coaches then provided feedback based on the individual's weekly performance. 

All workouts were designed to be completed easily at home, or could be completed at the gym if they chose. All nutrition guidelines encouraged participants to use ingredients that were easy to find in a grocery store and items they would likely already have in their homes.

Program Findings

During the first two weeks of the program, all 10 women followed the program almost exactly. By the end of the program, four women were consistently following the workouts and nutrition coaching, and viewing the weekly discussions. Three women were still sending journals, but their journals and comments showed that they were having difficulty following the workouts and nutrition coaching by the end of the program. Three women stopped sending their weekly journals after the third to fifth weeks.

Of the four women who stuck with the program... 

Most lost size. An average of 10 inches per woman within the eight weeks was reported. 

All improved their movement patterns. All four women improved their ability to perform functional movements such as squats and planks through a stronger spatial awareness and understanding of how to engage specific muscles to perform movements properly. Additionally, stretches and exercises assigned to the participants assisted in ease of movement through these exercises.  

All adopted healthy lifestyle habits. Coaching was conducted online and women were provided the tools to apply to their own lives, thus putting all of the accountability on themselves to use the information they received. The women who stuck with it assumed full accountability and adopted new healthy lifestyle habits such as getting up early to work out before work, planning more active weekend activities, and creating healthier versions of foods they enjoyed.  

All continued to practise some healthy habits. When followed up with three months later, all four women reported that even if they were not as consistent with their workout and nutrition plans (though some were), all of them made more of an effort to eat healthier, work out on a regular basis, and continue practising the lifestyle habits they'd picked up in their eight week program. 

Of the three women who submitted journals but experienced difficulty... 

Some lost size. An average of three inches per woman was reported over the 8 week period. 

All improved their movement patterns. It appears that even if participants did not follow their workout schedule and personalized stretches or exercises completely, they were able to increase their spatial awareness and be more in tune with their body's movement patterns to be able to complete functional movements like squats and planks with more ease than when they began.  

All adopted healthy lifestyle habits. A common thread amongst the women who continued submitting their journals was the ease with which they were able to adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as finding healthy versions of foods they enjoyed and planning more active weekend activities. All women in this category found it easier to adopt the new lifestyle habits than to follow the workout and nutrition program exactly. Therefore, we see value in coaching not only workouts and nutrition but also easy or manageable lifestyle changes that help improve health. 

All continued practising one or a few healthy habits. Each of the women in this group reported continuing to make healthier foods or healthier versions of treats, or reported more activity in their daily routine three months after the program ended. 

Of the three women who stopped sending anything...

Some evidence was inconclusive.

 Unfortunately there was not enough data to conclude anything concrete about this groups measurement or movement patterns. 

All women missed crucial training elements. When contacted for feedback, each of these women reported that they did not apply any of the lifestyle tools to their lives. In fact, each of them had missed some or many of the coaches' Live videos or emails. This means that any size gain or loss wouldn't have been a result of the program, and the same could be said about changes in movement patterns.  

All women required further support. Each woman identified that they did not feel they could rely on themselves to stick to the program. Although support comes in multiple forms, a lack of accountability to another individual could be a large contributing factor in these women's experiences through the program. 

Some women continued practising one or a few healthy habits. Although this group experienced difficulty following a structured program, it appears that being part of the program helped them begin to take an audit of their lifestyle habits and begin incorporating one or a few healthy habits into their routine. This may have come about from a sense of guilt or 'making up for' missing workouts and not eating as healthy as they had planned to during their programs. All women either began incorporating healthier elements into their meals or increasing their activity levels each week.

Takeaways

Size and Inches

Through online training, it is highly possible to lose inches and change body composition. As long as movement increases and attention is given to improving nutrition (and, likely, reducing caloric input), online training can yield positive results. Results will likely be more drastic for those who stick to their programs more closely. 

Movement Patterns

Assessing movement and providing proper cues and coaching to improve movement patterns is an aspect of training that may seem difficult to perform through online communication. In the case of specialists such as physiotherapists and chiropractors, it could be argued that online servicing may not be ideal. However in the case of personal training, it appears the proper cues, stretches, and exercises can assist an otherwise healthy person in improving their movement patterns. Once again, results will likely be more drastic for those who stick to their programs and follow feedback more closely. 

Lifestyle Habits

Our participants' results in this area show that even by signing up for a fitness and nutrition program encourages you to adopt healthier habits. Although some participants did not follow the workout and nutrition coaching on a consistent basis, it appears that they all took an audit of their current habits and took action to make healthier choices that worked for them. This positive change continued after the program was over for almost all participants. 

Accountability

Participants who were able to stay accountable to themselves saw excellent results from online training. Those who were not able to keep committed the entire time may have been missing some level of accountability to another person. One element that was missing from the program was face-to-face interaction and scheduled meeting times to review progress throughout the program. Participants were responsible for deciding whether or not they watched the coaching videos, and may not have felt required to respond to emails, text messages, and comments on the Facebook group. Perhaps if weekly one-on-one check-ins or training sessions had been required via Zoom or FaceTime, more participants would have followed the program closely. 

Feasibility

Online coaching can, in fact, yield positive results in participants. Coaches who wish to take advantage of this newer frontier should meticulously consider each client and their needs before designing an online program for them. As with every in-person client who has a coaching program based on their needs, every online client needs a personalized program as well as communication structures that work for them. Some will require much more assistance than others, and each will require communication channels that work for them. Familiarity with many tools including text, email, video conferencing, and social media should help coaches develop programs that yield positive results for most clients.

Published June 24, 2020