I don’t know about other online coaches. I’ve been around for at least 15 years and this is the first time that I see a big change in the individualized online programming and coaching scene. The first and obvious reason is that our traditional clients used to have access to a gym – now they don’t. The other reason is that there is nothing to program for. There is no goal except not losing strength, power and sanity.

In other logs, I described a different type of client that I had: people who would only exercise at home and alone, which was a big challenge. They were five or 6 during all these years.

The big change, though, is that all the professional trainers, good and bad, who equipped themselves with a decent video-making apparatus are offering a lot of free online material. Not only that, but chain gyms are offering online classes to their clients and free health apps.

I give advice to at least 10 different people every week concerning physical activity. It’s free advice that I consider my obligation to provide like I provide explanations about epidemiology, virology and breaking down public health recommendations into doable things.

I wonder if there will be a space for online coaching after the pandemic. I wonder if this exceptional time isn’t what was needed for the potential customers to realize, one, that most of the self-promoted online coaches are scammers. And, two, that maybe they don’t need even the real ones: there are simple templates for free everywhere (here, at elitefts, you can find several) and there is an immense video-library of exercises for free on youtube.

Except for a few people who compete in powerlifting or strongman or those who just feel good with a program made just for them, I’m not sure who will be attracted to this service.

If this happens, in a sense, it will be a relief. If all goes well, it might select better coaches in general. Whoever survives the pandemic without great strength and conditioning loss will understand that they don’t need baby-sitters and, even less, cookie-cutter programs copied and pasted “just for you”.

Questions I get asked:

Can I take a walk, jog or bike outside?

At this point, there is no “zero-chance” situation for contagion. It’s all a question of probability. There is solid published evidence that the SARS-Cov-2 is airborne and also good evidence that it is much more resistant than other viruses to oxygen toxicity, surviving over dry surfaces for up to two weeks. The problem with doing things outdoors is that you can’t control what the wind brings. A pathogen becomes airborne through the bioaerosol of body fluids but also by being able to attach itself to a dust particle. The right answer is that there is always an unknown probability of inhaling a particle with a hitchhiking virus.

What about my apartment’s porch? I live on the 12th floor.

The same applies. But let’s be realistic: is your chance=x of inhaling viable virions by dancing on your porch higher than the chance=y of contagion by receiving a delivery package, transferring it to a place inside your home, unwrapping it from the plastic or box and throwing it away, and then maybe leaving some spots uncleaned? Washing your hands but failing to spread soap over that part of your arm that touched the infected box? I’d say dancing on the porch of the 12th floor might not be riskier than our possible social distancing protocols. It’s not zero but it’s not high.

How can I maintain strength?

There are infinite combinations of bodyweight, bands and kettlebell exercises that are quite effective in maintaining and developing strength. Will it maintain your powerlifter strength? Of course not: remember the specificity principle.

How can I maintain conditioning?

Open youtube: there will be an overload of options including whole online classes. You can design your own circuits or follow a preformatted one. I have a ton of them. Maybe I’ll publish all of them here in the next weeks.