What Is The Value Of An Online Diet Coach?

The online diet coach/trainer is a new concept. There are very few online coaches, each with their own methods. I can’t speak for them. I only talk here about my own views. 

Most personal trainers you’ll meet at your local gym want you as a customer for life. I don’t. I think that is a shitty business model. – Keep you confused, never explain things fully, always make it seem difficult so that you feel that you need them and keep coming back… Reminds me of the Hostess industry here in Japan where the hostess will drag out the relationship for as long as possible to get the most money from the client before she either sleeps with him or he gets bored and moves on…. It has to end somewhere and invariably that ending is not a happy one.

My Personal Goal When Coaching Clients

I show you the system in which I do things, and set you free to achieve your goals. 

Everyone starts at a different point. I’ve tried to reflect this variety on the results page. Some start in a position where they can get shredded after 12 weeks, many don’t. Some are just guys that are starting on their journey and want to get things set up in the right direction so they don’t waste years on a change that could have been brought about a lot quicker. One thing is universally true though: 12 weeks is never enough, everyone raises the bar as they progress. Even those incredibly ripped guys you see, they all seek improvement.

However12 weeks usually is sufficient to leave you at a point where you understand the system and rules within which I work, and have confidence to move forward knowing what you have to do to achieve your goals.

I don’t believe in keeping people hanging or trying to get people to sign up again. Happy clients lead to referrals, which is good business, and I can impact more people this way.

The best situation for me is when a client completes the course, they’re happy, know how they’re going to continue and I don’t hear from them for a long while. Then… *bam* six months later a photo of them with a beaming smile and a story turns up in my inbox. To say that it makes my day is an understatement. – There was one morning at the end of November where I dropped my cloak of manliness momentarily as a succession of three e-mails brought tears to my eyes.

The Common Misconception

With the exception of friends that I choose to work with one to one in Osaka, all my client interactions are online, through e-mail. (Experience has taught me that e-mail works better.) Many people I talk to are baffled by this and wonder what possible value online coaching can hold. I can understand that. Most people believe that they need to sweat to make a change, and thus by extension, by hiring a local personal trainer they believe they will make a change.

Their logic is flawed.

Training alone won’t get you there. Past the inevitable plateau only the right nutritional strategy combined with the right training program for your current goals will will help you progress. Diet. Training. These two things go hand in hand. I’d go as far as to say that 70% of the change comes from diet – a fact that most people overlook and neglect. That’s why I created this site: To try and help fix the knowledge gap on the diet and programming side of the equation. Abs are absolutely made in the kitchen. Don’t overlook that fact.

Why Online?

I think, perhaps controversially, that working with people online gives me an opportunity to actually be better, to do a better job at giving you the changes you desire than the guy you are likely to find locally.

It allows me the opportunity to work with far more people, which gives me a broader experience base from which to draw when setting things up for the client, making suggestions on the path to take, and when proposing changes when things don’t go to plan. This experience gives me the ability to recognize common mistakes, spot patterns, and though it almost sounds silly, sometimes know by intuition rather than formalized rules what to do to spur progress. It isn’t as simple as the one-stop online diet calculators suggest, a point I’ve touched on in various articles, and recently in those on tracking and patience.

The best online coach is always going to be the man with the most experience, provided they care enough to analyze things and apply what they learn from their client interactions. I am much better at this than I was a year ago, far inferior to what I will be in a year, and pale in comparison to guys with the experience of Alan and Martin.

The best online coach is always going to be the man with the most experience, provided they care enough…

There are some great trainers out there. However, unless your local trainer (physically present, in your gym) has the knowledge and breadth of experience to set up both your diet and training in conjunction, and know what to do as you progress, then they are of limited use to you.

I don’t buy into the fact that we need a trainer to motivate us. – Motivation comes from seeing progress – just make sure you know how to track it.

Speak to a local trainer if you are new to an exercise and when checking your form periodically. See a specialist sports physiotherapist (physical therapist) if you have an injury or imbalance.

I think the pro’s of hiring an online coach; breadth of experience and ability to put all pieces of the puzzle together to create the overall plan, make it a choice that is worth serious consideration.

Thanks for reading.

Online Diet CoachPart 2: 

In many ways we are lucky to live in a world where information is freely available at our fingertips, however, I would say that we can suffer because of it. This article focuses on the specifics of what I think makes a good coach, and the five key areas in which I help clients.

Read more…

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About the Author

Andy Morgan

I am the founder of RippedBody.com, this is my sincere effort to build the best nutrition and training guides on the internet. Some readers hire me to coach them, which I've been doing online, via email, for the last six years. If you're interested in individualized, one-on-one nutrition and training coaching to help you crush your physique goals, let's start the conversation.

58 Comments on “What Is The Value Of An Online Diet Coach?”

  1. […] the article What is the Value of an Online Diet Coach? I talked about the specific benefits I think working with an online coach holds vs one you can […]

  2. […] What is the Value of an Online Diet Coach? […]

  3. derekwhittle says:

    Good morning Andy,

    Hope this is the right place to post this. Just wondering if after our first month working together do I wait for you to contact me for the checking or do i just send over my progress info after week 4?


    1. Send me your spreadsheet at the update point marked in yellow. If in doubt, that’s 4 weeks after you started.

  4. Jettie says:

    Hello, I’m an Asian following the LG tool.

    Just read your articles and you answers some gray shades on leangains.com, that was awesome. However, I’m new to this, is there any trials for this?

    Actually I’m on my IF 16/8 too ( since January ) though rice is the staple food here in Philippines and found hard to do the carb cycling during the rest day( fat day) because I don’t have the slightest idea what meal should I eat.
    I want to do bulk on LG protocol.

    1. Sorry what do you mean by trials?

  5. […] What is the value of an online diet coach? […]

  6. Leonard Souza says:

    Hey Andy,

    Well, I thought my lower back had gotten better, but I was wrong. My deadlift workout today left me in a lot of pain. I reduced my first deadlift set’s weight by 30%, and could barely perform it. I decided to use a trap bar for my second set, which went better, but still at a reduced weight.

    I have an appointment with a chiropractor who specializes in strength training, so hopefully he can set me on a track to recovery (I’m also going to start trigger point therapy). In the meantime, I don’t know if I’ll be able to hit my previous numbers on compound exercises, at least for a couple weeks, if not longer. So, in this instance, what do I do? I know on a cut I’m susceptible to muscle loss, so should I stop cutting until I heal? Or, do I just keep cutting with reduced weight?

    Thanks for your help. I’m super bummed about this.


    1. You gotta listen to the advice of your doctor and follow that. For what to do regarding the diet see the FAQ in the macros mail. Unless your doctor tells you to avoid being in a deficit while you recover.

  7. Paloma says:

    “I do almost everything online now, most my shopping, much of my communications, and most of my work. It’s a worldwide marketplace, so why would I limit my search for a training and nutrition coach to just someone local?”

    I totally agree with this sentence, Mark 🙂

    And returning to the subject of this post, it is been just 2 weeks since I started my coach program with Andy, and it works!
    Cycling carbs (I was eating almost zero cabs and 90% paleo) and barbell training is just what I needed and would never had tried this hard (specially being a lean lady) without Andy telling me exactly what to do.
    From here, I encourage all ladies to try it. I have reduced my waist in almost 2 cm and feel my abs all the time there, working. It is not only a matter of looking good, it is a matter of feeling much better! Despite all my previous (and not well focused) training, I was quite weak, an hated it.



    PS: My husband at the beginning was a little scared, now he´s not any more, as he sees that I am not to going to become The Hulk, just working on a youthful body. 🙂

  8. Olaf says:

    I couldn’t agree more
    I had my doubts about this whole “online coaching” I really did.
    But I thought about how many times i google answers to my questions at a daily rate and how many times I read things that are utterly wrong. I had enough of half-baked programs from my local gym, or the “in only 6 weeks you will have rockhard abbs like this or that fitness model don’t mind the Photoshop usage and dehydration in all those cover pictures” programs that 98% of all pages advertise to sell supplements. I wanted the truth as ugly or beautifully it may be, I wanted the roadmap to success without shortcuts or excuses – natural, straight and consistent.
    And you know what Andy’s first response to my call for action was?
    He told me that his work, this program is NO magic bullet, that he doesn’t believe in supplements and that he won’t make hastily decisions but will take time to measure the success….was I convinced? You bet I was!
    Andy knows the way and he will show you a path to your personal success and this path is different than anybody else’s… the same principles apply but the cherry on top is individual work.

    Thank you Andy I hope my work will make us both proud at the end 😉

    1. Thanks for the kind words Olaf. I’ve found that the vast majority of people like straight talk when I tell then what they need to be doing and why.

  9. Will says:

    What are your thoughts on Martin’s recent blogpost?

    1. A great post as usual.

  10. Nick says:

    Hey Andy –

    Really appreciate the information you provide on this site.

    I wanted to run a question past you if it was ok; if this isn’t the place then I understand.

    In reference to post workout consumption of 10grams of BCAA’s every 2 hours to stimulate protein synthesis until feeding. How long could you stretch this until you start approaching catabolism. I know Martin said protein synthesis starts to climb 3 to 4 hours post workout, just curious if I worked out in the morning and wasn’t able to get my first meal 4 to 5 hours after initial workout but kept consuming BCAAs, would this be ok?

    Thanks again, sorry for such a long winded question


    1. I don’t know, but I it’s not an issue within the context of your 8/16 fasted set up in a 24 hour period. 4-5 hours will be fine.

  11. Strat_Nat (@Strat_Nat) says:

    Thanks, Andy, for another awesome article. I also like the part about motivation “I don’t buy into the fact that we need a trainer to motivate us. – Motivation comes from seeing progress”. I used to believe the opposite until I ran into too many people who’d find any excuse under the sun justt avoid working yet wanted me to bring about the results they wished for.

    1. So what did you do for these people?

  12. Ryan says:

    Andy – what’s the longest you recommend going on a cut? I’ve got a fair amount of bodyfat and I was thinking that if I’m still making progress after 12 weeks, why not continue? I have a vacation that will be 15 totals weeks from the beginning of my cut, do you think it’s ok to cut for 15 weeks? I figure the vacation will be a perfect time for a diet break!

    1. Lyle, who has more experience than me, says 6-12 weeks depending on bf level. However if you have done 12 and have 3 weeks to a deadline then just continue and have it then.

  13. Jeremy says:

    I’ve been working with Andy now for about 8 weeks. I have to say that this experience has been the best training and nutrition experience that I’ve ever had. Andy has helped me to remove all the “guess work,” and I’m also not stressing over my diet all the time – I just KNOW that I’m on the right track. Thank you for everything Andy!

  14. Ryan says:

    Hey Andy – do you see any problem with getting half of your carb numbers from fruit during a cut?

    1. Not unless you’re an athlete or other person with higher than average carb needs.

  15. Dale says:

    Good stuff, Andy. Especially liked your comments on motivation. I tell my clients that motivation is something *they* bring to the table and that enthusiasm is what comes *out of* their consistent adherence to sustainable strategies.

    1. Clients as in gym clients? What do you find the most difficult thing regarding motivation and how do you go about dealing with it?

      1. Dale says:

        My demographic is likely different than yours, primarily broken down Baby Boomers with more modest goals. Typically, a new client will come to me with trepidations. They almost invariably expect me to prescribe a restrictive diet and arduous cardio routine.

        For them, the feasibility of the minimalist approach is what they’ve been waiting to hear all along. It’s sort of a “Hey, I can stick with that!” moment for them. That alone is often enough to spur them along. Make sense ?

        1. Perfect sense. Good to hear actually.

  16. Suhail says:

    Hello Andy. Thanks a lot for all your articles. I have made a lot of improvements to my strength and physique, since a life threatening illness, thanks to your nuggets of wisdom. The glowing praise of your clients is seriously making me consider a consultation when I reach a plateau with my gains. I was also wondering if you will ever visit Birmingham again?

    1. Suhall, great to hear that. My family is in Birmingham, I go home from time to time to visit but that’s family time, not work time.

      1. Suhail says:

        Of course thats understandable. Was just wondering if you had ever returned or if you had cut all ties with Birmingham. It must have been intimidating the first time you moved to such a different place. Was also wondering if you had any tips for pushing past plateaus.

        1. You’ll need to be way more specific.

          1. Suhail says:

            I am stuck with my deadlift. I have been pulling 2.2*bw for my maximal set for a few months now but can’t seem to pull anymore consistently.

            1. Depends who you speak to. Many power lifters tell you to eat through your sticking points. The Westside boys tell you to increase variety. Could be just that you need some periodisation. Have a look at Rippetoe’s programming book.

  17. Nick says:

    Hello Andy, Happy New Year. What a great article and I could not agree with you more. Your advice and insight have been instrumental in my progress. Looking forward to re-connecting. (BTW, the “Eat like a King” holiday post has been a great roadmap this season)

    1. Ah glad it was helpful Nick!

  18. Thanks for the insights Andy, I am looking forward to Part 2. I am branching out into online training myself, and have been following you for awhile (and have talked to many of your clients hahah), and KNOW that I can make so much more of a difference then someone else they could hire that is there physically, but much less knowledgable or caring. I think what we have to offer clients is completely on par (or more) with hiring a trainer in the flesh. Often clients will only hire a dietician or a trainer, and not both. Offering the complete package is what is needed, but hard to do in a typical “gym” setting where you go to find help!

    1. Agreed and most people that (rightfully) go to a gym for help don’t know what help they require. I haven’t bothered advertising in my gym or any local gyms here, don’t shout about what I do. Only a couple of the trainers and a few members I’m friendly with know. I just keep quiet otherwise.

  19. Mark says:

    I’m completely convinced by the online trainer and diet coach model. What Andy offers is something I’ve been searching for locally for ages because he bridges both training and nutrition, and he promotes an achievable and sustainable programme that I can continue indefinitely. I’m early in, but already can see and feel the progress and am extremely pleased so far.

    I can’t tell you how many trainers I’ve “interviewed” looking for this kind of approach. Here in London, you think it would be easy. Wrong! The first challenge is to get them to call you back, then most are almost completely clueless about nutrition, then most want to charge up to £50+ per hour for their “expertise” using a long term contract that only applies to training. Andy responded promptly and comprehnsively, but most importantly, he made sure that I was informed and that we were a good fit for working together. I was impressed that he took the time to really “interview” me as well. Considering all he offers, it’s also extremely reasonable from a cost perspective. At the end of the day, I’m the one who has to accomplish this, so the online coaching arrangement works. Plus, I can do this all from home with my weight set up and most importantly my kitchen. No excuses.

    I do almost everything online now, most my shopping, much of my communications, and most of my work. It’s a worldwide marketplace, so why would I limit my search for a training and nutrition coach to just someone local? I found out about Andy through a very positive reference on Mark’s Daily Apple. If you want one of the best, consider expanding your search globally, and you will find Andy.


    1. Mark, thank you very much for the kind words. Appreciate it.
      To any one reading, please note that Mark has an excellent home barbell set up, not a set of pink dumbbells.

  20. Boris Ewenstein says:

    I’ve also worked with Andy and have greatly benefited from his advice and knowledge. Andy is very responsive and I really like his direct, unmitigated style. However, one of the main advantages to working with an online coach – for me at least – came from just having someone out there who keeps you honest and disciplined. I’m less likely to binge if I know that my monthly update (including pics!) is due in 5 days or so. I don’t want to embarrass myself and let my coach down. To me this little forcing device was absolutely critical. The fact that there was some distance between us was also important: a trainer in your local gym might be too apologetic and eager to please: “no problem, mate, you’re doing fine; we’ll iron out the occasional binge, etc”. The physical trainer will want to make you happy. Andy will keep you honest. Having said all that, I do value a training partner (trainer or otherwise) who can get those last 3, 4 reps out of you 😉

    1. Thanks for sharing this Boris. 🙂

  21. David says:

    I’ve been training for 30 years and about to hit 50 years old. Best money I’ve ever spent. You’ve taught me how to eat but more importantly, how to train. I’m working out far less than ever before and I’m setting PR’s on the big lifts. Training is fun again as old injuries have healed. I’m more healthy because of fasting. And you’re spot on when you mention that twelve weeks is just the beginning; because once you grasp the diet plan, stay patient and consistent the results will come.

    Thanks again to you.

    1. Thanks David. Have a great 2013!

  22. John says:

    I have just recently finished my 12 week challenge with Andy. Working with him has been GREAT, for the first time in my life I’ve seen changes in my body and increased my strength and he’s right when he says that 12 weeks is only the beginning, when you see the initial results you strive for more and now you have the tools to get where you want. God bless you Andy and have a great 2013

    1. You too John. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Nick says:

    Happy new year Andy (& everyone else)

    Here’s too a great 2013

  24. John Dela Rosa says:

    Andy’s methods definitely works. Been training for almost 2 years with little to no desirable progress at all. This is the first time in my life ive seen changes! I’d like to buy this man someday a beer.

  25. louisXIV says:

    Excellent piece, Andy. And thanks for the explications along the way. All the best for the New Year!

    1. Thanks Louis, you too.

  26. Erik says:

    Can vouch for all of it Andy. I was skeptical of the whole online aspect and can even say that there really isn’t any info that isn’t already on your or Martin’s site. But what I Gained from the experience was HUGE!! I learned where I was in my journey and how to progress, How to track that progress and improve on a long term basis. If all you provided was accountability that would be worth it. But you also provided support and simplicity that made it possible to stay on the right track and that perspective is priceless in this field.
    thanks again Andy. Ill get an update to you soon.

    1. Cheers bud, look forward to it!

  27. Ben Johnson says:

    I’m using Andy now, almost 11 weeks in, and couldn’t recommend it more. Saves hours of research, months of trial and error, and it teaches you something you can apply for the rest of your life. You aren’t dependent on having a trainer present to make progress.

    1. Alexandre Mello says:

      I must agree with Ben

      I´m on the 9th week of Andy´s coaching and experimenting amazing progress. And best of it – strenght increasing, and saving a lot in supplements that I really didn´t need; just the right amount of food and correct forms of training.

      His teachings make us realize you can get to the point
      you want. And it is simpler than you touhgth. Just time, and following the instructions.

      As for the rest, Andy had say it all in this site, repeatedly.

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