Strive by Matthew Douglas Personal Training

Taking my Business Online

The Beginning

It took me a long time to understand online personal training. The whole idea of it seemed absurd and I seriously doubted that results with clients could be the same if I wasn’t seeing them every week.

I mean, can you even build a proper rapport with clients online?

In April 2020, the pandemic was well and truly here. Unable to carry out my routine 1-1 sessions with clients, I found myself on very unfamiliar ground and without a source of income. While I tried to stay calm on the surface, the truth was, I had no idea how to deal with this situation.

I had somehow decided in my head that I had lost my source of income despite clients messaging me and asking to pay for plans that they could do at home. Eventually, I could see they were right, and I decided to do it. Even though I had years of PT experience and could make plans in my sleep, the technology side of things was never my strong suit. I was comfortable with using Microsoft Word and quietly hoped that people would value the content and not worry about the basic format with dodgy tables. In truth, when I reflect, I am deeply embarrassed about the quality. This embarrassment drove me to continue to work on my skills to develop the type of service I wanted to provide for my clients. Even though I wanted to improve, it didn’t happen overnight, I struggled to make much money and even lost some clients due to my poor effort and organisation.


“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.

Winston Churchill.

Rousing Churchill quote in mind, I do come out of this story like a phoenix from the ashes. Like Ali winning the world title or Da Vinci finally getting the Mona Lisa just right…

Ok, maybe I shouldn’t quite be comparing myself to Muhammad Ali or Da Vinci, but my point is that I kept working. I knew where my weakness was, and I wasn’t going to let it get in the way of my success.

While I was working behind the scenes to develop an online fitness platform on par with Facebook (I jest), I was given a lifeline. I was able to resume training people from one other household outdoors. This was the moment I gained momentum and found the determination in myself to push for more.

Not long after, my website went live. I imagine Mark Zuckerberg felt somewhat the same when launching his little website for the first time. This was HUGE. For the first time since the pandemic began, I felt truly proud of my accomplishment. That being said, credit where credit is due, I had the help of an amazing website designer. I mean, what did you expect? For me to have actually become Mark Zuckerberg during lockdown! Give me time…

SIDENOTE- Matthew made a fantastic job of my website, at a competitive price too. He still works with me today and is the reason I can get this blog up on my website. If you need a web designer, he is your man.

Matthew, if you are reading, you owe me a beer for that.

The Academy

Ian is a PT that I respect. He has a similar approach to me and has taken his business from strength to strength. I received a message from him in November 2020 about becoming an online coach for his platform The Academy. This was a real chance to practice working with clients online and hone my skills. I actually took to this very well and Ian quickly started trusting me with more clients. Within a few months I was giving feedback to over 30 people on the platform and it felt amazing to be helping so many people.

When Ian mentioned that people were specifically asking for me to be their online coach, I was happy that people were taking to my coaching and it built my confidence in a way I had never felt before. Over the following few months, I continued to progress and upskill myself. I knew that it was time for me to push further and take my online business to the next level.

Grab a snack and I’ll spill some tea. It’s about to get good.

How I Started Strive

My partner Ceilidh has been a huge driving force in my business and has helped so much over the years.

The reason we work so well together is that I have all the knowledge of how to be the best in the fitness industry and she knows how to be organised and help me add that touch of professionalism to my content. She also has an unparalleled eye for detail. Which doesn’t always work in my favour…

It was also Ceilidh who pushed me to get my face on camera. I would shy away from talking online and feel awkward if I did. I guarantee she will be reading this and remembering the times I would throw in the towel and give up with filming. She stayed patient and always knew I could do it. I find speaking in front of a camera easy now, so it just proves that anyone can do it.

She helped me create my online training platform, probably more than she might even realise:

It was a lovely winter walk together that helped us start this idea. She mentioned how beneficial it could be for me, to have my own online platform. We set out so many ideas and it slowly started to take shape. Later that week, we had a FaceTime call and discussed names for the business and how it could be a unique experience for people. This idea quickly turned into STRIVE.

I worked tirelessly from this moment and never let anything get in the way of me achieving my goal.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up”

John Holmes.

What Strive Is Today

Strive is now the biggest part of my business. It is an online training platform which builds on someone’s mental and physical health. I tailor each programme to suit each client and make the plan sustainable. I am so proud of what I have achieved with the platform and I still have to pinch myself sometimes that I created it.

As I write this now, I have 45 active clients, with this growing even more in January 2022.

I don’t think any of this would have happened without lockdown, it forced me to step outside my comfort zone and push harder than ever.

I always try to make the experience special for each client. I want them to leave the service in a much better place than when they started.

My Strive Mission

I have made this an experience that goes beyond a physical transformation. It is heavily based around how the client feels and my vision is to make each plan as enjoyable as I can. I want to use this online service to reach out and train more people.

Here is a little quote from my strive starter pack:

“I have always believed, the more you train, the more it becomes enjoyable. I strive for my clients to feel confident and motivated through these workouts and progress to the next level of fitness”  

I have already had significant transformations and I am SO ready to build it even more. I want this platform to become a community, somewhere people can sustain fitness and make healthy choices based on being happy and healthy.  The sky is the limit with my business.

If you want to learn more about this new online platform, send me a message whenever or check out my website to learn more.

S – SUSTAIN

T – TRANSFORM

R – REALISE YOUR POTENTIAL

I – INDIVIDUAL AND TAILORED

V – VALUE FOR MONEY

E – EVERYONE IS WELCOME

“We cannot guarantee success, but we can STRIVE to deserve it”

 George Washington.

Thanks for reading,

Matthew.