The popularity of online personal training is rising rapidly, both in the UK and across the pond (from where we inherit so many of our fitness trends). In many ways, it’s exactly like being trained by an expert in a gym: you’re given a tailored programme that you have to fulfill in order to attain your goals. The crucial difference, of course, is that the trainer isn’t next to you when workout.
I’m often asked about the validity of online personal training – full discloser: I offer the service myself – and my answer is invariable that it really depends on the person. Some people find it an effective and time-efficient way to work out, others miss the personal touch of face-to-face sessions. That being said, there are definitely some concrete pros and cons to using an online personal trainer. I’ll take you through them and leave it up to you to make your own mind up.
Access to expert advice
Many sought after and noted fitness professionals are already offering online versions of their training services. This is great for the consumer because it provides instant access to highly skilled coaches from all over the world.
A good reputation can travel a long way in the fitness community, so online training allows the everyman to work under big name trainers. I know of one trainer who works from his home in Berkshire, with the majority of his online client base in South America.
And it’s not just the big names you can seek out: online training also gives you access to specialists in specific areas. Rather than be limited to the knowledge base of the trainers at your local gym, you can call upon the advanced understanding of people from all over the world.
Easy to ascertain a trainer’s ability
With our digital world as socially connected as it is, you can learn a lot about a potential online trainer long before you make the first contact. Start by reading their client reviews, look at their mentions in the media and have a browse of their social media activity and article writing. You will soon get a feel for whether they are the type of individual you would be comfortable working with and if they are keeping up to date with the industry in general.
When a standout personal trainer begins to develop a reputation for delivering results, they tend to get busy very fast. The result of this is that they get booked up pretty soon and new clients find it very difficult to get sessions. Such demand inevitably leads to a rise in session prices, making the more sought after trainers too expensive for most to work with (some trainers in the UK charge £150 per hour). Many of these same trainers will be able to provide a month-long training plan for the same cost as an hour training with them.
Freedom of location and time
Having an online personal trainer deliver a workout program to you electronically means that you can access your workout on your mobile devices at any time and in any location, which is great for those that travel frequently or do not want to be restricted by gym opening times.
Many online trainers provide comprehensive online support in the form of answers to emails, dietary guidelines and the ability to have your weekly food journal assessed. With these perks built into the initial upfront costs, you are guaranteed personal attention throughout your customer experience. Unfortunately, many trainers are reluctant to have much contact outside of one-to-one sessions, which unfortunately you won’t find out until you’ve invested a lot of your time and money.
Nobody spotting for correct technique
Due to the remote nature of online training, by definition, there is no live trainer spotting for correct technique. This could drastically reduce the efficiency of the workout, and even make it dangerous. The drawback can be mediated by enlisting the help of a live trainer to demonstrate proper technique of the prescribed exercises, or by introducing video workouts.
While a high-quality program can be delivered with ease over the phone or email, there’s zero guarantees that it will be successfully completed. One of the main benefits of working with a personal trainer is that they get you through your workouts even when you don’t want to be there. That extra motivation – to actually turn up at the gym, and to push through tough workouts – just isn’t available through an online programme.
Online trainers struggle to judge progress accurately
An online trainer cannot actually watch you perform your exercises, so much of the success of the collaboration depends on a) how well workouts are tracked by the client, and b) how honest the client is about his exertion and results. It’s easy to fudge numbers over email, whereas in person it’s pretty much impossible.
Online training does work (I’ve seen the results), but it’s definitely not for everyone. Normally, I recommend it to seasoned exercisers who don’t need instruction in the gym and who won’t lose motivation without the direct accountability of someone hovering over them.
BFY provides training for Personal Trainers and courses in Sports nutrition and Diet in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Dehradun, Jaipur, Lucknow, Gurgaon.