Online Personal Training: Is It Right For You?

So you look at yourself in the mirror and think” I need to lose this belly” or maybe you think “those granny arms have to go.” Or maybe you just want to look a little better in your bathing suit. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided it’s time to get in shape. Now the million dollar question is how are you  gonna do it? Joining a gym is one way, but after you join, what then? All that equipment can be so confusing and how much, what kind and how often do you exercise? For some the ever present fear of doing something silly and hurting themselves as the beautiful and shapely people watch makes the thought of going to the gym about as pleasant as root canal.

You could hire a personal trainer. That would answer the how much, what kind and how often question and probably lower the risk of getting hurt. But then you take a look at what they charge and you get a sinking feeling in your wallet. At $50 to $150 a session that can get pricey in a hurry. Maybe you could join one of those Cross Fit or Beach Body classes. The problem there is that none of them seem to fit into your crazy schedule and we both know that in order to make any progress you’re going to have to do this consistently.

Maybe you should try online personal training. In the world of personal training, online personal training is relatively new. It has several advantages and it has several disadvantages and determining if it is right for you is what this article is all about. The basic concept goes something like this (though it does vary slightly from company to company). You sign up for an online training service (usually for 3, 6 or 12 months) that does a simple fitness evaluation. Through some rudimentary tests and input from you they ascertain your basic physical abilities and your personal goals and what kind of equipment you have available to you. The company then creates a fitness/wellness program based on your current fitness level, your goals and what exercise equipment you have. Every 2-4 weeks they then revise your workout as you grow stronger or gain endurance just like a personal trainer would do but this all happens online.

Let’s start with the advantages. The number one advantage to online personal training is cost. Depending on where you live a good personal trainer will usually charge at least a $100 a week to do 3 one hour training session and that’s if you buy a “block” of sessions. In southern California the price is much higher than that. The price for online personal training runs from about $16 a month to $100 a month depending on the” services” you want. These services include basic cookie cutter programs with written descriptions of the exercises and still pictures of proper form for the exercises but can also include audio of trainers talking you through the workout with motivational music, available video of proper form and pace for exercises, email access to trainers for specific questions or concerns and even face to face talks via Skype or FaceTime.  Many online personal training companies offer nutritional advice and personal progress pages on their websites, mobile apps and even stress reduction MP3s or videos.

The other major advantage is flexibility. When you have the time to do the workout you do the workout. You don’t have to get off work early or rush out to meet someone.

Now let’s talk a little bit about the disadvantages. If you need someone in your face screaming “give me one more!” Online training is not for you. The same is true if you need someone to be accountable to. Online training is like the rest of the internet:  it’s pretty much “you” centric. You’re going to need to be self motivated and take no excuses from yourself if you’re going to be successful.

Another drawback is, there’s no one there watching your every rep making sure you’re doing the exercise correctly which could lead to injury, though several companies have headed some of this off with the Skype access which allows the trainer to check your form on occasion.