Not surprising, with the rise of fitness sites, it is now possible to get an online personal trainer.
What does online personal training in general involve?
Personalized workout programs
Nutritional support, sometimes recipes
Video and imagery support
Support via forums from other members of the site
Online calculators and charts for items like body mass index, heart rate and calorie counts
Calendars for scheduling workouts
Journals to keep track of progress
Workout alerts by e-mail to remind clients
The trainer’s e-mail for direct contact
No matter how funky or comprehensive an online personal trainer program is, it will, overall, never compare to the traditional set-up of face-to-face interaction, which includes a significant auditory component.
A client will become far more motivated and “pumped up” with enthusiasm upon hearing audible cues rather than reading e-mails or viewing canned pep talks by the trainer.
Nevertheless, online guidance has some perks:
Flexible schedule-no appointments necessary. This takes the pressure off of having to schedule appointments and then stick to them, and having to cancel face-to-face appointments at the last minute because the dog is sick or the babysitter cancelled.
Costs a lot less than a traditional training format. Live personal training normally runs $50-$100 an hour. Even group personal training still comes in a lot more in fees than virtual training.
Workout program and other information can be accessed via computer anywhere in the world; ideal for frequent travelers.
Eliminates a great degree of “intimidation” in self-conscious people. Additionally, a gym environment isn’t compatible with many people for a variety of reasons, such as blaring music, loud weight plate slamming, unpleasant odors, etc.
Some sites provide informative fitness articles and newsletters.
No lengthy and pricey contracts involving gym memberships
A virtual personal trainer program also has some downsides:
The absence of someone getting in the client’s face to help push him or her through a set, or even the absence of someone standing more passively near the client, certainly won’t bring out one’s fiercest drive.
Nobody to spot the client will discourage the client from pushing towards failure and/or using heavier weights.
No feedback on form breaks
No physical hands-on instruction in more complicated routines such as deadlifts, Olympic lifts or hybrid movements such as a Bulgarian split squat-to-press
Easy to skip workouts-no live trainer provides little motivation to stick to a schedule; high self-discipline is required. An e-mail reminder doesn’t carry much authority.
Lack of equipment
How to Shop for an Online Personal Trainer
One should figure out what he or she wants and expects from a virtual training program. There are different kinds out there, ranging from ones that are heavy with frequent communication, to plans that provide not much more than the workout. Some cater just to women.
Deciding on a budget is also an important preliminary step, though in general, cyber-personal training isn’t expensive, ranging from around $20 to $40 a month. The client will pay the higher rates for sites that have all the bells and whistles.
A red flag is a site that does not request the prospective client’s health and fitness information. If a site does not ask this, the client should scratch it off the list.
One must make sure that the instructors are certified through reputable certifying organizations.
See if the program offers a free trial.
Beware that some “online personal trainers” aren’t actual trainers at all, but instead, use a catchy descriptive term for their position as a guide, such as “online fitness instructor,” “online fitness guide,” or “online weight loss coach.”
What may really be going on is that these individuals may not have any formal training in exercise program design at all, and instead are sales representatives for a supplement company.
Ultimately, they want their “clients” to purchase supplements (e.g., meal replacement shakes, amino acid pills, protein bars) on a recurring basis, and may also try to get individuals to do some marketing themselves.