It’s not hard to find a personal trainer; walk into any local gym and you’ll likely have plenty of candidates. So why are so many people turning to the Internet for exercise guidance? And more importantly, is it as safe and effective as in-person training sessions?
“I believe the biggest advantage lies in both the affordability and flexibility,” says Tina Reale, who runs the online personal training site Best Body Fitness. “Since the sessions aren’t done in-person, the client can choose the best time to complete the workouts. Plus, clients can choose to do the workouts at home using the equipment they have available. The cost is typically significantly less too. For example, my online training programs cost less per month than most hour-long in-person sessions.”
Yet there’s one important thing that online trainers lack: physical contact. Can you really train someone—check form, provide motivation, and prevent injury—if you’re not there with them? Franklin Antonin, personal trainer, author of The Fit Executive and founder of iBodyFit.com, says he has to make an extra effort to ensure his clients are getting the workout they want.
“I compensate through constant communication via email and phone calls,” says Amanda Loudin, a running coach and blogger at MissZippy1.com. “I write up a weekly schedule for each client and ask that they provide me feedback at the end of the week detailing how it went. The more feedback I get from them, the more effectively I can make up the following week’s schedule for them,” she says.
The million-dollar question: Are the results as good as what you would get from a real-life trainer? In terms of running, “I do think online training is as safe and effective as in person training,” Loudin says. “Running doesn’t require a lot of form instruction but rather pace and distance instruction.”