How Does Online Personal Training Work?

It is not uncommon for me to get a blank stare when I tell people whom I meet for the first time that I provide online personal training. Usually, the first question I get is, “how does online personal training work? Now, you may be asking that same question so I am going to explain to you how it works and the benefits to working with a trainer online.

In order to understand how online personal training works I think it is best to describe what we mean when we say “online personal training?” For the purpose of this article, I am referring to working virtually with a certified personal trainer ( i.e me)  who is using the Internet and other online technology to provide personal training and coaching services.

Virtual fitness training is not new. Let’s take a look at the history of it!

History of Online Personal Training

Do you remember the Jane Fonda videos? Jane Fonda, the famous Oscar-winning actress, and controversial anti-war activist released her first home video in 1982. Or, maybe you watched the daily ESPN Body Shaping show with Cory Everson and occasional special guest appearances by Kathy Ireland. One of my favorites 🙂

And if those don’t come to mind then maybe you watched Body by Jake, who called himself the “muscular Oprah”  of television.

Those are what we can the good old days but fast forward to today and we have home fitness programs like “P90X“, with Tony Horton or “Hammer and Chisel” with Autumn Calabrese and Sagi Kalev to name a few. Shoot if you go to YouTube and google “home workout videos” you will find a lot more.

So, you see, virtual personal training has been going on for decades, however, with the advancement of technology, the Internet and Smart Phones we can now get live streaming or video directly to us at any time and any place.  Also, a big differentiating factor here is virtual training no longer has to be a supermodel or celebrity trainer. It can be your very own current trainer at the gym that can provide it to you. With that being said let’s see how it works.

How Does Online Personal Training Work?

First, it is important to note that there is not one specific method but many different ways online training can take place. It can be purely online or it can be what I call the hybrid model.

The hybrid model is not your typical in-person training session. It is very similar to a tradition training but differs a few ways. First, it does allow you to meet physically with a trainer at a facility. Now, depending on several factors like budget, time, and distance you may meet with your trainer once a week or maybe once a month. The hybrid model allows you to meet with your trainer and during that time you can reassess, ask questions, get new exercises and check in. Let’s see what this would look like.

921442_1175228065853540_7242197500889858726_oFor the purpose of this post, we are going to refer to the client as Lisa. Let’s assume Lisa has to drive a fair distance to get to the gym where she has her personal trainer – plus, her schedule is always changing. Trying to meet in-person on a consistent basis just isn’t working for either one of them.

Lisa isn’t new to exercise and has acquired some knowledge on form and technique but wants continued guidance. She also knows she needs accountability and structure of a program as well as feel supported.

Now it is possible for Lisa to do pure online training, but since the two feel it is important to meet every so often they decide to meet two times a month and the rest of the time she is doing “at home workouts” and working out on her treadmill at home.

The second method is purely online. This method is perfect for those that don’t have a lot of time to get to the gym and maybe prefer to be on their own but have a professional support them.

Technology has made it so that there really are no borders or constraints on working remotely with a trainer. For instance,  you may have moved from a city that you had a personal trainer and really miss training with him or her and want to continue in some form. Here is where online personal training can come in. By incorporating potentially live streaming video, email, Skype, a tracking app or maybe even a full-blown training membership site you can have everything you need to work with your trainer.

So what is really offered with online personal training?

What services are offered can differ from trainer to trainer but here is a list of potential offerings that can be available:

  • Custom program design – all the workouts you would need.
  • Custom nutrition design – this may take the form of a meal plan and/or nutritional guidelines.
  • Daily tips – these can be sent through an email, text, or app that include health and habit based tips.
  • Phone consultations – could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly ranging from 10-15 minutes.

As with “in person” training online personal training follows a similar onboarding process like having the new client fill out waivers, Par-Q, questionnaire, goal setting, and consultation conducted either by phone or with Skype.

Once, all the important information is obtained and the goals have been set the next phase is to develop the program and plan. Again, with the advancement of technology, the program can be delivered using a number of different forms of media, which can include excel, videos, or through an app on your phone. ( See pic below for example)



Now that we looked at the two different models and some of the technology used let’s take a look at the benefits to working with a trainer online.

3 Major Benefits of Online Coaching 

1.) You can train at any time that suits you, in any place that suits you. This convenience will save you a lot of time as well as avoid the awkwardness many feel when going to the gym and being surrounded by lots of intimidating, sweaty people who hog all of the equipment!

2.) You get much more access to a trainer than you would as a face to face client. You get coaching, accountability, training programs, and support all week long, not just for one maybe two hours a week that you would be together in a face-to-face environment. This means you can work together on every single aspect of getting you results and seeing you smash your goals. We call this “Client Centered Training.”

3) Typically, you get all of this at a lower price than working face to face for just one hour a week! This saves you money while giving you the best possible guidance, service, and support.

Is Online Personal Training For Me?

Only you can answer that question. As with anything in life people have different needs and wants. Maybe you are someone who needs to be face to face with a trainer to get your workout done. Or, maybe you like to have the social interaction. However, maybe you are like the example client, Lisa, who has a hard time getting to the gym, knows enough to do things on her own but wants the support or guidance of a professional to hold you accountable and help you reach your fitness goals. The decision is up to you!

If you feel like online personal training might be right for you and want to set up a consultation to see if it may be a fit (sorry for the pun) then fill out the info below and I will get on the phone and see if I can assist you.

Fill out my online form.

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