Pros and Cons of Online PTs
If you’re interested in taking your fitness to the next level, you might have considered enlisting the help of a professional. Personal trainers have been around for a long time, but in recent years there has been an influx in PTs offering their services virtually. But is an online personal trainer really as effective as one you meet in real life? Is there a cost difference? And how do you make sure you get the most from the service?
These are all common questions for people thinking about going virtual with their training. We’ve outlined the pros and cons of hiring an online PT, and what you need to bear in mind when looking for one.
Read on to find out whether an online personal trainer may be right for you.
Firstly, how do online personal trainers work?
How exactly virtual personal trainers work will vary:
- Some will still offer live one-to-one sessions where they coach you through a workout over video chat
- Others will send you workout plans by email and check in with you by text or Whatsapp.
- Others will work over social media, uploading workouts to Instagram that you can either follow along with or complete in your own time.
There are also options to work with a dedicated online PT one-on-one, or join a group programme.
Benefits of working with an online personal trainer.
There are numerous reasons that you might choose to work with a virtual PT over one you meet in person. These include:
Hiring a personal trainer can be expensive, and most people see it as a luxury. This is especially true if you’re meeting your PT in the gym – which is often how clients meet trainers – and so are also paying a membership fee on top of your session cost. In contrast, online trainers often end up being a more affordable option. They usually charge less, as they don’t need to cover travel expenses and can typically manage more clients, and they give you the option to work out from home.
If you struggle with your confidence when working out, you’re not alone. The idea of having all eyes on you as you workout with a trainer on the gym floor can be a daunting one, so working out from the comfort of your own home can be a great way to build confidence. People who feel shy around new people often also find it easier communicating with a trainer when they’re not face to face.
Many people are happy working out at home on their own, but like having somebody else to keep them in check. Most online PTs will include weigh-ins and other progress checks as part of your course, which can help keep you focused on your goals.This can be particularly useful if you’re failing to see progress from the gym and could do with a helping hand to stop you slacking.
One of the main reasons people choose online personal trainers is the convenience. If you have a busy schedule, don’t drive or live somewhere rural then physically getting to the gym for a session can sometimes be enough of a barrier.
Choosing a virtual PT often gives you the convenience of choosing when and where you work out. If last minute dinner plans with a friend pop up, it’s much easier to rearrange yourself than it is with a trainer you had booked a session with. Also, you can work out wherever you have internet connection, meaning work trips or holidays don’t need to get in the way of your regime.
Downsides to working with an online PT.
So, online trainers typically cost less, are less pressure and are easier to fit into your schedule – but are they right for everyone? The answer here is probably no. Having a PT that you never see in person might not be the right choice for you if:
You’re completely new to exercise
One of the benefits of working out with a trainer in person is that they can check your form, which is how you complete each exercise. If you’ve never done certain moves before then this can be essential to make sure you’re doing them right and not risking injury. This is particularly important if weight training is a part of the plan they create for you, as unsupervised lifting and squats could prove dangerous.
You struggle with motivation
As mentioned, online personal trainers are often the low-pressure choice. You have all of the expertise of a professional passed onto you, but it’s up to you to make sure you actually complete the workout and put 100% effort in. This can be where the problem comes in. For some people, the temptation to slack off is too strong without someone physically standing next to them, coaching them as they go.
Choosing a trainer who offers live sessions over video calls can be a good solution, as they should be able to keep you motivated better than a pre-recorded or written workout. You could als take a look at our advice on how to stay focused while exercising.
Your diet is still bad
As the saying goes, ‘you can’t out-train a bad diet’. Unfortunately, no personal trainer – whether online or in person – is going to get you the results you want if you’re not also being careful with your nutrition. If this sounds like something you might struggle with, look for an online PT who also provides meal plans and other nutritional support. And remember, our blog is also packed with healthy snack ideas and workout supplement guides.
How to find an online PT
If you’ve decided that an online trainer is the right choice for you, there are a number of ways you can track one down. A quick search on Google or social media will likely bring up lots of options, but follow these tips to make sure you pick one well suited to you:
Look at their other clients’ progress pictures.
Do they typically work with clients that are similar to you (in age, body shape, goals)? And if so, would you be happy achieving the results that their clients have?
Make sure your training styles match.
All PTs should be able to help you lose weight and get in shape, but if your goals are specific then make sure your trainer shares that passion or expertise. For example, if you’re hoping to enter weightlifting competitions, you will need an online PT with experience in that field.
Double check you’re happy with the level of communication.
If you know you’re going to need a lot of support then a trainer who checks in with you just once a week may not be the right fit. Similarly, it might not be fair on your trainer if you’re constantly messaging them with questions that fall outside of what you’ve paid for. Before signing up, make sure you’re both clear on how many times per week you’ll speak and what the rules are around out-of-hours communication.
It’s important to remember that no personal trainer – online or otherwise – can do the work for you. It’s therefore vital that whatever your goals, you’re committed to keeping up with your workouts even on the days when you’re not having a PT session. As mentioned, diet will also be key on your fitness journey. Ensure you’re clued up on all of the other things you can do to improve your health that an online personal trainer can’t help with, so that when you do meet up with the professional you’re getting the most out of your time together.