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Does Online Personal Training Really Work?

With more and more people looking to achieve their ideal body, it seems we have all become only too aware of the benefits of regular exercise. Whilst many of us dream of having our own personal trainer at our beck and call, it’s a luxury many of us just don’t have the time for or simply cannot afford. However, with the dawn of the digital age there is very little that cannot be done nowadays through the Internet. From dating to business meetings and now it seems even personal training. What could be simpler than logging on and receiving a fitness plan designed by an expert and streamed to your TV or laptop. Sounds great! But how effective is this kind of training and more importantly, will it really help you to reach your fitness goals?

Firstly let’s consider how online personal training actually works. On the most part you will log in to a site and create a profile of your goals and possibly add details of any equipment you may have. You will then get a personalised program that will be available for you to access when you want, either with photos of each exercise or a movie of each exercise performed by a trainer. Whilst different online services offer slightly different levels of personalisation, this is essentially the basis of all online personal training.

Whether this works for you or not, will depend upon a number of factors. One of the main benefits of online personal training is schedule. You can stream your workout to your computer or mobile device 24 hours a day. So if you’re the kind of person who wants to exercise at midnight or at five in the morning, then this may well suit your schedule. In addition you can access it anywhere, so whether you’re in London this week or New York the next, your routine won’t be affected.

Equally you can have a program delivered to you online by a very experienced trainer – even a celebrity trainer if you want, to help you feel like the stars! The cost of online personal training is also well within most people’s budgets, meaning it certainly won’t break the bank. So affordability, simplicity and convenience are strong benefits of this kind of training.  But how does it compare to having a real-world trainer coming to your home for example? The main drawbacks of a purely virtual training program are summarised below.

Form
When taking on a new exercise program one of the most important factors for a personal trainer is ensuring that the client is performing each exercise correctly with close attention to individual form. Of course you will no doubt do your best to study the online trainer, but not being able to see yourself, you have no idea whether you are actually performing the exercise correctly and the trainer is not there to correct you. At worst, this can lead to injury but on a more basic level it means that you simply won’t derive the intended benefits from performing the exercise, if you’re not performing it properly.

Intensity
Simply performing exercises that you see someone else perform is not going to help you reach your goals unless you work hard and train at the correct intensity for you. How do you know if you’re working as hard as you should be? Simply following an online program gives you little in the way of proper feedback. If you’re not working hard enough then it’s unlikely you will see real progress. A real world trainer can watch you, gauge your performance and increase or decrease the intensity instantly as required. This gives true personalisation of your program.

Accountability
One of the key areas of having a real-life personal trainer is that you will have someone breathing down your neck and calling you up to ensure you keep your appointments. The same is certainly not so true with online training. Your online trainer is certainly not going to come knocking on your front door with all their exercise equipment in their arms! With lack of accountability comes excuses, and many people who start an online program may find themselves losing motivation quicker than they thought.

It’s Personal
Personal training should be just that “personal.” Meeting with a real trainer, discussing your needs, explaining injuries, pointing out any pain you experience whilst performing an exercise, asking advice, having them look at your diet or the contents of your fridge and just building a friendship and a bond. It’s one of the reasons so many people get great results and find it easier to stick to real world personal training. Trying to get all these things and develop this kind of relationship from a purely online trainer is virtually (excuse the pun) impossible.

So whilst online personal training certainly has a number of key benefits over traditional personal fitness, it may not suit everyone. However if you’re highly motivated, have some good knowledge already of exercises and are focused on your goals then online personal training can deliver some of the results of working with a real world personal trainer at a reduced price.

These guidelines are taken from MotivatePT who offer one of the largest national networks of personal trainers in the UK, providing both in-home fitness and online personal training for busy professionals. You can find out more at www.motivatept.co.uk.


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