Should I Hire an Online Personal Trainer?

Taking advantage of exercise programs offered online is key in helping many of us to stay fit when not having access to gyms and our personal trainers in person.

But for others who have not yet explored this space of online exercise and coaching, there are often a lot of questions and some confusion as to what it is, where to look and what to ask.

In this article, I’m going to simplify and break down the following questions you may have, to help you:

  1. How does online personal training work?
  2. What do online personal trainers offer?
  3. How much does online coaching cost?
  4. How do I choose the best coach for me?

How Does Online Personal Training Work?

First, let’s not confuse personal training with any form of group training. As the name implies, personal training is or should be, personal and applicable to you and your goals.

This should not be confused with a “one shoe fits all” type of group cardio kickboxing, jump squats and push ups type of program that only consists of a few 30 minute videos that you and 100 other people follow.

Online personal training essentially enables the client and personal trainer or coach to work with each other remotely via some form of online platform or app which may or may not include phone or video calls. It is an alternative to working with a personal trainer in person, sometimes with pros and cons depending on the person and variables involved.

What Do Online Personal Trainers Offer?

Although programs and offers vary, personal training with an online coach typically offers the following:

  • Personal, online coaching that will provide you with a weekly training plan consisting of structured, full workouts and is laid out for you within some form of an online platform or an app the coach may use or have built for themselves.

    Online Personal Trainers
    Bowman’s Fitness & Wellness Coaching
  • Short 30 second video clip demonstrations of each exercise coupled with coaching cues next to each.
  • Ability to upload and share with your coach, video clips of yourself performing exercises in order to get feedback on your form, technique, etc.
  • Number of repetitions, sets and suggested rest periods… Which should change with progressions and training cycles (or, periodizations) over time, with explanations and instructions.
  • See your goals on a daily basis so you’re always reminded of what you’re working towards.
  • Option to connect and update any of your food logs for review and helpful suggestions to keep working towards your goals.
  • Options to upload progress pics to keep track of progress and areas to work on.

Online personal training is like having a coach, without the in person face time. There are many online coaches and program packages out there. Most are straightforward and 100% online coaching only, outside of maybe an initial consultation phone call – which should absolutely be included!

Some coaches offer hybrid services also, which can be a mixture of online training and some physical in person training or remote video coaching sessions. These may look like the following:

  • Online training program that includes face to face like Zoom, WhatsApp or Google Duo video calls for training sessions or consults. These packages could include say, one 30 minute session twice a month or similar.
  • Those who live near the online trainer opt to do physical, in person training sessions in combination with the online training program. This hybrid version of online training could include, say, a 60 minute session once a week along with the online training program to be utilized for your own solo workouts to keep you on track.

Seeing your trainer in person is the most effective option for those brand new to resistance training or have lack of experience with exercise and movement patterns. Getting one on one attention and instruction in person is the best option for anyone lacking experience, cost aside.

What Are The Cons?

The cons of doing 100% online training…

1.) Lack of accountability

For some, this is the main reason they need and hire a personal trainer in the first place. Not wanting to be charged for a no-show on your training time you committed to and also not wanting to let your trainer down who is holding you accountable, is something that many admittingly need.

When at home or on your own and knowing that you can be late for that 4 pm workout time you set for yourself or easily get distracted by your phone are just a few ways that can interfere with or ruin what was supposed to be a great workout and staying on track with your goals.

2.) Are you performing the exercises correctly?

For those that may not have an athletic background or exercise experience behind them, this can be a legit concern. However, for those that do have some experience but just need some reassurance while being able to learn easily, recording and then uploading a video of yourself executing the movement can then be critiqued by your online trainer who can then advise from there.

3.) Not knowing if the personal trainer is qualified OR, very UN-qualified

This in my opinion, is by far the biggest potential risk when it comes to some online personal trainers. Unlike local personal trainers that you can go see in person, interview and talk with, you can’t always do that when hiring an online personal trainer.

It is easy to be bamboozled by a flashy website, professionally edited videos or social media page and completely overlook investigating whether or not the personal trainer is actually qualified to provide a quality and valuable service for you.

It is often easy for young, tech savvy trainers to appear attractive, smart and experienced on screen. Although they may well be attractive and smart, they may not be educated within the personal training space and they may also lack real world experience working with actual clients in person.

Furthermore, many personal trainers have no degree, very little education on exercise science and many are not even certified.

In closing on this point and this is important; check their credentials. Ask questions. >>> Research them.

What Are The Pros?

The pros of doing 100% online training…

1.) More cost effective

This is probably the biggest attraction to online personal training for most. Single sessions in person with a trainer at your local gym for an hour may cost you anywhere from $60-$100 – per session.

An online personal training program may average anywhere from $50-$100 a week, which includes not just one, but several structured and planned out training sessions for you to follow and work through.

2.) Could save time and more money

For those who may face the challenge of ensuring they have childcare or someone to watch their kids while they go to the gym or others who have to fight rush hour traffic for a 20 minute commute, going with an online trainer while working out at home can be a huge win here.

Investing a little bit of money on a few things that empower you to exercise at home effectively, can be a great option for many. Adding an online personal trainer into the mix can drastically enhance the experience and more importantly, results!

3.) More access to your trainer

Most online trainers should be accessible to answer any and all questions or concerns you may have, generally within a 24 hour response time. Whether it be questions on nutrition or supplements, a critique of your form via video clip you send your trainer or asking for some simplified explanation of some language as it pertains to exercise science – these are typically included with most online training programs.

For some, this can be perceived and received as a lot of value for the investment into a good online personal training program. This could hold especially true for those that have already worked with a good trainer in person before and have a good foundation with their mechanics, correct movement patterns etc., but want to utilize their coach’s expertise and their online access to them in other ways.

Is An Online Personal Trainer For You?

It may be a good choice if you are not a complete beginner when it comes to exercise. If so, you should know the basics, especially as it pertains to the foundation lifts such as squat, deadlifts, presses and pulls. ROM, tempo, time under tension and a few other basics should be understood and executed well.

You should also be self motivated when it comes to physical exercise. This can be a goal breaker and you could end up being your worst enemy if not. You will be training on your own and on the schedule that you set for yourself here…. However, if you actually like working out and you’re self motivated but just need some structure and expert guidance, online training is a great option!

If you will be working out from home, you should have some basic equipment. You don’t need a lot nor anything elaborate or expensive. But, you may want to consider the following:

  • A set or two of adjustable dumbbells
  • Adjustable bench
  • TRX or Jungle Gym suspension training straps
  • An exercise mat
  • A pull up bar – which are cheap and can go in a doorway

    Search reviews, qualifications and more…

Last, you should be ready to do research into some online trainers to ensure that you spend your time and money wisely in return for a quality and valuable service that is actually going to help you.

  1. Start with a Google search of personal trainers in your area that offer online training. Searching local is not a must of course, but for some is a good way to start – especially if a hybrid or any physical in person training may be needed.
  2. Read reviews, which should say a lot about the trainer – good, bad or non-existent (which is most likely also bad).
  3. Inquire, ask questions and interview over the phone or in person if possible.
  4. Ask what their credentials and certifications are (or, if they exist!). And what their niche as a trainer is and who their ideal client that they help best is.
  5. Start small. Do not invest in a long term package at first. Most trainers who are confident in their abilities will encourage this on their end as to ensure you are a good fit for them early on as well. It is a relationship after all and the best personal trainers will often have a full book of clients and they will be mindful of who to spend their time on, or not.
  6. You can learn more on what to look for and when to hire and fire a personal trainer by clicking HERE

Interested In Working With Me?

Are you interested in working with or hiring me as your coach? Do you live far away from me where I reside in Toledo, Ohio but want an online coach and training program? If so, I have worked with clients all across the country remotely and online for years.

I utilize a program called Trainerize where I have my own app that I use and share with my online clients. For all the reasons and benefits listed already, this is the platform that enables me to deliver and my clients receive everything in a very easy to use platform.

You can find my app in the Google play store or in the Apple app store. Search and look for “Bowman Fitness and Wellness”.

Or, maybe you live in or near Toledo, Ohio and you’re interested in a hybrid program consisting of some in person personal training combined with online training? Or, maybe just straight up in person personal training?

Whatever your specific interests are, if you feel we could be a good match then simply fill out the contact form and let me know what you’re interested in and your goals. You do so by clicking HERE. or filling out the form below.

From there, we can schedule a short and complimentary call to help see if we both qualify to work with one another or not.

I look forward to talking with you!

Healthy regards,

Roger Bowman, CPT