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Is Online Personal Training really personal?

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Online Personal Training has been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years, boosted by a spike in fitness bloggers. 

The promise of support and professional guidance, cost efficiency, fancy apps with A.I. algorithms and semi-naked pictures of both client results and the trainers’ own honed bodies can make it a seriously appealing option. 

online personal training

But how personal is it actually?

What makes training personal?

  1. Assessments: key to knowing where to start, when to adjust and for measuring progression. Without this, training is just a shot in the dark.
  2. The program is designed for you and your goals: note that a weight control training program or a hypertrophy training program still can be cookie cutter templates. Unfortunately, without some deeper knowledge of exercise, it is hard to notice how general online templates can be until it’s too late.
  3. The exercises are designed to your body mechanics: are you just told to squat? Or is the squat exercise created and adjusted according to your individual body mechanics? The importance of this is huge. It can not only affect the results, but which muscles you use and ultimately, whether or not you wind up injured.
  4. Nutritional guidance is tailored specifically to: goals, body type, availability, budget, dietary preferences, all taken into account in consultations.
  5. Support, motivation and style of communication are adapted according to your personality to get the best results. If you are someone who doesn’t thrive on being shouted at by a trainer, this shouldn’t be the approach. Is the energy level matching your mood? Is the trainer’s method of motivation getting you closer to your intrinsic goals? These are all factors personal trainers should consider, and online ones can’t. 
  6. Daily variables should be taken into account for your workout:  Range of motion (it varies daily), sleep, diet, stress, mood. This will affect which exercises you can do, how you do it, intensity, rests, etc. It’s easy to conclude that this should be a daily adjustment to your regime.
  7. Accountability: ticking ‘done’ on an app is nowhere near the same level of accountability as having someone with you checking your weekly habits, monitoring your progress and being present at your workouts.
  8. Feedback: diet and sleep feedback can be given at some point during your week, but exercise feedback HAS to be live. As much as you think you have a good technique the reality is that the majority of people don’t (even with youtube videos)
  9. Education: your personal trainer should be undertaking continuous education and staying up to date with the latest research to be able to provide better service. Do you learn often with him/her?
  10. Safety: all the above plays a part on your safety. This should be the first concern.

A quick google search will get millions of results touting services under the title ‘Online Personal Training’. Surprisingly, very few actually offer one-to-one training. You are handed a program (personalised or not), a food plan and a weekly 15min call. Is it ‘personal training’? Or is it ‘online training’?