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Online Personal Training: The Ups and the Downs

In the climate that we are living in, many of the jobs that have always been known to be in person have now moved to an online setting, forcing their workers to now do their jobs from home further keeping them away from society in order to prevent the spread of the virus. We, too, have had to make those changes overall to our business to where we offer both in person and online personal training. Now, with both there are definitely some ups and downs when it comes to the overall structure, pricing, offerings, and sheer support from the trainer themselves when it comes to this comparison but today I want to discuss the online training option and what makes it so unique and one of our go-to models.

As we also work out of a facility that provides the necessary equipment to train individuals in a personal setting, many people still choose to go for the online option as they are not yet ready to go back out into the world and risk getting the virus. So, what is the sheer difference between the two services? The first difference is the amount of hands-on work we do between online and in-person training. With in person personal training, we still provide the programming and we still offer nutritional guidance, but we do it on a personal level. We will be able to see you come in 1-2 times a week and sometimes more and ask you about it directly so that we know that you are doing your homework! Just like a teacher would in a school, we do get a little upset when you do not do your homework. As trainers, the way that we do things, we are also educators and want you to be able to know certain things without us helping you along the way and when that homework isn’t done, it makes us think we are more invested in your health than you are. We want it to be an even split or else no work will get done and we will remain stagnant. With online personal training, however, we do not have that luxury of seeing you in person. We contact you throughout the week and make sure things happen, but because you are not coming in to see us and just check in via text or email, we do not always get the homework done that we need to get done!

The other sheer difference is the sheer attention to detail and to form. With online, we can only give you the programmed workouts with our videos to demonstrate how to do specific things. This does not allow for us to watch you through your workouts and correct you on the fly, so we have to take extra measures to make sure that we can keep that form pristine all the way through. On top of that, we get a better idea on how to increase the difficulty of an exercise and push you a little more if the weight we have chosen for that particular day is a little easier. For online, unless we are doing a FaceTime or Zoom version we are unable to change it on the fly and will have to rely on our clients to make those changes when they are going through their workouts. Many times we have our clients come in and they may feel better or worse depending on their day already and how the slept along with many other factors, so we change up the workout to fit their needs on that given day. We are unable to provide that kind of attention to our online clients unless they come to us with those requests and all of that information

The final thing that distinguishes online and in person personal training is time. The biggest philosophy change that we have compared to other trainers and other fitness professionals is that we only program out months at a time for our online clients, including weight, sets, reps, and exercises being performed. For our in-person clients, however, many of them we just have a set format that we want based off of their goals. For example, we have a client that is looking to lose weight and walks on their off days. When we come in, we look at what day of the week it is and see if we are going to do an upper body or a lower body day. From there, we add on one compound movement at the beginning followed by 2-3 rounds of supplemental exercises and then ending off with some form of HIIT cardio. The reason we always range it is because of what they may be feeling on a given day along with if they have any soreness or injury in one particular area. If we have everything planned out to the last rep, this allows for little wiggle room in case they come in feeling weak or a client misses a session. Now, all of the hard work that we spent on programming them goes out the window. For our online training clients, however, we do program out for that long as they are able to change up their days and we still keep the same format in mind. If they are feeling off on one day, they can switch a lighter day up with it and still be on track to reach their goals. We try to keep the intensity moderate for our online clients so that we do not run the risk of throwing off any of their goals if they miss a day or just feel off one day.

There are many benefits and drawbacks to both types of personal training, but there is one thing that stays positive through it all. The choice of which is better for you is completely relative. We train online clients who still go to a gym only because some people do not like being told what to do by a trainer in a gym setting to where they know people. Along with that, we have in person clients who just want to come in and workout and not have to do nutrition outside of their workouts and have more workouts planned for them. While they understand that nutrition is a vital part of their health, they either want to figure it out for themselves or want to do it at their own pace. We train all types of clients from all walks of life, so the main thing that we can tell anyone interested in personal training is to decide what you want first. Do you want someone always helping you and adjusting your form in a personal setting or do you want someone that is a little more hands off and gives you things to do but will still be there to provide constant support via email and text? Both are great options and both will help you reach your fitness goals, but it is ultimately up to you on which you feel would help you best!

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