Working with an online trainer

Most online personal trainers will consult with you via e-mail regarding your current fitness level and goals.

by Scott White — 

Many people want to get in shape, lose weight and increase bone mass. The health benefits of having a fit body are so numerous that it is a wonder why so many people refuse to take the plunge and begin a workout program of their own. Some benefits of developing an exercise regimen include decreased risk of heart disease, weight loss and increased energy.

I would begin a training program, but …

People fail to develop their own workout programs for lots of reasons, the most common being that the average Joe simply does not know how to develop a program he can stick with. Many people invest in home workout equipment and then simply do not know what to do with it. So rather than using those weights and abs machines, you wind up dumping them in a dark corner of your basement where they just collect dust.

You could join your neighborhood gym and invest in a few personal training sessions where you can have a personal trainer develop a fitness program just for you. These sessions can be very costly, however, and some people can become intimidated by joining a gym and being around a lot of fit, muscular people. Instead, they convince themselves that once they have lost a few pounds, they will be worthy to begin working out in a real gym.

Thanks to the Internet, though, you are able to get all the benefits of having a personal trainer develop a training program around your fitness goals at a fraction of the cost of hiring an actual trainer in your hometown. Your online trainer will suggest exercises and routines you can perform in the comfort of your own home. Hiring an online personal trainer gives you the chance to realistically meet your fitness goals without having to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.

What to expect from an online trainer

Online personal training programs range in price from $25 to $100 per month, depending on the features of the specific program. Most online personal trainers will consult with you via e-mail regarding your current fitness level and goals. They will then develop a customized strength program, cardiovascular program, and a stretching program for you. You will then consult with your online trainer each week via e-mail regarding your progress. Your trainer will then make adjustments to your program, as needed.

Many online personal training programs also offer diet planning and plan a week’s worth of meals and snacks. You also should receive workout reminders and a training log. If you’re feeling down, your personal trainer will also give you motivational support and help you through any plateaus. You may also be provided with a calorie calculator to allow you to count the number of calories consumed each day, versus the number of calories burned.

An online personal trainer generally works well for someone who is self-motivated to achieve their fitness goals, but simply feels uncomfortable at the gym, or who has time restrictions. For someone who procrastinates and needs to have an actual person with them to ensure that they do not cheat at their exercises, an online personal trainer relationship may not be the best choice.

If you are unsure about whether an online personal training program is right for you, most sites offer a trial membership that gives you a week or so to test drive the program. The worst thing that could happen is that you realize online personal training isn’t for you, which forces you to finally start going to the gym. Either way you will get fit. Anyone who is self-motivated, though, will usually excel by hiring an online personal trainer.


Scott White is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist in Scottsdale, Ariz. or 480-628-1607.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 1, February/March 2007.

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