How to Get the Most out of Personal Training Online

online-workout-585So many more workouts are going online these days. From group exercise (like Erin tried!) to personal training, the days of “having” to go to the gym for a good sweat session with a fitness professional are over. You can do so much over the web! But, online personal training does have some unique things about it…which is why we wanted to share these tips from Keri Lynn Ford, certified personal trainer, who has worked with celebs like Alison Sweeney and Jennifer Love. She is also the creator of IgniteGirls, an online fitness community of women that offers lifestyle nutrition plans, fun workouts and recipe inspiration.

Top Ways to Get the Most out of Personal Training Online

So you think you may have found the best thing since sliced (gluten-free, non-GMO, non-soy) bread, but is your online personal trainer really who they say they are? The internet makes it easy to grab a few transformation images, write a professional blurb on a website and launch an online fitness business. You will want to make sure to not only do your homework, but to also find someone that has a training and nutrition style that fits in with your end goals.

Education and Experience: Don’t be afraid to ask your trainer for credentials. Trainers, whether they are online or in person, are required to have certifications that are current, especially for liability purposes. You can also look up online reviews and testimonials from clients, as well as ask for a couple of referrals from local gyms they may work with. Your trainer should be happy to provide these details in the hopes to earn your trust and establish a strong relationship from the beginning. Also ask about what kind of experience an online trainer has had in person. Having one-on-one, or group, in-person training insight gives a trainer the ability to translate programs into an online platform. From my experience, I can’t understand how this would work the other way around. Understanding client needs, reading their facial expressions, interpreting their words, knowing when to push them and when to cheer them on, as well as creating a program for different fitness levels or pre-existing conditions, are all things that come with experience.

Customization: The level of customization in a trainer’s program depends on what your goals are. If you are training for a specific event, such as a marathon, fitness competition or other physically demanding race, you may want to consider hiring someone that trains athletes for these types of events. These kinds of trainers will have experience in tailoring your nutrition and training to change with your program development. If you are looking for an ongoing lifestyle change that is geared more for everyday living without training for a specific event, a more “cookie-cutter” or general plan may work for you.

Accountability: Again, the level of accountability in a trainer’s program depends on what your needs are. Some trainers may ask you to email them every day, weekly, bi-weekly or once a month. If you require a little more hand-holding, a program that keeps you accountable more than twice a month will probably be beneficial. I like to encourage my clients to text or email me anytime, including when they are unsure of a product in the grocery store aisles or an entree on a restaurant menu. Not all trainers and coaches will offer this type of personalization, but those who need it can reach out and make them feel like they aren’t alone in this journey. Other trainers who have more of a cookie-cutter type of program may ask that you simply follow along with them online using social media such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and/or their blog.

Interactive: An added perk to an online fitness program? Being part of a virtual community that can offer support and added inspiration. Your trainer should also be responsive, inquisitive and engaged as much as an online program can allow. A general response time to clients in less than 24 hours will suffice.

Explanatory: Since training online is completely virtual, it may be hard to communicate certain thing like the proper form of exercises. Does your trainer offer an exercise glossary that illustrates and describes movements? Or do they have a YouTube channel they upload video demonstrations or explanations onto? Some trainers even offer Skype or Facetime for their clients as a means to check in or demo a certain exercise.

Whether your fitness program is online or in person, self-motivation will absolutely be part of the equation. An online or in-person trainer cannot be there with you every waking moment to suggest a healthier treat or be there at 5 a.m. to wake you up for your morning run. Ultimately, you want to find a trainer that continually motivates, supports, guides and inspires you.

Have you ever tried online personal training? And a big thanks to Keri Lynn for the online training tips! —Jenn

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  1. Jodi says:

    I am an independent personal trainer.. I work one on one with private clients, not in a gym. I don’t like the idea of online personal training.. I think there is not enough room to make sure exercises are being done with proper form. Maybe for a long time exerciser, it could be motivating, but definitely not for a beginner or someone who really needs something extra.. better to spend less money and use some DVD’s and go to a group fitness class

  2. Ellen says:

    I am a masters (a.k.a. old) x-c ski racer and I just signed up with a training program out of the midwest (www.cxcacademy.com) and a couple of weeks into it I am very happy. I am living in a new city temporarily and away from my home-town-5:30am training pals and I felt like I had a case of the fitness doldrums but this has helped me snap out of it AND by adding some diversity I am getting over a strained hamstring without losing fitness. I was skeptical but they offered a free 5-day trial and let you pay by the month so I figured the worst case I would be out $15 (price of one yoga classs) if I decided I hated it. So far so good.

  3. Great post. Haven’t tried it but sounds interesting!

  4. I think constant accountability is key for online training, otherwise it is so easy to just NOT do it!

  5. Mike says:

    Hi I’m a Personal Trainer and also not a big fan of online programs, as mentioned constant accountability is what people want when they book personal training and having that someone there ion person to motivate when the going gets tough.
    Several of my clients have tried online programs and each has said it was too easy to no to do the workouts or make an excuse, which is why they are training with me 1-2-1 or in my group sessions.

  6. Completely agree with you Jenn, These 5 things are mandatory to be checked before you hire a personal trainer or start working with them online. Never hesitate to clear your doubts, trainer is there to solve your problems so keep clearing your doubts. Proper documentations are necessary so that you can be sure of his skills. As a trainer, i don’t have any YouTube channel, but i like to stay in touch with my gym members on Facetime.

  7. Jamie says:

    I just signed up for online personal trainjng. I dint need accountability. I am looking for guidance and feedback if I feel like something isn’t working like I want it to. I have been worku g out wig a personal trainer for a while but changed jobs/locations and need that guidance again.