Is “Online Personal Training” an Oxymoron?


By:  Wendy Hunt for the Mansfield Pointe Claire

These days you can purchase anything online.  You can even hire a personal trainer who will make your work outs “easy, effective and convenient.”  So why go to the gym?

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Online personal training systems have some advantages, so let’s check them out.

1) Save money on gym membership

Working out at home with minimal equipment is still cheaper than a gym membership. 

2) Save money on personal trainer fees

Online trainers can cost as little as a $1.00 a day. screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-1-43-08-am

3) Online trainers are available 24/7

A Client Training Log allows trainers to “keep tabs” on their clients, respond to questions and encourage from anywhere, at anytime.

4) Convenience – work out when it suits you.

5) Get access to the “best trainers”

Sound good?  Let’s take a look at the disadvantages of online training.

1) Exercises are not personalized

Internet services can do a fitness evaluation online but cannot evaluate individual muscular weaknesses or movement deficits and design a program made specifically for YOU.

2) What we want may not be what we need

Our bodies gravitate to the easiest way to move, which is often the wrong way to do an exercise. But few online videos demonstrate poor technique.  This leads to wasted training time or injury.   A personal trainer will correct poor technique so you get maximum benefit from each exercise.

3) Misleading Exercise Logs

Clients may complete training logs to indicate “success” when exercises were done with poor technique. 

4) “Best Trainer” may not be best for you

What does “best trainer available” mean? Professional athletes need sport specific training but most people need a qualified trainer who is willing to listen, evaluate and encourage. 

5) Lack of real time motivation

An email message reminding you to train has little value compared to a trainer by your side encouraging you to do just 3 more reps to complete a set of 10.  This is where true fitness is gained.

6) No investment means no accountability

Bottom line is that there is little that is personal about online personal training. The benefits are economic and the cost could be injury or lack of results. 

But personal training can be expensive.  How can you reduce costs and still get results?screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-1-43-16-am

Train alone sometimes.  Optimize time with your trainer  and have him/her correct your technique and make videos of your exercises.  Then use the videos as reference and email your trainer if you have questions before you check in again for a tune up or new program in 4-6 weeks.

A personalized training program or appointment with your trainer means you show up.  A cheap program is easy to blow off.

Online training is useful for the runner looking for mileage guidelines.  But online exercises sold as “personal training” is an oxymoron.   Real and relevant results are possible, but not sustainable because it’s NOT personalized.  Turn the oxymoron on its head by managing your own personal training so that you get the results you deserve.   

Wendy Hunt’s professional career spans over 25 years working as a nurse and clinical researcher in the biotech industry. An avid cyclist, tennis player and cross country skier, Wendy brings her love of sport and her healthcare background to offer a unique perspective on issues related to health and fitness.