Many of us looking to take our workouts to the next level have explored the idea of hiring a personal trainer at some point. For some, the appeal is the absolute knowledge base of a trained professional, for others it is the increased accountability of holding an appointment, and still others want the one-on-one interaction and customized workouts to meet their own personal goals. Regardless of the reason, however, there are two main factors that keep many of us from hiring – time and money. We need a solution that can cater to our budgets and daily schedules.
A new internet trend is doing just that. The “online personal trainer” is coming to the rescue of an increasing number of budget-conscious, over-scheduled Americans, presenting the latest solution to help us master our fitness goals. While some may argue that the online plans can never exactly duplicate the experience of having a trainer at your side during your workout, the designers of these programs have gone to great lengths to match and, in some cases, improve the overall benefits that you receive.
As you would when hiring a personal trainer face-to-face, you need to ask questions and research the various plans and services to find the program that works best for you.
Meeting Your Personal Needs
As our personalities differ so do our personal training needs.
There are a variety of solutions currently being offered online from auto-generated weekly workouts to personalized workouts created by trainers who interact with their clients on a regular basis via email or live instant messaging.
If it is just the basic information that you need, subscribing to a service that simply provides you with a weekly workout may be the right fit for you. Most of the service providers have some means of assessment to provide you with a starting workout based on your fitness level, so it is important to answer these questions honestly in order to receive the workout that most closely fits your needs. You are sent exercise plans on a regular basis and expected to follow them on your own. These programs are designed to meet the needs of those people who are motivated to work out and simply need a plan to keep them on target from week to week.
For those who truly want to keep the “personal” in personal trainer, some service providers offer the additional option of having direct interaction with a trainer via email or instant messaging. How much interaction you receive often depends on the level of service plan that you choose, however, almost all provide a cheaper option to the traditional approach to personal training.
More Bang for Your Buck
If you’ve ever asked a personal trainer for their rates and gone into immediate sticker shock, you’re not alone. The current, average rate for a certified personal trainer is $60-$90 per hour. Multiply that by two to three hours per week you’re quickly looking at hundreds of dollars per month. In short, that kind of expense just isn’t an option for many of us.
Online personal training services, like many internet service offerings, are discounted because businesses are able to service a much larger customer base with less overhead. The automated programs are obviously the cheapest option because they require no actual human interaction.
If you want the customization and one-on-one guidance of a personal trainer so that you have someone on your side as you work toward your goals, many sites have an extended service that gives you access to a live person. Again, service levels and costs vary depending on the provider. For example, some sites allow you to email your personal trainer, providing a means for asking questions. A new site, LiveLeanToday.com, is taking the interaction one step farther to provide its personal training clients with daily access to their trainer via Instant Messaging. Clients will have the ability to open a chat window with their trainer in which they can carry on a real time conversation.
“Our mission is to provide our clients with the support they need to become fit for life,” says Chuck Carter, president of LiveLeanToday.com. “In effect, we’re providing them with even more access than they would have if they hired a personal trainer at a gym for a small fraction of the price. They have daily access to their trainers for asking questions, getting a little extra support on the bad days or encouragement on the good ones.”
Making Fitness Fit Your Day
As the American lifestyle continues to get more hectic, online trainers are helping people fit fitness into their lives. Traditionally, hiring a trainer has meant coordinating your schedule with theirs. The problem is that more often than not, the hours that you are available – generally before work or after – are the same hours as those of every other client a trainer has.
The online personal trainer solves this issue by making your training programs available for download at any time. Since your workout is not dependent on someone else’s schedule, you are free to fit your workout in whenever you have the time. Additionally, since contact with your trainer takes place electronically, the trainers can work with several clients at the same time making them more accessible than the in-gym trainers that only work via appointment.
Surrounded by Support
For those of us who have used a personal trainer before, we know that there are several more hours in the week than the two or three that we are actually able to spend with our trainers. It is easy to remain motivated in the presence of our trainers, but what happens when we leave the gym and try to fit our goals into our daily lives? This is one area where one online training site in particular truly excels.
A newcomer to the online community, LiveLeanToday.com, offers areas that allow you to talk to other people who are working towards fitness goals similar to yours. The message boards provide a forum for sharing tips and encouragement while you progress. It’s a fantastic medium for swapping recipes and gaining a little extra motivation on those days that you just don’t feel like working out, and it is the perfect place to share your successes with people progressing toward the same goals as you are.
According to Bryan Ashbaugh the community aspect is just as important to the overall success of many clients as a good eating plan and working out.
“In my 8 years of helping people reach their fitness goals, I’ve found that the plan is often only as good as that person’s system of support, which is truly outside of the reach of a personal trainer,” says Ashbaugh.