Over the last several years, online personal training has grown considerably in popularity.
Even just a few years ago, the concept really didn’t exist, whereas in 2019 there are now numerous companies that offer online personal training services.
You may have even seen some of these yourself on Instagram, or while browsing various fitness sites online.
But if you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a clear concept of what online personal training really is – and, more importantly, how it actually works in practice.
This is made even more confusing, since there are actually several approaches to this that different companies are taking.
So, in this article, we’re going to walk through some of the most common approaches to online personal training, expanding on how each of them work. That way, you can get a better sense of what’s out there, and decide if any of these options would be a good fit for you.
Group Online Personal Training
This group approach to online personal training is less personalized than some of the other approaches, but also tends to be one of the cheapest options.
Typically, after signing up, you’d be given a workout template to start following, and would also have access to group support – both from trainers and other people following the same program.
This support is often offered via private Facebook groups, where members can ask questions, post about issues that they’re having, and get motivation from the group.
For people looking for a cheaper, less customized approach, this can be a great fit – since most group online personal training programs only cost around $25 per month.
Live Video Training
This is another popular variation of online personal training, which is a lot more personal (and expensive) than the previous option.
In fact, it is the most like regular, in-person training – since you’ll be interacting with your trainer via video chat as you’re working out.
This is great for people who work out at home, since you can have your trainer there watching you as you’re working out, monitoring your form through the video feed, and giving you encouragement as you’re doing your sets.
However, this is not a great option for people that work out at regular gyms, since it isn’t really feasible to set up a video chat in these situations. It also tends to be more limited, since you won’t typically be doing all of your workouts with your trainer watching; only the ones where you’ve booked them for that particular session.
And, as you might expect, this option tends to be the most expensive – often costing at least $50 for each training session, and in many cases more than this.
1-On-1 Online Fitness Coaching
This is the last option we’ll be going over, and it’s also increasingly one of the most popular.
Unlike group training, this will have you paired up directly with a fitness coach, who will design a workout (and often nutrition) plan around your specific needs and circumstances.
They’ll also serve as your accountability partner during your fitness journey, checking in with you regularly to keep you on track – and you’ll develop an ongoing relationship with them, in much the same way as you would with a regular personal trainer.
In general, you’d be interacting with your trainer through an app on your phone, or over email, but in some cases over Skype or FaceTime chat sessions as well.
In terms of price, this tends to be more affordable than live video training, but is more expensive than group training. You are typically going to pay at least $100 per month, which is what companies like Caliber Fitness charge.
Which Online Personal Training Approach Is Right For You?
Out of the 3 different approaches, you should find that one of these resonates more with you than the others.
When making your decision, you should consider several key factors: price, where you’ll be working out, and the level of personalized support that you would like.
If you’re on a budget, then group training might be your best bet – at least to get started with. While this doesn’t have the level of customization or accountability as either of the other two options, it can still be very effective for some people, especially if you’re fairly self-motivated.
However, if budget is less of an issue, and you would like more personal support, then you should strongly consider either live video training or 1-on-1 fitness coaching. The choice here will depend on whether you’d prefer to have the trainer there watching you while you’re working out, and also of course whether you’ll be working out at a gym or at home.
If you’re unsure, then you can potentially test out both options, and see which one works better for you. Most credible online personal training companies won’t lock you in for a long period of time (unlike gyms), making it fairly easy to try out different approaches until you find the best fit.