What is the difference between traditional personal training, virtual/online personal coaching, and do-it-yourself online fitness programs?
Which type of personal training is best for me?
What credentials should I look for when selecting a personal trainer or purchasing a training plan online?
When can I expect to see results?
There’s no doubt that we live in a digital age, a fact so ingrained in our daily lives that it doesn’t really bear mentioning anymore. The fact that you’re reading this is testament to that. So prevalent are our digital lives that the internet has now permeated every conceivable aspect of our lives. Whatever you want or need or can even imagine, there’s an app for that. The world of fitness and personal training hasn’t been left untouched by this reality, or rather, virtual reality. This is where online personal training and online programs come in. Now, from the comfort of your home, you can engage your health and fitness goals with trained professionals or a suite of pre-packaged workout plans through an electronic interface. But what are the true benefits of this new age of consumer fitness, if any? As a client, it’s important to know what you’ll get out of each, and as an individual, with unique needs, you’ll find different reasons to approach each format of training and hopefully, we can help you figure out which is the best for you.
Traditional personal training
Your typical training set up goes like this: you find a trainer at a local gym or in some form of classifieds whether that’s an online ad, brochure, word of mouth or through a system of looking and booking. Being able to connect with a living, breathing human trainer allows you to build a genuine connection as well as asses value and authenticity on an intrinsically human level. A real-life trainer-client relationship also has the added benefit of in-depth assessment and monitoring of progress in real-time. Your trainer will be able to get right into the issue with hands-on assessments such as a skinfold test for body fat, heart rate, blood pressure, coordination, balance, mobility, flexibility and strength. On the flip side, a real-world trainer, restricted to the parameters of a one-on-one client-trainer relationship won’t always be available and on-demand to offer the guidance you require. They most likely have a bunch of other deserving and paying clients who have come to expect the same level of care and consideration as you.
Virtual/Online personal coaching
Today, online personal training is gathering massive momentum. People are way more conscious about their fitness. At the same time people use and function through the internet was more, if not predominantly. Put those two factors together and you have a recipe for today’s state of affairs regarding the rise of digital fitness. The rise of smartphone applications, e-commerce and an on-demand culture have all fused into some unique and attractive health and fitness services. From workout trackers, to calorie counters, and now digital fitness training. Not only are individual personal trainers offering their services through e-commerce packages, but you can now access trainers through portals on downloadable apps. Online training also eliminates a lot of the obstacles involved when it comes to getting some in-person training done. Firstly, it’s hard to initially assess the validity and authenticity of a real-world trainer until you’ve actually consulted them. Online Trainers often have a slew of reviews to give you a good idea of what to expect credential wise. Online personal training is also not constrained by time or place. You can engage with your trainer and work on your goals anywhere and at any time you see fit. Because of this, online training tends to have a lower price point, widening the access of fitness to more population groups in diverse social settings. One drawback of not having your fitness needs tended to in a hands-on fashion is the lack of attention to detail. You are a unique individual with very specific needs, no matter how similar they may be to others in a general sense. This is where online PTs fall short. They aren’t there to firstly assess your condition in real time. They aren’t able to check your imbalances, weaknesses or correct your form. They also aren’t able to provide that unique psychological boost that comes from having a pro push you towards success.
Do-It-Yourself online fitness programs
Online Fitness Programs are like online personal trainers without the actual trainer. So what you’re really getting is a somewhat dynamic reference guide on how to be fit. This sounds very limiting, and in some aspect it is, but it can also be really beneficial in many useful ways. Fitness can be very specific, but it can also be very general. Online fitness programs aim to captivate a desire for the general benefits and methods of achieving a healthy lifestyle. Because of this, online programs and plans tend to be very cost efficient, at least in a relative sense, and depending on where you’re getting yours from, this can be an amazing option. But this convenience of cost also obviously means the quality correlates in proportion. That is to say what you pay for is what you get. This has led to the rise of relatively generic programming protocols. This is because online programs intrinsically operate on little and sometimes no unique personal data. The rise of the “cookie cutter” program can be attributed to this. Another issue with online fitness plans is one of authenticities. Due to a lack of regulation when it comes to what services are offered on line it terms of fitness. It’s pretty easy to get away with flogging some sub-standard drivel to the masses with thus the right amount of sparkle behind it. You can avoid this by making sure your source for online fitness plans is a legit offline as they are online.
This is a very important question! Anyone whom has ever stepped foot into a commercial gym has ran across the “resident expert” who likes to call themself a personal trainer, due to their vast knowledge gained through reading muscle and fitness magazines, and because they can deadlift 500 pounds. Unfortunately for them, this does not qualify someone to be a personal trainer! Be cautious of who you take advice from in the gym and be sure when you are hiring a personal trainer you verify that they have been through the proper training from a program or school accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). This will ensure that your trainer has met all of the requirements to achieve a personal trainer certification and they can safely and effectively design a program for you that will help you meet your desired results.
A few of the top personal trainer programs accredited by the NCCA are: National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council on Exercise (ACE), and International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).
The amount of time to “See” results is highly variable from person to person. Typically, if you stick with the workout program and monitor your nutritional intake, you could see results within two to four weeks. However, most people report that they begin to “Feel” the results of their hard work and effort after only a few days of starting their journey to a healthier lifestyle.