Online fitness training programs are increasing in popularity. (I know, I happen to run one myself 😉 ).
With more people looking to get fit and many not willing to join a gym, they’re a great solution for both beginners to exercise and long-term exercisers alike.
What’s great about online fitness training programs:
- affordable (often cheaper than in-person training, especially if it’s a group program)
- possible to choose the perfect trainer for you (you can get a feel for their personality, approach, area of specialization and training philosophy by simply examining their website)
- workouts can be loosely customized to your fitness level and goals
- most offer close to 24/7 support via text, email or social media
- group programs often have the added bonus of a private forum or chat group, for additional motivation and support
The downside to online fitness training programs:
- there’s nobody waiting for you at the gym to make sure you get your workout done (that means you need to be a fairly independent exerciser if you want to see results)
- it’s more challenging to get feedback on proper exercise form (although many programs provide video demo’s to help you figure out how to perform the exercises correctly and some trainers offer Skype sessions to correct form in real time)
- unless you’re paying for one-on-one programming, you’re unlikely to get a completely personalized program
- many online training programs offer an individualized meal plan service, even though the trainer isn’t nutrition-certified (and may be working outside of their insured scope of practice)
- you’ll likely underestimate your abilities and progress yourself more slowly than an in-person trainer would (my female clients always underestimate how much weight they can lift by at least 25% and many would happily stick with the same weight for months and months)
In my experience as both a past participant AND provider of online group training services, I’d like to suggest the following tips for making sure you’re getting the full value of your online training experience.
Tips for getting the most out of your online fitness training program
- Do your research. Take the time to seek out a program that meets your needs. If the program requires that you have access to a full-service gym but you prefer to work out at home, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. You’re unlikely to become a gym-lover and it’s pretty hard to modify some exercises for the minimal equipment of many home gyms. Likewise, if it’s a weight loss program for beginners, don’t join up expecting hard-core muscle-building workouts.
- Get to know the trainer. People who offer online fitness training programs typically do so through their websites. Spend some time checking out the information they share, read their About Me page and peruse samples of the workouts they create. Follow them on social media and don’t be afraid to reach out and interact with them. Most will be happy to answer your questions and provide more information about the services they provide. It may sound obvious, but make sure they’re a certified fitness professional rather than just a fitness enthusiast… (you want a program based on sound training principles, not just a routine that’s happened to work for somebody else)
- Try out ‘free’ programs before you spend your money. Many online fitness professionals share free workouts, challenges and ‘mini’-courses with their followers. Use these to ‘check out’ prospective trainers and to more clearly determine your needs in an online fitness training program. (See the bottom of this post for an announcement about an upcoming free program I’ll be offering during the month of December).
- Commit fully. Once you’ve decided on a trainer and a program, clear your calendar and make that program your top priority. Doing the research and spending the money isn’t going to get you any closer to your health and fitness goals unless you embrace the process. Ever heard the quote “you get out of life what you put into it”? Same principle applies.
- Participate enthusiastically. One of the biggest draws of online group training is the ready-made support group. Many programs include private forums or Facebook groups for participants to ask questions, motivate and inspire one another and share their successes and frustrations. When you ‘lurk’, reading other comments but never joining in the conversation, you miss one of the most powerful tools for effecting change. Public accountability. Chances are if you’re the type of person who’s drawn to an online training group, at some level you recognize that ‘going it alone’ isn’t working for you. In my experience, there’s a direct and positive correlation between the frequency of posting in the group and an individual’s ultimate success with the program.
- Give feedback and share the program with your friends. Online fitness program developers crave feedback. We need to know what’s working well in our programs and where we could be doing better. Have a suggestion for your trainer? Don’t be afraid to offer it up (but in a positive way; trainers have feelings too 😉 ). Love the program? Send your trainer a testimonial for them to use on their website and in promotional materials. And don’t forget to share it with your friends. Many online solo-preneurs rely heavily on personal recommendations.
I’m excited to announce (well, pre-announce…) that a re-vamped version my 10-week online training course for 40+ women will be debuting in the new year (I took all of the great feedback that participants from last year’s sessions gave me and used it to create an even better service for women looking to sail through the perimenopause years). Watch for further information.
I’m also launching a FREE 21-Day ‘Re’-Bootcamp to support those of you looking to jumpstart your fitness habit before the new year. Details coming soon!
Make sure you subscribe to my email list to be the first to hear about both! (You’ll also receive blog updates and occasional tidbits that I’ve found to be share-worthy).
Have you ever participated in an online fitness training program?
If so, what was your biggest challenge with the program?