Updated: Mar 28
Introduction: The Pros and Cons of Online Fitness Coaching
When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, you now have a lot of fitness coaching options to choose from. One of the biggest decisions you'll need to make is whether to go with online fitness coaching or in-person or zoom training. Each option has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to understand the differences and choose the option that's right for you.
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Online fitness coaching can mean a lot of different things and is a popular choice for many people because of its convenience. With online coaching, you can work out wherever and whenever you want, as long as you have an internet connection if you are choosing to do 1-on-1 personal training via zoom. This means you can fit your workouts into your schedule, rather than having to adjust your schedule to fit your workouts - no more driving anywhere to meet for an appointment, you can do so from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, online fitness coaching typically offers a more personalized approach to fitness, as your coach will work with you to create a customized workout plan that takes into account your goals, fitness level, and any limitations you may have which is a huge step above from choosing to do a prerecorded youtube workout.
Convenience and Flexibility
"The flexibility of online coaching makes it a great option for those who have demanding schedules, or for those who don't have access to a gym or a personal trainer."
For instance, if you are someone who travels frequently, online coaching can be a great option as it allows you to continue your training wherever you are. Also, if you have a busy schedule, or work from home and find it hard to make it to a gym or studio, online coaching can be a great solution. The flexibility of online coaching makes it a great option for those who have demanding schedules, or for those who don't have access to a gym or a personal trainer.
Personalization and Accountability
The other way you can explore online training would simply be to purchase a personalized fitness program. You would usually begin with a phone consultation so that your trainer can go over your health, nutrition & exercise history and from there they would create a personalized program that you would do on your own. Now with many trainers having digitalized workout platforms, your fitness program will be delivered to you with exercise video demonstrations attached. This is a great option for more experienced and motivated exercisers who just need help with program updates. While this is a cost-effective way to work with a personal trainer the major drawback of this is that unless you already have had one of one professional exercise instruction - many novice trainers may not be getting the most out of their workouts due to technical issues with form, as well as they are more likely to experience injuries due to incorrect technique, and inexperience.
In-Person Training: Hands-On Guidance and Social Interaction
In-person training, on the other hand, offers a number of benefits that are not available with online coaching. For one, you'll have the benefit of working with a personal trainer one-on-one who can provide feedback and guidance on your form and technique. This can be especially helpful for beginners or those who are new to certain exercises. Additionally, in-person training can be more motivating and engaging than online coaching, as you're working with a trainer in a face-to-face setting. Online coaching via zoom, however, can offer these same benefits, but with a less hands-on approach.
Hands-On Guidance and Feedback
Either way, a personal trainer can provide you with a personalized workout plan that takes into account your fitness level, goals, and any limitations you may have. When training in person, they can also provide you with hands-on guidance on how to perform exercises safely and effectively, which can be especially helpful for those who are new to working out or who have a history of injury.
Another important factor to consider when choosing between online fitness coaching and in-person training is cost. Online coaching often has more affordable options than in-person training, as when choosing to buy a program design, you're then not paying for the trainer's time and space. You would simply be paying for the fitness program itself, and for the weekly/monthly accountability. However, it's important to note that the cost of online coaching can vary widely depending on the coach and the program you choose. If you decide to train one-on-one via zoom many trainers charge the same amount per hour as they would for in-person training. Training at the gym with someone can involve a higher cost, as you're paying for the trainer's time and expertise, as well as the rental of the gym space, or you may require to purchase a gym membership on top of the trainer's time.
"If you are someone who needs the accountability of having an appointment with a trainer to show up to a gym or studio; in-person or Zoom training is probably the best option for you."
Another thing to consider is the level of accountability that you're looking for. With in-person training, the trainer holds you accountable for showing up to your sessions, completing your assigned tasks, and reaching your goals. Online coaching can also provide accountability, but it may not be as effective as in-person training for some people. For example, if you are someone who needs the accountability of having an appointment with a trainer to show up to a gym or studio; in-person or Zoom training is probably the best option for you.
Sport-Specific Training & Injuries
If you are looking for a specific type of training such as sports-specific training, or if you have an injury you might want to consider in-person training over online coaching. An in-person trainer can give you the hands-on guidance and support that you need to recover from an injury or to help you train for a specific sport. They can also provide you with specialized equipment and facilities that are not available through online coaching. Often times with sports specific training, you would require a full gymnasium or outdoor space.
The Social Aspect of Working Out with Others
"Via zoom training, you and your friend from across the country could even workout together!"
Another advantage of in-person or zoom training is the social aspect. Many people find that working out with other people is more motivating and enjoyable than working out alone. In-person training allows you to train with other people who have similar goals, which can be a great way to stay motivated and accountable. That being said, many trainers offer semi-private personal training both in person and on zoom. Via zoom training, you and your friend or family memeber from across the country could even workout together!
Considerations When Choosing Between Online Fitness Coaching and In-Person Training
On the other hand, online fitness coaching has its own set of benefits as well. One of the biggest benefits of online coaching is that it allows you to work out on your own schedule. This is great for people who have busy schedules or who live in remote areas. Online coaching also offers a wider range of options than in-person training. For example, you can choose from a variety of coaches and programs from anywhere in the world, and you can switch between them if you don't like what you're doing.
Goals, Fitness Level, and Lifestyle
"Some trainees even do a hybrid of both online & zoom training!"
Ultimately, the choice between online fitness coaching and in-person training will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Both options have their own benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice for you will depend on your goals, fitness level, and lifestyle.
If you're not sure which option is right for you, it may be helpful to try both and see which one works best for you. Many personal trainers now offer both in-person and online coaching, so you can switch between the two depending on your needs. Some trainees even do a hybrid of both online & zoom training! Additionally, you can try different online coaches and programs until you find one that you like. It's important to not settle if you're not finding that you are getting what you need/want from a trainer.
Conclusion: Finding the Right Fit for Your Fitness Needs
In conclusion, online fitness coaching and in-person training both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Online coaching is a great option for those who want convenience and flexibility, as well as a more personalized approach to fitness. It's also typically more affordable than in-person training. In-person training, on the other hand, offers hands-on guidance, feedback, and motivation from a personal trainer, as well as the social aspect of working out with others. Additionally, it can be helpful for those who have a history of injury or are recovering from an injury, or those looking for sports-specific training.
Both online fitness coaching and in-person and zoom training have their own unique benefits and drawbacks
Online coaching offers convenience, flexibility, and a personalized approach to fitness, but may lack hands-on guidance and accountability
In-person training offers hands-on guidance, feedback, and motivation from a personal trainer, as well as the social aspect of working out with others but may be more expensive
The best option for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences, including your goals, fitness level, and lifestyle.
Micaela Whitworth, CFT, CNS
Personal Trainer & Online Fitness Coach