By Chris C. Anderson
We’re not all gym people. Some of us like to work out in the comfort of our own home, but finding the motivation to train at home can sometimes be a chore (the couch is right there). But hold up, there’s this thing called virtual training gaining steam in the fitness world. All you need is a broadband Internet connection, a webcam and some advice on where to start.
1. Do your research. Denise Posnak, owner and founder of MyBodWellness, says prospective trainees must make sure the trainer is experienced and educated. Posnak mainly trains in Pilates, but her advice is sound for any type of training, “You don’t want to be working with a teacher who got certified over the weekend. If a teacher has worked for 10 to 12 years, I’m going to go with them. Or if they’ve had a background in movement, like a professional athlete or a dancer, then that adds to their knowledge of the body.”
2. Make sure you’re comfortable. Posnak says to call (or Skype) and actually converse with your prospective virtual trainer. Get to know them. She recommends asking for a short session (30 minutes or less) if you’re trying virtual training for the first time, and if you’re feeling uncomfortable you can stop.
If you’re unable to have the first phone call, look at your first experience with the trainer as means of determining if it’s a long term fitness fit.
3. Be open and communicative. Only the trainee knows if a workout is too much or not enough. Leslie Silverglide, Co-Founder of Wello.com, says if a session is too hard, you just have to let your trainer know. If you feel you’re not being pushed hard enough, then likewise, let your trainer know during the session. Either way, Silverglide says clients need to be patient and ease into a training program.
4. Consider your safety. For Posnak, safety is a number one concern. “If you’re in Texas and your trainer is in California and you hurt yourself, there’s not much you can do [if the trainer doesn’t know where you live].” She says that the teacher needs to know where you are during the session. You want to be locatable in case something happens (think the splits gone awry).
5. Have clear goals. Virtual fitness trainer Tamara Grand of Fitnitchick says to be completely clear about your goal -- with yourself and your potential trainer. “If you're not absolutely clear about your goals, your trainer is unlikely to be able to help you achieve them,” she says.
6. Understand how motivated you are. Grand also says to be honest with yourself about how much support and motivation you require. Her most successful virtual clients have been very self-motivated and able to tell her exactly how much and what type of interaction they need from her to stay on track. “If you need a lot of hand-holding, it's unlikely that virtual training will help you reach your goals.”
7. Know where to search. Wello.com and Powhow.com both offer a host of personal trainers and online fitness training sessions with 1-on-1 and group sessions -- a good place to start -- especially with reviews, customer support and a variety of payment options. Don't forget to ask your fitness-oriented friends if they have any suggestions, as personal recommendations can go a long way.
Congrats! You now know enough to get started with a virtual personal trainer. Silverglide says a lot of people don’t even know virtual personal training is a possibility, but they’re curious to see how it works. And once they get into it, they stick around. Happy virtual training!