Should You Hire An Online Personal Trainer?

Should You Hire An Online Personal Trainer?

For the last 20 years, I have worked as an online personal trainer and online fitness coach for women that want to make incredible changes to their bodies.  While the reasons for beginning might be different…some women want to lose weight, gain muscle, get stronger, have more energy, compete in a figure or bikini competition, etc.  No matter what the reason, all of these women have something in common.  They want to look and feel amazing, inside and out AND they want to do it in a healthy and natural way that will provide lasting results.  Most of them though come into online personal training with some skepticism.  They have real questions and concerns about online fitness coaching and if it is for them.  In this article, I want to help you decide if online fitness coaching is right for you and whether or not you should hire an online personal trainer.

What is Online Fitness Coaching?

Online Fitness Coaching is a form of fitness coaching where you work virtually over the internet or through phone calls with a qualified fitness professional that creates custom fitness and nutrition plans to help you reach your goals.  While the specifics vary, a successful online fitness coach will work with you personally, taking you step by step through the process of transforming your body.  They will be there to provide encouragement, support and accountability along the way in addition to the workout and nutrition guidance.  

What are the Benefits of Online Personal Training

There are several benefits of online fitness coaching:

  • Expertise: Let’s face it, finding a highly qualified personal trainer that cares about you (and not just building their own body or their Instagram following) can be difficult!  Especially if you live in a small town… your choices can be very limited.  Through online personal training and fitness coaching you can connect with the best in the business.  An online personal trainer with years of experience and a proven track record helping people make the kind of changes you are wanting to make.  No longer do you have to make due with whoever happens to live in your town.  You can now find the best online personal trainers in the world and work directly with them no matter where you are located. 
  • Schedule:  One of the most important benefits of online fitness coaching is that it allows you to train on your own schedule, instead of working around the schedule of a personal trainer at your gym.  First thing in the morning, at lunch, after work… you can workout whenever is best for you.
  • Timing:  By working with an online fitness coach that creates fitness programs specifically for your body and your needs,  they can take into account the amount of time you have available for training.  With a good fitness professional, they will be able to adjust your training so that each time you hit the gym you can be effecient and effective.  
  • Flexibility:  Have something come up that prevents you from making it to the gym at a specific time?  With in person training you are out of luck and charged a no-show fee if you miss an appointment.  With online fitness coaching, you are in charge of your schedule and you can be as flexible as you need.  Your fitness coach will create plans that can ebb and flow with your busy schedule allowing you to adjust as needed. 
  • Nutrition Coaching:  Most gym personal trainers are not qualified to address one of the most important parts of any body transformation… NUTRITION!  By working with an online fitness coach that specializes in both fitness and nutrition, you can put together all of the pieces of the puzzle so that you can make real, lasting changes.  
  • Cost Savings:  While a single 30-60 min session with an in person trainer can run from $50-$100+ depending on your location, online fitness coaching offers an incredible value and cost savings.  Check out the section below about “How Much Does An Online Personal Trainer Cost”. 
  • Accountability:  With regular personal training you see your coach once or twice a week at your sessions, but other than that, you are on your own.  With online training, you have a fitness professional at your finger tips any time you have questions.  In fact, your online personal trainer should require you to send updates frequently and should have systems in place like fitness testing that provide you with benchmarking, support and accountability.  

Who Should NOT Use an Online Personal Trainer?

While Online Personal Training can be a good option for many people, there are definitely cases where online training is NOT recommended.  Here are some of the cases in which I  would refer a women to a qualified fitness professional that they can work with in person.  Those include…

  • If you need someone to be sure you show up.  If you lack the motivation to workout and need someone that is expecting you at a session you are paying for, then regular personal training could be a better option than working online.
  • If you are concerned about performing exercises safely or you are brand new to working out.  Those that are complete beginners or feel very uncomfortable with weights may need an in person train watching their form with every exercise.
  • If you have significant injuries or limitations from your doctor.  An in person trainer can watch your form closely to be sure you are not putting yourself in danger.  While a good online trainer will write your programs in a way that avoids exercises that you should not do, if you have significant injuries and you are concerned, then it is generally better to have someone there assisting you with each workout.
Online Fitness Coaching

Who SHOULD Use an Online Fitness Coach?

Generally speaking, there are several types of people and specific situations that make online personal training or online fitness coaching an ideal choice.  For example:

  • If you have some experience with working out, but you feel stuck in a rut and have stopped making progress.  If you have exercised in the past but feel lost or you are in an exercise rut currently then online fitness coaching could give you the clear, step by step plan you need to take all of the guess work out of your training.  Each time you step into the gym, you will now precisely what to do so that you can reach your goals.
  • Are you a busy woman that needs flexibility?  Whether you are a doctor or nurse, running your own business, in the military or a super mom always on the go, online fitness coaching can provide the structure you need with enough flexibility.  Successful online coaching works in a way that allows fitness to fit into your life without letting it take over your life!
  • Have a specific goal?  Want to compete in a masters figure competition?  Ready to make a 50 pound weight loss transformation?  Need an expert to help you become fit over 50?  Ready to run your first Spartan Race or OCR?  Online personal training allows you to connect with an expert specifically in the your field, no matter where you are located! 
  • If you are an over thinker.  If you tend to spends hours upon hours combing the internet and magazines for the latest fitness trends but you struggle to make sense of it all, then a highly qualified online fitness professional can put their years of experience to work for you so it all makes sense.  The amount of misinformation on the web is crazy!  A competent trainer with the heart of a teacher will give you clear guidelines that are easy to understand and make sense!  
  • If you prefer to workout from home.  It can be so convenient to workout from home, especially if you have some workout equipment there, however it is easy to get distracted at home in particular.  With online training, you will have specific workouts that your trainer creates using just the equipment you have available and they are counting on you to complete those assigned workouts.
  • If you are looking for ACCOUNTABILITY.  One of the very best parts of online fitness training is that a good trainer, will require you to report back to them frequently.  They will want updates on the physical changes you are seeing in your body through photos and measurement, they will want you feedback about how you are doing and how the programs are working for you.  Additionally, they will want to know how your overall fitness is improving, so changes in your strength, your flexibility, your cardio vascular endurance.  If a trainer is only interested in the number of pounds you have lost on a scale, then you should be concerned.
Online Fitness Coaching
Should I hire an online personal trainer?

What Should You Look for in an Online Fitness Coach?

If you have been thinking about online training, what specifically should you be looking for?

Here are the questions to ask before you begin.

Don’t Hire An Online Fitness Coach Before You Get These Questions Answered…

What kind of experience for you have, and how do I know that you will make me a priority? With social media being overrun by ‘fitness gurus’ that love showing off their body for vanity likes, it can be difficult to tease out who is actually going to help YOU achieve YOUR GOALS.  When you are searching for a trainer that will be there for you, it is critical that you choose someone that has experience working with people like you, ones that have similar goals to you.  The best online personal trainers will be 100% committed to running a business and will treat you professionally.  Dabbling part time as an online fitness coach while balancing a full-time job with family or while they finish school means that you will be low on the priority list.  Instead, look for an online coach that has been successful enough to make this into a career, and that has the success stories to back it up.

What are your credentials?  There are currently no requirements to call yourself an online personal trainer or to designate yourself as an online fitness coach.  All you need is a website and an email address.  That said, it is critical that you make sure the person you choose is legitimately qualified to write plans for you and that they will put your safety and health first throughout the process.  You want to be sure the person you choose is a certified personal trainer from an accredited agency (NASM, ISSA, ACE, NESTA, etc.) and preferably is also a nutrition specialist or dietician.  

How long will it take me to see results?  Real progress takes time and should come from a combination of healthy eating and proper strength training.  If a trainer promises that you will lose 20-40 pounds in a matter of weeks… run. They are either embellishing to get you to sign up or they will ask you do eat a crazy low calorie diet while performing hours of cardio exercise each day which might give you quick weight loss results in the show term, but long term, it will slow your metabolism and cause you to actually gain weight!

What is your coaching style?  Do you prefer a coach that is supportive and understanding or one that is tough and pushing?  Are you looking for a knowledgable cheerleader that will get behind you and lovingly kick you in the pants when you need it or one that is hard nosed and demanding?  The best online fitness coaches are a balance of supportive and understanding while still expecting the best from you.  I find it helpful to read the success stories of online trainers to find out what kind of coach they will be for you.

Most importantly… talk on the phone with the coach you are considering before you begin.  That will allow you to get a feel for their personality and to see how you might work together.  A good online fitness coach will work WITH you as a team, will take your input into account and will have the heart of a teacher.

Will I be working with you or an assistant?  You would not believe how many companies tout results that were achieved with one trainer but then quickly pawn you off on an assistant because the ‘good trainer’ is full.  When you are searching for an online trainer, be sure that the coach you are seeing testimonials and before and after photos from is actually the one you will be working with.  This should be quickly determined during an introductory phone call before you ever spend a penny on services.

How Much Does Online Personal Training Cost in 2024?

Online fitness coaching and online personal training for 2024 varies in cost depending on the experience level of the coach you are considering.  For a highly experienced, specialized coach you should budget approximately $300 – $500 per month or $100 per week.  Most offer 6, 8 or 12 week sessions to begin.  Many coaches offer a discount for renewing clients.  Considering that an in person trainer would charge $80-150+ for a single workout session with no nutrition support, online personal training can offer an incredible value!

Have other questions?  

If you have any questions, please reach out and let me know!  I will personally respond to you asap!