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Online fitness – does it work?

There are many reasons why people use online fitness plans. They might be stretched for time and the 20 minutes it takes to get to the gym is time they can ill-afford.

Parents, who have no time between a busy day at work, picking the kids up from school and supervising homework, have very little spare time. Similarly, people with a long commute will be loathe to add to the length of time they are away from home by spending an extra hour or two at the gym.

Timetabling problems

Then there are the people whose timetable just doesn’t work. They want a hardcore fitness session in the morning, but the only time the gym is running that session is in the evening. Or the local gym simply doesn’t offer the workout you want.

And finally, there are those people who want to get fit but who are too shy or unsure of themselves to set foot through the door of a gym. They can’t face the thought of turning up to a class, being unsure of what to do or feeling acutely self-conscious in their workout clothes.

For all of these scenarios, a personal trainer can help out. By discussing your training needs, likes and dislikes, you might find that booking sessions with a personal trainer will answer the problems, but if this doesn’t work for you, then it might be time to go online.

The choice is yours

There are heaps of fitness programmes out there, most of them devised by qualified personal trainers and fitness instructors. Some are free, and very good; others are paid for – and also very good.

Among the free programmes, is a very good website, with heaps of programmes to chose from. You decide on the time you want to spend exercising, the level of intensity you wish to work at and what body parts you want to focus upon. Hit the select button once you have registered your choices and a programme will pop up.

The downside of such programmes is that you do not receive any personal feedback or motivation. The personal trainer works through the exercise programme so you have a clear picture of HOW to do the exercises, but how you think you are moving and how you are moving in reality can often be poles apart. You might think your squats are deep and your back is straight; the reality may be very different.

A dose of reality

Equally, you might think you are working hard and progressing but again, your perception and the reality can often not tally. A personal trainer would be able to point out areas where you can push yourself harder. A friend told me that she loves online fitness programmes because she can miss out the bits she doesn’t like with no-one shouting at her!

Then there is the feedback after the session. How do you know you are following the correct programme? How do you know you are on the upward trajectory? This is where a paid-for programme that is bespoke for you comes in. An online programme, devised by a personal trainer, will give you regular feedback and help you set and review goals. You will have a personal connection to your trainer and he or she will know you. This might cost money, but there is enormous value to such programmes.

In answer to the question “Do online training courses work?” I would say, yes they do to a degree. There is no substitute for good old-fashioned human interaction, but at times when you struggle to get to the gym or to a class, then online is a great alternative.

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