Pros & Cons Of Online Personal Training

Pros & Cons Of Online Personal Training

There are many pros and cons of online personal training, especially as someone who's new to fitness. With our article, you’ll find out everything you need to make the right decision for your future.

This article will include:

But before we get into the article, are you thinking of becoming a personal trainer yourself? With OriGym’s Personal Trainer Diplomayou can lay the foundation for an exciting career in the health and fitness industry!

Find out more by downloading our complete course prospectus, or simply enter your details below.

How Does Online Personal Training Work?

pros and cons of online personal training

Many trainers are looking to become online personal trainers as a convenient and cost-effective way to experience the benefits of working with a qualified personal trainer over the internet. 

Before we break down the pros and cons of virtual personal training, it’s best that you’re certain exactly how online personal training works!

Your Online PT Will Do A Consultation First

pros and cons of online personal training

When signing up to work with an online personal trainer, a consultation will take place. This should take roughly an hour, especially if the PT is trying to close you as a new paying client.

This consultation can happen over:

  • Phone
  • Video call
  • Email

The pros of an online personal training consultation means you’ll be able to discuss various topics, such as:

  • Health & Fitness Goals - When working with a personal trainer, you will be set a series of SMART fitness goals which should align with your reasons for seeking an online personal trainer. This can be for building strength, losing weight, an upcoming sport event, or simply because you just want to be more active. Whatever your reasons, you should let your PT know them so they can help you in the most effective way.
  • Exercise History - It’s not just those who are new to exercise who seek out online personal trainers. Some people have an extensive history or knowledge of exercise, even if they’ve never used a PT before. You should tell a personal trainer your skill level so they can give you the right amount of attention and information.
  • Preferred Training Style - If you’re familiar with exercise and have preferred methods or workouts you enjoy (such as resistance training), you should bring this up to your trainer. Having sessions centred around exercises you enjoy means you’re more likely to stay motivated.
  • Programme Length - You should tell them how long you’re looking to be using their programme for as this can increase or decrease the intensity of your sessions. This will also determine the price, and will help the personal trainer decide if they can accommodate you.
  • Any Medical Issues - During your consultation, it’s normal to share any medical history with your personal trainer. This makes them aware of the risks if you have any conditions or prior injuries and can dedicate more care or support if needed.

These questions will often be answered through pre-exercise and goal questionnaires. You will also sign a digital contract during this consultation.

Your PT Will Provide A Personalised Training Plan Tailored To Your Goals

pros and cons of online personal training

Your consultation will then lead to the creation of your own online personal training programme.

Your online PT will use the information provided during your consultation to make a personalised exercise plan, tailored to your goals and preferred style. This is why it’s important to give them as much relevant information as possible during your consultation.

However, this programme isn’t set in stone. It can be adapted and changed depending on how you’re progressing with your fitness goals.

For example, if you’re progressing well your online PT may make aspects of the programme more challenging. But don’t worry, your trainer will inform you if they decide to make any changes to your programme.

You can also increase your income when you become a personal trainer online by selling fitness programmes online. Check out our guide for a full break down of this!

Your PT Will Use Online Services For Your Workouts & Fitness Tracking

While content may differ between online personal trainers, their methods will largely be the same. Most online PTs will film their own personalised workout videos, breaking down the movements and exercises so you can easily copy it.

Although different software may be used between virtual personal trainers, many will use platforms such as Trainerize when working with clients and building their programmes.

pros and cons of online personal training

This allows online personal trainers to:

  • Create effective workout plans that sequence different exercises
  • Track meals and calorie intake
  • Monitor progress and goals
  • Process your payment smoothly and effectively

Software like this makes it easier for you to have everything in one place. You can complete your workouts and have your online PT track your results in real time. 

Trainerize also has the option for in-app messaging, providing you with greater means of communication.

Pros Of Online Personal Training

The pros and cons of online personal training differ for everyone, but with our list of benefits, you’ll be able to decide if this is the right choice for you.

#1 - Online Personal Training Removes Any Geographical Limits

pros and cons of online personal training

One of the best pros of online personal training is being able to train with anyone without the frustration of them being geographically unavailable to you. 

This means if you find the perfect trainer, you don’t need to worry about them being halfway across the country or even the world! 

For example, some online personal training providers (such as Ultimate Performance) pride themselves on having a global reach:

pros and cons of online personal training

Being able to use an online personal trainer is great for those who don’t have time to travel to a gym because of work or family commitments. 

Having the opportunity to train online means you don’t have to worry about rescheduling if you work away frequently or are going on a long trip.

pros and cons of online training

Online personal training also gives you more freedom to decide where you want to train. In-person training is more limited as you have to train at the gym your PT is affiliated with.

If you can’t find a gym at one you regularly use or already have a membership with, this could mean having to leave your current one. You may also have to start paying for two gym memberships if you really don’t want to leave.

This isn’t an issue with online personal training as you can complete your sessions at whichever gym you choose. There’s no obligation to complete it in a certain location, giving you lots more freedom and independence.

#2 - Greater Flexibility For Online Personal Training Sessions

pros and cons of online training

One of the biggest advantages of online personal training is you often have more freedom when scheduling training sessions than you would in a gym.

If you have a lot of family and work commitments, it can be difficult to fit a gym session into your schedule. The thought of arriving home from work, changing clothes, and driving to the gym can be off putting for busy people.

While you still have to find time to complete a workout even if it's online, you gain extra time by eliminating the journey. Certain gym machines or areas may be busy too, meaning you’d have to add this extra time onto your already busy schedule.

A key advantage of online personal training is that you have more freedom to train where and when you want. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and set time aside each day for exercise.

pros and cons of online training

When working towards goals, you should incorporate it into your routine enough that it’s a priority and not an afterthought. Establishing it as part of your daily routine means more consistency and keeps you in the mentality of hitting your goals.

Although flexibility is one of the biggest pros of virtual personal training, if you constantly put off exercise or keep forgetting, you’re essentially wasting both your time and that of your trainer.

#3 - Online PT Prices Are Lower Than Face-To-Face Training

pros and cons of virtual training

Another of the most important online personal training pros is it’s cheaper than face-to-face training. While you may not be entering a gym and working with an actual trainer, you’re still using the same service for a reduced price.

This is because online personal trainers aren’t giving up as much of their time supervising your sessions as they would if you were visiting a gym.

Even well-established personal trainers such as GymWolfPT and LEPFitness acknowledge their online personal training services are cheaper.

For example, GymWolfPT states the average cost of face-to-face training per hour is £40 - £50. Their online personal training is only £150 a month for a tailored training programme as well as providing:

  • Workout programmes
  • Diet protocol
  • 24/7 coach contact

Similarly, LEPFitness offers 3 - 6 months of online personal training priced between £150 to £300 each month and provides clients with the same services listed above.

pros and cons of virtual training

LEPFitness also offers a free consultation for those looking to sign up for their services, allowing clients to discuss their goals in detail and how they want to achieve them.

This is why using an online personal trainer is great for those on a tight budget or low income. While people may be sceptical about the results, it can be a way for people to see the effects of training without putting too much money into it.

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As you’re reading about the advantages and disadvantages of online personal training, why not find out more about this exciting career and how you can become one with these articles:

#4 - Online Personal Training Offers Increased Privacy For Insecure Clients

pros and cons of virtual training

While you may not have access to the equipment some of the best fitness & gym franchises have to offer, working with an online personal trainer can be a better experience for you.

Although it’s always great to push yourself out of your comfort zone, workouts and training should be a positive experience. If the thought of exercising in a gym fills you with dread and anxiety, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to train in your own home.

Being in a safe environment, free of judgement is great for beginners or those wanting to ease back into an exercise routine. The gym can be an intimidating place for people, especially those planning to lose a lot of weight or increase their muscle mass.

pros and cons of virtual training

As it’s important to stay motivated, the last thing you want is to be panicking every time you need to leave for a gym session. This will likely put you off training and lead to you developing a negative mindset towards fitness.

Working out in your own home is great for making you feel less conscious as you won’t be worried about not having the latest gym wear brands or the most up to date equipment.

This means you can feel less embarrassed about making a mistake or doing whatever you need to do to complete the workout without feeling conscious about wasting their time or taking too long to finish a set.

#5 - More Support Outside Of Sessions With Online Personal Training

pros and cons of virtual training

Another one of the online personal training pros is the level of support and communication between the PT and clients. During the hours you’re not training, you can contact your online personal trainer via text, calls, or email.

For example, Fitness With Albert offers support 7 days a week to support you through out training and raise any issues you have:

online training pros and cons

Social media platforms can also be used as a convenient way to ask questions through DMs. They could answer them by creating content around advice for clients on their personal trainer social media.

This is a great benefit for clients who choose an online personal trainer as your communication will be entirely virtual. For those attending in-person sessions, they may feel awkward messaging their PT outside of sessions and choose to wait until they see them again.

Other in-person PTs may also be too busy to offer unlimited support outside of sessions as they’re too busy with multiple clients. Their work and home commitments may not leave them enough time after sessions to communicate effectively with clients.

You Gain Access To Exclusive Online Personal Training Features:

online training pros and cons

One of the biggest pros of online personal training is getting access to exclusive digital content and support you wouldn’t necessarily gain from face-to-face training. While these benefits are to be expected for online training, they’re still great for those who choose this option.

Some of these extra features include:

  • Exercise Guide Videos - Having access to a plethora of online exercise guide videos means being able to go back and rewatch form and technique you may have forgotten or need clarification on. This differs from online training where you have to rely on memory to complete certain exercises outside of sessions and would have to contact your trainer for clarification.
  • Online Meal Plans - These plans can be easily adapted by online trainers and changed depending on how you’re progressing. It’s much easier to change a digital plan than a physical one and having it online reduces the risk of misplacing it.
  • Online Support - Certain online personal training services may even have their own apps such as GymWolfPT. These apps boast their fast message and response times, allowing you to receive support or have questions answered quickly, especially if you’re in the middle of a workout.

online training pros and cons

The bottom line is, it’s important to remember every trainer is different. Even some online personal trainers may not be available exactly when you need them to be. The best thing you can do is ask them if they work to a schedule and what times they’re available.

#6 - Online Personal Training Makes You More Accountable

online training pros and cons

This may seem like one of both the pros and cons of virtual personal training depending how you look at it. 

However, it should be viewed as another benefit of online personal training as it makes you more accountable for your own training and the level of work required to achieve your goals.

This is down to everything being logged and recorded when it comes to online personal training. As your online personal trainer is likely to not be local, it’s down to you to track and monitor your progress.

A lot of this work will be your responsibility and your personal trainer will expect you to keep them updated on this. 

Your online personal trainer may ask you to record:

  • Daily calorie intake
  • Weight you’ve lifted
  • Long distance running time

By having to record this yourself and share it with your online PT, it’s more likely you’ll stay motivated and continue to make improvements.

You should also be honest with yourself when recording your progress. There’s no point lying to look better as this won’t be reflected in your physical fitness. If something isn’t working for you, tell your online personal trainer!

At the end of the day, you’re paying someone for a service that should be getting you results. If you aren’t enjoying the workout, or feel you aren’t progressing to your goals quick enough, voice the issue and have them adapt your programme to better suit you.

#7 - The Results Of Online Personal Training Are Still The Same

online training pros and cons

There are sceptics out there who believe online personal training won’t produce the same results as face-to-face training will. However, this isn’t true!

By receiving your own personalised programmes and meal plans, there’s no reason why you can’t see the same results you would from training in an actual gym.

It’s likely the reason some people are unsure about the success of online personal training is because most of the responsibility is down to the client. It’s all about how much effort clients are willing to put in.

For example, take a look at these transformations posted by GymWolfPT regarding their online personal training:

pros and cons of virtual training

Online personal training also has the potential to produce better results as your PT can constantly monitor your progress without having to wait until the next time they see you. It also means you need to push yourself harder to stay focused and motivated.

The bottom line is if you put the time and effort into your workout routine and meal plans, there’s no reason you can’t expect to see the same results.

Cons Of Online Personal Training

Although online personal training has many benefits, there are also some cons to virtual training you should be aware of:

#1 - Equipment For Online Personal Training Is More Limited Than In A Gym

pros and cons of virtual training

While there are plenty of options if you’re wondering how to build your own gym, depending on what kind of workout you’re looking to do, one of the disadvantages of online personal training is that you may not have the right equipment to have as successful a workout.

Although the cost of sessions will work out less, you may have to buy more equipment. This may include certain weights or machines such as treadmills. If swimming is part of your programme, you’ll also have to pay for somewhere to do this too.

To avoid having your online personal trainer incorporate exercises into your programme that involve lots of equipment, it’s a good idea to make them aware of your financial situation or what’s available to you.

It’s likely one of the reasons why you’re looking at the pros and cons of online personal training is because you want a cheaper option. It’s important to inform them of your limits and whether you’d prefer a programme consisting of workouts that can be completed without machines.

However, this depends entirely on your goals. If your focus is entirely strength training, this may be difficult to achieve without at least some fitness equipment.

#2 - Easier For Clients To Lose Focus & Motivation With Online Personal Training

pros and cons of virtual training

As we’ve already touched on, it’s up to the client to maintain fitness motivation and complete their workouts. While determination and focus is required for any fitness journey, sometimes we all need a push to keep us focused on our progress.

While your online personal trainer can provide you with support and positivity, it’s still down to you to find the motivation to complete the workout. When heading to a gym and working face-to-face with a PT, this helps establish a ‘fitness’ mindset.

Not meeting with someone can reduce the pressure of not wanting to let them down. This is why it’s important to take your training seriously regardless of whether you’re actually meeting with a trainer for sessions. 

pros and cons of virtual training

At the end of the day, you’re still paying them for a service even if it's a virtual one. While it may be at a lower cost, you should treat it as seriously as you would with face-to-face sessions.

Completing your workouts at home also opens the possibility for distractions. Many people find it strange to workout in the same place they usually relax.

You may also find there’s stuff you need to do, meaning your workouts may fall down your list of priorities if it appears there are more things to do around the house.

Rather than complete your sessions in the living room, you should try and workout in a room you don’t use often such as a spare bedroom or garage.

#3 - Online Personal Trainers Have Less Control Over A Client’s Form & Movements

pros and cons of virtual training

In this current age, there’s never been a better time to work with an online personal trainer. With an improvement in screen quality as well as technology in general, you can copy the movements and actions of any of the best virtual personal trainers.

However, while videos are great to an extent, one of the disadvantages of using an online personal trainer is that they have less control over your form and movements.

As a beginner or someone trying new exercises, it can be harder to get the technique right if you don’t have a physical trainer there to show you exactly how it should be done.

Even if you message your online personal trainer about a technique, it can be difficult to describe in words how to perform it correctly. 

If you’re really struggling with a certain exercise, the best thing to do in this situation is contact your personal trainer and schedule a video call. Your PT can give you a clear demonstration of the exercise and check if you’re performing it correctly.

Before You Go!

Now you know all about the pros and cons of online personal training, it's time to start your fitness journey!

But why stop at just using an online personal trainer? If you’d like to become one yourself, our Personal Trainer Diploma is the perfect place to begin your new career.

Download our complete course prospectus or enter your details below to find out more.


Qualify as an Online Personal Trainer!

Begin an exciting career in the fitness industry training people both online and in-person with our Personal Trainer Diploma.

Written by James Brady

Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, writing short stories, watching classic movies and has a keen interest in journalism and filmmaking.

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