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Kickoff's certified personal trainers and registered dietitians share detailed analysis, discussion, and how-tos about the questions we get most often

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How Online Personal Trainers Can Maximize Your Fitness Results

In-person fitness trainers are excellent, but finding the right one can be costly and complicated. Their rates often run $100-$200 per hour. And when you work with them for weeks, months, and years? 

Yeah, it can get expensive.

And then there’s the fact that not everyone has the kind of flexible schedule and free time that in-person training requires. Between travel time, scheduling time, rescheduling nightmares, and seemingly never ending COVID scares, in person training gets pretty inconvenient very quickly. 

And even when you do finally get in front of the in person trainer, you’re limited in what you can get out of it — a great workout yes but there’s no potential for the kind of high touch, daily coaching you need to make changes and work on things beyond workouts that matter even more, like nutrition, sleep, and wellness.

So, do you really need to break the bank to get help with your workout routine? Is there a better way? Can online personal trainers be just as good — or even better — for your fitness and health goals? 

If you’re interested in jumping into the world of virtual fitness but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you should know about online personal training.

What Is Online Personal Training? 

Man confused about his workout

Online personal training is a cost-effective option for anyone who wants to take their exercise routine to the next level. Instead of meeting at a physical facility, you’ll keep up with your personal trainer (PT) over messages, live video workouts, and/or phone calls. 

Generally, the process goes something like this:

The Consultation 

When working with a coach online, expect to start your first session with a consultation. You might do this through a Zoom call, text, or messages. (Kickoff always starts with a live call as it has been found to align coach and client much better on the client’s unique situation and goals).

Your trainer will ask for information about your:

  • Health and fitness goals. Where do you want to be after working with a trainer? Are you preparing for a triathlon, shooting for muscle gains, or do you just want to shed a few pounds? Whatever the case may be, give your PT the rundown.

  • Current fitness level and routine. Whether you’ve worked out regularly before or are starting at ground zero, let them know where you’re at in your fitness journey.

  • Preferences. Do you love pilates but feel like burpees are torturous? Now is the time to let your coach know the type of workouts you prefer.

  • Your current nutrition. Not every trainer can provide a meal plan (though Kickoff trainers offer this), but most can give valuable feedback based on your current diet. 

  • Past experiences with fitness, health, and personal training. When were you able to work out regularly, and why did you stop? What felt frustrating, sustainable, or encouraging? What were your favorite and least favorite exercise forms? Your past experiences help your trainer shape the right program for you.

Time to Get Moving

After your consultation, it’s go-time. Based on your goals, fitness background, and your workout needs and preferences, our virtual personal trainer will deliver a customized training plan to help you start meeting your goals. 

This is where things can vary from trainer to trainer. Some PTs will provide your workout program over a PDF or spreadsheets, while others will work via platforms like Kickoff to deliver your plan. Fitness apps like this enable the trainer to provide you a custom workout with demo videos to guide you through each exercise.

You can do these customized workouts on your own time and let your coach know how they go. Do Bulgarian split squats hurt your knees? Do you feel like you’d rather do any other form of exercise than your new bodyweight HIIT routine? Don’t be afraid to mention it at your next check-in!

An excellent online coach will welcome request your feedback with open arms and adapt the plan to fit your needs.

What About Form? 

Looney Tunes workout session

As a beginner, it’s scary to try deadlifts, barbell squats, or bent-over rows for the first time ever. That’s why one of the biggest questions about online personal training is, “How can I make sure my form is right without my PT being there to help?” 

However, good virtual trainers anticipate these concerns. That’s why they’ll set you up with helpful instructions and resources during your online personal training sessions. They may also show you on a live video session, provide video demos, or talk you through complicated movements so you can feel confident and safe trying new exercises.

Platforms like Kickoff take it a step further — embedding cutting-edge video recording tooling with the workout and encouraging you to send video of yourself repeatedly to the trainer for feedback. You may find you like video taping every once in a while even when you’re more experienced because your form will improve!

Is an Online Personal Trainer Worth It? 

Potential benefits

So, why should you try working with an online personal trainer? What are the benefits?

1. You Get Daily Support

Many virtual personal trainers hook you up with daily online coaching support. That means you’ll have a fitness professional keeping you accountable and motivated every step of the way.

And if you have a question (like how in the world you’ll do a single-arm landmine press again), your trainer is just a text or message away.

2. Flexible Training Programs

Online coaching means maximum flexibility in your routine. Your coach gives you the workout plan, and it’s up to you when and where you execute it. If you have dumbbells and resistance bands on hand, you can even turn certain sessions into living room home workouts.

Even if you weren’t considering an in-person PT, an online training program is a priceless way to maximize your time at the gym. But compared to in-person training, online coaching’s flexibility is kind of a big deal. 

With in-person training, your workouts would be limited to you and your trainer’s availability. But with virtual fitness coaching, you get the best of both worlds. Your PT sets you up with an expertly formed exercise program, and you go to the gym whenever is most convenient for you.

3. It’s Easier to Find Someone Who Understands Your Needs

Virtual fitness training offers the rare advantage of allowing you to find a trainer who specializes in exactly what you need. You aren’t limited to the tiny fraction of the market that works near you — you have access to tens of thousands of trainers with every conceivable expertise.

For example, if you’re preparing for a competition and need your cardio in tip-top shape, you can choose a trainer with years of experience in marathon training. Or, if you want to maximize your muscle gains, you can scavenge the web for a strength training expert. Essentially, you’ll have access to a wider range of trainers online than you do in person.

The virtual aspect makes it easy to connect with the right trainer, wherever they may be. Platforms like Kickoff have thousands of trainers on staff and thus can match you super granularly to the perfect fit.

4. It’s More Affordable Than In-Person Training (By a Long Shot)

Let’s answer the question, “Is online personal training cheaper than in person?” 

Yes – without a doubt. Some of the best-priced online fitness programs and coaches cost about the same monthly as one or two gym sessions with an in-person PT.

For example, an in-person personal trainer can cost upwards of $100 per session. But with a program like Kickoff, you can work with a trainer regularly for as little as $3 per day.

For this price, you get to work with a coach who provides a customized training routine designed for results, all while offering human accountability to keep you on track. These benefits can make a huge difference in your fitness routine compared to doing it all alone. 

Whether you want to build muscle, tone up, or improve your overall fitness, an online PT is worth every penny.

Quick Tips to Choose the Best Online Personal Trainers

Online personal trainer: Young man considering options

It may seem like you have endless personal trainers to choose from. But how can you make sure you’re putting your money towards someone who can make a difference in your fitness journey?

Experience Matters

Credentials are important, and at the very least, your PT should have a personal training certification from an organization like the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

But aside from choosing a certified personal trainer, you’ll want to pick someone with practical, real-world experience. Specifically, look for a coach with training experience that aligns with your goals.

You should also check out your potential new trainer’s background. Do they have lots of happy clients? Have they been doing this for a while? Are they experienced in helping people reach goals like yours?

When you find someone who hits all these marks, that’s your trainer.

Find Someone Who Understands Nutrition

When a fitness coach is serious about helping you succeed, they’ll always take a look at your nutrition. They know that your overall health (and physical fitness!) starts with how you prepare and eat food.

Even if they don’t offer nutrition coaching, a good PT will provide general feedback about how to improve your diet. For example, they might recommend protein-rich foods, whole grains, and veggies to help you reach your macronutrients each day.

Choose a Coach Who Empowers You to Learn More

It doesn’t happen often, but whether you find them on social media, through an app, or at your local gym, some coaches only want you to lean on them for your fitness and nutrition knowledge. They’ll give you just enough information to keep you reliant on them as your sole source of expertise.

On the other hand, excellent trainers want to see you succeed in every aspect of your health — even if it means you won’t need to come to them for everything. 

They’ll teach you the ropes of fitness – including the best exercises to do regularly, how often to do them, and how to push yourself during every session. They may also recommend YouTube channels and blogs to check out, and will gladly answer any questions you have about exercise and well-being.

Getting Started With Virtual Personal Training

Online training has many benefits, including flexibility, daily support, affordability, and greater options when it comes to choosing who to work with. But it can be tough to find the right coach for you. Instead of sifting through the internet and vetting them yourself, work with a reputable fitness brand to save on time and headaches.

Kickoff is one online personal training brand that takes the stress out of finding your perfect fitness coach. When you sign up, you’ll fill out a few questions about your goals, past, and preferences. 

Then, we’ll pair you up with the best fitness professional for the job, from an extremely diverse bench of thousands. Your Kickoff coach will provide regular nutrition feedback, daily support through texts , and workout plans crafted just for you.

Get started by answering a few questions about your fitness goals to get matched with an expert trainer today.