Virtual personal training has long existed in the world of fitness once it became possible for people to communicate long distance via the internet. Trainers would send clients exercise programming to perform in their local gym facilities and after doing so, the clients would report back on the week of sessions. The trainer would adjust and send back updated programming for the next week. As it became easier to send videos back and forth, these updates would be accompanied by recorded sets so the trainer can analyze any issues in exercise execution and provide any necessary corrections. This might be a sufficient method for those who have more lifting experience (5+ years, “advanced”) but the majority of the population, including some of those “advanced” lifters, will always benefit most from live feedback.
To cope with the varying unreliability of gym facilities to remain open due to various factors, personal trainers have had to evolve to be able to still take care of clients. Some clients weren’t comfortable coming to facilities that were able to stay open because of crowding. Just like many businesses that couldn’t make face-to-face meetings happen in person, personal trainers turned to video chatting apps to assist in clients who were now faced with training in their homes. One of the biggest keys to maintaining or improving physical fitness is to perform the physically taxing activities consistently, so the body receives stimulus—resulting in the body adapting. Lacking a consistent facility for the personal trainer to train the client is the most obvious part of the problem virtual personal training helped to alleviate.
The Equipment Involved in Virtual Personal Training
At-home virtual personal training with no exercise equipment does take some creativity on the trainer’s end. Bodyweight exercise has always existed; think yoga, Pilates or martial arts. For those that prefer traditional “lifting” though, thankfully there are few pieces of cost-efficient equipment that can add a wide variability to exercises performed from home. Some of these you might already have at home! They include:
- Loop resistance bands (make sure to have high, mid, and low-level attachments available for most options)
- Stability/Swiss ball
- Dumbbells (adjustable sets are most space efficient)
- Doorframe pull-up bar (hanging abs, band attachment point)
- Step-up box (wooden or other material, come in pre-made or make yourself!)
- Foam roller
- Adjustable free moving bench (more expensive than flat but provides more utility if paired with dumbbell set)
- TRX, suspension trainer, or gymnast rings
At-Home Fitness Motivation
Because virtual personal training allows a trainer and client to meet face-to-face, it can also assist in eliminating one more dangerous reason people cease training: motivation. Motivation is difficult to rely on, because it often fades in most people at various times for various reasons. The private setting of the video chat may help a client confess fading motivation (which is OK) or allow a trainer to see it before a client even realizes it themselves. Usually by addressing it upfront, adjustments can be made at the trainer’s suggestion to help. Almost everyone has lacked energy or motivation coming into at least one workout in their life, but hardly ever is that workout considered a regret. Having a friendly and knowledgeable face to hold you accountable can consistently help keep these motivation issues from ever surfacing. Even if some virtual personal training sessions end up being more like a “mental health check-in” with exercise worked in, or if unloading problems helps a person consistently keep up with their exercise week-to-week, then everyone wins. Not everyone seeking virtual personal training wants to compete in bodybuilding or powerlifting. Some just want to get through their days pain-free at work or be able to play with their grandkids without fear of injury.
Virtual Face-to-Face Functionality with Your Personal Trainer
With the surge in popularity of virtual personal training, there are sure to be more and more inexperienced clients starting up. This makes the video chat portion of the training increasingly important to help the trainer interact with the client in real time. In-person training allows the trainer to provide hands-on cues—one of the best tools a trainer has available if used correctly. If a client receives specific cues on a Sunday for an exercise they are to perform mid-week, they’ll likely forget these by then and poor execution might persist for weeks before it’s addressed. Performance Fitness Training’s trainers utilize video chatting software to correspond with virtual personal training clients. This has proved to be the most effective virtual training method due to the ability of the client and trainer to meet face-to-face over the internet.
Virtual personal training may never be as efficient or effective as in-person training, but right now, it’s as close trainers and clients can get to it. Vaccines and more discoveries about COVID will eventually allow in-person training to resume safely. Until then, virtual personal training can provide a reasonable platform to continue training safely and consistently.
Contact us today to get started on your at-home fitness journey with one of our certified personal trainers!