It’s pretty clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has up-ended all of our lives – not least our ability to exercise. With gyms off-limit and an early morning stroll or run out of the question in areas under full lockdown, many people are fretting over how to stay fit in the age of coronavirus.
Well, truth is, just because we can’t go out doesn’t mean we can’t workout. And one of the easiest ways to get your sweat on when you’re confined to your own home is through an online personal trainer.
What is a personal trainer?
Though many people equate working out with a personal trainer as getting down and dirty with weights or other strength-based machinery, the definition is much simpler than that: Fundamentally, it’s the ‘personal’ part that’s important. Depending on what your aim, ambition, and overall abilities are, your instructor will tailor your training to you.
Of course, if you specifically want strength training, then you should look for that kind of coach. But for the most part, having a personal trainer just means having a fitness professional taking your physical health as seriously as you do.
How does online personal training work?
With online personal training, the primary difference is that you’re connecting and working with that trainer via your computer. It can be as basic as email-based coaching or as in-depth as a live virtual workout.
“You may have videos to follow and regular check-ins with your trainer,” explains Chardet Ryel, an online wellness coach and personal trainer who’s also a member of the Coach Space, “And people who go this route can expect a customised experience and workout plan.”
Most personal training involves working one-on-one with an instructor. Alongside the fitness tips and training, clients typically get nutrition guidance, again designed for their particular needs.
“If the actual workouts are live,” says Ryel whose own online fitness company Corpão Fitness boasts a bunch of distinctive fitness programmes, “Then your trainer will check form as you’re doing the exercise, and also give you cues to help you achieve a specific movement, just as they would in a gym.”
In recent times there’s also been an upsurge of interest in ‘group online personal training’.
“I think one of the reasons for this is that you feel like you’re not alone,” says Ryel. “Even though you may be in your living room looking at your trainer on a screen, you know there are others out there also training, and it can motivate and energize you.”
Supplementary online community groups where you can chat, comment and discuss training plans, alongside sweat-fests’ in real-time through Google Hangouts or Facebook Lives, all work to add to this feeling of belonging.
“And certainly at the moment,” agrees Ryel. “It’s nice to feel a sense of socialisation by being part of a group tuning into a live workout online.”
That said, one the main benefits of online fitness classes is the reduction of socialisation. By that, Ryel means the “chit-chat and the wait-time that you often experience in a gym.”
She explains, “Even if you’ve booked 45-minute with a trainer in your gym, a large part of that will be spent chatting to each other, taking recover breaks, or talking to others while waiting for a machine to be available. The effect of this is that your body is not challenged to the maximum for muscular endurance and stamina.
“Online workouts, on the other hand, are much more targeted. The efficiency of the workout is better, and the recovery breaks are shorter. All of which means you end up training your muscles to go much longer.”
Alongside that, Ryel warns, heavy machines can lead to compensations. In other words, our muscles develop incorrect movement patterns that can then place abnormal stress on particular parts of the body.
“At home, you’ll likely be using body weight or even light weights, so you’ll have better control over your form,” she says.
For the most part, booking an online personal trainer will also be lighter on the pocket than working with an instructor in a gym.
The reason for this is basic says Ryel: “No rental fees. The coach isn’t paying for space in a gym, so they can offer a much lower price. And while every online trainer is different, it’s not unusual for the price to be 50% less than what you’d pay for to work face-to-face with a personal trainer.”
Additionally, there are savings to be made in other ways; flipping open your laptop in the comfort of your own bedroom doesn’t cost as much time as packing, dressing and getting to the gym.
So, what are you waiting for? The global lockdown doesn’t look like it’s going to lift any time soon. And walking from your bedroom to the kitchen to the living room and back to the kitchen again doesn’t really constitute a workout!
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to keep fit and healthy. And now more than ever, you have the opportunity to do so.