Hiring a virtual personal trainer is not a new concept. But it did get more popular when gyms closed in 2020. And virtual training is now THE top new fitness trend this year!
So, why is it so popular, and what are the benefits of exercising virtually? Learn all about the new craze, and discover how to find the best online trainer for YOU below
Are Virtual Fitness Trainers Just a Trend?
When the pandemic hit, gyms around the nation suddenly had to close without warning. The result? People were left scrambling to find alternatives to their standard gym-based routines.
That’s where virtual fitness and virtual personal trainers came into play. People realized with some improvisation and a little structure and encouragement via the web, they could still get in their workouts at home.
Fast forward to a year-plus later, and virtual exercise and training is the new top fitness trend of 2021.
But is it just that—a trend—or is it here to stay?
While it’s impossible to say for sure, it’s a given that we’re a digitally-driven society, which supports the fact that virtual personal trainers aren’t going anywhere.
But as gyms reopen and the pandemic numbers begin to decrease, will gyms survive or go the way of Blockbuster? There’s reason to believe they will survive, as it’s been shown that people prefer to exercise with partners or in group settings.
In fact, a 2016 study revealed that people who exercise with others rated themselves healthier than those who exercised alone. 
Meanwhile, another study showed that people who exercise with others have long-term adherence rates of almost 70 percent! 
Benefits of Using a Virtual Personal Trainer
So, given that there’s a clear benefit to exercising with others outside your home, what are the benefits of using virtual personal trainers?
First, a 2020 systematic review found that six out of nine studies revealed that virtual exercise had a positive impact on people’s physiological, psychological, and rehabilitative outcomes compared with traditional exercise. 
Meanwhile, a 2012 study found that using virtual personal was beneficial in maintaining activity levels in those who were clinically overweight or obese. 
Additionally, a 2018 study measured how using a virtual personal trainer impacted older adults. The researchers found that while the virtual training experience did not decrease loneliness, it did positively influence life satisfaction. 
Finally, there’s the obvious benefit of allowing you to exercise within your own timeframe and on your own schedule.
As more and more people head back to work, it may be easier for you to “squeeze in” an exercise virtually from the comfort of your own home by finding a trainer who’s available during your ideal times.
5 Tips To Find The Best Virtual Personal Trainer
So, now that you know some of the benefits of using virtual fitness platforms, let’s take a look at how to find the best virtual personal trainer for yourself.
1. Establish clear goals.
Just as in person, it’s important to find a virtual personal trainer who is well-versed and experienced in helping clients who have similar goals as yours—and then to communicate those goals clearly.
Want to lose 10 pounds? That requires a different focus than improving flexibility or balance. This will not only impact your type of workout but the type of trainer you choose.
2. Know where to look.
That brings us to our next point: Know where to look. Ask your local gym and even your friends for referrals.
Then check for reviews, success stories, etc. There are also special apps and platforms that feature a selection of virtual personal trainers for you to choose from. Some great options include:
Costs can range from $50 to $300 a month, so keep your budget in mind as well!
3. Try different trainers.
While you may luck out and absolutely adore your first virtual personal trainer, don’t be afraid to try a few different trainers to make sure you find the absolute best option for you.
Remember, you have very clear goals, and perhaps you need someone to give you a slightly more or less challenging routine to keep you motivated to continue. Or maybe you need a trainer with a more forceful or softer approach.
It’s really impossible to know what style and approach works best for you until you’ve tried a few different options.
4. Remember your safety.
Because any exercise involves some risk of self-injury, it’s important to feel comfortable sharing information about your location and emergency contact in case of an emergency.
While you don’t want to share this information with just anyone, it’s better to be prepared and have a certain level of comfort with your virtual personal trainer. That’s where referrals can really come into play and give you more of a sense of security.
5. Maintain open communication.
Finally, it’s absolutely vital to maintain open communication with your trainer. Here’s why: You want to make sure you’re not only getting the most out of your sessions but that they’re really working to keep you engaged and motivated.
If you feel you need a change in routine or want to try something new, make sure to communicate this to your virtual personal trainer. Remember, you’re paying them for a service, so you want to make sure that service is really working for you to help you achieve your personal health goals.