Traditional trainers or online coaches: which is right for you?

March 18, 2019

Traditional trainers or online coaches: which is right for you?

Fitness is an important part of life. Not only does fitness help with psychological factors, but it helps you to sustain a healthy lifestyle for what life throws at you. Not everyone is educated on what it takes to get in the best shape of your life.  Sure there are books and magazines to help give you some ideas of what to do in order to lose weight for summer or just to maintain general health. Almost all gyms have trainers on staff to help assist with people who are seeking goals that they could not achieve by themselves. Some people utilize them and others don’t. This day in age there are more options to choose from when trying to get in shape.

 With the rise of the online coach, it seems that more and more people are turning to online coaching for numerous reasons. While traditional trainers are still vital, we recognize the power of the internet and how fitness has found its place here. Youtube has become a major hub to find online coaches that have massive amounts of followers and supporters. Utilizing online coaching is much like a having a personal trainer at your local gym, despite they are not next to you counting your reps and assisting with form.

Coming from an athletic background and utilizing both traditional trainers and online coaches, I feel there are huge significant differences. Deciding which one is right for you is the question. From utilizing online coaches more than once, I have experienced great success just as I have with traditional trainers. So this leads me to my question, which one is right for you?

In this blog we had a chance sit down with Kerri Hayes, an IFBB pro and top online coach who is no stranger to the fitness world. Hayes has accomplishments that consist of 1st Place NPC at the Ronnie Coleman Classic, 1st Place NPC at the Europa Supershow, 4th Place at Texas State Championships and 1st Place at the 2012 Nationals where her IFBB professional status was achieved. Hayes weighs in on the pros and cons of utilizing online coaching and traditional trainers.

Lets look at some deciding factors that tend to sway people to go one way or the other.

1 - Price

There are things in life that the majority of the population feel they can live without when money becomes a little less prevalent. Fitness is one of the top picks that people tend to sacrifice when money becomes an issue. Why? Well in my opinion, a lot of people feel they can just “do what they did in high school” to get the results that worked for them back then. Granted that might be true in some cases, but that might not work all the time. Lets face it, age does play a role in that story. When you were 16 years old, your body could get away with a lot more than it can now. “Money does play a role because you pay a lot of trainers by the hour, but as an online coach you pay a flat rate and have a program for 3 months,” says Hayes.

People in general will look at both the price of traditional trainers at gyms and online coaches and almost decide right then and there which is a better fit for them budget wise.

2 - Accountability

Many people love having the accountability of someone pushing them to get through the workout. There is something to say about having the trainer next to you and helping you with form and counting each rep as you go. Reducing the probability of injury is also prevalent since the trainer can correct you and prevent you from starting any bad habits. Having a trainer also allows for a spotter should you want that extra push to get that last rep.

Having an online coach is the opposite. Online coaches almost never meet their clients at the gym to train them. One reason being that almost all gyms do not allow anyone who is not employed by the gym to come in and train you. If you decide to go the route of having an online coach, I would suggest that you have some experience in weight training with good form and knowledge of the movements.

Once you talk to the coach about your goals and about your experience in the gym, they will sit down with you and make you a customized workout plan. “I’ll send my clients a questionnaire and it will ask them for the next week to write down everything they eat everyday, what their training programs are, their bodyweight and body fat percentage if they know it, how much cardio they do a day and what their day to day activity lifestyle is. From there I will be able to get an idea of where to go with their diet plan, nutrition and training,” she said. Coaches offer nutrition coaching to go hand and hand with your plan. “I realized that the nutrition side of fitness has so much more power than the physical side of training,” Hayes shared.

We talked about how to calculate your basal metabolic rate and how to count your macros and/or calories on our last blog. Having a plan for your nutrition is probably the most important ingredient to your success.

3 - Your Goals

“It depends on what your goals are in deciding on whether to use a trainer or online coach. If a client is looking to lose weight through their diet and nutrition, online coaching is great. When it comes to building muscle, a lot of people don't know how to properly workout in a gym and become injury prone so having a trainer is great too,” Hayes told us. Evaluate yourself as well. If you know you have a tendency to slack off and skip days, then having a trainer might be the best option. The accountability factor does come into effect for both the trainer and online coach. Your trainer is there at the gym waiting for you and your online coach is checking in with you on a daily basis. If you are well-seasoned in the gym and know your way around the gym, then you might consider the online coach.

My recommendation is if you are brand new to fitness and working out in a gym, then I would use a trainer.  They will show you the ropes on how to properly use gym equipment, develop good form and provide a good base of strength.

If online coaching is something you have never tried and are curious about, then there is only one way to find out how it goes for you. Make sure you take the time to look at different online coaches and see what their strengths are.

Have a goal in mind for your body. Do not just aimlessly go in the gym and start lifting things you do not know how to properly lift. That will create many bad habits and put you at risk for so many injuries. Invest in your health and create good habits. Get a grasp on the nutrition as well. Without proper nutrition, your results may not be as good.

When it comes to deciding if a trainer or an online coach is best for you, that will be your decision. Again, research it more and possibly test both waters. We wish you the best on your journey and let us know what you have decided on in the comments below!