As I discussed in my previous article, online personal training is only growing in popularity.
Even since we started Caliber Fitness a year ago, we’ve seen a massive surge in the number of guys that have been applying for our program.
However, it might surprise you to hear me saying this, but our program really isn’t for everyone.
Many of the guys who apply to work with us simply aren’t a good fit, and we’ll let them know off the bat if that’s the case.
They have goals that we can’t realistically help them with, don’t mesh with our style of training, or a whole host of other things that don’t make it a good match.
Thankfully for such guys, we aren’t the only option in town – and it’s very likely that there are other trainers out there better suited to their needs.
So, in order to offer some general guidance to guys that are interested in working with an online personal trainer – but don’t know where to begin – I wanted to go through some of the most important things to look for when making your selection.
Do They Specialize In What You’re Looking For?
This one should be at the top of your list.
There are many different online personal training services, with a massive variety of different focuses.
For instance, our focus is helping guys who want to build lean, muscular physiques, but who also don’t want to have to choke down tasteless chicken and broccoli 6 times a day to get there.
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We don’t specialize in working with athletes that are looking to compete in specific sports.
Our methodology is primarily based on heavy weight training and flexible IIFYM-style dieting.
Other programs emphasize calisthenics, metabolic conditioning, paleo dieting – the list goes on and on.
So, before you start, I would suggest that you have a clear idea of what exactly you are looking for, and what you ultimately hope to get out of it.
This will help to inform your search and make the process of finding a suitable online personal trainer much less daunting.
How Is The Program Structured?
The next thing that you should consider is the structure of the training program itself.
Does it focus on training, nutrition, or both?
Is the training conducted via email, text messaging, telephone, or over Skype?
How often will your trainer be checking in with you – daily, weekly, monthly, etc?
Is the program constructed to give you specific results in a limited span of time (a 12 week program, for instance), or is it more of an ongoing relationship?
Will you be expected to work out at a gym, or can it be done from home?
All of these questions – and more – are ones that you should be asking when you’re trying to figure out if a specific program is a good match for your needs.
Are They Qualified?
All the promises in the world don’t matter if you don’t buy what they’re selling…
Yes, there are all sorts of fitness gurus that make all sorts of claims, but as you probably know a lot of these simply don’t stack up.
So, an important part of the selection criteria is whether or not you think they’ll actually be able to help you get the results you’re looking for.
Do they have positive testimonials from clients that they’ve successfully worked with in the past?
Do they have certifications or professional designations from trusted organizations?
Do they practice what they preach?
Now this last point is one that will likely ruffle some feathers – but I would personally never take weight loss advice from an overweight dietitian.
Nor would I take strength training advice from someone who looked like they’d never picked up a weight in their life.
In the end, what’s important is that you work with someone who will put you on a path to success; where if you follow their instructions and put in the work, you WILL see results.
How Much Does It Cost?
OK, let’s talk price here for a second.
You might find one of the best online personal trainer programs in the world, but if it’s out of your budget then it’s just not going to be a good fit for you.
How much should you expect to pay for online personal training?
Well, that really depends on what you’re getting.
If you are doing group coaching, or something with a very hands-off approach, then you can obviously expect to pay much less.
On the other hand, if you are looking for something that is truly 1-on-1, where they spend a lot of time working with you and helping you, then that is going to cost significantly more.
I will say, however, just as with many things in life, you tend to get what you pay for…
Do You Like Them?
I saved this one for last – but it may be the most important factor of all!
You might find someone who ticks all of the other boxes, but if something about them rubs you the wrong way then it probably won’t work out for very long.
The truth is that personal training is inherently personal.
You are getting into a relationship, of sorts, with someone who you will need to be honest with and that you will need to trust.
If you don’t feel comfortable being yourself with them, then you should find someone else who you do feel comfortable with.
Finding The Right Trainer For You
Those who know me know that I hate absolutist thinking; putting things in terms of blacks and whites.
Loudly proclaiming that a specific approach is ‘the best’ just isn’t my style…
So, as cliche as it may sound, the best online personal trainer for you may be very different than what works best for the next guy.
For this reason, I would suggest doing your research, speaking with them, and thinking long and hard about what you want out of the process before pulling the trigger or getting sucked in by some heavy-handed sales pitch.
What do you look for in an online personal trainer? Have you had good experiences? Let us know in the comments below.