• Camilla Lister

Not All Zoom Personal Training is the same!!

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Moving forwards from lockdown 2.0, many trainers have now built virtual PT training sessions into the fabric of their offering. Often a more convenient option for clients, it also offers PTs the opportunity to expand their customer base to clients who may have been less inclined to visit a gym, or found it difficult to leave the house, perhaps owing to child care issues, or simply they are tight for time. What many PTs however, have come up against is clients assuming that virtual sessions should come at a massive discount to in person sessions, when in reality, the PT is still committing the same amount of time and experience to the session as they would in person. What I will discuss today is how to recognise the online personal training via Zoom that is worth its weight in gold i.e. worth the like for like pricing PT's charge vs in person, and to understand that a less experienced trainer on Zoom, whom you may never meet face to face, may not be worth quite what they say they are.

Aside from the issue of like for like pricing, any PT worth their weight knows that Zoom training offers many challenges that years of experience and knowledge can help to overcome. Training someone on Zoom requires a high level of communication skill, the ability to explain in complicated detail what is required, the skill to notice from an odd angle that a leg is slightly out of alignment or that someone is gripping with their abs (looking at creases on T shirts over a grainy Zoom camera is not easy) and even more than that, the ability to be able to judge levels of effort of a client despite being on the end of a virtual line. Judging effort is a real skill which enables a trainer to make sharp, quick witted decisions to either push someone a little bit further or to finish a set just there, simply by looking at someones facial expression change slightly. The outcome in either case leave the client with a sense of achievement and assuming the effort was pitched at the right level, not a sense of failure

From a more prescriptive POV, the following are some key questions you should ask when looking to train with someone you might never actually meet in person. The appropriate answers are a good indication of why they may be charging the same or similar prices to their face to face sessions, let alone charging a premium over another trainer. If the answer to any of them is no, thats ok, but you may want to ask them why not.

Girl doing a Zoom Personal Training Session
Personal Training from Your Living Room!

  • Has your trainer ever worked face to face with clients before? Many PT's were just graduating as Lock-down 1 came into force and started working using virtual sessions!

  • Does he or she follow an evidenced based approach? Do they have results & reviews available from previous Zoom clients? At time of writing we have had 13 months minimum to record results from clients, plenty of time to collect before & after photos!

  • Is your trainer constantly updating their knowledge of what's hot and what's not in the market place?

  • Will your trainer offer to fully test your capabilities and then give you an appropriate, comprehensive list of weights and other equipment to buy?

  • Has your trainer, with you involved, offered to do a risk assessment of the environment in which you are planning to train?

  • Will the trainer sit down with you and go through a lengthy lifestyle and fitness history, & discuss your needs, before sending you a health questionnaire?

  • Does the trainer have their own Zoom Business account?

  • Does your trainer insist on a free session to set up the technology, and allow for glitches and interruptions that inevitably happen the first time?

  • Does your trainer request you have two cameras set up to allow for proper monitoring of technique?

Girl stretching after a virtual fitness session by
Stretching Out after a Zoom Workout

​A few hints and tips to finish

  • Free trial first session​​? Great stuff - as already stated it can take a while to set up the room. It may be that you don't like their style and perhaps they don't like yours. A free 45' to start is a win win for everyone.

  • ​60 min sessions are ideal. Shorter durations are OK, but can you achieve your goals as successfully, or can the trainer tell you how they will make the time work for you.

  • Look for trainers who offer individualised training which is based on your goals and objectives, not forgetting prior experience and how conditioned your body is. A good trainer will not cookie cutter sessions. If you haven't worked out for a few years, you will not be able to go at the same pace, lift the same weights or do the same number of squats as someone who has been training several times a week - no matter how fit they are. You will potentially injury yourself, and at the very least be in an insane amount of pain for several days.

  • Couples and groups welcome? Note that Zoom personal training sessions are not only highly choreographed (quite a skill in itself) but take a lot of skill to instruct someone in how to perform a technical movement possibly with the addition of a heavy weight. Adding a second person, let alone a small group to the session could completely change that choreography as well as reduce the amount of time they can commit to watching you. If you are looking for objective feedback, motivation and good technique coaching, a group session may not be the best option.

I hope this has been of some use in helping you to understand the relative value of a Zoom session vs. a live session or trying to understand whether the price matches the experience of the trainer. Whatever you decide, whomever you end up training with, congratulations on the commitment! You will not regret it! And if you'd like to find out more about my virtual personal training sessions, please contact me below or take a look at my Zoom prices here https://www.camillalisterfitness.co.uk/zoompersonaltraining

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