Can online personal training services match the value of in-gym personal training?

John Destacamento
4 min readFeb 13, 2020

FEBRUARY 13, 2020

Personal Trainers that wish to offer services online may experience a difficult challenge. If you are a fitness professional, you may want to ask yourself this question: “Why would clients pay for online fitness consulting versus a personable in-gym environment.” In most circumstances there is no comparison when visual interaction and physical presence is compared to online services, however specific clients may appreciate the value of cost and convenience online personal training has to offer.


  1. Motivation — Accountability to show up to a session and being inspired to exercise is one of the key ingredients on why personal training is so successful.
  2. Education — Clients want to learn proper form, new exercises, new techniques and programming of routines. Personal Training is “on-hands” education.
  3. Clients want to feel safe — There are thousands of exercises that can be performed within the gym or outside the gym. Many clients rather not take a risk on attempting movements which are not familiar to them without assistance from a properly trained professional.
  4. Not seeing results — Techniques are one of the main reasons why people look into personal training. Whether it’s losing weight or getting stronger, coaches are properly educated to provide effective methods in order to meet your goals.
  5. Social Aspect — Relationships between clients and coaches are often golden. Meeting with your coach a few times per week is sometimes considered as therapy for both parties. It can become a continuous positive regimen to accommodate each other’s lifestyle.


What do Personal Trainers actually do? The following list may vary according to the habits or ethics of the coach or the specific type of program, but most professional processes are fairly similar. When learning a new exercise the procedure below is according to W.I.T.S (World Instructor Training Schools).

  1. Review client’s previous workout and plan a new workout routine
  2. Greet client and discuss any physical issues or concerns
  3. Guide client through specific warm ups
  4. Perform exercises in program

A. Explain the movement

B. Demonstrate the movement without load

C. Demonstrate with load

D. Prompt client (adjust settings and starting points)

E. Observe the movement

F. Provide verbal encouragement and make small adjustments if needed

G. After set, provide feedback necessary

H. Repeat A through G.

5. Observe movements during exercises

6. Provide verbal encouragement and make small adjustments if needed

7. After each set, provide corrective feedback as necessary

8. Repeat sets [continue steps 4 through 8 until exercise is completed]

9. Discuss results of the completed workout session

10. Discuss areas of improvement

11. Confirm next session


  1. Consult on nutrition
  2. Discuss new goals
  3. Discuss long term scheduling


10 scores best — 1 scores worse

“If a personal trainer can combine both worlds of in-gym coaching plus online coaching , the value is currently unprecedented.”


In-Gym aka Face-to-Face Personal Training is king when comparing today’s basic services versus online-only personal training. However when cost is a factor, online personal training may boast better value. If a personal trainer can combine both worlds of in-gym coaching plus online coaching, the value is currently unprecedented.

However online Personal Training Services require appropriate participation and coordination between both client and coach or the program will lack effectiveness.

  1. Clients and coaches will need to appropriately input exercises along with important notes on a shareable data computer application. There are a lot of fitness applications available today but many of them are for personal use only. To successfully coordinate an online personal training service, the application must have the feature to share proper data between client and coach. Communication can be done verbally by phone or through email or SMS however these methods are non-efficient and could lead to more miscommunications thus more tedious effort by both the client and trainer.
  2. Clients must have the discipline to workout frequently. Having an appointment at a gym holds strong accountability. This persuasively contributes to more shows to sessions. Online coaching can alleviate this issue to remind clients to workout by submitting push notifications but this method has yet to be proven effective.
  3. Clients should attempt to master proper form of exercises. Many clients rely on their coach to make adjustments simultaneously during a workout session, which will not be easily available for online services unless video conferencing is applied.

If a client and coach can apply the top three statements above successfully, then personal training has potential to offer great value and fantastic fitness results can be achieved. If the statements above are not feasible between both parties, clients may find traditional personal training with an In-Gym environment more appropriate for their needs.



John Destacamento

I enjoy sharing experiences with Fitness Science and Technology along with Web Development from a freelancers point of view.