Whether you're looking to meet a specific fitness goal — like acing push-up form or building more muscle in your legs — or simply want to establish a consistent, healthy, and safe workout routine, a certified personal trainer's wealth of knowledge can get you there.
Thanks to Zoom and other online streaming services, you can get that 1:1 professional direction and guidance in the comfort of your own home — no need to wait until fitness studios and clubs open back up if you don't want to! After you find the right certified personal trainer for you, check out these tips to get the most out of all your virtual sessions.
Discuss Any Injuries or Joint Aches and Pains
Typically, in a fitness studio, a personal trainer or instructor will ask you about any injuries they should know about before you begin training — here's your reminder to speak up during a virtual session, too! Sharing this info (and other details relating to physical fitness) will only help you prevent further injuries and pain.
Julie Wandzliak, a Tier X Coach at Equinox Hudson Yards and a NCSF-certified personal trainer, says any ailments, injury history, current pain, prior surgeries, physical therapy, and exercise history should all be discussed prior to getting started on your workout program — in fact, your answers will influence what you end up doing.
"Without that information, a trainer would not be able to program properly for that client regardless of the equipment the client has available to them. Especially since, as a trainer, you are not physically there, it gives you more reason to find out all of their information through a series of simple questions to ensure that they are safe in their environment and in your programming."
Schedule Time for Troubleshooting
How long did it take you to figure out the perfect set up for a work-related Zoom meeting? There was probably a little trial-and-error in that process — maybe you realized you needed to prop your computer up on another book, or had to find a quieter corner of your home. It's understandable, and the same goes for working out via Zoom or another online platform with a personal trainer — so be sure to schedule in time specifically to troubleshoot.
In March and April (when clubs closed), Wandzliak had a few sessions of troubleshooting with clients to "the proper placement and distance we both needed to have an overall view of their workouts."
These sessions allowed clients to understand when Wandzliak would need certain views for different exercises — think profile viewing, floor view, and higher/aerial (chair or table) views.
Ask Your Instructor Advice on Equipment
Whether you're working out in person or virtually, your personal trainer is there to help guide you through exercises and workouts that'll help you meet your goal. When you're at an actual gym, you likely have access to way more equipment than you have at home. In order to get the most out of your virtual workout, chat with your trainer about the equipment you already own and what you should invest in.
As clubs closed in the spring, Wandzliak connected with clients via email and text to help them choose the right equipment and modify their at-home program by understanding their space.
Create a Routine
When lockdown procedures went into effect, Waldzliak jumped into creating normalcy and recurring routines with her clients. "Sending out weekly and monthly recaps of their goals and habits through their movement and also nutrition and sleep helped stay connected with them through this ever-changing world we are now all living in," Waldzliak says.
Be sure to inform your trainer of your work schedule and any other obligations you might have in order to stick to a schedule that'll help you meet your goals.
Have Patience With the Process
The process of switching to a virtual mode of personal training sessions — especially if you've never done it before— will have its own fair share of hiccups (WIFi going out, not having a clear view), so be patient with yourself and your personal trainer while working through any issues. And remember this — virtual personal training sessions actually present a unique set of benefits.
"It really puts the 'personal' in personal training," Wandzliak says. "Connecting with clients about their lifestyle and how they go through the day to day in their homes is something that we normally might not see. In addition to that, it gives the client autonomy in their program — as trainers, we are hands on with the set up and breakdown of their program of that day and week; most clients are most engaged during the session which gives them more confidence in their exercises and drills."
Another major bonus? If you're going on a road trip this summer, you don't have to cancel your session. Virtual training sessions are accessible anywhere there's Internet access, so Wandzliak is able to help clients stick to a program (and therefore, meet their goals) no matter where they're traveling.