Dating is online, working is online, shopping is online – and why should personal training be any different? With the average work day getting longer and time spent out of the office increasingly precious, it’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to online personal trainers to shake up their fitness routines. Whether you speak to your coach through Skype, WhatsApp or email, fitness fans are finding that the hard work can be done from the comfort of their own living rooms – and all often at a price cheaper than a monthly gym membership. If you want to join the new wave, here are 10 of the best online personal training services to consider.
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1. Kaizen App
If you spend hours looking at fitness influencers’ Instagram feeds, but can’t decide which programme to spend your hard-earned cash on, then you might need to download Kaizen App, which lets you pick from the best #fitspo of the bunch and change your mind whenever you like. The new product curates content from the most popular coaches across the world and makes it available for download with plenty of reviews so you can carefully pick the product that works for you, whether a one-day workout or a 12-week programme, and whether you want to excel in bodybuilding, HIIT or callisthenics. £9.99 a month, kaizenapp.co (opens in new tab)
2. Ultimate Performance Fitness
Once named London’s best personal trainer, Nick Mitchell, who set up Ultimate Performance Fitness, enjoys a glamorous life in Marbella – but that doesn’t stop him and his coaches training clients around the world. His programme aims to give the same level of education and training as in-person coaching, but at a fraction of the price. Clients get a nutritional, supplement and training plan as well as on-going support on email and FaceTime. “We do everything we can to make it as personal,” Mitchell says. “The fact is, many busy online trainers cut corners – they can’t charge what their time is worth and in order to keep prices competitive, they automate as much as possible. Our trainers can’t and won’t do this.” £299 for a one-month package, upfitness.co.uk (opens in new tab)
With three online fitness apps, specialising in gym, running and weight training, Freeletics is a less personalised – but seriously affordable – way of experiencing an online training programme. With a focus on HITT, users are pushed hard for short bursts of time, which is painful but effective, and makes workouts easy to slot into a busy day. To generate their personalised workout programme, users input their data into the app, and complete one preliminary workout while feeding back on how hard they find each exercise. Continued input from users is requested throughout the length of their programme as they adapt to the workouts. With more than nine million users globally, and 12,000 new fitness enthusiasts signing up daily, it’s clearly incredibly popular, though if you want hours of a trainer’s attention, this probably isn’t the app for you. £12.99 for a one-month programme, freeletics.com/en (opens in new tab)
4. Scott Laider
With a background in psychology and experience training everyone from Paralympic athletes to Oscar-winning actors, Scott Laidler’s specialty is in helping clients achieve total body transformations. After clients sign up, they are provided with training and nutritional programmes tailored to their individual needs. “It’s not a quick fix, but rather about integrating healthier choices and lasting lifestyle changes into their lives,” he says. “My background also allows me to address the emotional aspect of fitness, helping my clients to minimise the effects of stress, which not only helps lower body fat, but also adds years to lives.” £129.99 for a twelve-week programme, scottlaidler.com (opens in new tab)
5. Adrian Collins
Adrian Collins frequently sees individuals who have picked up bad postural habits from working long hours at their desks. His background as a Pilates and postural alignment expert means that he first analyses a client’s gait and movement patterns on FaceTime before prescribing a bespoke exercise course to correct existing issues. “I see so many people who train on top of previous injuries and miss problematic gaits,” he says. “This exacerbates recurring problems, so my aim is to make sure that the client’s posture is as perfect as it can be before introducing a full-on exercise regime.” The programmes are conducted via email, Skype and FaceTime, and are adapted for each client, whether they want an intensive eight-week course, or ongoing motivation. £300 for a one-month intensive programme, collinsfitness.com (opens in new tab)
6. The Athlete Factory
Designed for people who don’t have the time to meet coaches in person, the Athlete Factory app trains everyone from sports teams to first-time marathon runners. Users are assigned a hand-picked coach, who then tailors a training and nutrition programme delivered through the app using video, instant messaging and tracking technology so you can both keep tabs on your progress. Currently used by the Sri Lankan cricket team, this may not be ideal if you’ve never picked up a kettlebell in your life but if you’re already an enthusiast and need some extra help, it might be the one. “We provide access to world-class coaching for anyone, regardless of your sport or level,” says Tim Harper, head of human performance. “Anybody can be directly connected with coaches and practitioners that currently work at the very top of elite sport, who are genuinely passionate about affording you that same level of support.” Packages range from £20 to £65 per month, theathletefactory.global (opens in new tab)
7. Gordon Greenhorn
Former bodybuilder Greenhorn’s method of online personal training is based on a remote access cloud network. Specially designed spreadsheets track body metrics and calculate everything from percentage changes in volume per workout and the average weight loss or gain per week. Clients then film themselves exercising and update their spreadsheets once a week. However, Greenhorn is adamant that the nutritional side of coaching isn’t all about salad and water, with clients encouraged to eat what they like as long as they track their consumption accurately. “Clients don’t need to eat like a rabbit to get lean and strong,” Greenhorn says. “Including chocolate, pizza and beer is advised.” Packages range from £119 to £199 per month, gordongreenhorn.com (opens in new tab)
Who says ballet is for girls? Barrecore is well known for rapidly burning fat through small isometric movements, drawing not only from ballet but also from Pilates and yoga to improve core strength and stability. Online offering PRIVATEbarre is a good option for those who want the same attention to detail and one-on-one focus as a personal training session, but from the comfort of their own home. Taking place over Google Hangouts, instructors do the exercises with you, correct your movements live and adjust exercises on the spot. “We wanted to reach as many people as possible – not everyone can get to a studio,” says founder Niki Rein. For those who crave live motivation and guidance but can’t commit to sessions in person, it’s a great compromise. £45 for a single sesson, £200 for five, barrecore.co.uk/privatebarre (opens in new tab)
9. Your Online Transformation
With a focus on helping clients drop up to 30lb of body fat in 12 weeks [without a restrictive diet and doing no more than three hours of exercise a week], this is a programme for people who want to improve their overall health. It includes a nutrition plan, with calories, macronutrients and meal frequency all designed with the client in mind, as well as training specific to their goals. Exercise technique videos, Skype calls and a Facebook support group help along the way. “With so much conflicting diet and exercise information out there, most people have no idea where to start,” founder Jonny Stannard says. “My programme works with each individual’s needs rather than creating a one-size-fits-all approach.” Gold Package costs £99 per month for three months, youronlinetransformation.com (opens in new tab)
10. James Ronan
A specialist in body composition change, James Ronan tailors online programmes for a range of clients, from those with macronutrient targets to others needing rehabilitation after injuries. Photos are at the heart of Ronan’s programmes; after clients complete a lifestyle questionnaire so he can create their training and nutrition plans, they must produce “before” pictures of themselves. “These photos are often the most important part of the process, because once they have achieved their goal, they can see how much they’ve changed physically,” Ronan says. “It’s also good to use the images to keep them motivated – often people have said, ‘I didn’t realise how out of shape I was, until I saw this picture of myself’.” Ronan checks in with weekly Skype calls and emails to keep track of clients’ progress and tailor their plans accordingly. £510 for a 12-week programme, ronanpersonaltraining.com (opens in new tab)
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