February 10·6 min read

What makes online personal training work?

Just because it isn’t in-person doesn’t mean it can’t be personal.

From working to socializing to exercising, the pandemic pushed us to move so many aspects of our lives online. Though few of us would want to hang out with friends solely through a screen, some of those sudden changes may be here to stay. For example, working remotely lets workers replace commuting time with… literally anything else they’d rather be doing. And as it turns out, working out remotely can pay dividends as well. 

Sure, that can refer to Zoom yoga classes or on-demand fitness classes available from your TV at the touch of a button. But what many might not know is that personal training doesn’t have to be synonymous with in-person workouts in the age of smartphones and online platforms, either. 

It’s natural to wonder whether a personal training program that doesn’t involve face-to-face sessions with a coach is worthwhile. But in fact, a fitness coaching platform like Future possesses some distinct advantages over in-person coaching and other forms of online fitness. Why? Because it combines freedom and flexibility with a focus on exactly what you need to go for your goals — whenever and wherever you need it. 

So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how and why personal training can still be truly personal without the IRL element. 

Flexibility that fits how real life works. 

With remote fitness coaching, it’s always the right place and the right time to work out. Whereas traditional personal training ties you to a specific place and time for your sessions, Future is designed from the ground up with flexibility in mind. That means you have complete freedom to control when, where, and even how you complete each of the customized workouts your coach creates. 

That’s invaluable, because it means moving towards your health and fitness goals doesn’t have to conform to a strict schedule. There’s no need to stress about a cancellation fee because something came up at work, jump through hoops to reschedule a session because you’re tending to a sick kid at home, or experience serious FOMO because you’re skipping an outing with friends to hit the gym. Instead, a workout that’s tailored to your goals will be waiting for you within the app whenever you have time to work up a sweat.

As the “remote” part implies, working with a Future coach also frees you from schlepping to a specific gym to train or pausing your efforts when you leave town. Wherever you go, your Future coach’s customized workouts, advice, and accountability go with you. In fact, you and your coach can adjust your program to whatever resources you have available while on the go. Whether that means a bodyweight circuit in a hotel room on a business trip or cardio by the beach to stay on track while you’re on vacation, your coach can modify your workouts to make the most of any circumstances. 

More powerful personalization. 

Typically, if you want to follow a guided program on a flexible schedule, that means either turning to one-size-fits-all online resources or tuning into remote group fitness classes — but neither option accounts for your unique starting point, your history, or your goals. With Future, the entire process is designed from the ground up to connect you with the coaching expertise and exercise regimen specifically equipped to put your particular goals in reach.

If you opt for personal training through a gym, you’re usually limited to a shallow selection of coaches whose experience may not fit your needs. But thanks to a network of more than 300 (and counting) well-qualified Future coaches, everyone can find someone with the specific skills to move them in the right direction. That holds true whether your aim is to lose weight, recover from injury, navigate the physical changes of life as a new mom, or achieve your competitive dreams. Heck, we even have coaches with a proven track record of prepping pickleball players for competition, if that’s what you’re after. 

Finding a coach with the right combination of personality, approach, and expertise isn’t a solo endeavor, either. By answering some multiple choice questions about your starting point, your goals, and what you want out of the coaching relationship, we can find a few Future coaches with the right mix of professional background and motivational tactics. Of course, you don’t need to commit to a coach before getting started, and the choice is always entirely yours to make. You can also switch up your coach  at any point in your journey. And one underrated advantage of remote personal training is that “breaking up” with your coach through your phone is a lot less awkward. 

Once you’ve found your perfect match, it’s time to get even more personal. You’ll only ever work with your Future coach one on one, following a strategy that’s designed for you and you alone. To determine how to move you most efficiently, your coach will start by learning everything they can about who you are and what drives you. Why does your goal matter to you? What obstacles have held you back in the past? What activities do you enjoy? What’s your schedule look like? Connecting on this deeper level creates the kind of bonds from which trust and accountability are forged. Between getting acquainted and the ability to offer feedback on your likes and dislikes as you go, you and your coach can dial in a comprehensive, customized approach that perfectly balances what you want with what you need to start moving in the right direction.

Data to make your workouts smarter. 

Another advantage of personal training in the smartphone age is that you can use data to workout harder, and also work smarter. Fitness assessments are a key component of this process, helping you make progress in a personalized way. You and your coach can perform a baseline assessment to determine your starting point, and uncover areas of opportunity where a little targeted effort could have an outsized impact. Over time, further assessments make it easy for both of you to see what’s working and what could be better, so you can refine your process to avoid stagnation and wasted effort. On top of that, assessments help you chart your progress towards your goal over time, giving you a numeric and visual representation of how far you’ve come — which can provide a spark of motivation when the going gets tough. 

In addition to recording and storing basic data points like weights, reps, sets, and splits, the Future app lets you track metrics that help place every workout in context. With the integration of heart rate data, you and your coach can monitor your exertion in real time. When you add your Rate of Perceived Exertion score into the mix, your coach can further understand how a workout felt. If heart rate and RPE data doesn’t match up with expectations, it can provide an opportunity to discuss how you can better optimize things like nutrition, hydration, and sleep to make the most of every workout. 

Beyond those benchmark-setting assessments and check-ins, the automated digitization of your training efforts makes it simpler to stay on top of things. You don’t need to load your workouts into Future, because they’re already in the app waiting for you once your coach creates them. As opposed to a more ad hoc tracking system like a spreadsheet, this approach to personal training makes it easier to gain a full picture of your performance with minimal effort so you can focus on exercise instead of data entry. 

On-demand, top-tier expertise.

There’s no doubt IRL personal training can be useful — at least for the duration of your session. But what about during the other 167 hours in your week? Progressing towards your health and fitness goals doesn’t just happen at one specific time, and Future connects you to your coach’s advice and expertise just like you’d text anyone else for advice.

Want to know what to eat after exercise? Fire off a quick message to your coach and get some ideas that can fuel you up the right way. Late-breaking travel plans affecting your schedule for the week? Just let your coach know and they’ll hit you back with a workout modification that keeps things moving in the right direction. No matter what you need to know or when you need to know it, your coach’s workout wisdom, nutritional knowhow, and endless supply of motivation will always be within easy reach.

By now, you might like the sound of online personal training, but worry that the accountability aspect is missing without anyone forcing you to physically show up. The good news is that the open line of communication between you and your Future coach goes both ways — and not just one day a week. You can expect your coach to reach out to make sure you’re keeping up your end of the exercise bargain, day in and day out. And once you’ve seen how dedicated your coach is to understanding your needs and preparing you for success, they’ll be the last person you’ll want to disappoint. 

Virtual sessions, tangible value. 

While you may miss out on actual high fives and fist bumps that can come with in-person training, a personal training app like Future can offer a whole lot more bang for your buck. That may seem hard to believe at a price point of $149 a month. But when you consider that personal training sessions can often range in price from $60 up to $150 a pop, paying that price for unlimited, on-demand access to top-tier personal training starts to seem like a steal. Best of all, the value gets even better every time you complete a work out or tap into your coach’s expertise. 

There’s no better way to see the difference that dedicated, online personal training can make than to try it for yourself. And right now, you can get started with a full month of Future for less than the price of most gym memberships. Pay just $19 for your first month, and see how much sense it makes to take a more modern approach to fitness coaching. Start your journey by finding a good coaching fit right here, right now. 

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