I think it’s important for me to say I am not on a mission to change the face of personal training! I train my clients both in person and via Skype, and I believe they both have their merits. I view internet based Skype workouts as an alternative, not necessarily a replacement, for modern day personal training.
What is a Skype workout?
Skype workouts, simply put, are fitness sessions delivered live over the internet. It’s an ‘I see you and you see me’ setup. I demonstrate, guide, correct and motivate you as if we were in the same room – but, of course, I’m in my UK based studio, whilst you could potentially be anywhere in the World – so long as you have a wifi connection! It’s a very simple concept, which I believe has huge potential.
What are the benefits of Skype workouts?
I wouldn’t dissuade someone from attending traditional personal training sessions – but, for many, the benefits of a Skype workout can be substantial. Allow me to site a few examples of common reasons why people find this training method ideal.
One of my clients is a single mother with 2 young children. She wanted to get fit, but it just wasn’t manageable. She either had to book a babysitter for a couple of hours every other day, which obviously cost a lot, or she felt like she was constantly asking too much of her family to look after her kids whenever she wanted to workout. So, she got in contact with me via Twitter and we now train via Skype at a time which is convenient to her – often later in the evening around 7-8pm.
Another client travels a lot with business, with his work taking him across Europe and beyond. He benefits from being able to train on the road – literally from whichever hotel room, in whatever country he finds himself residing in. We simply pick up from where we left off and continue his training wherever he is. This method also works for clients who wish to train whilst on holiday – I’ve been told its like having a personal trainer in their pocket 24/7!
In my experience, many people just don’t like the gym environment. I see it time and time again. It’s almost like an ironic stigma attached to the gym – a lot of people feel they have to look good, to be in the company of people who look good! And so if they aren’t completely comfortable with how they look, it can be a massive barrier to participation. I find this to be another benefit for Skype training; you don’t need to get dressed up, you don’t need to worry about John Smith seeing you with small muscles or with no makeup. Its completely private! And perhaps best of all, you are training in the most receptive environment possible for progress.
I find a lot of people drawn by the convenience factor; one minute you can be watching the end of your favourite TV show, putting the kids to bed or finishing your school assignment, then 2 minutes later you can be warming up for your Skype session. It fits into the busiest of schedules because it’s extremely time effective.
How does the training work?
There’s very little difference between traditional personal training and the fundamentals of Skype training. In terms of the training itself, the majority of goals can be achieved via Skype! I say this with a great degree of certainty because practically speaking you need a space no bigger then a few square feet to perform, for example, an effective HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio session. Contrary to popular belief, you can reach your natural muscular potential in terms of size and mass by performing purely bodyweight assisted exercises! This may sound surprising, but resistance is resistance – for example, the body does not know the difference between performing a bench press in the gym, or a weighted push up at home; a quick Google search of ‘calisthenics’ gives countless examples of muscle mass results achieved by solely body weight assisted exercises. My style of training pushes my clients to their absolute maximum for the full session duration, with only short rest periods between exercises.
Although no equipment is required, many clients have the odd dumbbell here, skipping rope there, which if they chose can be incorporated into their Skype fitness program for some added variety. The Skype packages which I provide reflect the 4 most common areas for improvement, from my experience – weight loss, muscle building, keep fit and flexibility. These are not exclusive though and are often merged together to meet the specific requirements for each client I have. One day we might be chatting about the right supplements for women and another might involve how best to focus your mind on exercise – it varies.
One thing I’ve noticed with gym based personal training is the considerable lack of aftercare, or communication between sessions. It’s very much a case of a client turning up, being trained, see you next week kind of thing. I really don’t like! I like to speak, via email, every day to my clients and speak on the phone in-between their sessions. I think it’s essential, especially in the first few weeks of personal training, to literally be a human stabiliser for a client. That isn’t to be patronising
or undermining, but to support and mentor them throughout what is often a very difficult process. My nutrition guides provide additional help when it comes to monitoring and maintaining a suitable diet.
I’m sure people may question how effective Skype personal training can be. My overall thought is this; if I can contribute to people getting active, who otherwise wouldn’t have been, whilst achieving goals and feeling great about themselves it can only be a great thing. Skype training is an option, an opportunity, and is effectively removing more barriers to physical activity – it may not be for everyone, but that is why traditional personal training will continue to be a massive success – I truly believe both will prove to be a vital tool in moving forward with Worldwide health and fitness in the future!