|I have always struggled with feeling motivated enough to work on my fitness in the winter. The longer days, cold temperatures, and lack of sunshine make it incredibly difficult to consider leaving the comfort of my layered clothing or warm blanket. But when I had the opportunity to try out virtual personal training in the comfort of my own home, it felt like a chance to try something new to help me get out of my usual winter-time fitness rut.
To be frank, I had never experienced personal training before, other than joining fitness classes or following pre-recorded YouTube fitness videos, so I was intrigued about how it would work with a coach who was completely online. I was nervous but willing to give it a try. So come along with me as I share an honest review of my experience of trying out personal training sessions at home.
Please note: This collaborative article does not contain healthcare, therapeutic or financial advice. If you are concerned about your health or well-being, speak with a health professional or visit your nearest medical facility in an emergency. The links in this article may be affiliate links that I will be compensated for at no additional cost to you.
Before we get started, and just like how my sessions started, let's learn about the personal training company and team that I connected with for this fitness experiment. Based in Toronto, Canada, Nielsen Fitness offers in-home or studio, and virtual personal training sessions. The trainers come from all different fitness backgrounds with a health science degree or diploma in fitness or a related field and practical fitness experience.
To begin, there is a client intake form to fill out which includes a physical activity readiness questionnaire, any injuries or concerns for the trainer to be aware of, and a self-assessment of your fitness goals. I found the question 'what could stop me from achieving my goals?' particularly helpful because often times the answer to this is simply 'me', since I often feel like I don't have time or energy. In actuality, we can find ways to increase our movement throughout our day so that it doesn't have to take up a lot of time, and doing so can actually increase our stamina. I was determined to discover if this was true through this experience.
After I had filled out the intake form and set a date and time for my first session, I have to be honest, I was feeling a bit anxious. I was worried that I wouldn't connect or feel comfortable with my trainer, or worse, that I wouldn't be able to physically keep up with the work out. On the day of the first work out, my worries were instantly put to rest as I logged into the Zoom and was greeted by a manager and my personal trainer, Evian.
We chatted a bit and I showed them the fitness equipment I had available and the space that I was planning to work out in. Once everything was set up, the manager left the Zoom meeting and Evian and I were able to start our first session. As we started to chat together about my fitness goals, Evian had me start moving right away. It was simple movements like arm circles or marching on the spot, and it helped ease me into the workout and completely took away the anxiety I had before our session started.
Although I was no stranger to following workout videos online, or riding on my exercise bike at home, I was very excited to learn that you could work with a personal trainer in the convenience of your own home. I think one of the biggest barriers for me to work out at a gym is the time it would take to commute to and from the location, so being able to have that personalized training at home was right up my alley.
For our personal training sessions, I used my tablet and set it on the ground so that my trainer could see my movements and help guide me through each set of exercises. Not only was it helpful for someone else to keep track of my repetitions, but it also helped to encourage lengthening my strides or lifting higher as I often find this difficult to correction on my own during a workout. One change I would make would be to stream the device to a larger screen if possible, so that way it's easier to see the trainer demonstrating an exercise.
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One of the major takeaways I have from this virtual personal training experience is the feeling that I can incorporate fitness into my daily routine. Having a set appointment was very helpful so that I had time to prepare (fuel my body by eating beforehand, preparing a water bottle for the session, and getting into my exercise attire) and was ready to go at the time of our appointment.
I also had homework in between sessions and at first I thought 'how am I ever going to do another squat after the workout I just went through', but I found that once you recover from the initial workout, adding in movement and exercises throughout my day helped me to continue to feel motivated, decreased my stress levels, and helped me to feel stronger and able to tackle daily chores (like the endless snow shoveling I have had to do lately).
So how do I feel that the virtual personal training went? Let's first review my top 3 goals before I started my personal training:
One of the concerns I shared with Evian was that I experience foot pain as I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot. We talked about increasing the amount of time I wear my shoes and orthotics and incorporating simple exercises like deep squats or his favourite, the hunter-gatherer squat (seriously try this, it's intense!), during my days like when I am at work using my standing desk. I have been able to use this during my work day and it has not only helped with my stress reduction but also increased my overall strength.
I also found that the workouts were cardio-based, meaning my heart rate went up and I was sweating by the end of the routine. I feel like if I was to maintain this type of workout 2 or 3 times a week I would continue to feel stronger and healthier overall in my life.
So if you are considering trying out virtual personal training, consider Nielsen Fitness - the first workout is free, so you can try it out for yourself.
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