Training Tips | Technology

On-Demand Workouts: The Death of the Personal Trainer?

On Demand Workouts

By now you’ve probably heard the Peloton name thrown around and caught a glimpse of their advertisements. You know, the clips of the fit individual powering through a workout streamed live to a monitor on their stationary bike or treadmill in the comfort of their own home? Yeah, those ads. They’re beautiful and powerful—the people, the space, the equipment, the idea of it all. But is it realistic? Will it help you or your clients achieve long-term health and fitness goals? Let’s dig into the pros and cons of this movement, the live streaming of fitness classes, to see if it supports goals of a client and what it can mean for your future as a trainer.

The Glitz and Glamour of Gamified Workouts

Workout from home. This is a big win for many. No need to battle traffic. No waiting for a machine to be open. No strange people to avoid at the gym. Just you, sweating through a fitness class in the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Competition. If you thrive on competition, the gamification of these online classes will be a big draw. When you use a Peloton machine and heart rate monitor, you can see your stats on the screen. Compare them to your past stats in the on-demand classes or to the other participants in any of the live classes. Trying to be in the top 10 percent of the class will get you more motivated than ever before.

Live trainers. The live workouts from Peloton and other companies are not the pre-recorded exercise videos filmed in a movie studio. These classes feature live instructors coaching you through class in real time with other participants. Each instructor has their own personality and will be sweating right along with you. There is no pause button; this is an actual fitness class streaming to the monitor on your machine.

On-demand classes. Didn’t get out of work on time for the 5pm cycling class? No worries, you can choose from a variety of the recorded-live classes. Choose a class to match the mood you’re in, to fit the workout you need, or based on your favorite instructors no matter what time of day you’re tuning in. In addition to the stationary bike and treadmill classes, Peloton offer other workouts such as yoga, meditation, bootcamp, outdoor, strength, and more. It is a one-stop shop for fitness classes.

The Less-Than-Fantastic Features

Money. We all know money is a common hurdle in the world of fitness and the machines connected to these on-on-demand workouts are no different. The machines from Peloton, NordicTrack, Echelon, and others carry hefty price tags that keep many fitness enthusiasts from jumping onboard. What if you get bored or lose motivation? What if you don’t like the classes? We all know someone with a workout machine at home that has become an expensive clothing rack.

Zero personalized feedback. Sure, you can take live classes, and just maybe you’ll get an occasional personal call-out: “Stay strong, KellyLovesBikes!” But there is no one around to help you with form or give advice on improving your endurance or strength. And with hundreds of participants in each class, you’re even missing out on the motivation of knowing the instructor will notice if you skip class.

Lack of comradery. There is something about having a living, breathing, sweating human next to you that can encourage you to push a little bit harder. Online classes lack the sense of in-person comradery a shared smirk or a high-five of survival can give you and other participants. If all you need is competition, you might be fine. However, if you need that extra push from the energy of those around you or a sense of belonging, live-streaming fitness classes may not be for you.

Home distractions. While working out at home might sound easy, keep in mind that it may also be easier to get distracted—dogs, kids, laundry, your phone, the couch. It’s not like when you walk into the gym and your workout is the only thing to focus on. At home, you have to work extra hard to forget about the dirty dishes in the kitchen or to ignore the doorbell from an unexpected visitor. How motivated and accountable will you be after the new-gear honeymoon phase wears off?

What this Means for Personal Trainers

Think of these online classes as another set of tools to use. They are great options for the days your client doesn’t have a session planned with you. As you map out their training schedule, help your client select the style of workout that will keep them on track with their fitness goals. As a bonus, the software tracks their performance, so your client can pull up their workout stats later to show you how exactly they performed. No guesswork or embellishment of effort on the client’s side, just honest, straightforward numbers. It is easy for you as a trainer to assess and it helps your client stay accountable and continually moving forward.

Is there a chance this new style of workouts could cut personal trainers out of the mix? Currently, there is no replacement for the value attached to the trusted rapport, helpful accountability, social support, and individually tailored programs personal trainers provide clients. As fitness professionals, we should embrace gamification fitness tools such as these, knowing they’re fighting the fight for health and fitness. Stay on top of your education, offer great service to clients and the Peloton trend will help you get great results with clients, not hinder you.

As an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, you’ll know how to use the science behind Peloton programming to work with clients of all levels.