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After working for over a decade in the fitness industry, I’ve learned that, for most people, sticking to an exercise regimen is easier when it’s part of their schedule — whether it’s a specific group fitness class they love attending, a regular session with a fitness professional, or simply a weekly workout at the health club with a buddy. However, this hinges on family schedules, work demands, and personal responsibilities unfolding predictably.

And then, inevitably, life happens. Kids get sick, work deadlines shift, cars break down, house projects get prioritized, and current events upend our usual routines. Exercise is often the first thing we put on the backburner when things get hectic or we’re feeling overwhelmed.

In order to help people avoid forgoing their health and fitness routines — and losing any of their hard-earned fitness gains — the fitness industry has been evolving in recent years to meet people where they are. Enter the benefits of being able to train virtually, including the option to train with a certified professional through video.

If you’ve been on the fence about going digital with your workouts and working with your trainer through a screen, read on to learn why it may be worth considering, even if it seems strange, awkward, or unfamiliar at first.

1. It’s family-friendly.

Anyone with kids knows that runny noses, bumps, bruises, and fevers can spring up at the most inconvenient times. If you’ve ever had to drop what you were doing to pick up a kid from school or daycare, you’ve no doubt experienced the unavoidable shift in your well-planned schedule.

Additionally, those in the postpartum stage with infants know that getting packed and out of the house for a scheduled appointment can feel like a herculean feat. Everything seems to take three times as long with a little one in tow.

For those without children, helping siblings, aging parents, and friends with certain errands, doctor’s appointments, or other support can shift your plans and make it hard to find the opportunity to carve out the time to make it to a scheduled class or training session.

In all of these cases, video training can help bring some sense of control and normalcy to otherwise crazy days: You can stick with your original plan to exercise, while still tending to the needs of others. As a bonus, you’ll have the opportunity to set a healthy example for your loved ones if they’re nearby during your training.

2. Exercise morphs into a broader lifestyle.

While I love the fun equipment available at the club — everything from the squat racks to barbells to favorite machines — my access to them is limited to when I’m physically in the building.

Video training is the ideal tool to better incorporate the structure of exercise into a lifestyle approach, no matter where you are located. Through your screen, an experienced personal trainer can show you exactly how to use your body weight and common objects in your home and yard to challenge you and get the right muscles to fire and work effectively and safely.

You’ll find that this type of functional training is surprisingly challenging and can help you enjoy physical changes you might not have expected, while bringing a new level of creativity to your plan. You may even start to see your home — and common objects in it — as something of a playground, which can provide fun opportunities to add an extra exercise set throughout the day (even if it’s just a few minutes).

All of these actions add up, helping build strength and making movement a more normal part of your day-to-day routine.

3. Programming can be year-round.

Whether you’re in a northern state on track to get slammed by a blizzard or in a southern state that’s experiencing record temperature highs, climate changes and unpredictable weather can create an understandable need to shelter in place. Weather aside, current events and external circumstances sometimes create the need for us to stay at home as well.

With virtual-training options, there’s no longer a reason to press pause on exercising.

Solid exercise programming typically relies on working through training blocks of six to 12 weeks that are designed to elicit specific results; stopping the plan solely because you’re unable to get to the gym can stall or reverse your progress.

Through effective programming, a guided, personalized home workout can keep you on track with your broader plan so that you don’t skip a beat.

4. Travel won’t set you back.

Vacations, road trips, and work travel are some of the biggest schedule-disruptors when it comes to exercise.

It’s important to rethink the “I’ll re-start when I get back” mindset, especially because doing so is almost always easier said than done, especially if your time away was extended. Pressing to-dos such as unpacking, grocery shopping, or picking up pets from the kennel or sitter can further delaying the return to exercise.

Whether you’re vacationing at a resort, visiting a family member’s lake house, or attending a conference at a hotel, kicking your day off with a video-training session can hold you accountable, set the tone for the day, boost mood, and increase productivity. The mental battle of getting back to your workouts disappears, and you’ll find it easier to gracefully re-enter your usual health and fitness routine once you’re back.

5. You learn the value of consistency over perfection.

Undoubtedly, regular exercise and physical activity are needed not only for our physical health, but to support optimal mental and emotional heath, as well as stress management. This is part of the reason so many people look to their health club or fitness center as their “home away from home” — a healthy haven that provides dedicated space and resources for self-care.

But at times when unforeseen circumstances add more layers of stress to our lives, we’re likely to get sidetracked if we’re stuck in the mindset of exercise always having to fit a specific mold or format.

There’s never a perfect time to make changes — rigidity to your approach is the enemy of making progress. Video training is a flexible and convenient resource for sticking with your program and working toward your goals until returning to the club is workable for you.

Something is always better than nothing, and if your “something” is an intelligently designed training approach through a video platform, all the better.

Wrapping Up

Video training might initially seem awkward or unfamiliar: Do I really need my trainer to watch my form? Can I do the movements safely without a professional physically there? Is it going to be weird through a screen? These are all valid questions.

As with any new approach or change of routine, hesitation is understandable. However, for a safe, effective, and consistent routine, personalized support from a fitness professional — brought to you exactly where you are — can keep you on track and offer unmatched value, whether it’s in-person or through a screen.

In our digitally connected, convenience-driven world, video training can serve as a surprisingly effective tool that complements your in-club routine — and keeps you moving toward your goals, whatever they may be.

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Training Facebook group.

Samantha McKinney, RD, CPT

Samantha McKinney has been a dietitian, trainer and coach for over 10 years. At first, her interests and experience were in a highly clinical setting in the medical field, which ended up laying a strong foundation for understanding metabolism as her true passion evolved: wellness and prevention. She hasn’t looked back since and has had the honor of supporting Life Time’s members and nutrition programs in various roles since 2011.

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