It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard about ways to save on personal training by buying videos or downloading apps.
“Why spend all of that money for a personal trainer?” a recent TV ad broadcast. “Personal trainers cost a bundle. Just buy our DVD, it comes with a personal consultation.” Other times, I’ve heard, “Training is too expensive, get a fitness app instead.”
Am I about to be replaced by a robot?
I do like fitness apps — I think they are great tools. I am all for anything that helps people get in shape and live healthy lifestyles.
In fact, I have used two of them: MyFitnessPal and Fooducate. I like Fooducate but honestly I only read the newsletter. I used MyFitnessPal for a while and liked it. The only reason I did not stick with it is because my phone at that time was too hard to type on. But two of my clients use MyFitnessPal and love it.
One thing that fitness apps can do that I can’t do is follow you around all day. I have to go home; a fitness app does not.
So why should you invest money on training with me or someone else instead of using a fitness app?
There are several reasons:
- Trainers get the latest and most up-to-date information and relay it to YOU. I just found out two new facts that have changed in the last few months: Seniors benefit from eating more protein, and the caloric intake for nursing and pregnancy has gone down from 500 calories to 300 extra calories per day. Does your fitness app know this? These are just two examples of new information that comes out every day in the news or studies, which may take months to translate into an app interface.
- Personal attention. Enough said. This just can’t happen with an app.
- Apps aren’t specific to your needs. Apps cannot take into account food allergies, personal preferences, surgery, injuries, and other such issues. This is what part of what a trainer does.
- Apps don’t care. Developers care about making money. A good Personal trainer cares about you and your fitness needs.
- Apps can’t target weaknesses. I have a client who is in amazing shape. He does Iron Man competitions. Why does he need me? Because I targeted the two areas in his body that were weak: his rotator cuff and internal obliques. There is no way an app can get that specific and detailed. Only years of hands-on experience enabled me to find his weak areas.
- Apps can’t take into account how you are feeling on that day. Yesterday’s planned workout had to be changed due to the fact that my client was getting over a bad cold and felt a little weak. A session on Friday involved a client who hadn’t slept well and was too tired to work out. Both sessions required me to do some quick thinking on my feet. I did some resistance training while sitting with a stress relief and meditation session at the end. Is your app that flexible?
- Apps can’t get creative, and change it up. Creativity just can’t come from an app. Sure, you can look up different exercises on your own, but personal trainers are always looking for new, fun, creative ways to exercise. Part of what I consider to be my job is to make your workout as enjoyable and un-boring as possible. This means I check out all different techniques and bring them into my sessions.
- Apps can’t tell if you are over- or under trained. Today’s session with a client included a discussion about working out every day. This client was a little over trained. Her age injuries and doing the same workout every day was causing her body to release too much cortisol, a stress hormone. Her overzealous workout routine was actually keeping some body fat on. This does not happen to everyone who works out every day, but in this particular situation it did. Most people in the United States are under trained. They just do not get enough exercise. And I can see this right away when I meet with a client. An app can’t necessarily detect this.
- Apps can’t give you a manual stretch. This is the part of the session of my clients look forward to the most. When I tell them they worked hard and now it’s my turn to work hard. Finding all of the tight muscles in your body and getting rid of the tightness through a manual stretch is what a good trainer does.
10) Apps can’t tell if you have reached a plateau. You need to change your workout routine every 6 to 8 weeks in order for you to get the most benefits out of it. Is it 6 weeks or 8? Did you have a setback in your routine such as an injury or illness or did you plateau at 9 weeks because you went away? Do you really love this routine and just want to add more reps for the next month? These type of subtleties can only come from a person.
11) Chances are you will only use an app for 6 months. That is the average time consumers stick with fitness apps. Apps can’t motivate you the way a person can.
Fitness apps are great tools — I even use them myself and so do my clients. But nothing beats the personal attention and custom-made, individual workouts a good trainer can give you.