How to Choose an Online Personal Trainer?


Over the past 10 years, online personal training has become more and more popular, with COVID and lockdowns normalizing people interacting by video even more. 


In this guide to choosing an online PT, we look at the reasons for working with an online trainer vs traditional in-person training and the important factors you need to consider when selecting a personal trainer including ensuring that you choose a certified fitness professional, their experience, their approach and whether they have specific expertise. 

How to Choose an Online Personal Trainer?

How to Choose an Online Personal Trainer


Grab a coffee, sit down and in just over 5 minutes you should be armed with all the information you need to make an informed decision on the best person to help you on your fitness journey.

Why choose an online personal trainer?

Choosing an online personal trainer offers a multitude of benefits that cater to the modern lifestyle. Whether you’re juggling a busy schedule or aiming for fitness goals that seem out of reach, online personal training could be the solution you’ve been searching for.

  • Convenience and Flexibility

One of the most compelling reasons to opt for an online personal trainer is the unmatched convenience and flexibility it provides. You’re no longer tied to the gym’s operating hours or limited by your geographical location. This means:

  • You can work anywhere, be it at home, in a park, or while traveling.
  • Scheduling sessions according to your availability becomes seamless, fitting workouts into your life rather than rearranging your life for workouts.

This flexibility ensures that sticking to your fitness routine becomes easier and more adaptable to your changing life circumstances.

  • Access to Top Trainers

Traditionally, finding a top-tier personal trainer was confined by your local area’s talent pool. Now, with the rise of online training, you have access to the world’s best, regardless of where you live. This opens up opportunities to:

  • Work with specialists who are perfectly aligned with your specific goals, whether that’s weight loss, muscle gain, or preparing for a marathon.
  • Benefit from diverse training methodologies that might not be available locally.

By broadening your horizons, you’re more likely to find a trainer who resonates with your fitness philosophy and can guide you effectively towards your goals.

  • Cost-Effective

Opting for an online personal trainer can also be significantly more cost-effective than hiring a trainer in a traditional gym setting. Here’s why:

  • Online trainers often have lower overhead costs, allowing them to offer more competitive rates.
  • You avoid additional costs such as gym memberships or commuting.

By choosing an online personal trainer, you’re not only investing in a personalized and convenient fitness journey but also saving money that can be redirected towards other health-enhancing activities or resources.

Factors to consider when choosing an online personal trainer

Finding the right online personal trainer demands a thoughtful approach. You’ll need to consider several factors to ensure you’re choosing a professional who can meet your fitness goals efficiently and effectively.

  • Qualifications and Certifications

The foundation of a credible online personal trainer lies in their qualifications and certifications. Certified trainers have undergone rigorous training and have passed exams that validate their knowledge in fitness and nutrition.

  • Look for certifications from reputable organizations such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), or the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).
  • Ensure their certifications are current and include specialized training that matches your fitness goals.

  • Experience and Expertise

Experience and expertise make a significant difference in the quality of training you’ll receive.

  • Consider trainers with several years of experience, as they’re likely to have refined their training methods.
  • Look into their areas of expertise. If you’re interested in bodybuilding, a trainer with a background in that specific area will be more beneficial than one who specializes in general fitness or another niche.

  • Personalized Approach

A personalized training program is crucial for effective results.

  • A good online personal trainer will conduct assessments to create a customized workout plan that aligns with your fitness level and goals.
  • They should consider your medical history, preferred workout styles, and equipment availability to tailor a program suited just for you.

  • Communication and Support

Staying motivated and on track with your goals requires continuous communication and support from your trainer.

  • Effective trainers maintain open lines of communication, offering feedback, answering questions, and making necessary adjustments to your program.
  • Look for trainers who use a variety of communication tools such as email, messaging apps, and video calls to ensure they’re accessible when you need them.

  • Goal Alignment

Aligning with a trainer who shares your vision and understands your goals is essential for a successful partnership.

  • Discuss your short-term and long-term fitness goals early on to ensure they’re equipped to help you achieve them.
  • A trainer who is enthusiastic about your goals and offers a clear plan on how to reach them is likely to be a better fit for you than one who shows less interest.

Researching and shortlisting potential trainers

Selecting the right online personal trainer can be a game-changer in achieving your fitness goals. In the sea of options available, it’s crucial to narrow down your choices to find the perfect match. Here’s how to efficiently research and shortlist potential trainers.

  • Ask for Recommendations

Start your search within your network. Ask friends, family, or colleagues who’ve had success with online personal trainers. Personal recommendations come with an added level of trust and can give you first-hand insights into a trainer’s approach and effectiveness.

  • Read Reviews and Testimonials

Online reviews and testimonials are invaluable resources when choosing a personal trainer. Look for feedback on their professionalism, adaptability, and results. High ratings and positive stories from past clients are good indicators of success. Pay particular attention to reviews that mention specific accomplishments related to your goals.

  • Check Their Website and Social Media Presence

A strong online presence reflects a trainer’s dedication and professionalism. Their website should provide comprehensive information about their qualifications, experience, and services. Social media channels can offer a glimpse into their training style, client interactions, and motivational strategies.

  • Website: Look for detailed bios, certifications, and client success stories.
  • Social Media: Observe the content quality, engagement levels, and community feedback.

Consider Their Training Programs and Specialties

Not all trainers will be a good fit for your specific needs. Examine their offered training programs and areas of specialty.

  • Weight Loss
  • Muscle Building
  • Athletic Performance
  • Rehabilitation

Your goals should align with their expertise. Trainers with specialized programs in your area of interest are more likely to produce tailored and effective workouts.

Take Advantage of Trial Sessions

Many trainers offer trial sessions at a reduced rate or even for free. These sessions allow you to:

  • Experience their training style first-hand
  • Evaluate their communication and motivational skills
  • Determine if their personality and approach suit you

Trial sessions can be a decisive factor in your choice, giving you a taste of what working with them would be like before committing.


Communication and assessment

Choosing the right online personal trainer involves more than just evaluating their credentials and training philosophy. An often overlooked but critical component is how they communicate and assess your progress. Let’s delve into the importance of initial consultation, the variety of communication channels available, and the significance of regular check-ins and progress tracking.

  • Initial Consultation

The initial consultation is your first real interaction with a potential online personal trainer. This is a golden opportunity for you to discuss your fitness goals, past experiences, and any specific needs or concerns you might have. It’s during this consultation that you can gauge the trainer’s ability to listen and adapt their approach to fit your unique situation. A great trainer will ask thorough questions about your health history, fitness level, and lifestyle to create a personalized plan that aligns with your objectives.

  • Communication Channels

In the digital age, there are numerous ways to stay in touch with your online personal trainer. When choosing a trainer, it’s essential to ensure they’re comfortable using multiple communication channels. Common options include:

  • Email and Text Messaging: For quick questions or updates.
  • Video Calls: Ideal for face-to-face interactions, form checks, and more personalized feedback.
  • Fitness Apps and Platforms: Many trainers use specialized apps for program delivery, tracking workouts, and logging progress.

These channels facilitate seamless communication, making it easier for you to stay connected, motivated, and on track with your fitness journey.

  • Regular Check-ins and Progress Tracking

Consistent feedback is key to any successful training program. Regular check-ins and progress tracking help ensure that you’re moving towards your goals and allow for necessary adjustments to your training program. Here’s why they’re important:

  • Accountability: Knowing your trainer will check in on you can increase your motivation to stick with your program.
  • Adjustments: Regular feedback sessions enable your trainer to tweak your program based on your progress, ensuring it continues to meet your evolving needs.
  • Celebrating Milestones: Acknowledging progress, no matter how small, can boost your confidence and encourage you to keep pushing forward.

An excellent online personal trainer will have a systematic approach to tracking your progress, using both qualitative feedback (how you’re feeling, energy levels, etc.) and quantitative data (measurements, weights lifted, etc.).

With these factors in mind, you’re better equipped to find an online personal trainer who not only understands your goals but has the communication skills and tools necessary to help you achieve them. Remember, the right trainer will make you feel supported and challenged, ensuring that your fitness journey is both effective and enjoyable.

Pricing and payment options

When selecting an online personal trainer, it’s crucial to understand the financial investment you’re about to make. You want a service that fits your budget without compromising on quality. Let’s dive into the various aspects of pricing and payment options that will help you make an informed decision.

  • Comparing Prices

Begin by researching and Comparing prices of different online personal trainers or services. Prices can vary significantly based on the trainer’s experience, qualifications, and the type of program offered. Some trainers might offer package deals, while others charge a flat rate per session.

  • Look for transparent pricing on the trainer’s website.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for a detailed breakdown of what’s included in the price.

Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Consider the value you’re getting for your money, such as the quality of the program, the trainer’s availability, and any additional resources provided.

  • Subscription vs. Pay Per Session

You’ll generally encounter two main pricing structures: subscription models and pay-per-session fees.

  • Subscription models usually involve a recurring payment, often monthly, for a set number of sessions or unlimited access to the trainer.
  • Pay-per-session fees are straightforward—you pay for each training session individually.

Consider your training frequency and commitment level when deciding which model suits you best. Subscriptions can offer better value if you’re training regularly, but pay-per-session might be more flexible if you’re unsure about your schedule or just starting out.

  • Refund and Cancellation Policies

Understanding the Refund and cancellation policies is essential. Life is unpredictable, and you’ll want to know your options if you can’t continue with the training or need to pause it.

  • Look for clear policies on the trainer’s website or ask them directly.
  • Note the notice period required for canceling subscriptions or individual sessions.

This knowledge puts you in a better position to manage your investment wisely and avoid any unnecessary losses.

  • Payment Methods

Finally, consider the Payment methods accepted by the online personal trainer. With digital transactions becoming the norm, most trainers offer various options, including credit/debit cards, PayPal, and bank transfers.

  • Ensure the payment process is secure to protect your financial information.
  • Check if the trainer uses a reputable payment platform.

Convenient and secure payment methods reflect the professionalism of the trainer and contribute to a hassle-free experience.

By taking the time to understand the pricing and payment options available, you’re setting yourself up for a rewarding journey with your online personal trainer, ensuring it’s both financially feasible and aligned with your fitness goals.

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Choosing the right online personal trainer is a journey that requires attention to detail and a clear understanding of your own needs. By focusing on effective communication and thorough assessment, you’re setting the stage for a successful partnership. Remember, the initial consultation is your opportunity to ensure your trainer’s approach aligns with your goals.


Regular check-ins and progress tracking are vital for accountability and for tweaking your program as needed. When it comes to pricing and payment, don’t shy away from doing your homework.

Compare prices, understand the pricing structure, and ensure it fits your budget and training frequency. Always ask about refund and cancellation policies to avoid any surprises.

By keeping these key points in mind, you’re well on your way to finding an online personal trainer who can guide you toward your fitness goals with confidence and clarity.

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