Can an online workout guide substitute a personal trainer? Maybe.
Today’s fitness industry is bombarded with social media influencers. A select few have garnered what can only be described as a fan-base for their athletic physiques, with followers who aspire to look like them.
Many have been able to capitalize on this success, creating workout guides that are sold to thousands, with the hopes of having the same physical results.
Helen Cai is a Western student who always felt too busy and too intimidated to attend the gym, but says that all changed when she saw Krissy Cela’s Instagram page.
“I found her page, and she looked amazing. I noticed she was selling her own workout plans, and I actually bought them and I’ve used them since last November.”
She says the convenience of buying an online file is what convinced her.
“It’s just a PDF file that I have saved into my phone. She has a lot of tips and tricks, and she gives you a weekly basis of what to do each day.”
Cai enjoys the 12-week program, and says while it can be boring to repeat the same process, the guide introduces you to exercises and helps you feel comfortable and confident in the gym to veer off the guides, and try new workouts.
“It gives you a good idea of what you like, and you can tweak it on your own. She also posts videos on her page almost every single day of different workouts that are supplemental to her guide so you can follow those as well.”
But is there a danger to following online guides, without any actual guidance? Ashlee Whilhelm is a personal trainer at the Fanshawe College Wellness and Fitness Centre, and says there is a main component online training lacks.
“You don’t get the personal connection that you’d get with a personal trainer. You can’t get any feedback through a screen when you’re one of thousands following a guide.”
She adds that following an online guide can limit the variety of your workouts.
“With a personal trainer can modify your workout based on how you’re feeling that day, maybe on your struggle or success with a certain exercise. It allows the trainer adapt to you.”
Wilhelm says that getting into the gym, no matter your reason why, is positive. One of her biggest concerns is the disappointment people may face when they follow a guide, but don’t get the results they aim for.
“The same program doesn’t work for everybody. You don’t always get the same results even if you do the exact same thing someone else did. It can impact someone’s thought process on fitness as a whole if a program worked great for one person and they had wonderful results, but the individual who bought the program isn’t seeing the same changes.”
Cai said she knows she’ll never be able to look like Cela, but is thankful she bought the programs.
“I used to be out of breath when walking to class… Once I bought Krissy’s plans and got started, I didn’t stop. I did not have a schedule whatsoever before, but I would print out her weekly schedules and put them on my wall and cross them out every day. That really helped me get back on track.”
She said she prefers to switch things up nowadays, and uses Cela’s daily videos for inspiration to change up her workout. But encourages anyone who is interested in an online guide to try it out.
“It doesn’t hurt to try, you can usually preview a program before you buy it to see if it’s for you. Even if it’s not, just step out of your comfort zone and try something new, because I did and it worked out really well.”