Online Personal Training vs Face-to-Face Personal Training

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

With concerns surrounding Covid-19, personal trainers are having to adapt to restrictions, fears and, ultimately, a new way of working. This has led to many personal trainers taking their business online and delivering their sessions via video calls or other methods.

Many personal trainers still provide their services in person with the option to train online if necessary - I belong to this category (find out more) - so the question of "which is better?" arises. Below I look at the unique benefits of both these methods of exercising to help give you a better idea of which option to choose.


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Face-to-Face Personal Training

Human connection - The interpersonal relationship between trainer and client plays a big part in some peoples success (or failure) when working with a trainer. Most people prefer physically having a trainer with them when exercising and feel they are pushed more in a session this way. On the flip-side, however, online sessions sometimes move quicker than face-to-face sessions which means you get more work done. It's a win-win situation!

Attention to detail - As a personal trainer, when I am training someone I am always looking at form and quality of movement. As the client performs an exercise I am free to move around and observe the movement form many different angles. The simple dynamic of remote training does allow this to happen, though a good trainer will still be conscious of movement quality and should be able to effectively coach via video call.

Equipment and exercise selection - Training in person with a personal trainer in a gym/studio means you have access to a wide selection of exercise equipment. Even if you train at home or outdoors with a trainer your trainer would normally provide a decent selection of equipment to exercise with. With that being said, you can still have a fantastic, effective workout using your own bodyweight and minimal, inexpensive equipment.

Accountability - Personal trainers hold you accountable for your fitness and nutrition decisions. It is easier to lie to a screen or cancel an online session compared to having to face your trainer in person and explain why you don't feel like training or why you have strayed from your healthy eating plan. Knowing there is someone physically there pushing you helps to keep you on track.

Online Personal Training

Convenience - Most online training sessions vary from 30-60 minutes - the added convenience from the personal trainer's side of being able to deliver a session anywhere there is an internet connection means a 30-minute session becomes more viable. This, coupled with the ability to train from home and, therefore, reducing transit time to zero, means you can squeeze in a session when you only have 30 minutes free. That's only 2% of your entire day!

Price - This is an obvious one, online training is usually cheaper than face-to-face training. Trainers do not have to factor in as many expenses when pricing a session so the price of a session normally is lower.

Comfort - Not everyone feels comfortable or confident in a gym or outdoor space with people watching. Training in the comfort of your own home away from this means you can exercise confidently and comfortably.

Mindfulness - Performing an exercise with limited cues and input from your trainer means you have to concentrate more on the movement itself. This helps to build control and can make you more aware of your body and how it moves. This is doubly important when it comes to exercises involving the core and glute muscles as increased control and awareness can help to reduce the risk of back pain - a common ailment for many people.


Whatever your reasons for looking to the help of a personal trainer may be, either online training or face-to-face training will help you achieve your health and fitness goals. When deciding between the two weighing up the benefits against your concerns is an important step to take.

If you are concerned about hygiene and health and safety, then online training will be beneficial. If cost is an issue then online training, or a combination of both, can prove to be viable means to working with a professional. If you would like a more complete experience with a wider range of exercise options and added support then face-to-face training is the answer.

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John Maitland is a personal trainer with over 10 years of experience. He has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEO's, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.