Personal training. Virtually – a review

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 Permalink

Just over a month ago I was contacted by Amino Z and offered one month of free online personal training.

I’ve just finished the month-long trial and have to say:


Although I’ve done programs like Michelle Bridges 12WBT, I really had no idea what to expect from an online personal trainer (PT). But… as I’m not one for Rah-Rah PTs or Commando-like PTs (unless they look like the one on Aussie TV, and they’re not actually training me!) online training was hugely beneficial.

Amino Z assigned me a trainer and I completed a questionnaire and then had the opportunity to do some toing and froing before my program started. Anyone who reads this blog knows I can be fairly blunt and I know what I do and don’t like. Not only did I have to provide details of my current training and fitness regime (which was basically non-existent following my seachange and subsequent illness) but also my diet (as in what I eat). It also allowed me to be honest about my bingeing behaviour and the fact I’m trying to not-diet.

I really appreciated that my trainer listened to all of that and – as I mentioned in an earlier post – the strength program he set for me was VERY doable. He was happy for me to continue with Zumba and walking and very zen about ‘just doing SOMETHING’. Diet-wise, he gave me suggestions about the amounts of carbohydrates I should be eating and recommended I reduce my consumption of diet coke and wine.

My only hiccup with the program came just after a week or so when my original trainer left the company and I was allocated someone new. My new trainer was actually the PT boss, so knew what he was doing, but I struggled a little with the changeover. My new trainer, Jay, also asked me to re-weigh myself and – as I’d actually gained a bit of weight – I teetered on the edge of the wagon for a little while. (I did have to confess that I’d had a lot of diet coke and weighed myself later in the day. I KNEW I shouldn’t have gotten on the scale at that point… and it was almost my undoing!)

However… at that time I’d lost centimetres from my waist and when I explained my ‘issue with the scale’ to Jay, he was fine with me sticking to waist measurements.

After being given an initial exercise regime and suggested meal plan (based on the one I provided) all I had to do was check-in twice weekly providing a food log and exercise log. Jay then offered suggestions and tweaked my program each week. Personalised private forums also meant that I could ‘share’ stuff with my trainer about how I was tracking or what I was struggling with.

For me… the positives of online training include:
1. No dread factor. Years ago I had a PT who expected me to train like The Biggest Loser contestants and be capable of climbing 500 steps and run from Day 1. Needless to say I didn’t last long.

2. The buck stops with me. Ultimately I’m accountable only to myself. There’s no point in fibbing in my exercise or food logs cos it’s me I’m harming. But most importantly, I cannot rely on someone else to motivate me to train hard or address my health and fitness. To be sustainable, the impetus has to come from me. Ultimately I’m harder on myself that anyone else could be and so – within my fitness parameters – I will push myself as much as I can.

Screen-shot-2013-06-25-at-12.24.57-PM3. If the PT is good they will recognise your strengths and weaknesses and work with them. It wasn’t long before something I already knew was reaffirmed – I hate exercising by myself. I don’t mind walking but when it comes to other stuff I’m a class-going girl. I very quickly struggled with the weight sessions I was supposed to do and recognised that I needed a Pump / weights class or similar.

4. It’s more personalised than a large program without an allocated PT. As I’ve done other programs, I can recognise that ‘checking-in’ with someone who tweaks your program each week and offers encouragement, is hugely beneficial.

5. It’s more flexible than having to see a in-real-life PT at a set time each week. You can fit your exercise into your schedule, making it more sustainable.

Of course there are negatives:
1. If you’re not able to self-motivate you will struggle.

2. You can lie. To yourself and your trainer. If you like.

3. Keeping food and exercise logs can be difficult or time-consuming.

4. Any online program or PT needs to know what they’re talking about. The Amino Z trainers were great: very professional and knew their stuff; but as importantly they were encouraging, flexible and realistic. I was very open about the fact that I probably couldn’t afford to continue the training but my PT ensured that I finished my month with a strategy to move forward.

I’ve come a long way in the last four weeks.

  • I’m Zumba-ing twice weekly, including one ‘normal’ (harder) session.
  • I’ve cut back on my alcohol consumption and (again) completely cut out diet coke (it’s day 5!).
  • I’ve agreed to incorporate ‘fruit’ into my diet and am aiming for an apple each day. (And occasionally a small amount of diluted OJ, which has replaced my morning diet coke!)
  • I’ve reduced the amount of carbohydrates I’m eating.
  • I’m drinking more water (something at which I once excelled but diminished as my diet coke intake increased).
  • When I can afford it, getting to Pump classes will be a priority.
  • I’ve started yoga (but more on that in another post!).
  • I’m feeling ‘better’ – more supple and agile – and slowly getting fitter. Again.
  • I’ve lost 6cm from my waist!

All in all, an excellent month. Thanks to Amino Z and my trainers, Paul and Jay!

Do you have a PT?
Have you tried online personal training, or an online fitness program?

I was provided with a month of free personal training by Amino Z. There has been no compensation or other incentive offered to write a favorable review. All opinions expressed in this space are mine, written with the objective of giving readers my personal opinion of the program.

  • Char
    June 25, 2013

    It sounds like it’s been a very positive experience over all. Having to check in weekly is great – makes you accountable. That’s why I’ve joined a squad and enter races. You can’t fudge the training aspect – you’ve either done it or you haven’t and if you haven’t it’s going to hurt.

    • Debbish
      June 25, 2013

      Yes… most of us can’t lie to ourselves! (Although some of us do try!)

  • Jess
    June 25, 2013

    6 cm is huge!!! Way to go!! Sounds like you’ve made some really positive changes and you sound happier!!! I had never thought about doing it online I like being pushed face to face. But this is probably more affordable and as you said flexible!

    • Debbish
      June 25, 2013

      The flexibility is something I liked. Knowing that I prefer classes etc meant that I can choose what cardio etc I do and the trainers work around that. I didn’t comment in the post, but I’ve had some issues with my ankles and shins (shin splints etc) and Jay had some really good suggestions for dealing with them – including acknowledging that I’m putting a lot of weight on them when I’m jumping about. (No blame or recriminations!)

  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    June 25, 2013

    Sounds like it was a great success Deb. And about changes that are sustainable for the long term!

    • Debbish
      June 28, 2013

      Yes Liz… most certainly it was!!!

  • Kek
    June 26, 2013

    Good job, Deb! Knowing yourself is half the battle – and a PT or coach who’s prepared to listen and adjust your program to your particular needs and “quirks” is worth their weight in gold.

    By the way, I know Jay – he’s awesome. 🙂

    • Debbish
      June 28, 2013

      Completely agree re the quirks! And yes, Jay was great!

  • Richard F
    June 26, 2013

    Hi Deb,
    That is really good to hear you have had a good month with your online PT. I actually run an online weight loss website ( and many of our members talk of similar positive experiences. I think you hit the nail on the head though with the biggest challenge being keeping motivated. To help our members with that we have now added a points system, so members get points depending on how active they are on the system, trying to make it a bit more fun. And we have also built a community section which we are releasing at the end of next week which again is there to give more support.

    Actually, I would really love it if you wanted to give our program a go as well for 1 month. We have a free membership and if you sign up let me know and I will upgrade you to our premium membership. On our program you get things like personalised meal and exercise plans, tracking tools, and professional advice. Anyway, let me know you thoughts as I would really love to know what you think.


    • Debbish
      June 28, 2013

      Hi Richard, I have checked out your site when you’ve commented previously. I’ll be in touch.


  • Lauren
    June 26, 2013

    Most of the negatives listed are also issues when seeing a PT IRL, though, so from what I can see, these guys are probably better for people who are really ready to change, with the added benefit of being more time flexible.
    Looks like the best of both worlds to me, and these guys in particular seem really fantastic, like they know what they’re doing and understand health and realism.

    • Debbish
      June 28, 2013

      So true Lauren, and the flexibility is perfect for me. I don’t currently belong to a gym and just had to make do with what I had… and yes, the realistic approach was great!

  • jules- big girl bombshell
    June 26, 2013

    Been awhile since I have checked in on your space but WOW amazing! You go girl!
    I have tried online training but did not have the extra of actually being able to check in with the trainer.

    This sounds like an awesome deal!

    • Debbish
      June 28, 2013

      Hi Jules… yes I did a group program once which had online programs and forums but you weren’t ‘supervised’ in any sense. For me this was a good combination of being ‘accountable’ to an external person, but also mainly about self-motivating. It wasn’t ALL about the coach, it was mostly about me!

I'd love to hear your thoughts