Are there days where life just feels too hectic or tiring to make it to the gym? What about those days when you finally feel motivated, but look at the clock and realize the gym will be closed by the time you get there? This is the norm for many of us, including myself!  

In fact, as I write this, we are in the middle of quarantine where almost all gyms, parks, and pools have closed and most of our workout options are limited to what we can manage to do at home or find online.

So what’s your best option? Trying to workout at home with the possibility of finding a YouTube workout video that fits your needs, or getting an online personal trainer, to which many people have transitioned?

In this article, I will provide the pros and cons of each option to help you decide what will be the best choice to meet your goals and keep you on track to your RENEWED you. Let’s walk through them…

YouTube Workout Videos

YouTube has become a world-renowned resource for those who are not only seeking information, but also for publishing information. But are these videos the most trustworthy option? As you may know, much can be done with video editing, Photoshop, and gym props (fake weights). So let’s look at some of the pro’s and cons of YouTube workout videos and if they’re right for you. 

Benefits of YouTube Training Videos

  1. Quick & Easy Access

At the press of a button you can pull up a video on your phone, TV, computer or tablet and search the type of workout you want in a matter of seconds with tons of results to choose from.

2. On Your Schedule

Online videos can be done according to your convenience. Whether you have a break in your day or prefer to work out in the middle of the night, you can quickly find something that may work for you when you’re ready.  

3. Privacy and Comfort

Doing online workouts at home means you can be comfortable and wear whatever you feel like wearing. You don’t have to worry about looking a certain way or being judged for what you’re wearing or how you’re performing certain exercises. Workouts in PJs and messy hair? Yes please!

4. Variety

From yoga to Pilates, HIIT workouts to aerobics and body weight workouts, there are tons of videos that can be found on YouTube for just about anything you feel like doing that day. Don’t like a teacher? Unlike a gym where you have to suffer through a bad teacher or skip the class altogether, you can just search for a video with someone that suits your style.

5. Free

Of course, the best thing about YouTube is that it’s free! You have all these workouts at your disposal without worrying about your budget.

Disadvantages of YouTube Training Videos

  1. Impersonal

Of course, YouTube is not personalized or geared to your needs. Videos are geared for anyone in the world to use with no precise format or focus. Most of the classes are geared toward either a singular format, such a one type of yoga practice, or maybe a group exercise format where you must figure out how to follow along. 

2. General/Universal

YouTube videos may end up being too generic. You might find that after committing to a video, it turns out to be too hard or too easy for you and you get discouraged to not complete. It might give you exercises that you have never performed before and don’t understand well. A lot of what I have seen online is geared towards really fit people and can be totally inappropriate for someone just starting out. On the flip side, someone who needs a challenge might just keep sticking with beginner exercise videos because they feel easy without someone to point out their potential for a new fitness level. It’s just not geared for YOU.

3. Possibly Unsafe

Is your push-up form helping or hurting you? Are your hips dropping or properly aligned on your plank? YouTube videos don’t provide you with necessary live feedback, making it easy to end up hurting yourself by trying to do what’s on the video by someone else who has a different level of fitness or is moving too quickly (which happens A LOT with YouTube videos – way too fast of routines designed only to make you feel good about sweating, rather than getting the full benefit of the exercise) making the workout an unsafe one.

4. No One to Answer Questions

If you are confused or have a question about an exercise during your workout, there’s no one there to direct your question to. Sure, you can always leave a comment, but the person might take a week, a month, or a lifetime to respond to your question that you want answered right away.

5. Lack of or Incorrect Equipment

 You might not have all the right equipment at home, so if someone in the video is using a piece of equipment that you don’t have, then you’re stuck. You’ll have to figure out how to do it or you just need to skip that exercise. I’ve definitely skipped many videos because I didn’t have the right equipment at my disposal and losing out on the overall benefits of the workout.

6. Wrong Intensity

While watching YouTube videos, it’s easy to either push yourself too hard to keep up pace or not push hard enough. Proper fitness programs go through stages of building on and reducing intensity to keep the body healthy, progressing and safe. YouTube can’t provide that type of structure, and most videos won’t guide you in periodizing your training. Plus, there’s always that pause button and with no one watching you – it’s easy to stop and give up and not get as good of a workout. Or worse, you can push yourself too far before you’re ready for it and regret it later with soreness or injury.

girl doing online workout

Online Personal Trainers

To be clear, when I say “PERSONAL TRAINER” I’m not referring to training services where you can purchase a program but never speak to a person, such as the Peloton or Beach Body workouts. I’m speaking about personal trainers; someone you’ll get actual communication with on a weekly basis.

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of getting an online personal trainer.

Benefits of an Online Personal Trainer

  1.  One-on-One Attention

When you hire an virtual fitness trainer, you have the opportunity to get a personalized program. Ideally, that coach will first take some time to do a physical assessment and figure out what you need, then build a program around your goals and fitness level. They should give you one-on-one attention, whether via email, phone or other online apps like Zoom/Facetime/Skype. Through this assessment and in time, trainers get to know their students personally and can adjust the workouts according to their client’s goals, progress, and ability. You should receive a workout plan that is built for your goals, physical strengths, and weaknesses. They’ll then coach you through those workouts so you can real time feedback and assistance.

2. More Effective Training Methodology

One of the best things about working with a personal trainer is that you should get a program that is designed around a specific training period – such as six to eight weeks – to help you progress at a progressive level in your workouts. They can give you a structured series of exercises that build upon each other, allowing you to progress in strength, stamina and conditioning. This way you can build a solid foundation and safely get stronger.

A trainer will also be able to push you more than you are able to push yourself. If you’re starting to give up when things get hard, they’ll motivate you and encourage you to dig a little deeper for a few more reps. Conversely, if you’re trying to do a little too much, they can also let you know when it’s time to back off when form gets sloppy.

3.Time-Saving, Faster Results

Overall, working with an online fitness coach should save you time and get you to your goals faster. They will help prevent you from wasting time doing things that you shouldn’t or don’t need to be doing. She or he can figure out just the right exercises, reps and weights to help you hit your goals within a specific time frame.

4. You’ll Learn Proper Form

Having your own trainer is great because they can actually watch you do your exercises. So, while you’re doing your squat or push-up, they can make corrections and ensure that you’re doing things properly to get the most out of the exercise. You might even suffer less in the process! Such details will help prevent injury which can set you back days or even weeks.

5. Direct Access

If you have questions or are unsure about something, most virtual trainers are easily available outside of your scheduled sessions via email or phone, so if you have a question about the program they give you, you can get them answered right away.

6. Accountability

This is one of the biggest benefits of having your own dedicated trainer, and one of the key reasons my clients continue training with me! If you’re completely honest and transparent with your trainer about what you’re doing each day, the accountability can’t be matched. Whether it’s a video session, a call, or text, having a dedicated trainer means you get extra accountability to make sure you’re getting those workouts in and not making up excuses.

7. No Missing Equipment

Your trainer will be able to find out what equipment you have access to and design a program around that, or advise you on what equipment you will need for upcoming sessions. So, whether you only own resistance bands, some dumbbells, or have a full set up with a squat rack, they’ll make sure that you’re capable of doing everything according to the equipment that you already have. Some trainers also know how to get creative with water jugs, chairs, couches, backyards, or whatever you have laying around.

8. You’ll Get More Than Just Workouts

I think one of the best things about having a good online personal trainer is that they are aware of your whole lifestyle. They would want to learn about your lifestyle habits such as sleep, stress, eating, work, posture, and routines to take a more whole-life or holistic approach with you, providing you with more than just a workout! They can factor in all those things to coach you through a program and diet that’s going to be sustainable and effective.

9. Inexpensive

An online fitness coach will end up being less expensive when compared to in-person trainer. While being in person is always nice, online sessions – especially if done via live video – are really not much different. But because there’s no overhead or travel involved, fees are often reduced. And if you’re not doing video sessions, they’ll probably be reduced even more. Otherwise, online sessions offer the same benefits with some cost savings, and at a time like right now with social distancing, a safer option for everyone.

10. Investment that continues to reap in benefits

While there can be a considerable investment of funds to begin working with an fitness trainer, it’s important to keep in mind that investments over time are worth their keep. For example, you can write down your workout or ask the trainer to send it to you which allows you to have a record of what you’ve done and what has worked for you so that you can cycle through your workouts in the future. Doing this a few times can provide you with multiple variations of plans that you can work with after your time with your trainer is over to have a plan your own.

Challenges of Online Personal Trainers

So far I’ve pointed out all the wonderful things an online personal coach can provide for you. However, if you don’t do your research or get a great referral, you could end up with a bad trainer. Generally, the fitness industry is full of passionate people who enjoy fitness and are driven by helping people and changing lives. Unfortunately, there are also plenty out there who only care about money or popularity, and not your health. The number of stories I’ve heard of trainers who push 60-year-old women like they push 25-year-old men is crazy! And don’t get me started on coaches who give females a diet of 900 calories per day!

  1. Not all personal trainers are good.

Some personal trainers are barely certified (if at all).  Some may just give cookie-cutter programs to every single person they work with so that they can save time while making a profit. They don’t consider that each client has a completely different set of needs and one workout routine will not work for everyone. Others may be good but so busy they’ve had to take that aforementioned business model of a less personal approach. In the end, it’s the client who suffers – their goals are not attained or get injured from following a program that wasn’t so personal after all.

2. Financial Investment

Another thing to consider with an online trainer is that, unlike YouTube, they do come at a cost. You can expect a bit of an investment depending on the type of trainer, program, and goals you’re working towards. Costs can vary dramatically so I won’t attempt to explain the differences in cost models. But chances are you’re probably looking at anywhere from $30 – $200 per session.

Now we’ve gone through all of the major pros and cons of YouTube vs. Online Personal Trainers to reach your fitness goals. What do you think? Do you agree with my lists or have more to add? Leave comments below to share with others from your experiences. Also, let me know what you think has worked well for you?


Has this blog helped you decide to try an online personal training journey? Great!

If you’ve landed here to read this blog, you’re probably aware that I am an Online Personal Trainer and Holistic Nutritionist – as well as a Skin Care Beauty Consultant. So, if you are ready to get started with a custom plan to reach your fitness goals, check out my programs and then get in touch! I would love to help you reach your goals quickly, safely and effectively, and help you renew your health and life!

About Author


OWNER & FOUNDER, RENEWAL FITNESS COACHING I am passionate about empowering YOU with a renewed sense of strength and self-confidence by teaching safe, accurate fitness and nutrition methods from a holistic approach to reach your goals. With extremely personalized programs for each unique person, I also incorporate the spiritual and emotional aspects of life every chance I get in order to address the deep struggles that are often overlooked and prevent lasting success.

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