One instructor tells the tale of her first virtual class.
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If you’ve been joining live stream group classes or tuning in to on-demand workouts, then you already know the benefits of staying connected to your favorite studio(s) from home.
That said, you may feel like something is missing. Maybe you’re not as motivated as you normally are, or perhaps, you’re missing the one-on-one interaction you usually have with your favorite trainer or instructor. (Trust us, your studio misses you too.) If that sounds like you, it might be time to try private virtual coaching sessions.
Virtual personal training one-on-one sessions could be right for you if:
• You're looking for the personal attention that's missing in a virtual group fitness
• You want to master an exercise or set of movements that requires the trainer to
see and correct your form.
• You have an injury, are pregnant, or have another condition that requires
modifications to your workout or special attention.
• You want a customized, at-home fitness plan.
• You need help setting exercise goals, or you're looking for extra accountability.
• You’re ready to take your workouts to the next level.
Ready to give private virtual fitness sessions a try? Let's find the right personal trainer/instructor—and make the most out of your 1:1 sessions.
If you’re a regular at a fitness studio or gym, you probably already have a relationship with at least one instructor or personal trainer. Start there.
Head to the facility’s website to see if and how they’re approaching one-on-one virtual coaching sessions. Hopefully, they’ve updated their service pages. If not, reach out directly for details.
If your go-to spot isn’t currently offering private online personal training sessions, head to Mindbody and search “VIRTUAL” to see which fitness facilities are. With virtual, it really doesn’t matter where the studio or gym is located—you can connect with a qualified trainer/instructor anywhere in the world.
Pro tip: Ask if the studio/gym is offering special COVID-19 pricing or an introductory offer for virtual fitness privates. Many studios are creating special packages to introduce clients to online personal trainers.
Regardless of your age, goals, or current health status, it's essential your personal trainer or instructor is qualified to work with clients one-on-one. Don’t be shy—ask about their education, certifications, and areas of expertise. If you do have a health condition or a certain goal in mind (weight loss, athletic training, etc.), make sure your personal trainer is specifically qualified to help you. If you're currently pregnant, for example, you’ll want to work with someone specialized in prenatal fitness—once you've been cleared by your doctor, of course.
When it comes to private sessions, it must be a good fit for both client and trainer. Ask your personal trainer or instructor if they offer a complimentary, or discounted, first session before you commit to a package or membership. That way, you can see if their personality and training style are right for you.
A consultation won’t necessarily be the same duration as a regular coaching session, but it should provide adequate time for you to ask questions and discuss your needs and goals for one-on-one training. The trainer will likely want to see your current fitness level, too. This may include a movement assessment to understand your current state of strength, balance, and flexibility. This helps your trainer see how you move and identify any areas for improvement.
Depending on your current workout-from-home gym setup, you may need additional equipment to make the most of your personal training sessions. Rest assured, a good personal trainer will help you get your workout on with minimal or no equipment if that’s your preference. However, a kettlebell here and a band there can certainly reduce monotony and up the intensity, depending on your goals. If he or she is local, ask if you can rent or borrow equipment to use in your own home. If you're virtually training from afar, see if your instructor/trainer will sell equipment that can be sent directly to your front door.
You don’t need to work out with your virtual trainer every day to see and feel results. That said, you’ll want to create a routine that makes sense for your body, budget, and schedule.
Ideally, your trainer or instructor will also be hosting live stream or on-demand classes. If so, create a workout plan together that includes both private virtual sessions as well as live or on-demand classes for days you’re not working together. A good trainer will reiterate the importance of listening to your body, refueling properly, and taking rest days, too.
Pro tip: If necessary, ask your instructor to walk through modifications for commonly performed movements in their live stream or on-demand classes. That way, if high knees are too jarring for you (as an example), you’ll know to march in place instead—without them even having to call out the swap during class.
Private virtual sessions may be new for you (and your trainer, too) so, be patient, have fun, and embrace the unique bond you’re sure to develop. After all, the biggest benefit of working 1:1 with someone is the relationship you build. And, although it may be virtual for now, that connection will last long after you walk through your studio’s doors again.
If you’re a commitment-phobe like me, you probably understand the stress of searching for the perfect gym or studio membership. When offices were open and I commuted to and from work, I especially struggled. Do I find a studio near work or home? If it’s near my office, I can go after work, but what about weekends? I don’t want to do that commute when I don’t have to!
Then, add on the fitness type decision and try not to let your head explode. What if I get bored of cycling and want to try something else? What if I get super sore after HIIT and need a yoga class? Do I need to become a member at multiple locations?
Maybe this is just a me problem... but I don’t think it is. I mean, that’s why the Mindbody app exists in the first place—so you can try out different classes and studios, commitment-free. Although it’d be nice if one membership could cover multiple fitness types, at some point, picking your favorite and committing just makes sense.
So, how do you choose the perfect gym membership for you?
What are you looking for in a gym, studio, or health club? What do you care most about? Is it a smaller, intimate workout setting with instructors who know you by name? A larger studio with tons of fitness classes throughout the day, so you can always find one to fit your schedule? What about the staff? Are there certain qualities you’re looking for in your instructors? Do you prefer soft encouragement while you exercise, or instructors who aren’t afraid to push you harder during training? Think about your routine. Do you prefer morning classes or evening? Are you looking for 30-minute, high-intensity classes you can squeeze in on your lunch break? Or longer, slower-paced classes to wind down after work? There are so many different factors that can affect your choice in studio, and with so many options, you can get pretty specific.
What do you want from a studio that you just aren’t quite satisfied with at home? Think about your fitness goals. Maybe you get your cardio in the form of running outside, and you need some help with strength training. Maybe you invested in a fully decked out weight room in your garage when COVID-19 hit, but now you’re looking for a yoga studio to help with recovery.
With all those options out there, it can be hard to even know where to start. So, asking yourself questions like these is a good first step.
When it comes to picking a monthly membership, of course, budget is important. Sit down with your spreadsheet, or app, or whatever the hell you use to budget your monthly spending and see what you can afford to shuffle around. Wellness is an investment, not just a one-time purchase, and weaving it into your monthly budget will help you prioritize it.
Once you’ve determined how much you’re willing to spend per month, decide if you want any of that to be left over for the occasional drop-in class. You may want to spend most of it on a membership but keep a little extra for those days you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a new workout. Or maybe you’re a creature of habit, and you’re fine with just sticking to your favorite. That’s fine too! Just be sure to make those decisions early and factor them in while budgeting.
Lots of studios on Mindbody provide Intro Offers, or special deals for new clients only that allow you to try out some classes at a lower rate. For example, some studios (like VibeFlow yoga in San Diego) offer your first class free, and others give discounted rates for your first 2 weeks or a month. When I was looking for a yoga studio to join, I tried just about every Intro Offer in my area. It’s a great way to save money and try out local studios before committing. Plus, it got me out of my comfort zone! I got to try so many different types of yoga before deciding which I liked best. Every instructor, studio, and class is so unique and different—it’s fun to get a feel for all the different mini fitness communities within your own larger one.
For those that don’t have any new client deals, you can check to see if they have Last-Minute Offers. These are drop-in deals for one-time classes, that fluctuate in price depending on timing, number of spots left, etc. So basically, if there’s a class in your area that starts in an hour and still has several spots left, odds are, you’ll be able to join that class for a lower drop-in rate!
And if you’re not quite ready to head back into the studio—or if those in your area have not yet reopened—another great way to try before you buy is virtual classes. Many studios offer live stream and on demand workout classes on Mindbody, so you can get a feel for the classes and instructors from the comfort (and safety) of your home.
I know I told you to identify your needs in step one. Find out exactly what you’re looking for a studio to provide. But, when it comes to picking a membership, it’s important to be flexible (and I’m not just talking about your yoga class). While identifying your needs is a great first step to narrowing down your options, you may find that while trying out different studios, those needs totally change.
In my case, I thought I really wanted a membership to a hot yoga studio, but when I branched out and tried one that didn’t offer heated classes, I found a different kind of yoga environment I really enjoyed (and, of course, this made it really difficult to choose). On top of that, I was new to yoga and a little nervous about how I looked in class. I wanted a larger studio where I could hang in the back and try not to be noticed. But then, during my second or third week of class using an Intro Offer at a smaller studio, the man at the front desk greeted me by name, and my perspective totally changed. I went into class and laid out my mat in the front row, ready for the instructor to give me tips for improvement—and I’m better for it.
All of this to say, you never know what you’re going to find when it comes to trying new things. Have your list of wants and priorities, but don’t be afraid to tear it up and start over—and enjoy learning about yourself along the way.
So, if you’re ready to face your fear of commitment and settle down with your soulmate studio, now you have somewhere to start. Whether you’re trying to be more cost-effective, craving a community, or just need a good old-fashioned routine your life, a membership is a great way to consistently prioritize your wellness. Not only that, but you get the awesome benefit of joining a fitness community where you’ll see faces you recognize, meet some workout buddies, and be encouraged by instructors to keep improving in your practice. So where do I sign up?
Book classes on Mindbody to get started.