But if an individual has already gone through formal training, online training can be useful as a reminder or to get recipes and nutritional tips, he added

Sweet Potato, a Toronto-based nutrition and fitness company, makes Internet training available to those who are willing to meet face-to-face with a trainer once a month “to correct form, introduce variety.” And e-mail with fitness “homework” keeps clients on the program the rest of the month.

“If a person is self-motivated enough, whether it be to pick up software or a book on exercise, if they’re willing to go about it in a steady, safe way, then getting their exercise that way is better than getting no exercise at all,” Macdonald said. “But the caveat is that if they have any questions or concerns they should seek out the help of a professional.”
It’s also important not to confuse personal training, where an expert teaches you how to properly use weights and equipment, with life coaching, where an expert helps with such things as stress management and eating patterns.

Tweten, whose e-training clients include people in New York, Arkansas and Ohio, said he receives e-mail from his clients whenever they feel low, want to cheat or skip a workout. His program includes a 230-page book that covers nutrition and exercise.
Online training is perfect for busy people whose work schedule doesn’t always allow them to make appointments at expensive gyms, says Tweten. “It’s just another way a person can go to get the results they want, but they still have to do the work,” he said. “The trick is finding the right personal trainer online, because there’s so many out there already.”

“I’m here to hold them accountable, to get them back on course,” he said. “Of course, they most likely would like to have a personal trainer in person with them, but a lot of these people can’t afford a personal trainer so it’s the perfect alternative.”

He admits that a lot of online training companies don’t personalize regimes and are only interested in making money.

“They’re a little too high tech,” he says. “There’s not much thought that goes into it.”

He warns that lots of sites offer customized fitness programs that are actually computer generated and don’t take personality, skill level or schedules into account.

His advice? If you go the online route make sure there’s a real person helping you so that you’re not receiving computer-generated answers.
Also, look for programs that supply lots of photos and quick online support.

Tweten also warns people to be careful of the information they glean from online chat fitness forums because it’s difficult to know the credentials of the person giving advice.

“You just don’t get the best information on them,” he says.

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