The Pros And Cons Of Using Online Fitness Videos And Virtual Training For Your Exercise Routines

The Pros And Cons Of Online Fitness Videos And Virtual Training

The Pros And Cons Of Online Fitness Videos And Virtual Training. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from fitness expert James Staring, lead fitness coach at Fit to Last, looking at the pros and cons of using online fitness videos and virtual training for your exercise routines and fitness goals. Many of us are time-poor, and travelling to a gym or fitness studio seems like a waste, so using online fitness videos or training virtually with a trainer is a good option. But what are the pros and cons, and can you reach your fitness goals this way?

The Pros And Cons Of Online Fitness Videos And Virtual Training

Online videos and apps can be convenient, cost-effective ways to get active regularly. But the big question is, are they the best option for keeping fit and healthy long-term?

Online training can be pre-recorded or live:

  • Pre-recorded videos where you exercise when it suits you without commitment to a specific time. You follow the trainer as they exercise with you. These are modern versions of the old-style fitness DVD, which Jane Fonda originally made famous.
  • Live one-to-one (or one-to-group) virtual training sessions. You log in at a pre-agreed time and join your live trainer via video link (Zoom, etc.), who will work with you on a specific programme. They can see what you are doing in real-time and communicate directly with you throughout the workout.

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of training online:


Save Time, Money And Effort By Cutting Out The Commute

Online training can be an excellent choice if we need to travel to a fitness facility.

The key to achieving fitness results is finding a convenient option that can be repeated weekly. If travelling to a location is inconvenient or takes up too much, you’re unlikely to stick with it. And this is where online can help.

Online Fitness Videos Can Help You Fit Regular Exercise Into Your Schedule

Another excellent benefit of online training is that it can fit your current schedule. Establishing a routine can be challenging if you travel regularly and work long hours or shifts. Online fitness videos and workout sessions offer flexibility to work out when time and energy are available. Pre-recorded videos offer the most flexibility, but even live virtual training can be more flexible than meeting your trainer at the gym.

No Thinking Necessary

Pre-recorded videos usually provide plenty of instruction, making one of the most significant advantages of this type of training that someone has already thought for you. If you ever go to a gym and struggle with knowing what to do or not to do (and how to do it), an online fitness video can provide structure from a professional resource. This will make the exercise process easier because you only need to attend.

Meanwhile, a trainer working with you live online can create a plan specifically for you, allowing for any injuries you may have and considering your personal goals (and challenges).

Top tip: It’s worthwhile looking at reviews (and the website) to confirm the legitimacy of the fitness provider – so that you can be assured you’re taking your advice from a reputable professional.

Control The Workout Pace Guilt Free

Ever been doing a workout and thought, if I do anymore I might die, or been in a class and thought, I need to stop for a moment, but I don’t want to hold everyone up or look like a wuss? A massive benefit of online fitness videos is that you can manage the time and intensity with a button. If the workout is too challenging for your energy level, just hit ‘pause’, take a breath and continue when ready. If you are unclear on how to do a particular exercise, stop, rewind and repeat the explanation.

Even if you decide to stop halfway through, you can always return to the same session when your energy levels and motivation improve. The guilt factor decreases dramatically because you haven’t actually ‘missed’ anything—only delayed it until you have more time/energy/motivation.

If you are using a Personal Trainer for live virtual training, then they can help pace the workouts to suit you while also keeping you motivated, so you constantly push yourself that little bit more without overdoing it!


How Are Your Goals Set, Agreed And Measured?

A fitness programme is only as valuable as its ability to help you find your point ‘A’ and then get you to point ‘B’ (your goal).

This means you need a goal specific to you personally. The gold standard for doing this effectively and being held accountable is meeting with a professional regularly.

Think of it as expecting to rely solely on your phone notifications to encourage you to maintain a habit. Without accountability from a real-life professional, notifications alone can easily get ignored, and the odds of success plummet.

Too Many Choices Become Confusing

If you Google search’ online fitness videos’, you’ll find over 1,800,000,000 results. This is quite a large pool to whittle down to what you want. And unless you are a fitness expert, you may not know precisely what you need.

Working with a personal trainer on a one-to-one basis via video link (i.e., virtual personal training) minimises the problem of getting the proper workout for your goals.

Working with a vetted professional ensures you get the expertise and attention needed to succeed.

Both Parties Need Accountability (The Online Fitness Provider And The User)

When you choose an online fitness option, you’re relying on the advice of the person on the other side of the camera to help you achieve your goals. But what if their advice doesn’t work? How will you even know if there’s no one there to track your activities and measure your results? What if you follow everything to the letter and the needle doesn’t move?

Sometimes, there must be a plan’ B’ if things aren’t going according to plan despite your best efforts. Consistent guidance from a trained professional who measures your progress can be the difference between continued frustration and making real progress.

By keeping both sides accountable for your success, you’ll know if the plan is working, and if it’s not, you’ll have someone to talk to to help you fix it.

Pre-recorded videos fall here, but virtual personal training still works well.

Lack Of Correction When Doing An Exercise Incorrectly

A pre-recorded fitness video cannot correct you when doing an exercise incorrectly. At best, this can lead to an untargeted workout. At worst, it can result in an injury.

Additionally, if you struggle with instructions and figure it out later in the workout, you’ll have no reassurance that this is a breakthrough. You may even repeat the incorrect exercise many times, exacerbating the problem.

So, a pre-recorded video may not be the best option for a beginner. It’s better to start with a live professional. If you’ve been exercising for a long time and are confident your technique is correct, an online video can provide a routine without you needing to overthink it.

Too Easy To Skip Workouts (No One Waiting For Us, No Physical Appointment)

Perhaps the biggest drawback to recorded workout videos is that they lack the accountability of an appointment. Scheduling the workout in your calendar is one thing, but knowing someone expects to see you is another matter. The accountability of the physical appointment makes live exercise so much more powerful, and this is where online fitness videos can let you down.

Lack Of Equipment Can Be Limiting

When training at home online, if you lack suitable fitness equipment for your needs and goals, it can be limiting. For example, if you don’t have weights heavy enough to challenge you for resistance training, you won’t progress.

Lack Of Space Can Be A Challenge

A balanced fitness program requires you to move in different directions: forward,d backwards,d and side to side. If you don’t have enough space to move freely in these directions, your movement will be limited, and therefore, your results will be limited.


Pre-recorded online fitness videos work well if you are highly motivated, experienced, and confident that you can do each exercise correctly and safely. For everyone else, they are best used as a supplement to a personalised fitness routine.

Online virtual training is excellent for people who want to save time or, for whatever reason, cannot get to a gym or fitness studio. You get all the benefits of face-to-face training with a personalised programme, constant checking that exercises are being performed correctly (and therefore avoiding injury) and the accountability of a live trainer.

I hope you enjoyed that.

Talk soon


About The Author

James Staring is the founder and lead fitness coach at Fit to Last Personal Trainers, which offers a high-end, all-inclusive fitness solution for those who’ve tried everything in the past: crash diets, exercise fads, regular gyms, etc., all with little to no success or results. Fit to Last works with you to create a personalised programme of exercise, nutrition (no calorie counting or weighing) and small, simple lifestyle changes to keep you on track to your goals, injury-free and bursting with energy.  See:


Twitter: @fittolast


Instagram: @fittolastlondon


Working with Strong women, I help empower women not to give up on their goals and find true happiness within themselves. #lifestyle #womenempowerment #selfcare


  • Clarice

    I actually find online training effective since it gives me the flexibility to fit it into my busy schedule. My instructor has both live and pre-recorded sessions and that ensures that we don’t miss anything in case we’re unable to join the live class.

  • Barbie Ritzman

    I love online workouts; they have been so helpful. I agree with the Lack Of Correction When Doing An Exercise Incorrectly, but personally, I find more demonstration of the correct way with videos than winging it at the gym on my own!

  • Yolanda

    I fight to go to the gym because I feel like I’m supposed to. But I must admit I have gotten better results working out from home using virtual videos. I once followed a program and was doing so well but stopped to go to the gym and fell off. After reading this post I feel like this is a sign to continue at home. Awesome 👏🏽 Post!

  • Gervin Khan

    For me, online fitness videos or virtual training is good only depends on the people! As doing it already I just feel great doing workouts in the comfort of our house and sometimes with the family! I just totally love it!

  • Stephanie

    Just the article I needed to read! Made me realize I have no more excuses for not fitting in a workout on a busy day!

  • Debbie

    Great information on using virtual fitness training. I like a mix of both in person gym time and virtual classes. It’s helpful to skip the trip to the gym but sometimes I like being in a group class setting. Great read!

  • Alita Pacio

    I like saving time and money when it comes to fitness yet I also like to interact with other people in the gym. There are indeed pros and cons.

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