Online vs. In-Person Workouts: Which Is Better?

81% of Americans found working out

Whether it’s the lasting effects of the global pandemic or that people want more choice and convenience when they break a sweat, more of us are choosing to stay home to work out than before.

A study from 2021 found that 81% of Americans found working out from home positively affected their lives. It also found that 72% thought gyms “will eventually become a thing of the past.”

But deciding whether to do online or in-person workouts is a big decision, as everyone has unique needs. Below, you will find the pros and cons of each type of workout, which will help you make an informed decision about your future fitness goals.

The advantages of online workouts

Especially during the global pandemic, there was a boom in people who began working out from home. They had no other choice! Below are some of the reasons why working out online can still be a great decision:

1.    Enormous flexibility

Online workouts offer incredible flexibility in when and where you work out. You no longer need to drag yourself out the door or into the car to commute to the gym, only to drive home again. Instead, you can get straight into the action in your living room at the drop of a hat.

What’s more, various ways of attending an online workout will suit multiple learning styles. You can use instructional videos to learn new exercises or contact an online instructor to guide you—all from your home.

2.    Cheaper costs

A gym membership can be costly, especially if you commit to year-long contracts. Online workouts can help you reduce these costs, as you’ll only pay for activities you attend. What’s more, there are so many educational resources online, be it videos on YouTube, fitness planners, and exercise plans that are free to use, helping you save money.

Any plans, resources, and videos you receive as part of an online class can be downloaded, saved, and used indefinitely long after your subscription or membership plan lapses!

3.    Lots of choices

Choice is a powerful thing. Rather than being stuck with whatever gym is closest to you and with fitness instructors, you may or may not gel with online workouts that allow you complete freedom. With some research, you can find a suitable class, trainer, and more from around the world to help you achieve your goals.

4.    Confidence and privacy

Especially if you’re new to working out, you may not feel that confident exercising in a gym, trying new machines, or joining a new class. This can be the barrier that stops so many of us from working out in the first place.

An easy fix to this is an online workout, which can help you feel more at home, comfortable, and assertive, as you’re in a familiar environment and no one is looking at you!

The disadvantages of online workouts

Like all things in life, working out online is not as simple as it might seem. There are some areas you need to be mindful of, including:

1.    Missing a vital social connection

If you’re at home alone working out, you might be missing out on vital social interactions, which science has proven helpful in getting fit.

A study from the American Osteopathic Association found that group exercise had a benefit in boosting mental, physical, and emotional health. People who exercised independently and worked out for twice as long received no such gains.

While online fitness communities can offer support and motivation to one another, they may not be a substitute for physically being beside someone during a workout.

2.    Quality and qualifications of your instructor

One of the dangers with online instructors is verifying their qualifications. As a rule of thumb, you should look for the following in an instructor:

  • Qualifications: Ensure they are well-trained and certified. See if they’re registered with a fitness body, such as NASM, ISSA, or ACE.
  • References: Look for testimonials from previous clients and what results clients have gained. Check to see how long they’ve practiced online.
  • Communication: Since you’re meeting with the trainer online, it’s essential to find someone who is active online, responsive, and flexible to your calendar. This is to ensure they can answer your questions promptly.

3.    Cybersecurity needs to be fit, too!

Cybersecurity is essential to your fitness, as hackers are keen to target fitness enthusiasts moving to online workouts. You’re vulnerable to an attack if your internet connection isn’t secure.

A virtual private network (VPN) is a foolproof way of protecting yourself online. It encrypts your internet connection, making it impossible for hackers to know what you’re doing online.

To stream workout sessions and watch videos on the big screen, you’ll need an Android TV VPN that can quickly connect to a secure server for uninterrupted streaming.

With a VPN, you can securely send and receive fitness videos, meet with your instructor online, and use all your fitness gadgets with complete peace of mind that no prying eyes or ears are spying on you.

4.    Missing specialized equipment

Although you can do many great exercises with minimal equipment, some workouts require specialized equipment to target muscles. Unfortunately, these pieces of kit are costly to buy independently.

If you’re looking for advanced workouts, a wide choice of weights and machines, and guaranteed swimming pool access, online activities might not be for you.

The advantages of in-person workouts

As innovative and flexible as online workouts are, there is something to be said for the traditional gym or visiting your trainer in person for training.

Two of the most important benefits include:

1.    Safer and more effective workouts

In fitness, form is everything. And if you do an exercise incorrectly, you’re wasting your time and susceptible to injury. A qualified instructor can train you not only to use equipment correctly but safely, too.

What’s more, if you’re exercising and seriously hurt yourself, having someone on-site to help you is an excellent way of minimizing damage and getting timely help.

2.    Accountability for your progress

Online workouts take enormous amounts of self-discipline and motivation to work. No one will chase you up on your productivity, monitor your progress, and push you to your limits. If you struggle to stay on task, are easily distracted, or lack the commitment to get fit, working alone at home might not be the wisest move.

On the other hand, in-person workouts can help you stay on the right track, as you’ll be encouraged and motivated by your instructor and other gym goers.

The disadvantages of online workouts

Finally, there are some disadvantages to in-person fitness sessions, which are perhaps why more and more people are changing their fitness routines and working out from home. These include:

1.    Busy gyms can impede your progress

Gyms are busy places, with potentially hundreds of members on-site and several classes taught during the day. Although being famous is a good sign of their service, it might also mean you’ll need to wait to use pieces of equipment or fail to get a spot in your regular fitness class.

2.    More time and travel are needed

To work out in person, you, of course, have to travel to and from your gym. This can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you live far from your gym, as it essentially adds a second commute to your day.

3.    Usually, it is much more expensive

In-person workouts usually cost a lot more than online tutoring. This is because you are paying extra for the instructor and using equipment, insurance, and other service fees to cover costs.

While many gyms and instructors will offer special discounts to members, usually by taking out year-long memberships, this can still be quite an expensive route compared to online workouts.

A Few Final Words

Both online and in-person workouts have pros and cons, and the right choice depends on your needs and preferences. Ultimately, the key is to find a workout plan that suits your fitness goals and lifestyle while prioritizing safety and enjoyment.

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