Not too long ago, having a personal trainer in your home meant one of two things: either being rich enough to have someone come to your private gym, or watching a pre-recorded workout session. The latter meant listening to Jane Fonda tell you how to look like her (hint: be born as Jane Fonda), or meant Richard Simmons sweating with you to the oldies. Workout videos have gotten more sophisticated, but they still lack something. They lack an actual personal touch. A trainer on a video can’t see you, can’t know you, and thus can’t know what you actually need, or help you push through that one move that always gets you. No one wants to be yelling “I can’t go on! My leg is cramping!” at a blithely unconcerned Richard Simmons.
Video conferencing can change all that. Teleconferencing isn’t just for the boardroom or classroom: it can help you get a full, rigorous, personalized training routine with someone far away, who can see, monitor, and interact with you.
The Benefits of a Teleconference Trainer
A personal trainer is responsible for designing a workout, exercise, and even a dietary regimen that is individualized for you. Personal trainers used to be connected to gyms, but the internet has changed that. You can now shop for the best virtual trainers, who design the same thing for you online. Recent technology developments have even allowed virtual trainers to stream exercises, and watch you work out. Better teleconference technology will take those developments and make them even more accessible, with smoother interactions and the possibility of group interaction.
This is important, because you don’t have the same encouragement and sense of solidarity while working out alone that you do when exercising with people. Studies have shown that people who work out with partners or in groups can double their performance, even if the group or partner is virtual. This means the rise of personal training by video chat will likely prompt groups to form of people from all over, all striving toward the same goals and encouraging each other to get there.
The Future of Personal Training by Video Chat
So what does this, combined with other technological advances, mean for the future of training? Even more information, more data, and more personalization.
- Big data on your body. We’re already revolutionizing the way we monitor our body. Wearable fitness technology lets the person shooting hoops in their driveway know more about her biomechanics than an Olympic athlete did a few decades ago. As wearable and even ingestible tech develops, they will be able to send information to remote trainers who, as they work with you, can monitor heart rate, breathing, and other biometric data, including workout intensity. Your trainer won’t just be able to watch you: they’ll know exactly what is going on inside your body, and be able to instantly tailor the workout to respond to your needs.
- Special teleconferencing pairings. Suppose you’re pregnant. You go to your gym, and while they want to be accommodating, they just have one pregnancy workout class every week, and you can’t make it. But you can find one online, a virtual workout group of people not just pregnant, but in the exact same trimester as you are. You might even be able to find a group specifically for people on their second kid, with the same weight issues. That’s the joy of virtual training sessions: you can find the right group with the right teacher. And even in that group, your trainer will be able to read your biometrics and “partner” you with someone at the same level, avoiding that terrible gym feeling that comes when you’re suddenly lifting weights with Thor.
- Trainers can come with you. Teleconference technology is mobile now as well, and pretty soon will be widely available on smart watches and other wearables.Through mobile tech, your trainer can virtually monitor you–visually and through biometric data–while you’re outside running or walking or rowing. You won’t be confined to a house or to the gym if you want someone guiding your workouts. You’ll bring your trainer with you wherever you work out. And even if they don’t “come” with, they’ll be able to instantly access your data from the workout session in order to make your next one even more effective.
- 3D Models. We’re already able to create a 3D model of a human body using CAT scans, and as this technology becomes safer and more widespread, personal trainers will be able to create a perfect virtual model of your body to better show you how to improve your technique or make personalized modifications to an exercise move. Via teleconference, a trainer might demonstrate that you have to “bend this way,” using the 3D model to show exactly what parts of your body are being worked on in the exercise. For everyone tired of hearing workout video trainers telling them to “blast those quads,” 3D modeling will give trainers the ability to give personalized, specific advice and demonstrations that would not be possible even in person.
Technology has always been associated with sitting on the couch and being passive. That isn’t the case anymore. Our technology is allowing us not just to be more active, but to be smart about it. We’re able to do more, and know more, than ever before. We’re able to find the right trainer, and provide them with all the data they need to know to get us healthier. Incredible advances in teleconferencing are making that kind of personalization possible. You might live in Buffalo, far from that amazing trainer in Arizona, but the right technology makes that distance disappear, an easy lap around the local track.
Image source: Flickr CC user Fit Approach