There are plenty of apps on the market right now promising to be your perfect fitness coach. They guarantee results in the comfort of your own home. All workouts are pre-programmed into the app and you usually choose what body part you want to work or the type of workout you want to do that day. You then get a video with a “coach” demonstrating what you are supposed to be doing.
The truth is, anyone who is sedentary will see quick results from just adding some light movement into their daily routine. This is a great starting point! But after a few weeks you will start to plateau and see fewer bodily changes, heck, the weight on the scale may even start to go back up!
Although these fitness apps seem like a brilliant idea, they come with some inherent flaws that will never be ironed out. The lack of an actual person watching you move leaves tons of room for you to incorrectly perform the exercises which could lead to injury in the long run. These incorrect movement patterns could actually leave you with LESS strength gains!
Most of the general population cannot perform a simple air squat correctly due to years of sedentariness and incorrect instruction. The classic Push-Up is another inherently simple workout movement that leads to shoulder injury when done incorrectly. These two movements are the basics to any fitness program and if you don’t master them you can forget seeing any long lasting, pain free results.
If you’re introverted or fear of judgement is preventing you from joining a group class, getting fit in your own home sounds like a dream. You can’t be judged for struggling when no one else is in the room with you. Working out alone is not as easy as these apps make it out to be. Eventually, you’ll get bored and find excuses to skip a workout because there is no one there to hold you accountable. The “coach” on your app is not going to call you and ask why you weren’t in class that day. They don’t know when you skip a class and the app is still collecting your money anyway.
Accountability is something you can only get from group classes or in person personal training. If you miss a class your coach will likely call or text you soon after to find out where you were, they’ll probably ask if you’re okay. Your group classmates may even start to reach out if you haven’t shown up in a while. They actually care about your results and well being. This kind of accountability from a community makes it harder to skip workouts and ultimately makes them more enjoyable.
The fitness app you are using may ask you to put in some information regarding current measures and results you are seeking. Then it probably generates a “tailored plan” of workouts for you to choose from. What your fitness app can’t do is monitor your performance and progress during a session and re-evaluate your tailored program. These apps can only personalize workouts to a certain extent. They cannot pivot the program based on your limitations and/or strengths.
An actual, in person, fitness coach can come up with a well thought out individualized program based on YOU. The coach can then make alterations to this program as needed throughout your training cycle. They can program specific workouts geared towards your goals. Most importantly an in person coach can monitor your progress throughout the program. They can give guidance when things get tough and celebrate with you when you accomplish your goals!
I think we can all agree that results are king when it comes to training. As you progress in your fitness journey the results you are seeking may change over time. As we get stronger and more fit, the program has to evolve to continue to challenge us. Your fitness app only has many workouts pre-programmed and bodyweight exercises only challenge us for a certain period of time.
Once you’ve mastered them you will need to move into some weight training. Attempting to weight train on your own, with little to no prior experience, is dangerous. The issue of improper form comes up again. You need a coach to teach you proper weight training technique. I don’t care if you played football in high school and were the strongest guy on the team, your back squat probably looks and feels like trash these days.
As your goals change a coach will know how and when to alter your training program to reach them. I’m not saying fitness apps are worthless, there is a time and a place for them. But they will not yield the same results as quickly as an in person coach can. They lack the community accountability to keep you dedicated. Most people cannot learn proper movement form on their own without correction. You will hit a plateau.
Do me a favor this week and try out a group class. It doesn’t have to be an Optimus Strength class, although we do have them. I think you’ll find more joy and value than working out alone. If you prefer to workout solo, book a personal training session. You’ll get more out of a 45 minute private session with an Optimus Strength coach than you will a fitness app in your living room. Treat yourself to some fun while you’re sweating this week!