I must admit it seemed a bit strange at first to me, but I’ve learnt that personal training can work, and be really effective, even if I’m not in the same room as my client. This learning has come into sharp focus during the COVID-19 outbreak, as people who had been getting their oomph back with me suddenly found themselves having to exercise alone, and frequently indoors. Suddenly the importance of staying active – for strength, for one’s heart and lungs, and bones, and recovery, and sanity – seemed even more acute.
I’m also aware that many people might want to work with a cancer rehab PT, but we tend to be found in urban areas, near to the big cancer centres, and a long way from those living rurally, or those frequently away from home.
So, I offer online training, in the hope that others can get some specialist input, when they need it, if they can't get it locally. This is also good for those who want to exercise but can't commit to particular timescales - doing it this way means you can do it whenever you have time. Sometimes I work with people who partly train online, partly in person, according to their needs. Online is also a brilliant alternative to outdoor training when the weather is bad.
So, here are three ways in which virtual personal training can work:
1. One-to-one sessions, by screen
Rather than meeting up face to face, we connect though facetime, skype, zoom, or whatever platform works best. It can feel a little bit odd for the first few minutes, but that passes surprisingly quickly. And then we simply do a training session together, communicating via our phones or laptops.
A typical one-hour PT session might be a 5 minute warm up then a routine of cardio bursts which we do individually first and then after a short break we put them together for a 6-10 minute Low, or High, impact Interval session (HIIT). Then we do a full body strength routine, perhaps using your body weight or hand weights if you have them, or with resistance bands that I will send you.
We might then do a little specific rehab work, focusing on things you’re trying to improve – often specific strength or flexibility issues that have arisen from your cancer treatment or from a previous injury. Then, perhaps some balance exercises, or if you fancy a bit more bouncing about, we might do some more cardio work, or some shadow boxing. The beauty of personal training is how creative you can be, and you can turn a session into whatever’s best for the individual. We finish with a good stretch.
During the whole session we can have a good old chat about how you’re doing, just as we would if we were meeting up in person. Let me know if you’d like to try it. It can be a hoot!
These sessions cost the same as regular PT sessions, and I’m very happy to mix up online and in-person training, according to your needs and availability. I will send you a set of resistance bands free of charge before we start.
2. Verbally – talking on the phone
I first started to train people remotely after a smart woman, a working farmer, contacted me but pointed out that people in rural and remote areas often can't get access to specialist services, and as such, wouldn't be able to work directly with a trainer like me. She was just nearing the end of chemo, and trying to work out how to be active, whilst working full time and managing a risk of developing lymphaodema. Where she lived was remote, internet was very slow, and her mobile signal could be highly unreliable.
Between us we struck up a plan whereby I'd regularly email her some information, she'd have a good look at it, and then we'd talk, by landline, usually every two weeks. It worked well – we’d have a good catch up every so often and discuss how she was doing, what exercise she'd had, what she was struggling with etc. Then in time, as her side effects reduced, she went back to enjoying exercise as she did before her diagnosis, and my work was done. The price for this kind of training is £60 per month.
3. Simply by email.
Tell me what you need and how I can help, and I'll email you safe, personalised, progressive workouts, over a set period of time with information on technique and on how to stay active in between workouts. Our relationship would be via regular – normally weekly email communication. This can work well if we are in different time zones to each other, especially for people working away. The price for this kind of training is £30 per month.
To start you off, if you don’t have any equipment at home, I can supply a set of resistance bands - highly recommended for beginning your strength training. A set costs £10 including p&p and would be with you for the start of our training together.
If you'd like to try it, please click here, fill in the form, and I'll come back to you.