Don Wharton has been an INLIV client for seven years. When we originally launched the pilot program for virtual personal training two years ago, Don was one of the first to try it – and he has stuck with it. With the unexpected change in our Fitness & Movement Medicine service due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we asked Don if he’d be willing to share his experience.

I’m a big fan of virtual training. For the past two summers (May – September), I’ve worked out twice a week with my trainers Dan and Jamie while at my cottage in Ontario. I’ve also used virtual training from time-to-time during the winter when I couldn’t make it to INLIV due to snowstorms. Virtual training has allowed me to keep and improve my fitness just as well as in-person training.

We all know that consistency is key. I’d say that the virtual training sessions are just as good (or just as tough) as having your sessions at INLIV. The trainers have been really good at creating challenging workouts no matter what equipment I have.

Technically the virtual training system has worked smoothly. Here’s what I have as a technical setup:

  • An iPad, almost any model will do
  • Zoom app, which is simple to operate
  • An iPad holder/adapter to attach my iPad to a tripod (available from Amazon for about $14)
  • A standard camera tripod

You could also use your phone – Apple or Android – the only disadvantage would be you can’t see your trainer as well due to screen size. A laptop would also work. The tripod arrangement isn’t a necessity but it’s very handy to adjust the view so the trainer can see if you’re sweating enough!

To start a session, I open the Zoom app about 5 minutes beforehand, when Dan or Jamie call in there’s a ‘bing-bong’ sound notifying me, and I hit “Accept” to be connected. The video quality is very good with almost zero lag.

As far as workout equipment goes, the INLIV trainers can figure out a good workout with almost anything you have. In Calgary, I have less equipment than at the cottage since I usually go in to INLIV. The best thing I have is a TRX strap which can be used for many exercises, and has the advantage of being easily transported. I also have a mat, exercise ball, rubber strap, treadmill, and a cable weight machine. A bench would be good, as would dumbbells if you have them!

I wouldn’t let a lack of high-powered equipment deter you from doing virtual fitness.

Maintaining my relationship with my trainers is also important. Because the setup is so effortless and the communication so clear, I feel almost no difference between a virtual session and an in-person one. There’s just as much time for complaining, joking and story-telling (otherwise called procrastination)!

So in summary, I’m a fan of virtual fitness training. It’s a million times better than a do-nothing alternative. And I’m confident that the professional trainers at INLIV can tailor challenging workouts regardless of the equipment you have. I can honestly say I’ve never had a poor workout virtually – a shower is always required!