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Go virtual! Finding an online personal trainer
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Physical supervision provides another benefit not common to all online programs: visual guidance. That is, the trainer shows you how to do the exercises; you copy the moves and find out right then and there if you are moving correctly.

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Without direct supervision, you'll have to rely on instructive aids provided by the trainer, such as online videos, animations and audio instruction. Consider how you learn best and sign up for the personal training program that best suits your learning style.

If you learn visually, you might enjoy sites such as and, which offer video clips of particular exercises. On, 360-degree animations show how to perform exercises. If you learn by listening, you might like the phone-and-e-mail coaching style of McMillian's FitbyFone program or the iPod-ready workout routines provided by, which lets subscribers download routines set to the music of their choice right onto their iPods. Your preferred learning method should determine which online program you join.

Then consider your schedule. If you have an unusual schedule, an online personal trainer may suit you better because you can access workout routines around the clock, as well as help features such as chat sessions and online videos. for instance, offers real-time chat sessions with personal trainers and registered dieticians and allows clients to e-mail questions, which are answered within 24 hours. In real life, as LiveHealthier CEO Mary Moslander points out, you might have to hold your question until the next meeting.

Of course, it goes without saying that online training means you don't have to leave home. You don't have to dress up, burn gas or drive around looking for a parking spot at the gym. But it's worth noting that not every in-person personal trainer is weighted to the gym. For instance, Tryner will meet her clients at their workplaces if a gym is available, at home, outdoors or in her studio. So if you desire a trainer you can meet, see if he or she can work in places other than a gym -- and skip the pricey gym membership.

If you can, request a trial subscription for any of the online memberships. That will give you enough time to experiment with a program. After all, the wrong fit makes for a workout routine you won't enjoy -- and will likely stop down the road.

Next: "You want someone you have a connection with."
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