Online vs In Person Studio Training – what’s best for you now?

By: Carla Ricalis

Over the past 18 months, small Pilates/Yoga studios have shifted to training online. And it’s been enthusiastically received by clients as they’ve embraced this alternate form of working out that gives the same results and quality teaching.

Now that we’re looking at heading back into the studios, some clients have asked our opinion on whether to stay online and reap the benefits of convenience or move to in person training to get on the equipment they love and benefit from that in person attention. Here’s our thoughts on both:

Online – Who Knew?

I’m the first to admit that I was hesitant about how well virtual training would go for clients. But here we are 16 months later and the majority of my personal client base are still going strong with online training. 

Convenience

Hands down, there’s a huge convenience to training online. Virtual training has made it possible for clients who travel south for the winter or north for the summer to continue with their weekly workout. It’s also allowed clients who have permanently relocated out of the city or country to keep working with their favorite instructor. 

Consistent online training while clients are away from the studio translates into stronger, more progressive workouts when they’re back on the equipment. A bonus compared to  having to take the first few sessions upon their return to recoup what was lost. And this ultimately is what trainers and clients want; consistent, progressive strength development and training throughout all of their workouts. 

Consistency

For instructors, the integration of online training is a win-win situation because those seasonal months (summer, winter) when clients were traditionally away have evolved from less work to consistent hours. And this means a steady source of income for instructors. 

And for clients it means that their regular sessions are kept in the schedule when they decide to head out of town for an extended period of time, instead of being filled by others who are looking for take those spots in the schedule. 

Focus

One of the more interesting outcomes of virtual training is that clients have found their workouts to be harder (!) 

A number of instructors agree that it’s a combination of clients having to use their listening skills and instructors adapting and strengthening their teaching skills to adjust to a single vantage point based on where the computer screen is positioned. 

End result? Clients who are hesitant about the full hour online can still get an amazing workout with a 45 or even 30 minutes session. 

In Person – Nothing Compares

Rituals & Routines

Working out virtually definitely has its advantages but nothing beats that connection of in person training. For a lot of clients, there is a happy ritual of ‘getting out of the house’, walking or driving to the studio, coming into the space and connecting with their instructor in person. 

Of course, comfort levels are the number one priority now. But most small fitness facilities have made great efforts to create a fitness environment that is safe and following proper protocols. 

And if you’ve been hesitant about beginning in person training, make sure you ask the right questions of the studio manager in order to get a sense of how the space is being managed, organized and cleaned to provide a stress-free experience.

Workout Progressions & Access to Equipment

Inevitably there are 2 great advantages of in-studio training. First,  is the bonus of using the Pilates equipment regularly and second is having your instructor cue, correct and supervise your session in person. 

Even for clients who have Pilates equipment in their homes and have continued online, many of the intermediate and advanced exercises that are demanding of their balance, proprioception and control are more confidently done when their instructor is in the same space, supervising and making safe adjustments to make the exercise accessible and rewarding. 

What do we recommend? 

If you’ve been doing online training while your studio has been closed, but you’re keen to get back onto the equipment, why not do both? 

If it’s possible, having a combination or weekly ‘hybrid’ allows not only for the best of both options but it means 2 very different workouts because the majority of online training is mat based while in-studio is on the equipment. 

Doing a hybrid of in-studio and online training is something that many of our Studio³ clients are opting for because it’s convenient, consistent and progressive. 

And the variety of accessing different learning platforms means an overall improvement in your learning skills because it requires listening more online and observing more in person. These are subtle, but nonetheless invaluable elements to strengthening the mind-body connection.

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