Can a personal trainer app ever replace the real thing?

Daily workout routines, diet trackers and guides covering stretching exercises – they’re all out there in app form, just waiting to be downloaded onto your phone or tablet computer. All it takes is a few clicks and you can have Davina McCall taking you through an abs routine or showing you how to tone your bum. Alternatively, you could choose to have world number one female tennis ace Serena Williams show you how she keeps in shape.


Williams appears in the new Nike Training Club app showing off her core power workout, which according to Nike is “authentic to the core power strengthening moves Serena needs as a pro tennis athlete”. There are thousands of apps aimed at helping people to improve their health and fitness, including an increasing number of celebrity-backed pieces of software. But while anything that helps to get people fit and active has to be applauded, can a video on a computer or mobile phone ever compare to having a professional personal trainer in the room with you?

Perhaps it’s a case of the clue being in the name. Personal trainers are just that, personal. insure4sport deals in fitness class instructor insurance and individual personal trainer insurance cover, so we know just what professionals go through to improve the fitness of their clients.

For starters, someone’s initial level of fitness is unique to them and this can’t be calculated by an app. Goals are also unique and an app is never going to be able to offer the same level of personalisation as a trained, human instructor.

There’s also the question of potential for injury. A fitness instructor will be able to spot areas of weakness in the body and potential areas of concern, and then develop a training programme to either avoid putting particular areas under stress, or focus on strengthening strategic parts of the body in order to help reduce opportunities for discomfort and injury.

There are apps on the market that focus on health and nutrition and some have been highly rated. Again though, there is the question of whether an app can offer the same level and quality of input and guidance as a personal instructor. And what about motivation? You can turn an app off in the middle of a workout if you’ve had enough and just fancy a little lie down, but have you ever tried turning off a personal instructor in the middle of a spinning lesson?!

Do you have a take on the huge range of apps out there on the market? Do you think they have a place alongside personal training sessions?

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