When I first announced to friends that I was starting a workout program they were enthusiastic up to the point that I told them I'd bought the program on the internet. They thought it must be some kind of scam, but mostly they just didn't understand how such a program could work.
Even after explaining the setup, they still doubted the value.
This just shows that most people aren't yet aware of the opportunities the internet offers. Now of course, there are scams on the internet, but if you do your research and don't rush into anything, you can pretty much assess the risk. One of the main safety outlets for this, is that most programs offer a money-back guarantee – so if you're not happy you can always get a full refund. And this is a real option, I've done it myself with certain programs. Getting your money back after 2 months gym membership is, in comparison, much more difficult.
But money matters apart, there are a number of advantages to following an online program.
One of these is the freedom to follow it at your own pace. You aren't tied to specific times or session appointments, or under pressure to be at a session when you don't feel up to it. And if you miss a session you don't lose your fee; the session is always waiting for you when you are ready. Like having your own personal trainer on call 24/7.
The personal trainer aspect is also a pluspoint – working without a program, at home or in the gym you're very much on your own – getting the attention of an expert when you need some help is not always an option. And unless you are wealthy enough to afford a personal trainer, you're going to be on your own a lot of the time.
A personal trainer would always be the best option, providing guidance and encuragement tailored to your needs... without them, very few of the top Hollywood celebs would ever look so good. However, online programs, consisting of professionally filmed videos and run by professional committed trainers, give you the best alternative.
A program like Shapeshifter, doesn't just consist of a series of follow-along videos any more – the videos are supported by a multi-layered platform of community and professional support on a continuing basis. This is what gives it the extra added value above the basic training and dietry advice.
The commumity plays a special role, in that it maintains your privacy while still giving you the chance to talk to people about your quieries and experiences... and the community is usually much greater, easier to make contact with, and more welcoming than a similar group in your local sport-school.
But one of the major problems we encounter when training, is motivating ourselves, especially at the beginning. This problem isn't eliminated when you follow a program, but it is considerably less than if you try to work out without one. Having invested in something for a goal, you have already taken the first important step. The program takes all the organization out of your hands which leaves you free to focus on following the steps and instructions. If we succeed in following it for two weeks, we are well on our way to establishing a new pattern of behavior that will become more and more normal as time passes. We need this structure to consolidate this new activity into a behavior pattern. The structure of a program ensures routine. Consistency and routine are the fathers of habit, and habit creates the cumulative affects that lead to progress and success.
Many of the programs available are created by professional trainers and nutritionists, and the internet gives us the means to affirm that with research. So it would be a shame to waste all that expertise when we have the opportunity to take advantage of it. These experts are often the top of their field, and I believe we can trust their advice as much as, if not more than, our local gym trainer.
And because the competition in this field is so great, you can expect the information to be right up to date. Of course, training systems are much like diets – there's always a new one that's all the rage, but you are in control, you have the choice according to which system suits your needs, and you have to utilize that control.
Another advantage of a program is that they are usually project based – meaning they have a beginning and an end. Completing a program to the end, gives you a high level of satisfaction, further motivating your effort, and rewarding you with pride and self-esteem.
And finally, when a program is finished, you can start again, cover what you missed, go back, select the parts that worked the best and leave the rest. In this case it's superior to following a course at the local community center.
The reactions I received at the start of my program were quite typical of people who distrust anything that is outside their knowledge and experience – but you can't let yorself be influenced by these sort of people. You have to assess your own risks, and make your own steps towards your own goals.
Most important though, you have to understand that you are not fully dependent on the program – it is a tool for you to use to fulfill your wishes. You are in charge, and you are still responsible for the level of success you gain from it. From this viewpoint, you can see that there really is no risk... because you are the factor that makes it work for you or not. This is the case for everything of course, but at least a well-constructed program supplies the structure, the knowledge, and the insight to be able to get the very best out of your training.