Personal trainer comes to you through your computer
By Jody Covington
club where he fears his size could bring ridicule.
Ian Kerr, 45, is working out for the first time in 15 years using an online, live, Web cam personal training program offered at 6weekworkout.com based in the capital city.
Kerr, who travels frequently for work, originally sought to find a personal trainer who could come to his house and work with a flexible schedule. But once he found the site, the personalized exercise video clips looked good.
But then he found something better.
Kerr chose 6weekworkout.com, a program that -- whether he is in his home or in San Francisco on business -- allows him to simply log on at a scheduled time and meet with his own certified personal trainer, Colleen Bannister.
"It was a real treat to have the workout away from home," said Kerr, who works with network marketing and private label rights. "I'm very happy to have found her (Colleen)."
Bannister and her husband Arik, the owners of the Web site, believe their site is the first to offer online, Web cam personal training.
This program, available at a cost of $35 for 30 minutes or $70 for an hour, is interactive and one-on-one. Clients let their individual trainer know what, if any, exercise equipment is available and exercise plans are personalized. The Web cam and software are available for those who don't have them. Clients also have unlimited e-mail access to their trainers.
Reasonably priced workouts
Compare that with gym prices varying from $40 to $100 for personal training, plus the price of gas and the gym membership, said Bannister.
The Web cam allows the trainer and client to interact verbally and visually in real time.
A client can see how an exercise should be done and the trainer can correct such things as posture or technique by watching the client perform the exercise routine designed for them.
With just four weeks and several pounds less under his belt, Kerr is noticing health benefits in terms of his cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
His twice-a-week, 30-minute workouts get more intense as his body gets stronger.
"I feel newer," said Kerr, who would like to shed more than 150 pounds. "I feel like a better, newer person. I would definitely recommend it to anyone like me who is leery to go into a health club."
It's working so well, that Kerr said even if he were down to an average size, he likely would still choose the computer-based system.
Colleen Bannister, 34, said the team of nine trainers, four women and five men, available through the site were handpicked because of their dedication to their work and clients. These are trainers who will form a connection with their client even if they never set foot in the same room, she said.
Trainers' styles differ using yoga, salsa moves, belly dancing, resistance training for seniors, endurance training and other fitness variations. There is a Spanish-speaking trainer in the group as well.
"There is so much more to working out than running or lifting weights," said Bannister. "I have one trainer who says they can train a person in a 6-foot-square room with no equipment."
"Sign up now!" prompts the Web site. "You're not getting any thinner ... but you could be in 6 Weeks!"
No typical client
It's hard to pin down the typical client for Bannister and the team of trainers.
It could be moms trying to sneak in exercise during a child's nap time, a busy executive finding time between meetings, a middle-aged woman who doesn't like the idea of being leered at during a gym visit, an athlete preparing for a meet or competition, or an older person who may not be physically capable of entering a gym. All of these demographics benefit, she said.
In addition to the Web cam personal training, there are five programs offering written exercise plans or customized online videos, ranging in price from $20 to $250.
"No over-crowded gyms, no sweaty gym equipment, no feeling out of place, or (feeling) self-conscious, just personalized results," claims the 6weekworkout.com Web site.
This business is the perfect match for the Bannisters, who have been married for eight years and have a 3-year-old son, Cole. Arik is a commercial maker so he can do the behind-the-scenes Web building, and Colleen's love for fitness is apparent in the testimonials posted on the Web site:
Julie Dunlap, a mother and owner of JD at Your Service, a concierge and errand service business, said she trains with Colleen at Eagle Fitness, a Carson City gym, but also supplements with some of the home exercise videos.
"If I don't work out, I will go crazy," said Dunlap, who says it reduces the stress built up by daily life. "Colleen is a great person. She is very encouraging. She'll create something just for you."
Dunlap has also purchased a series of video clips for her mother, who was recently injured, to use at home.
-By Jody Covington • Special to Carson Times • March 28, 2008-