When getting fit takes an online village

Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:01am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Personal trainers are a resilient bunch. When the economy tanked they drifted from costly one-on-one sessions to more cost-effective small group training.

With clients still counting their pennies, trainers have now taken to the cloud on the theory that if you build that interactive website, they will come.

"Online personal training is similar to online dating," said California-based trainer Jackie Warner. "When online dating came about, it was 'what is this?' and now it's the number one way to date."

Warner's training site, on JackieWarner.com, debuted in September 2010, partly, she said, as an alternative to one-on-one sessions, which can run to $150 an hour.

"People cannot afford even $25 for group classes anymore," said Warner, star of the cable TV weight-loss reality show "Thintervention." "Everyone's tightening their belts."

At $11 a week, based on a 26-week package, there's wiggle room.

While health club memberships have dipped from 45.5 million to 45.3 million between 2008 and 2009, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the industry's trade association, personal training has grown.

Some 6.5 million Americans are now using personal trainers up from 4 million in 1999, IHRSA said.   Continued...