Online Fitness Networking

by: Biray Alsac, MS

Hybrid training (online training coupled with face-to-face training) is often the perfect mix for clients who prefer the conveniences of the Web yet require the guidance of a live trainer. The good news is that new niche networks on the Web can help you develop hybrid fitness programs. In addition to offering the features of regular online social communities, these fitness networks allow members to set individual health goals, design workouts, track weight loss, log food intake, keep wellness blogs and access educational resources.

For the past few months I have spent time in these networks. I have discovered a space where personal trainers can participate, helping their clients develop successful exercise programs and encouraging adherence while adequately tracking performance. Read on to learn about five of the best fitness networks and decide for yourself if they offer a feature worth trying out with your clients.

FitLink

FitLink is a no-nonsense, no-frills network with an extensive online exercise database—great for stimulating new training ideas. Clients who are looking for workout buddies can use this network to find people based on how they like to be motivated, the type of workout intensity they prefer and what fitness facility they attend. Most online communities search members only by location.

Traineo

Traineo is a network tailored to support weight loss goals. This site focuses on motivating members who are still developing their healthy habits. Tracking features allow members to log their workouts (e.g., “circuit training for 40 minutes”), but do not require listing specific exercises. This might be less overwhelming and more time-efficient for newer clients. Tracking features can also be customized to log other health behaviors, such as smoking, water intake and sleeping habits.

Gyminee

Gyminee is the network that best simulates walking into a fitness facility. When users log in, they are instantly directed to their “locker room,” where they can review their workout and nutrition goals. The library of exercises contains video demonstrations of various movements that might prove useful for your clients between sessions. A helpful feature for trainers is the ability to create and share workout programs; this is a great way to design a routine for a client who is out of town.

SparkPeople

This is the one-stop shop for online health- and fitness-related activity. In particular, newbie clients who are starting a health program will find this site helpful. It has informational videos, discussion boards and interest groups that scope topics from fitness and nutrition to medical and lifestyle habits. A trademark feature is its SparkRecipes, filled with ideas for any meal on any occasion.

FitTracker

FitTracker is a feature of ShapeFit.com and is great for those needing extensive tracking features. Trainers and clients can access various reports charting overall development in areas of nutrition, cardio and strength. As long as information on diet and exercise is detailed and diligently reported, members can analyze progress over the course of training, down to a specific exercise.

To read the advantages and disadvantages of using each of these networks, see the full article in the September issue of IDEA Trainer Success or online in IDEA's Health and Fitness Article Library.

IDEA Fit Tips , Volume 6, Issue 3

© 2008 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Biray Alsac, MS

Biray Alsac, MS IDEA Author/Presenter

Biray Alsac, MS, is the owner of FITTmaxx Institute, a consulting company for health organizations and fitness/wellness professionals interested in learning how to integrate Web-based tools and intera...

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