That Pesky Free Online Workout You Found

I joked in a recent blogpost about how free online workouts are searched more often than simply online workouts. I followed that comment up with the statement that you get what you pay for. I received a few questions about what could possibly be the harm in grabbing a workout off the internet and knocking it out. After all, it seems pretty harmless – what’s the worst that can happen?

In a nutshell, it doesn’t do much for the fitness industry, or health professionals as a whole. See, an individual workout is like an ingredient in a recipe. Taking the ingredient by itself and doing what you want with it doesn’t get you any closer to the cooked meal. One workout is just the same: it’s one day in a training cycle. If this cycle requires you to train 4 days a week and the cycle lasts 4 weeks, you only have 1/16th of the total picture. You don’t get in shape because the program is incomplete and the trainer who wrote it gets criticized because of the lack of results.

This falls in line with the argument of training versus exercise. People who like to exercise may jog one day, garden the next, and then weight train to finish off the week. They can do this because they have no long term plans in place and thus training does not apply to them. However, qualified health professionals can take a hit because people can claim that they can find a workout online and thus negate the work of developing a reasonable program. So, a hard working trainer passes up on helping someone while missing out on a paycheck, while the client can exercise with their free workout and sadly, not really get anywhere. It’s a lose-lose for both sides

From the public standpoint, this is where the problem lies. You may have found the workout online, and it was free, but after one day it doesn’t do you much good. Getting in shape is all about progressions over time: are you doing more work, are you training harder, and are you seeing results? When I design a training program they are usually 8 to 10 weeks in length and no two workouts are exactly alike. Doing the same workout over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. And we know you’re not insane, because you took the time to read this blogpost.

There are other tangibles of course. You have no idea who wrote the workout or what their background is. You also have no idea if the workout takes into account your own responses to training, your conditioning level, muscular imbalances, medical history, and contraindications to exercise.

Hey, the internet’s a great place, right? I’m telling you to avoid generic workouts found online while you read this on my own fitness blog. Well, I thought I would use this blog to help spread my opinion rather than doing nothing about it.

I would make a few tweaks if your ambitions fall with trying to find free training advice online. Find someone you like, respect, and who proudly displays their credentials to the public (you should know where these workouts are coming from). However, if you actually want to get in great shape, you’ll have to do some homework, find a professional you can trust, and open up the pocketbook. Remember, you get what you pay for.

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