March 30, 2023

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If you love working out, you’ve probably tried numerous fitness apps to help you reach your training and wellness goals—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when access to gyms and other fitness studios was restricted. In fact, between 2019 and 2020, downloads of the leading fitness apps increased by 84%, according to market and consumer data company Statista[1]. And while fitness apps featuring on-demand classes and recorded exercise demonstrations are a dime a dozen, there are a select few that take workout experiences to the next level with live, one-on-one personal training sessions led by a fitness expert in the comfort of your home.
Apps that include live personal training sessions are a bit difficult to suss out among the myriad of other fitness apps. To help with your search, the Forbes Health editorial team combed the data to find the best options for you. Note: All prices are accurate as of publication and are subject to change.
CoPilot is an all-encompassing coaching platform that’s designed to not only help you achieve your fitness goals, but also create lasting health and wellness habits. When you sign up for the $99 monthly subscription, you gain access to a certified coach of your choosing who, after a 40-minute onboarding call, provides a personalized fitness plan, as well as guidance on nutrition, wellness and self care (including mindfulness, relaxation, stretching and active recovery techniques). Every fitness plan is tailored to an individual’s access to equipment, goals and preferences. CoPilot uses motion-sense technology to track your workouts, from number of sets to pacing to form, with live, direct feedback from your coach. As a member, you have unlimited, daily access to your coach and the ability to make changes to your routine as necessary. While an Apple Watch is not necessary, using one during your workouts may further support your training by providing health data to your coach.
With Future, you have access to a diverse pool of certified personal fitness coaches and trainers who use the latest technology to craft personalized workouts tailored to your specific goals, needs and progress. While the app may recommend a specific trainer based on your workout preferences, you can select your coach based on their specialties or experience, which include nutritional backgrounds for some. Your coach will check in every day via messaging in the app, and they develop a new training program for you each week as your preferences, fitness level, equipment and goals change (which also allows for adapting workouts to real-time schedule changes, such as travel). Trainers primarily use data from your Apple Watch to gauge your activity levels and progress.
Caliber dives deeply into a science- and data-backed approach to whole-body health with their personal training programs, which include highly customized fitness, nutrition and habit-tracking plans. Using live data, such as cardiovascular activity, body composition metrics and nutritional information, your personal fitness trainer keeps track of your progress and optimizes your plan accordingly. A video feature allows you to record yourself performing a specific exercise, which your coach then reviews and uses to provide you with feedback. The app also has detailed step-by-step video instructions on how to perform more than 500 exercises. Plus, subscribers have access to monthly lessons that dive into various exercise and health science topics.
Unlike other personal trainer apps offering a single monthly subscription, FlexIt has multiple plans and pricing options. You can choose from nine monthly subscription options in increments of four, eight or twelve 30-, 45- or 60-minute one-on-one virtual personal training sessions or choose sessions a la carte (with no expiration date) in bundles of four, eight or twelve 30-, 45- or 60-minute sessions. In addition to these options, FlexIt offers Connected Training, a hybrid monthly subscription model that costs $75 (with the first month free) and includes one live 30-minute session with a personal trainer who crafts 16 personalized workouts a month (four per week) tailored to your goals.
FlexIt also makes it possible to work with a variety of trainers rather than a single coach. This level of flexibility allows you to customize your fitness program entirely by working with trainers from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, including the ability to book with health experts, such as nutritionists or physical therapists, in addition to personal trainers. (This option doesn’t apply to the Connected Training subscription specifically.)
The core of Kickoff’s personal training platform is pairing you with a coach who is best suited to you, taking into account the types of exercise you enjoy, your schedule and any previous injuries or current health conditions (including whether you’re pregnant or postpartum). The monthly subscription options feature one or two live workout sessions per week, and coaches are equipped to personalize your workouts extensively, as well as design custom meal plans for you. Your Kickoff coach will be in daily contact via messaging to keep you motivated and answer any questions or adapt your workout plan. They’ll also provide feedback on any photos and videos you choose to share of you performing your customized workouts outside of live sessions.
To determine the best personal trainer apps, the Forbes Health editorial team analyzed data on every reputable personal trainer app available in the iOS and Android app stores based on the following criteria:
A personal trainer app is an application for your smartphone or smart device that offers live, one-on-one personal training sessions to guide and enhance your exercise routine and help you meet your wellness goals. Unlike other physical fitness apps that have libraries of pre-recorded workouts, personal trainer apps set you up for live sessions with a certified coach or trainer who then develops a customized workout and wellness plan that meets your needs and fits your schedule. Most apps also include on-demand videos to enhance your workout routine between live sessions, as well as nutrition and/or wellness coaching.
All of the apps featured in this list work exclusively with personal trainers or coaches who are certified by U.S.-based personal training organizations. Not all apps adhere to this standard, however.
Personal trainers are not required to be certified by law, but many gyms and other fitness studios only hire trainers certified by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), according to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), an organization that offers NCCA-approved personal training certifications.
“When someone successfully passes an accredited personal trainer certification exam, you can trust that you’re working with a person who has achieved a certain level of professional competence to safely and effectively work with a variety of different types of people,” says Sabrena Jo, Ph.D, the former senior director of science and research for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and aForbes Health Advisory Board member. “Working with a personal trainer in general is helpful because they will have an understanding of how to personalize an exercise program for you based on your unique needs, which typically are determined through a detailed consultation with you and a series of assessments (if you desire to be assessed).”
At first glance, the cost of personal training apps may seem steep, especially if you’re used to paying for fitness apps that only provide pre-recorded content and typically hover in the $5 to $20 a month price range. However, considering the average cost for an in-person, hour-long personal training session ranges from $40 to $100 or more, the benefits may outweigh the costs when it comes to personal trainer apps. Most apps not only include at least one live session per week with your coach or trainer, but also provide daily motivation and communication, personalized workout and wellness plans, feedback on recorded videos, on-demand workouts or exercise demonstrations and the ability to fit your training into your own schedule.
By working virtually with a personal trainer through an app, you have the opportunity to craft a customized fitness routine tailored to your unique goals, preferences and schedule—without necessarily having to carve out time to commute to a gym. Additionally, by experiencing virtual personal training, you have access to top-ranking, experienced trainers who would otherwise be inaccessible due to respective geographic locations.
An added benefit of using a personal trainer app is the ability to control your own environment. For example, if you don’t enjoy gyms or working out in public spaces, you can stay home and still reap the rewards of regular physical activity. What’s more, your personal trainer will tailor your workout to what is available to you in your space, meaning you don’t need to worry about purchasing expensive gym equipment.
Personal Fitness Coaching & Tailored Workouts
Future matches you with a fitness coach who provides unlimited personal training, accountability, and support for all your fitness goals.
If heavy weightlifting is your goal, a personal trainer app may not be the best option for you, as you won’t have the in-person spotting assistance you need. “Trainers are really important for spotting during lifts,” says Jo. “There’s no way a trainer can do that via an app.”
Apps also provide a limited visual field for observing a client, explains Jo. “When viewing someone performing an exercise virtually, you can’t get a 360-degree view to really observe their mechanics like you could if you were training them in person,” she says.
However, there are ways around both of these challenges when working within an app, such as only doing lifts that don’t require spotting and asking the client to show their movements from a variety of vantage points, says Jo.
If you’re looking for live, one-on-one personal training from certified experts to develop or deepen your exercise and wellness habits, a personal trainer app may be a good option for you. However, if you have previous or current injuries, health conditions or concerns about working with a personal trainer via an app, reach out to your health care provider before signing up.
Most personal trainer app websites include details about each personal trainer or coach, including their certifications and credentials. If you want to verify that your trainer is certified by a personal training association, you can contact the organization where they became certified.
Many of the apps offer free trials or a free consultation with a personal trainer. Taking advantage of these opportunities may help you decide whether working with a personal trainer virtually is right for you. If you have any health concerns, always consult your health care provider before starting a new exercise routine.
Yes, your personal trainer or coach will customize a workout plan depending on your fitness level and exercise experience.
Information provided on Forbes Health is for educational purposes only. Your health and wellness is unique to you, and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plans. For personal advice, please consult with a medical professional.
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Meaghan is an editor and writer who also has experience practicing holistic medicine as an acupuncturist and herbalist. She’s passionate about helping individuals live full, healthy and happy lives at every age. Outside of writing and editing for Forbes Health, Meaghan loves practicing yoga, reading and spending time with her family near the ocean in her home state of Maine.
Alena is a professional writer, editor and manager with a lifelong passion for helping others live well. She is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and a functional medicine certified health coach. She brings more than a decade of media experience to Forbes Health, with a keen focus on building content strategy, ensuring top content quality and empowering readers to make the best health and wellness decisions for themselves.


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