- Digital workouts like Peloton lack personalization and are overrated, a personal trainer told Insider.
- In person, an instructor can see when you need to work harder or ease up, Scott Britton said.
- Britton says strength training is underrated, and you can do a good workout in 20 to 40 minutes.
Digital workouts like Peloton are overrated because fitness should be personalized, a CrossFit athlete and personal trainer told Insider.
People looking to get fit should prioritize strength-training, make the most of their time at the gym, and have a fitness professional present if they can, Scott Britton said.
Britton, a British athlete, said that digital workout classes are problematic because the instructor can’t see participants. For some people, being told to push harder isn’t right, for example, and others may need their form corrected, Britton said.
He also thinks fitness trackers that are always pushing people to move more lack social responsibility, because health and fitness should be about balancing recovery with activity.
Instead, Britton, an ambassador for wearable tech company Whoop, recommends trackers like the Whoop wrist-strap, which the company says gives users guidelines on how hard they should push their bodies based on how recovered they are.
Britton, who is the founder of celebrity-backed global charity fitness events company Battle Cancer (which has raised nearly $1.3 million in 2022 to date), also developed a program for people rebuilding their physical and mental health after cancer treatments. Everyone on the program gets a Whoop strap to help them learn how to move the right amount for their own bodies.
Digital workouts are overrated
Online workouts soared in popularity during the coronavirus lockdowns when gyms closed and people stayed at home, but Britton thinks that if people can, they should work out with trainers in person.
“Peloton-esque digital workouts are overrated,” he said. “Digital trainers cannot coach you. They cannot motivate you other than by shouting through a screen and there’s too much separation, they can’t see the way that you move.”
Peloton did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Every body is different, so a correctly performed squat on one person might look different to that of the instructor, he said. It’s also hard to tell if you’re doing a movement right if you’re not a qualified fitness professional.
“The way you move might need to be altered,” Britton said.
Equally, some digital instructors repeatedly call on participants to work harder, but this isn’t always the right approach, according to Britton.
“You might be really struggling but you’re actually doing your best, and they’re shouting at you,” Britton said. “Whereas if they are in real life with you, they can see that you’re doing your very best.”
Britton said that when he’s instructing people in person, he can tell when someone is struggling because they’ve had a terrible day or are exhausted, so he can see when to tell them to take it easy.
“I think that’s such a huge aspect of fitness that is overlooked,” he said.
You can do a good workout in 20 minutes
Britton also thinks strength-training is “hugely underrated,” whether you want to improve your health, lose fat, or get fitter.
Many people start running or do HIIT (high intensity interval training) when they want to lose weight or get fit, but it’s a mistake to neglect strength-training, Britton said.
Strength-training has a lot more benefits than muscle-building, including strengthening bones and joints, reducing the risk of injury, improving heart health, and increasing calorie-burn at rest, as Insider’s Marissa Cruz Lemar previously reported.
“Deadlifts, squats, bench press, that very old-school stuff is phenomenally good for joints, tendons, and your own confidence,” Britton said.
He also believes many people spend much longer in the gym than they need to and don’t use their time productively.
Workouts needn’t be long if they’re efficient.
“People tend to spend too much time not doing stuff,” he said. “You can get a phenomenal amount of work done in 20 to 40 minutes.”