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Wello brings affordable personal training to your home

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | April 17, 2013
There are several reasons I'm not big on personal trainers: First, they're expensive. For example, trainers at my gym start at $60/hour--and that's on top of my membership fee. Second, they're inconvenient. I'm a night owl by nature, and nobody is offering personal trainer services at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. (At least not that I've been able to find). Lastly, as a self-motivated gym rat who's been lifting for years, I'm somewhat skeptical about whether personal training is really worth it.

Once the account was created and the session was scheduled, I was bombarded with emails from Wello. The first email offered my account details (creating an account is so quick they don't ask for a password but simply send one to your email), the second email provided my workout details, and the third was from my trainer. Wello offers a messaging service that lets you communicate with your trainer before the workout, so you can sort out various issues such as injuries, small spaces, and equipment. Wello also sent me a reminder email about three hours before my workout was about to start.

Wello uses its own platform for the live video stream. The platform requires a one-time plugin download for both Windows and Mac OSX--I used my 11-inch MacBook Air and the plugin install took less than a minute. The only real equipment you'll need is a computer with a webcam and a microphone/speaker setup, though if you want to use extra workout equipment you certainly can.

Overall, the workout experience was excellent. The Wello platform worked very well--there may have been some hitching and the webcam quality wasn't perfect, but it was good enough for what we were doing. My trainer showed up right on time, we talked for a few seconds about what was going to happen, and then we jumped right in with warm-ups. I did my workout in my home office, which only has about five square feet of open floor space, but my trainer was able to create an effective workout around the space.

My workout was fairly simple: A combination of squats, squat jumps, mountain climbers, leg lifts, planks, and push-ups--and it definitely got me sweating. My trainer was very vocal, and he showed me each exercise before we started. The only minor issue with the webcam training is that a trainer can't touch you to correct your form--while this isn't really a problem with basic exercises, it might be an issue with advanced yoga or weight lifting.

Once the workout was finished, Wello sent me yet another email (to congratulate me on completing the workout, and to solicit feedback).

I didn't have a chance to try out the group workouts (I tried, but they kept getting canceled for lacking the minimum number of participants). Group workouts are similar to one-on-one workouts: Each participant has a webcam, as does the trainer. All participants can see all the other participants (this seems like it'd be great for a group of friends), as well as the trainer. Because there are so many people on webcam at once, group workouts are limited to between three and five participants.


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