Is a Personal Training App Worth Your Money? We Tried It—Here’s What We Learned
I’m not a fitness junkie. I haven’t taken a fitness class in more than four years. I don’t run. I don’t lift weights in the gym or at home. I don’t sweat it out in hot yoga. My idea of “working out” is taking my dog for a walk longer than 20 minutes.
All of that is why I was both eager and hesitant to try the new personal training platform Livekick. Founded by entrepreneur Yarden Tadmor and fitness expert Shayna Schmidt, Livekick isn’t your typical personal training app. Instead of leading you through either a live group class or letting you select pre-recorded training sequences for streaming, the easy-to-use service connects you to one-on-one sessions with a private trainer who crafts a 30-minute workout specifically for you. So, I gave it a go—and here’s what happened.
My Problem: A Decades-Old Back Injury and Some Anxiety Around Starting to Work Out Again
I didn’t used to be so fitness-phobic. I was a competitive gymnast and dancer all the way through college, and an avid yogi into my late 20s. But while I was contorting my body into arabesques, handstands and head to toe poses, my lower back was often screaming out in pain. What began as a diagnosed “over-use” injury when I was 10 morphed into chronic lower back pain that worsened with aggressive physical therapy treatments and flared up when I attempted normal, simple things like painting my living room. When a flare-up happened, I could be laid up for months—it took me a full year and a half to recover when I slipped on the ice on a particularly slick winter day in Minnesota.
While I’ve found relief in treatments like myofascial release and acupuncture, my back has never returned to its former glory when I could easily do a backbend, or even throw myself into a forward bend without thinking. And with all that baggage, starting a workout routine has been pretty far down my list of priorities. Especially since other attempts at a fitness regime have resulted in setbacks in my pain.
My Solution: Personal Yoga Training With Livekick
When I first heard about Livekick, I was intrigued because I’d already been entertaining the idea of some kind of personal training. I thought that if I could work one-on-one with someone who knew my limitations and my story, maybe I could get out of my fitness rut and start to regain the ground I’d lost. I was feeling physically weaker than ever but also pretty anxious about just jumping into some routine that didn’t account for my chronic pain.
But, personal training was way outside my budget, especially given that I was already paying out of pocket for my weekly myofascial release back treatments. That’s where Livekick came in.
After a two-week free trial, pricing starts at $32 per week. You can tailor your subscription to what you need and sign up for one, two or three live, 30-minute sessions with a remote trainer. You connect with them during your scheduled slot via the Livekick iOS app or website. The workouts are tailored to the space and equipment that you have access to, and your trainer also assigns you other workouts for the rest of the week.
I was not really interested in anything outside of yoga at this point, so I got on board for a once-a-week yoga session.
The Results: Less Pain, More Confidence and a Defined Fitness Routine
While you can easily switch between trainers and types of workouts each week, I decided to start simple and select just one trainer to work with once a week. When you schedule your sessions, you can read the bios of all the Livekicks trainers, which gives you a great sense of who you’ll best connect with or who specializes in what type of workout you want.
I chose Parthi Prajapati, a certified Master Yoga teacher based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (yep). Her bio said she also had a background in pilates, Ayurveda and Reiki, all things I’d tried on my own health journey. And picking her was definitely the right call—she was incredibly knowledgeable, listened to my concerns and crafted a unique, safe-but-challenging routine for me each week, which she personally led me through, live on video via the Livekick app + my smartphone or the website + my laptop.
I started to really look forward to my sessions with Parthi, which is not something I could say about exercise before. It’s an incredibly reassuring level of accountability to have someone literally waiting for you (just you) to start your workout. That alone squashed the stereotypical feeling of not wanting to drag myself out of bed, telling myself that I could do it later. And, while I didn’t travel during my work with Parthi, the fact that you just need your smartphone to complete a workout would have made it super simple to do on the go.
But the most remarkable part was that I realized I could do way more with my body than I thought I could. I made it through more than one hour-long session, complete with yoga balances and Vinayasas. That’s more than I’ve done in years. In the month and a half I worked with Parthi, I became so much more confident in my ability, and so much less anxious about pushing myself back into injury.
Chalk it up to both having a dedicated trainer focused only on me and my body’s needs, and to getting into a consistent routine again, but Livekick and Parthi pulled me out of my nervous fitness rut. Now, I’m not only able to do the routine Parthi designed for me (which I get to keep, whether or not I continue to workout with her via Livekick), but I also feel confident enough to try other yoga sequences on my own. Livekick helped put me back into my body, and I’m totally grateful.