I’m not one to usually buy stuff on big sale events but last year I bought into something on a Black Friday deal.
The deal was to get a 3 month membership from the 1st of January activated immediately. This was at the end of November so it was a pretty good deal to start a fitness routine.
In this post I’m telling you about my experience with the James Smith Academy. An online coaching platform that offers tailored workouts and chat support with personal trainers.
The web-based interface works decently and you get to set your goals, record your progress, request a tailored work out program and chat with the coaches.
Getting the work out program was fairly easy. The personal trainers take up to three days to get back to you with a program which is just fine. Unfortunately one of the trainers was pretty unhelpful as when I advised I did not have a piece of equipment they had for some reason assumed I had (and included in my program) he just said “no problem” but didn’t really do anything about it. I had to message again and ask them to swap the exercise that needed that.
On top of that the exercise he gave me was in my opinion not a beginners exercise (you set your expertise level on the platform) and I managed to pull a muscle in my back doing that.
This meant I had to stop working out and was in pain for a really long time. Still recovering.
Honestly I found the free 30 minutes taster sessions with a personal trainer at the local gym a lot more useful than this experience.
No matter how good their intentions are and how tailored the programs can be they cannot check your form. This can potentially lead to injuries. Unless you already know what you’re doing I would not recommend giving it a go.
When it came to the general coaching chat the response time is I believe supposed to be 3 hours. I found it to be a bit longer than that. Everyone was super nice on that chat but not necessarily super helpful.
I asked what calorie deficit I should be aiming for as I never know what activity level to pick on the generic calculator and was told to pick the lowest possible activity level as that way I’ll definitely be in a calorie deficit.
Fair enough, I’m not super active so shouldn’t be a major issue. The problem is, they have no idea what my activity level is!
You definitely don’t want to be training 6 times a week on a 1200 to 1500 calorie daily allowance. I’ve done that years ago and it wasn’t the best thing for my body.
By this point it was quite clear that I wasn’t getting any value from the £81 I spent on the membership. Working out is a no go for now because of my back so no use for the tailored program and the accountability aspect of the platform didn’t really work for me as it felt like no one really cared much.
If I’m just counting calories I can do it for free.
James does a brilliant job on social media marketing his product and I guess that’s why I bought into it. He sounds like he cares, he is funny and even takes the time to respond to messages. It’s a shame his team does not act as passionate as he does.
Maybe if you know nothing about fitness, if you’ve never counted calories you can take some value from the James Smith Academy. Surely it has helped some people but unfortunately it did not do it for me.
In the end I got a partial refund. Still feel I got nothing but back pain to show for the £27 I spent.
Have you ever bought into an online fitness solution?
For another post about fitness click here.