From shops to restaurants, coronavirus has forced many industries to adapt. Fitness, gyms and personal training are no different. But it’s not just the industries that have changed, it’s people’s mindsets and habits too. There’s always scope for innovation and adaptation, and COVID has just kickstarted the next phase of that process. This article is here to help guide you through it.
Acknowledge COVID-19 has changed people’s perceptions
People are more aware of others in their personal space, having been subject to social distancing rules for months. They are also aware of touching surfaces, whether it be poles on buses, or dumbbells in gyms. But it’s not just the obvious elements, it’s the mode of exercise itself. Without access to gyms, many have turned to running or HIIT classes on yoga mats, whereas others have turned their garden shed into an amateur gym. Not everyone is on the same wavelength with COVID, but whatever your views, it’s important to be sensitive of other people’s circumstances and respect their wishes. Never make a client feel silly for wanting to be cautious — it’s not only rude, but also terrible for business.
Gyms have reopened, which means you can start training clients face-to-face again. Before doing so, however, it’s important to be aware of the new guidelines in place within gyms. With these public facilities being hit hard in the heat of lockdown, they have taken the privilege of opening seriously, and are being extra careful. As a result, the regulation of safety measures has become a priority. PureGym, for example, has implemented a number of strict COVID safety procedures to ensure their members and trainers can be in a safe environment. This includes social distancing, changing the gym layout and the systematic sanitisation of shared equipment. Even equipment close together, such as treadmills and cross-trainers, are taped off so that people maintain social distance.
It’s not only COVID guidelines you’ll need to be on top of. If you’re a new trainer, perhaps who began over the lockdown period, the thought of getting personal training insurance may have passed you by. But it’s important to get this sorted if you’re going to be training clients in gyms. Salon Gold explains why this is, stating that: “helping your clients get fit is a marathon, not a sprint, and things don’t always go exactly to plan. A client may sustain an injury while following advice you gave them for their fitness routine. This may lead to a claim for malpractice and spell bad news for your business.” By having insurance in place, you won’t be the one footing the bill for such claims.
Realise that gyms aren’t your only option
During lockdown, many people have invested in home gym equipment. Never before have so many garden sheds been a hub for bench presses, barbells and screw-on dumbbells, and it’s something to be celebrated.
However, to ensure their investment is used to its full extent, some people may feel obliged to continue using their home set-up, even when gyms are open. What does this mean for PTs? Well, if you are comfortable doing so (and, of course, if your client is), you could give sessions at their home. This is an especially good option for beginners, since they may feel more comfortable in their own home than in a gym; less self-conscious of their ability or to ask questions. With this in their favour, they will get more out of the session.
You could also host outdoor classes in local public parks. A fresh patch of grass is a suitable alternative to a yoga mat, and with COVID guidelines, outside in the fresh air is perhaps the safest way to train at the moment. Since lugging equipment to a park may be a pain, this setting is best suited for non-equipment needing activities such as HIIT, yoga and bodyweight sessions. The best part though? You get to work on your tan and your body at the same time. Now that’s multitasking. Unless of course you’re in England — unfortunately clouds don’t induce tans.
Stay online indefinitely
Online personal training does not just involve training clients face-to-face over Zoom. In fact, there are numerous online personal trainers who make a living without ever training someone in person. This is because their income is created by selling training and nutrition programmes, either as a fixed, general, or personalised programme (for an extra price).
Rather than training one individual, they create valuable content for platforms like Youtube, Instagram and TikTok, giving their expert advice so that thousands can see it for free. Even if 1% or 2% of these people then decide to pay for a programme, the online trainer makes more money than they ever could training clients individually. That’s how the model works. It’s contingent on being generous and providing valuable information for free.
The personal trainer and online fitness personality, Joe Delaney, is a textbook example of how this works. Delaney is an online personal trainer who creates content on YouTube for free, but to make an income he sells training programmes. His 12 week programme markets for £35, which is about half the price of a regular PT session. However, if 100 were to buy it, he’d make £3,500 . Delaney also sells a personalised online coaching service at the much higher price of £350. This involves weekly check-ins and more time, hence the extra cost. If ten people buy this, he’s making another £3,500 per month.
See, with these products, Delaney makes a very good living without ever training a client one-to-one. It’s all done online. As a result, his businesses can be scaled infinitely, because they are not burdened by time. There is still a lot of hard work, expertise and effort involved, of course. But they are no longer trading their time for income, except in the small commitments of weekly check-ins and of course creating the free content for social platforms.
This approach is not for everyone though. Some personal trainers have seen the success of this model, but still enjoy training clients face-to-face and building a connection. This is absolutely fine. Adopting a hybrid approach could satisfy both your bank account and your desire to interact with clients on a human level.