It has taken a devastating coronavirus crisis to make many of us aware of just how much personal interaction we engage in every day. Indeed, most businesses would not exist if it were not for personal interaction. After all, businesses sell goods and services to both individual customers and other businesses that employ people. Take the fitness trainer, for example. His or her entire business is built on direct interaction with customers.
As a fitness trainer, how do you continue to do business in the coronavirus era? How do you succeed in a very personal industry even while your personal interactions are being impacted by government restrictions and your own cautious attitude? It is not easy, but it can be done.
Shutting Down Fitness Centres
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic earlier in 2020, government directives were shutting down fitness centres around the country. Personal trainers employed by the centres suffered more severely than their independent contractor counterparts. With gym doors closed, there were no clients to see and no routines to follow up on.
As fitness centres began reopening, they did so with extreme caution. Business owners were required to implement and follow enhanced cleaning protocols. Coronavirus signage and posters had to be hung on the walls while reminders to stay physically distanced were stuck to the floors.
Thankfully, fitness trainers were able to start working with their clients once again. Though they had to remain at a distance, they could still help clients work through their daily exercise routines. They were still there to answer questions, offer encouragement, and give sound advice. At the time of this writing, this had changed again. Another round of closings has arrived – at least in some areas.
Taking the Training Outside
Among the more creative solutions, fitness traders have turned to is one that is rather brilliant in its simplicity. That solution is to move things outside. It’s nice to be able to go to the gym and work out in a climate-controlled setting with the latest and greatest fitness equipment. Nonetheless, indoor workouts aren’t necessary. People can work out in the great outdoors.
Fitness trainers eager to continue working with their clients have embraced the outdoor concept enthusiastically. Some meet with clients one-on-one. Others get clients together in group settings, albeit physically distanced. They meet in parks to run, do callisthenics, ride bikes, or whatever.
The beauty of the outdoor environment is that masks and excessive sanitation procedures are not necessary. It is generally accepted that coronavirus does not spread as easily outdoors, so trainers are free to conduct workouts as long as they keep people properly distanced.
The arrangement works well for clients, too. For example, take a client who has avoided working out indoors because she cannot breathe very well while wearing a mask. She can get her exercise outdoors while going completely mask free.
Conducting Virtual Workouts
Fitness trainers know that some of their clients unwilling to go to the gym are also unwilling to meet in a park. Yet all is not lost. Many are offering virtual workouts for these types of clients. Everything is done via Zoom or some other popular video conferencing platform. The benefits of going virtual include the ability to work with more clients simultaneously without having them all in the same location.
It should be noted that virtual fitness training actually began before the coronavirus crisis ever hit. Thanks to new fitness equipment with built-in audio and video capabilities, consumers have been buying everything from exercise bikes to treadmills featuring on-board connectivity. They have been connecting to remote classes they can take part in from their own homes and offices.
All the coronavirus crisis did was accelerate what was already a burgeoning business model for fitness trainers. If nothing else, coronavirus has solidified this particular model as one that is both workable and sustainable.
Getting Back to Normal
After nearly a year of hearing about coronavirus every single day, many of us are wondering when life will get back to normal. The answer to that may very well depend on one’s definition of ‘normal’. Some say we are in a new normal that will never allow us to go back to our former ways of doing things. Others say the future will be a combination of old and new ways.
For fitness trainers, the future is not as clear as it once was. For the foreseeable future, trainers will have to make the best of whatever circumstances offer. That means finding creative ways to engage with clients even if they are not coming to the gym.
That might mean conducting workout sessions outdoors when the weather allows. It might mean going virtual. Making the best of things might even mean visiting with clients in their homes one-on-one. Whatever it takes, fitness trainers should do it. We all need to remain as healthy as possible while we collectively deal with coronavirus. Fitness trainers are among the most qualified to help us do that.