When the pandemic hit, the world stopped. As the coronavirus closed gyms across the world, it forced personal trainers that generally work face to face on the gym floor to adapt their businesses or get left behind.
Many were unwilling or unable to adjust and have already been forced to leave the fitness industry to find work elsewhere. Those others that were able to adapt to providing an online model were able to retain their clients, and many even grew their businesses substantially.
However, if it weren't a pandemic that forced a change in the fitness industry, it would have been something else. Low barriers to entering the profession and little regulation meant that the quality of training provided was extremely variable. Not to mention that by trying to meet the needs of clients, many excellent trainers faced having to work from early hours into late nights and risk burnout.
Once gyms eventually do reopen their doors, trainers might not want to rush back into a model that wasn't serving either trainers or their clients, Jon Goodman from The PTDC believes. The way fitness instructors run classes and gym based training sessions, in particular, will have to change, with the proximity of people attending, and the sharing of equipment being natural barriers with social distancing still in place.
While gyms and classes will be harder to manage online coaching has suddenly become mainstream and all potential clients will now at least be familiar with the concept and the benefits. At the same time this pandemic has made everybody realise they need to look after themselves and value their health. There has probably never been a period where the power of good health and a strong immune system has been in sharper focus.
This shows everyone just how important great personal trainers are and brings with it a few fantastic opportunities.
- Hybrid Training:
With less clients allowed in the gym at any one time a great option with your clients and members is a hybrid of face to face training sessions and online coaching to do at home. Clients come to the gym once a week then train at home with your online programs for the rest of the week. Clients also get all of your nutrition and lifestyle coaching in their app and track everything they do.
With this model you maximise the benefit for you and your clients while ensuring the gym is still able to limit numbers and apply social distancing.
- Online Training:
Let's be honest if you're a great personal trainer who values your clients needs you're already training your clients online, or at least offering them some form of online service while they can't meet with you face to face. The chances are you've found a way that works for most of your clients. Many of these clients will be hesitant to return to gyms and face to face meet ups so to help them out keep doing what you're doing.
On top of this the market for online personal training has expanded exponentially over the last few months. Check out the PT Distinction University to see how you can grow your online business and help may, many more clients with your expertise.
- Outdoor Training:
Training clients one to one, or in small groups outdoors is another great option for your local clients. It's easy to distance outside and there's the obvious benefit of getting some fresh air and sunshine. While the research is still in it's early stages studies have indicated good levels of vitamin D reduce the chances of death from COVID-19 by 50%. A little bit of sunshine at the right time of year can help your body produce excellent levels of vitamin D.
Outdoor training can allow plenty of face to face training in an environment that many clients feel safe in, it may just be a medium term solution but will likely be a very popular option for at least the next 6 months while the world continues to recover from this pandemic.
Adding online coaching to your outdoor sessions like in the hybrid model mentioned above will ensure that should face to face sessions become impossible once again you already have a system in place to keep training your clients, help them stay healthy, and continue to earn an income
The Future for Personal Trainers
The future is unknown to us all. However, the fitness industry is known, and we can make an educated guess and forecast a model of what might happen for personal trainers based on decades of first-hand industry experience.
Whether trainers are willing to provide 1-2-1 personal training in the gyms after the pandemic is over, or whether they offer a different model to support their clients - excellent personal training will evermore be needed.
We will eventually have the opportunity to return to the gym floor to help clients face to face. In many countries, it may not even be that far away. Although we don't know exactly when that might be, or precisely what systems will have to be in place to do that safely - we do have an opportunity. This global crisis has shown that although personal trainers can build strong and healthy clients, the methods they were using to develop successful businesses weren't sustainable.
It's up to fitness professionals on the front line to build a service model that will be robust. The need to be able to help people (and earn an income!) no matter if we face a global pandemic or some reason more mundane will still be there.
You had time, almost three months now, to evaluate how far you have come in achieving your business goals. You still have at least a few weeks to figure out how your personal training future should look. I just want to assure you, that the team at PT Distinction is there to help you dream, create and run that sustainable and flexible business model that will take your personal training venture to the next level and prevent any future collapses caused by pandemics, an injury, or any life situation that might mean you can't attend sessions in person.