Prepare Your Fitness Business for Post Pandemic Re-Opening Part 4. – Services Assessment

May 29, 2020

By Tim Saye

In the fourth article of the Prepare Your Fitness Business for Post Pandemic Re-Opening series, we will be focusing on how to adjust your services so you can still earn money and rely on aid as little as possible.

The lockdown won't last forever. In the UK, the second phase of easing it has just been announced in England and Northern Ireland, while Wales and Scotland have also started slow changes in the measures.

For now, there is no change in the advice regarding sport and exercise since the last announcement. If things go to plan, though, the fitness industry can start getting ready in the United Kingdom to slowly resume a range of operations to help people who need support with their fitness and athletic goals. Personal trainers, gym and facility owners and managers are advised to keep an eye on the government updates on the phased return of sport and recreation, so you get your information from first hand and not from various forums or media outlets that interpret it differently.

If you are a personal trainer from the US, Australia, Asia or other parts of Europe, always keep an eye on your government's guidelines to understand what you can do and when in person with your clients. The below advice will still come handy, as assessing your offerings periodically is always good practice to gauge if they meet your clients' needs.

Assess Your Services

Before lockdown, you might have been providing your clients with a range of services that may now need to be adjusted to comply with government guidelines. Think of the gym closures and the ceasing of all in-person fitness services including small group sessions, indoor personal training and fitness classes.

At the time of publishing, personal trainers in the UK can only do 1-2-1 private training sessions in public areas using equipment that can be sanitised after each use and keeping at least 2m distance. That means no heavy lifting or anything that would require closer client-trainer contact.

Even when gyms do eventually reopen, it seems likely that there will be restrictions in place for the number of people in the facility at one time. If you are just starting to think about what life will look like for your gym, check out the article we published last week on how to assess your facility for reopening.

Once you've done that, you can start thinking about both temporary services you can provide to your clients while still in lockdown, and also offerings that you may want to keep going permanently. Consider that a part of your members might get used to not having to go to the gym or maybe hey will want to avoid it for some time due to being at higher risk of catching the novel coronavirus. Here are a few ideas we've seen across forums:

- Virtual boot camps
- Live one to one training sessions via video
- Online Coaching using a software like PT Distinction
- Pre-paid Workout Plans
- Outdoor training - check your country's guidelines

Use The Survey Data

Based on what you learned about your clients' expectations from the survey you conducted, consider how you can adapt your services to accommodate their needs best. Consider what you're already using that works well and invite them to help you to outline any new services they'd happily join as an alternative to those you aren't able to provide currently.

Ask your clients what they think you should keep running, and if they have any ideas you could use when creating new services. It is a chance for you to understand what they value and what they might like to see in the future. 

Outdoor Training

There could be an opportunity - subject to government guidelines - to "bridge" clients back into their regular training regime with outdoor training options which could make social distancing easier than training indoors at a commercial facility. 

From all the communications that we see it's becoming more convincing, that being outdoors with others poses a much lower risk of disease spread than being indoors. This means that some of your clients may not even consider going back in the gym while we have better weather. If that's the case for you, it makes sense for you to look around and check for opportunities in your area. 

Outdoor Exercise Ideas:

- 1-2-1 training - It's already encouraged in the UK. You will just need to check with your council for terms and potential fees

- Boot Camps - This one may be only available later in the year, but you could run it on a monthly membership basis or sell it as a 6-8-12-week package when larger groups are allowed outside.

- Small-Group Training - An bridge between 1-2-1 and bigger group option, better for the budget but still can be designed to focus on particular goals of those attending.

- Conducted Hiking Trips - Suitable for people of the outdoors, a very nice low impact activity that can be enjoyed by many

- Walking/Running/Cycling clubs - No doubt that many who still wanted to exercise has either got into running or cycling in the past months. They may need professional help and coaching to make sure they're doing it right and don't get injured. If either of those activities falls within your coaching skills, consider putting it to use during these months.

One aspect of outdoor training you must take into account is risk assessment and your insurance. Because the guidelines say that you need to keep your distance, it also means that you need to be extra cautious and aware of any risks that you can communicate to your clients and ask them to follow your instructions to the letter.

Wrapping Up

One thing is for sure. Things won't go back to the old normal for some time. The past months have shown the world that we are not prepared for all circumstances. They opened the eyes of every entrepreneur to the reality of what it means to be self-employed or a business owner in a crisis. While it may not feel great right now if you persevere and use it as an opportunity for development, it should become a valuable lesson to us all.