Virtual Fitness: The fitness industry has copped it through COVID-19 as shown in the diagram below. It has been one of the major industries affected. However, through the tough times it has been inspiring to see how quickly Personal Trainers have evolved and used their entrepreneurial skills, to offer alternative services to their clients including “virtual” classes and sessions.
Industries suffering vs Industries thriving: Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Small boutique fitness businesses, and sole personal trainers don’t have many of the short-term options that larger businesses do. They need efficient ways to provide value to their members. Their costs are primarily rent and employment expenses. Giving away two-month memberships can mean the end of their business altogether. Cutting staff isn’t an option either if they are the only staff member. Most personal trainers and studios don’t have millions to spend on launching digital platforms with high-value production, video-guided workouts.
Personal trainers and boutique fitness studios have adapted amazingly. They have tapped into the community, relationships, trust, real people having fun, and meaningful interaction that they are good at, and have combined it into the online world.
These are the things personal training clients love, and now is the time people need it the most. So it has been great to see personal trainers embracing their entrepreneurial spirit and using this new environment of social distancing and online training to make a positive difference. Here is what they are doing:
- Maintaining relationships with their member base. Communication. Members still want and need guidance, accountability and someone to depend on, now more than ever.
- Fostering community interaction. People need interaction. Online training has become oddly fun and exciting. Classes can be of a similar structure maybe without some of the equipment. People still want interaction with others in their community.
- Coach / Teach / Instruct. All of the artificial intelligence, fancy visuals and live-streamed celeb trainers in the world can’t come close to providing the quality service that personal trainers can provide. They know their clients and what they are capable of, and their limitations.
The Virtual Product
Trainers sign up for a free Zoom account and then organise sessions for clients to work in their living room, garage, or back yard. These sessions don’t need to be high production value / pretty, as the members don’t care. They want to see their trainer, and they want to see their normal classmates. They want the social accountability and fun of doing what they normally do, with the people they normally do it with.
The Secret Is Caring
Technology often comes with bells and whistles and it is often easy to get lost and waste lots of time. The key is not to overthink it. Trainers need to keep training the way they were, just in a different physical setting. It is the interaction and caring that clients want, and that makes a positive difference.
Who knows, the current circumstances may have a positive effect on the fitness industry. Virtual fitness has become a viable option. Clients will be able to tap into sessions in faraway places, or when they are sick. Training online can potentially provide a more affordable option, and or allow personal trainers to build a larger client base.
Learn more about virtual training within the Certificate IV in Fitness and Diploma of Fitness,with dedicated resources to online training. The Fit Education Online Trainer Short Course provides personal trainers with the skills to provide online personal training.