Fitness professionals all over the UK have suffered substantial losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the gyms having been closed for nearly four months, many personal trainers have had no choice but to either go out of business or move their businesses online, providing fitness classes and at-home workouts there.
Conversely, and much more positively, many fitness businesses have successfully adapted; and there is still a huge demand - and a more acute need - for health and fitness-related services...
According to the NHS, 1/4 adults in the UK are obese. Mental health statistics are also alarming, with 19.7% of people aged 16 or above displaying symptoms of anxiety and depression. Our country needs fitness professionals more than ever, and as a fitness professional, there are lots of ways to make an impact and help improve those figures.
Hi there Nick and thanks for taking time out to chat to us! Firstly, the near future looks like blended experiences between in-person and at-home workouts are going to be the norm. How are you planning to balance delivering streamed and in-person classes?
When the gyms reopen, there will still be a huge demand for online fitness classes. Not everybody will be in a hurry to go back to the gym.
At the moment, I'm training around 25% of my clients in person (outdoors), the remaining 75% are still training online via Zoom and Move classes. I plan on doing this for the rest of the year and will adapt along the way.
What do you think customers should do - online classes or in-person sessions?
Both in-person sessions and online classes are extremely valuable, and both have their pros and cons. For example, nothing beats seeing people in the flesh, but at the same time, being able to hop on your laptop and do a workout in the comfort of your living room is more convenient, requires no travel time, and lots of people prefer it.
It's all about what's best for the customer and what the government allows. It's a personal choice based on individual contexts, and clients must feel safe and secure with whatever they feel most comfortable doing.
Will some of the same customers attend both options?
At the moment, I do in-person sessions two days per week, and online classes three days per week. Customers tend to either pick in-person outdoor sessions or stick to online training, not both. A couple of my clients are jumping between both depending on their weekly schedule work commitments though.
What about clients who are in the vulnerable category?
Many of my clients are in the vulnerable category and are therefore enjoying the live fitness classes from home. My eldest client is 77 years old, has no family close by, but thanks to online fitness classes, she can stay fit! The personal interaction also does wonders for her mental health and confidence.
What differences will there be in how you approach the different classes?
The approach and exercises I use are similar for both in-person and online fitness classes. I'm opting for the best at-home workouts, including bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, split squats, planks, crunches, push-ups, etc. I'm also teaching clients techniques such as 'tempo training,' which creates a deep muscle burn which is excellent for strengthening muscles.
Both in-person and live-streaming classes work exceptionally well. It's up to the clients to decide on what's best for them.
Do you enjoy doing online fitness classes?
Yes! Before lockdown, I had never done an online fitness class (I was nervous and apprehensive), but after my first class, I immediately saw the value.
It's also a great way to reach more people (more than I could ever do in the flesh). It works for both clients and fitness instructors because it's safe, and it enables coaches to train more people per class and scale their business.
Signing up with Move is one of the best investments I’ve made to date. The platform and customer service are exceptional and I’m extremely pleased with the results. Even if COVID disappeared overnight, I would continue to do online coaching and livestream classes - that's how much I am enjoying it.
What changes are you making for in-person classes?
The rules and regulations are frequently changing, and the guidelines are continually evolving. But with that said, it's looking like outdoor fitness classes in parks, and limited numbers will become popular over the summer months.
As the situation continues to unfold, we will know more. More information on gyms reopening is expected to be revealed over the next couple of weeks.
What advice would you give to fellow fitness professionals?
At the moment, I think fitness professionals must adapt and stay up to date with the latest information on Gov.uk and ukactive. I know these are uncertain times, and changes are happening daily, but there are lots of opportunities out there if you want them. Alongside doing online fitness classes, you can also help people by:
- Designing home workout plans
- Nutritional plans
- Ebooks - guides and tips to help people with mental and physical health
- Writing articles for fellow health and fitness sites
The main thing is to stick to government guidelines and focus on what you can do, rather than what you can't. If you adapt, have the right attitude, work hard, and meet your clients' needs, your business can not only survive but thrive during these uncertain times.
Brilliant stuff, thanks Nick! Check out LEP Fitness classes on Move and give him a follow on Instagram!