The gyms are closing. Until further notice.
Wait, what? I don’t think many people were fully prepared for how Covid-19 would change their business, especially for those like myself, who relied on seeing people in person.
Hearing that gyms would close made the reality of Covid-19 very real. But it also meant I had to think creatively. My two main challenges were:
- How to deliver fitness programmes and qualifications to my learners
- How to continue providing a quality service for my personal training clients.
As an optimist, my first thought was, ‘how can we make the most of this situation?’ However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a daunting prospect.
A new way of working
With the new national guidelines in place, it made sense that businesses would need to take their services online. Strategically, 18 months prior to the first lockdown, PG NASM had started delivering their programmes, so this was busines as usual.
However, now, instead of delivering from our webinar room, we’d be working ‘live’ from our very own front rooms which felt like we were crossing a new kind of line; my home was now my office.
It felt very different to switching on a camera at the office – giving people a glimpse into your home and into your personal life was a new way of working. Is this what it’s like to be a Kardashian?!
Supporting Our Students And Their Clients
In the first cohort of students learning under this new regime, there were so many questions we’d not normally encounter, for example:
“How can we get clients if the gyms are closed?”
“How do we conduct personal training sessions online?”
“How can I teach my client if there is no equipment?”
Yet fast forward to the present day and the questions are less around the practical, and more holistic:
“How can I support my client on days when they are feeling emotional?”
“Can I lead a family ‘stretch’ session - my client feels she would like her family to be more involved with this part of her pregnancy?”
“What app could I recommend for my clients?”
I’m thrilled how my student personal trainers have adapted to working conditions and the challenges that lockdown has thrown at them, especially with regards to supporting their clients. Some of my students even decided to create online groups for all their clients in different trimesters so they can chat to each other and don’t feel isolated.
What a difference twelve months make.
How the role of a person trainer had to evolve even more
In some ways we are connecting with our clients on a new level; perhaps that is because our roles as PTs have evolved – or was this skill less prioritised until now when it was most needed?
Communication skills are taught as an important element of our job - listening to your client’s goals, wants, needs, availability; writing it all down and ensuring we have all the right details. But now we have to take it one step further and take the time to get to know our client on a whole different level. This includes asking more direct, personal questions:
“Are you still working from home?”
“Are your neighbours nice- do they mind if you are exercising above their heads?” (Yes, it genuinely a question both my students and I ask clients who live in apartments!)
“Are you home schooling?
Questions like these open new avenues of and also give you a clear measure of their stress levels.
The main challenges I faced and the app which kept my business going
A lack of face-to-face contact and creating programmes and content for personal training clients was the biggest challenge in the early days of lock down.
The reason I became involved in the fitness industry was simply because I enjoyed ‘doing’ practical work and creating amazing experiences for my clients. I enjoyed helping people and being involved in an active environment, but without face-to-face contact in the gym this was a new challenge.
I recall seeing endless videos and digital platform links being sent to clients, such as:
“Join here for your class at…”
“Please see the link for your written programme…”
But this wasn’t going to work for all my personal training clients. Actually - a lot of my clients. Some weren’t comfortable using technology, others didn’t have a decent internet connection to run a call from, but the majority needed more structure and assistance.
This is where Biamother, an app supporting women during pregnancy and after, stay mentally and physically healthy, came in. It blended in with my teaching and programming style perfectly.
It is packed with content which can be utilized to meet a client’s needs. For example, educational videos, expert tips, nutritional advice, meditative exercises… the list goes on.
It allowed me to work with my pre and postnatal clients without worrying that there would be a misunderstanding in technique, intensity, rest periods etc, as it was all clearly displayed and explained to them. And the best part? Every nugget of information is aligned to the guidelines and expert advice I teach on the PG NASM qualification – it couldn’t be a better fit.