Many businesses have had to adapt to the issues of running a business during COVID-19, and the service industry — specifically the health and fitness sector — is no exception. With many cities issuing stay at home orders and the temporary closure of fitness facilities, people are looking for ways to keep fit at home to support their mental and physical health. Coaches within the health and fitness industry have had to come up with innovative ways to help their clients exercise at home during this pandemic. Remote coaching comes with its host of challenges, leaving many personal trainers and fitness facilities no choice but to rise to the challenge to support their clients differently.
When it comes to online training for coaches who are familiar with providing 1:1 service, this transition to remote training takes some getting used to. There are hurdles in what equipment your client has available to them or whether they can work out due to work or family obligations. Considering many kids are at home due to school being out right now, most children may need some more attention. Therefore, curating plans for your clients that fit their overall goals is the most important. However, before creating a customized premium quarantine workout plan, the first step should be establishing those goals. Many clients’ goals have changed while stuck at home, unable to work, leaving them to ask for guidance in different areas.
The biggest thing many clients have expressed that they need to conquer their health and fitness goals is a feeling of support. Sometimes writing out programming and having a weight loss goal is not enough. Jason Martin, the owner of BioLink Performance, believes part of programming towards your client’s “new normal” must include understanding their new routine. “They are likely not moving around as much, they likely have more control over their routine, and they likely can get more sleep… As trainers, we now get to do a deeper dive into people’s limiting factors — the things stopping them from achieving their goals — and make a plan accordingly.”
There will be different challenges posed for each client; however, overcoming obstacles is what trainers do! This mindset opens up the discussion or consideration of what a coach should have, what different coaching styles do their clients need, and how are they able to support them? For those clients who can read programming with minimal questions and go about their merry way, they may benefit more from utilizing applications such as Trainerize, following an Excel sheet program, or other fitness trackers. On the other hand, some people may not have any equipment at home. This opens the option of creating a bodyweight exercise program.
You may be a trainer who previously offered group fitness classes or a business owner whose model relies on community engagement. There are options for running group classes, such as Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Ruoom, or Zoom. Strength and Conditioning Coach Jacob Danque says people are starting to see the benefits of online group classes, “Now that we’re using Zoom calls, it shows people that you don’t necessarily have to go to a gym for an effective workout.” Many trainers and facilities have progressed to offering the option of purchasing session bundles or monthly subscriptions. Danque has gone as far as reaching out individually to all 35 of his participants weekly to check in. “They’ll get an automatic text from [me] on Monday [asking] them, “how can I make your experience better with this class,” or “how can I help you this week?”
Maybe you’re not one to put yourself out there on camera in a group fitness class. Creating eBooks or hosting seminars is another excellent way to disseminate information to others to support their fitness goals. Social media is also a great form to connect with your clients. Fitness challenges have been popping up all quarantine, from doing 25 push-ups to finding ways to doing a whole host of things. If you are a creative person wanting to utilize social media, challenge your followers to something, then have them “tag” their friends next! Utilize fitness trackers for step challenges (socially distance, of course) to maintain connection and have people still moving.
While I cannot wait to see my clients in person to train them, we have to accept for now that there is a new normal. Finding what your clients need first for support is the most important. Align their needs with what you can provide to help them achieve their goals during this difficult time. Until we can see each other again in person, however that new normal may look like, we can still find a sense of success by continuing their health and fitness goals during this trying time.