by Matt Weik
From the beginning of the pandemic, people were confined to their homes, resulting in various mental health problems and affecting their fitness and physical health. The pandemic has resulted in almost all activities that result in large groups to be canceled for the most part, and over the last several months, we have finally seen things opening back up to normal capacity. Since gyms have been closed during the pandemic, those who are a fitness coach have been left trying to find their next paycheck to pay the bills.
Every Fitness Coach Must Adapt and Pivot (Again)
Even though things are open again, gyms are under a microscope as many consider them to be “high risk” locations. This, again, can negatively affect how many clients a fitness coach may be able to bring on.
Every fitness coach who has had to change and learn new strategies to make a living are slowly returning to their regular shifts at gyms. Those who found a new revenue stream may never return to the gym as their latest venture has filled that role. But the struggle to convince gym members to come back still remains the same — you have some who came right back and others who will never come back.
The initial turmoil in the fitness industry that has been maintained after the pandemic is as severe as it was before the pandemic slump occurred. Here are the main reasons you should want to go back to training clients again if you are a fitness coach:
• People have been sedentary for over a year due to the pandemic and need your help to get back in shape and healthy.
• It’s time for all of us to get back to our everyday lives, routines, and careers.
• The closures and stay-at-home mandates may have altered people’s mental state, and getting back in the gym can help overcome those issues.
• People didn’t have much to look forward to during the pandemic, except for getting out of it, and setting a new health and fitness goal will do them a lot of good.
The extent to which the world and our lives have been affected over the past year is quite staggering. The pandemic has changed everything, including training routines. Water bottles have become free weights, exercise bands and mats have suddenly become valuable, YouTube has become a training partner to many, and many have had to make do without their fitness coach.
Survival of The Fittest was always the law of the land, and in this article, we are going to show you, as a fitness coach, how to get back into the swing of things as we come out of the pandemic. Every fitness coach needs to understand, yet again, how to improvise, adapt, and overcome.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Small group environments will be apprehensive for many because of the group format but finding ways to keep the energy offered in these spaces alive is necessary. Limit class sizes according to social distancing standards. Be sure to organize the environment to accommodate small groups and be sure to distribute the number of participants according to the size of the studio. You still don’t want to have people on top of each other in small group settings. Be sure everyone is spread out.
As a fitness coach, you know that a little can go a long way. You don’t need to utilize every piece of equipment in the gym when training a small group or even in a class. Keep your sessions fresh and look for new strategies and techniques that you can implement into your training to keep it fun and your clients happy.
If your focus is one-on-one training, be on top of your client’s needs and emotions. We all have been through a lot, and the same person who may have wanted a drill sergeant as a fitness coach may need a gentler approach when coming back.
Sign of The Times
The option of virtual sessions has allowed fitness coaches to stay in touch with clients. Even after the gyms have reopened, you don’t need to flip back to only training clients in person. Cater to everyone, and if people still want to pay you as a fitness coach to work with them virtually, do it.
Today, everything is going virtual. If you want to succeed in today’s times, you need to be online — and there’s a huge market to be had and many more people you can work with than only the gym members who walk through the door.
Clean As a Whistle
The use of equipment and disinfection protocols will go hand in hand during this time. Facilities are subject to increased customer anxiety, and concern and care must be taken to maintain an adequate and hygienic environment.
Each facility should provide plenty of recommended sanitary wipes and sprays, towels, and personal protective equipment if anyone wants/needs it.
Just because you are a fitness coach doesn’t mean you can’t chip in and help keep your gym clean. After all, it only takes one person to mess up and cause people to get sick, which could lead to the entire gym being shut down until it can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected from the virus.
You may want to mention to the gym owner that he or she should consider hiring additional assistance from cleaning staff if you notice things are getting out of hand and not properly cleaned. Or at least bringing people on to help clean during the busy periods of the day. Some facilities may consider closing for a few hours in the afternoon to do a thorough cleaning or cutting hours to allow for more thorough cleaning after they close.
Given the strict cleaning protocol requirements, be flexible about revising your training schedules and classes. Before and after the session, you should allow for enough time to properly disinfect the equipment you will be using with your clients.
If you have them out on the gym floor, wipe down the pads before your client uses a particular piece of equipment. Or wipe the rails of the piece of cardio equipment they will be using. Yes, you’re a fitness coach and may say, “I don’t get paid to do that!” But you also don’t get paid if your client gets sick and is away from the gym — or worse, never wants to come back to the gym.
Explore all options for maintaining adequate distance, machine use, and disinfection protocols to support private and small group training sessions. In short, here are some recommendations:
• Maintain proper distance between you, your client, and other members.
• Proper and regular sanitization practices are a must.
• Deployment of masks wherever necessary (according to mandates and gym rules).
• If you can, get your clients outdoors, if possible, rather than staying indoors.
The Best of Both Worlds
According to experts, the online shift is contributing to the constant change in the way the $32 billion industry works. While 75% of people surveyed said they would return to a routine at some point in an actual gym, many said they would keep the virtual component they have been using during the pandemic. While online programs may take money away from a fitness coach, why not start your own online programs to compete? After all, capitalism is what makes this country great!
“Anything that can go online will go online.”
You can either adapt or count your final days as a fitness coach. The world is changing, and so should the way you train clients.