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How Can Fitness Professionals Thrive During Covid-19?

By Bradley Woodhouse, Founder of WELD (Wellbeing, Exercise, Lifestyle and Diet) | UPDATED: 08:28, 22 May 2020

The Covid-19 crisis and the resulting lockdown has undoubtedly disrupted life for people right across the world, leaving many jobless, furloughed and isolated.

Due to the nature of their work, health professionals are among those who have seen their livelihoods particularly impacted by coronavirus.

No longer can they meet clients in-person or host sessions for groups in gyms and other public spaces. Moreover, for health pros, helping others to learn activities and improve their health is not just a source of income, it’s a passion and a way of life.

At the same time, the lockdown and social distancing measures have significantly limited how people can exercise. Many will surely be growing tired of daily runs in crowded cities, while others will lack decent equipment – or the funds to buy it – and be otherwise unsure of how best to workout indoors.

However, the lockdown shouldn’t mean that pros need to lose work, or that everyone else should be restricted when it comes to keeping fit. In fact, it feels like it’s never been more crucial for us to look after our health and fitness.

It’s remarkable how quickly people of all generations have adapted to online tools, such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. Whether its families, friends, businesses or those working on other collaborative projects, people are learning to get things done with little more than a device and an internet connection.

It’s also completely possible for health pros to do the same – you just need to adapt. At WELD, our instructors already host daily sessions for their clients online. So, we’ve collectively learned a thing or two about how to teach health and fitness remotely!

Here are a few of my top tips for health pros to thrive during Covid-19:

Make activities accessible

During the lockdown, it’s safe to say that many people will be feeling demotivated. Some might have just one room in their house to do exercise routines, while others may be concerned that their local parks and other greenspaces are too crowded. So when you consider what activities you can teach to online users, think about what space they might have to work with.

You can certainly include running, cycling and other outdoors activities in any routines you’re advising as a personal trainer, as long your clients are able to stick to social distancing guidelines. However, if you build routines and tutorials for clients that can be done in a relatively small room – and without equipment – you’ll be able to make them accessible to almost everyone.

As you’ll know, there are plenty of workout activities you can do at home that work almost every part of the body, so it shouldn’t be too hard to put together a routine for clients of every fitness level.

You should also make sure to think about coaching, mental health and general wellness throughout the pandemic. Isolation, money and employment issues, and general health concerns about ourselves and our families, can take their toll. So, being able to provide strong encouragement, motivation and reassurance is equally important when helping people to look after their overall health and wellbeing.

Any guidance you can offer could make all the difference, especially during these uncertain times.

Market yourself

If you’re not already offering online training sessions, you’ll want to build-up your digital profile and start bringing in some clients. It’s probably best to start with your existing clientele, so drop them an email or text to let them know you’re now offering online sessions.

It’s also worth posting on your various social media channels to get the word out. You should look through relevant social and community groups to find people interested in fitness and spread the word.

And if you can afford it, it’s certainly worth putting some money behind some social media ads to raise your visibility. When you set up your ad, you can target particular demographics, like age, location and interests, which will allow you to reach the right audience pretty easily.

You’ll already know the types of people that you worked with prior to the lockdown, and you might want to broaden your scope now that everyone is stuck at home.

Otherwise, if you don’t have the time, money or don’t feel confident in doing your own marketing, you can always look out for online agencies and platforms to register with. That way, you can concentrate on putting your training programmes together and leave the rest to them.

Be mindful when setting fees

Personal trainers can rightly charge considerable amounts of money for their time and expertise. During the pandemic, however, it’s worth remembering that many people will be particularly worried about – and limited by – their finances. So it’s worth considering whether your current fees reflect this fact and remembering that people are generally more inclined to pay larger sums for in-person activities.

However, I appreciate that as many platforms take an extortionate cut of fees from the pros – despite pros doing all the hard work – it’s not always easy to keep your prices down. In fact, this unfairness was at the front of my mind when I started WELD. Unlike many platforms, our pros always keep 90 per cent of their fees so that they never lose out.

In addition, throughout the lockdown, we’ve removed all service fees for health pros to ensure they earn more during these uncertain times.

You may also wish to make your fees negotiable during the lockdown, making clear you appreciate that many people will currently have money concerns. You also need to make a living, of course, and you’ll know best what prices you’re able to reasonably offer without selling yourself short, or pricing out the majority.

Be flexible in your hours

It’s understandable to think that people working from home will have plenty of flexibility while those furloughed will be positively made of time. However, it’s important to remember that people’s hours will be all over the place.

For instance, many people are having to homeschool and take care of their kids during the day and can’t even begin work until the evening. There’s also a huge, expanded workforce of shop attendants, couriers and volunteers who are working at unpredictable and unsociable hours, but may still want health and fitness support.

As routines will have been turned upside down, it’s important to be as flexible as you can to accommodate those who can only do early mornings or evening sessions, for instance. Just remember to take some time for yourself and make sure you don’t end up working at all hours!

For many of us – particularly health pros – it can really feel like life is on pause during the lockdown. However, I think health, fitness and wellbeing is more important than it’s ever been. With this in mind, health pros and personal trainers have a crucial role to play – it just has to be facilitated by digital tools and platforms.

I hope the above advice proves useful and that even during the lockdown, you’re able to keep doing what you do best.

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