It's little wonder that gyms and other fitness facilities are on the slow path to recovery. The outbreak of Covid-19 has meant many of them had to close during the lockdown with some still closed. In areas where restrictions have been lifted, the doors are open but not many clients are walking through them. Many people remain hesitant about working out near others, which is understandable.
In the UK, the lockdown is set to lift on July 4, and gyms are among the businesses that will be re-opening. In this instance however, there appears to be enthusiasm among British gym bunnies; a recent survey by Sport England/ Savanta ComRes found that Brits miss being able to workout at their gyms more than doing any other sporting activity, and 87% plan to resume their memberships post-lockdown.
While gyms have had to close their doors, Personal Trainers have harnessed technology and found innovative ways of keeping their business going in a virtual sense during lockdowns. Digitisation has meant business continuity for many of them, with innovative programs like:
- Barry’s Bootcamp’s virtual Red Room
- F45 Challenge app offering on-demand workouts and nutrition plans
- P.E. teacher Joe Wicks, who racked up nearly a million YouTube viewers on a live stream workout in March
We've seen this kind of creativity from PTminder customers as well:
- Andy Yates - Andy shares his advice and experience 'Going Virtual', including great insight into how he leverages the PTminder platform to shift online and keep his regular clients on track
- Simon Schmid - he said "panic or adapt" and he chose the latter, keeping his business going through online training
If you're a Kiwi, you've probably got back to normal now that the country is in Level 1. If you're in parts of Australia, the UK or anywhere else in the world where restrictions still exist, you might be wondering how to approach your re-opening in the post-Covid era.
We've got a few tips to help make sure you're ready to be up and running at the first opportunity.
1: Make health and safety your #1 concern
In order to re-open safely, all gyms need to adhere to health recommendations including physical distancing, hygiene, contract tracing, illness and employer’s duty of care. If your PT business operates within a gym, get in touch with the owners and find out what regulations they have in place. Make sure you understand them, because you'll need to communicate them to your clients as you start classes and one-on-one sessions again. Take all necessary precautions, including:
- The wearing of face masks in shared spaces
- Arrive dressed in workout clothes, minimising locker room contact
- Make sure the workout space is well ventilated
- Ensure equipment is well spaced out
- Always keep hygiene front of mind, e.g. making sure equipment is wiped down with sanitisers after each use
- Mark areas with tape indicating where your clients should stand during a group class
In other words, exercise caution and adhere to social distancing guidelines as specified by authorities.
2: Open up your market, keep an eye out for new opportunities or new niches
It's worth expanding your offering when you re-open, if you can identify a new niche in the market. The lockdown has provided you with a new opportunity - virtual classes.
You might find that your clients want to continue with some of the virtual services you've provided. For example, if you've been instructing them via Zoom or some other form of video messaging, they may want to continue taking those classes when they're out of town. It used to be that if someone went away for work or holiday, their fitness classes would be put on hold until they returned; now you can continue to offer instruction no matter where they happen to be.
When people were locked down but continuing to work from home, some companies offered virtual fitness classes via forward-thinking Personal Trainers who saw an opportunity to make sure people didn't pack on Covid-kilos. Offering fitness services and packages to corporate communities is something you could consider too.
If you're thinking of ways to increase your client base, check out our Lead Generation Checklist.
It's the ultimate guide to finding more clients!
3: Adapt your business model to account for the times and support your base
This is about embracing diversity and continuing to look for new ways of doing things.
You can create packages and develop programs that combine virtual and in-person instruction, especially if you have clients that are still working from home. If you've been offering nutritional advice based on lockdown conditions, you can tailor those meal plans for clients that are still locked down AND those that are out and about.
Offer discounts, loyalty programs, and flexible payment options, and keep a focus on the 'personal' aspect. The more you can personalise the experience you offer your clients, the greater the benefits for you and them.
4: Continue to harness technology and keep your business evolving
The Personal Training industry needs to keep up with the times and make use of technology wherever possible. This has been crucial for their continuity during lockdowns, and it's important to continue using technology solutions once your business has re-opened.
This could be software to help manage the admin and financial side of your business, digital innovation designed specifically for the fitness industry, or continuing to use video conferencing technology to keep your online service offerings going.
Just as opportunities presented themselves during the Covid-19 era to keep your business running and your clients tracked, re-opening your facility means that you could identify new ways to grow your business and attract more customers.
Keen to find out how the PTminder solution can help your PT business innovate and grow? Sign up for a free 14-day trial.