In this series of video interviews, we talk to Personal Trainers and Fitness Professionals around the world to get their advice about how they've adapted their business to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. They share some great strategic advice on how they've pivoted their business online and how they support their in-person clientele through these changes.
In this blog, we interview Master Trainer and Lifestyle Coach Simon Schmid for his advice about 'Going Virtual'. Watch it below.
How did you get started with wellness and lifestyle coaching?
Simon: I've been in this industry since 2002. I played professional rugby for a few years, a very, very short illustrious career after school. And I got badly hurt. I found myself thrown into personal training because obviously loved exercise. I've always been a person that wanted to be an entrepreneur, so I was never inclined to want to go into corporate life or, or that kind of world after I finished rugby. So it progressed into an home training business. And then that progressed into a pioneered group training membership 15 years ago in Cape town and had a few sites around Cape town and very high-end bespoke group training, functional training etc.
And then by default I got into coaching people remotely. We had a variety of clients that were playing national level sport, cricket, rugby, hockey, and those players needed assistance when they travelled, and they needed coaching when they lived in Cape Town.
It just evolved into me coaching people remotely and coupled with that, it was all about exercise, wellness, and goal setting. From there, it developed into more lifestyle coaching and life coaching.
Tell us a bit about your business and what you do?
Along with the coaching and the training side, also helping, doing life coaching and lifestyle coaching and, and it progressed and developed.
I moved to the UK and in 2018 my kids are here at boarding school and I wanted to be closer to my children. And now I'm fully fledged into life coaching, lifestyle coaching, training people, training groups online. So I'm a bit of a one-stop kind of guy and I do it all. I do workshops, I do podcasts, I do a variety of things.
It’s important to do that as a coach, as a trainer, as a lifestyle coach, life coach, to do a variety of different styles of work because it just keeps you on point. The variety is very important in this industry because it's a tough industry.
So in a nutshell, I look at somebody however they want to perform, live and play better. And I customize a bespoke plan. So whether they want to climb Everest, they've got marriage or marriage problems, they've transitioned from CEO to a normal person. I help them, I help them perform better.
How has your business been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic?
Basically overnight my in-person business disappeared. Overnight. Because of the limitations of movement. All my future events, my workshops at corporates, corporate clients, group coaching clients in person, people that are C stopped immediately within 24 hours.
I've found myself in a situation where fortunately some of my business is purely online. I found myself in the situation with 70% of my business on hold, so I've got a choice. You can either panic or you can adapt. And I’ve gone back to basics of where I started - training people, training groups of people online. It's been fantastic, I love it. It’s different to the coaching side, which I do a lot more of than the training side.
How have your in-person clients coped with these changes?
I've got some families that I look after and their immediate response when I said, guys, listen, “this stuff's going to have to, we're going to have to put this on hold because you know, because we are going to be locked down.”
And the initial reaction was uncertainty. And I said “that's absolutely fine. What I'm going to do is I'm going to provide you with some, some basic stuff which you can do by yourself in terms of your self-care, in terms of your exercise and in terms of your own goal setting”… or whatever it is around what that person wants to achieve. Just purely sharing and giving of service.
And what is interesting is over time they've adapted. Because they don't have a choice and because they're working online, they’re communicating online with friends, they're spending most of their day (I would say 60 to 70%) communicating online around how they run their lives. So, they are already subconsciously adapting to being taught online
What is some advice you can share to help other Personal Trainers and Fitness professionals during this time?
Now's the time to really get ahead of the game and ready show people your skillset as a coach because there's a huge amount of free content. There is free stuff from Nike, Lululemon, Sweaty Betty, all these gyms doing stuff. So now's the time to coach people, share your knowledge, give away service.
And this is why PTminder (which I am a massive fan of) enables you to give that service whether you're a life coach, lifestyle coach, trainer, group trainer. You can communicate your clients, you can share content with them, you can guide them with information.
So my advice, which I can give to trainers is - you need to share your knowledge. Survive and do what you do best, how you've survived well in the past - whether it's training people in a group format, focus on that. Focus on what you're good at because otherwise you're going to get left behind.
What are some tips you can offer to Personal Trainers who are taking their business online for the first time?
I've kept it very, very simple. I've made people count their repetitions, especially if you're training six or seven people, you can guide them through the next exercise. To make a time-based circuit is quite challenging because you reliant on the bandwidth not letting you down. So not making it too complicated, taking your time, explaining, showing, demonstrating correctly and then starting.
And I think the challenges when you are training a group online, you want the energy to be there and you want the flow to be on point. But the flow is completely different. But what people also must understand this trend is, is people will stop training more, they'll do more stuff in a session because there's no recovery. So clients are doing more, they're training harder, which I found quite interesting, but the flow is completely different.
So my advice is to keep it very simple. Just take your time, prepare notes, send notes before. So people are briefed on what the theme of the workout is and just try and execute perfectly with what you want to try and do. Don't overcomplicate it, especially when you start seeing delays with Zoom.
How has PTminder supported you and your clients through this time?
There’s huge limitations around asking for money. We are in the service business and this is the first thing people cancel. They find a reason not to pay unless they're getting terrific service or they're getting terrific results.
So a system of some sort and especially PTminder, limits those kinds of negative communication you have with a client. "How many sessions do I have left?". "Can you please pay me?"
So you can focus 100% on, on giving your utmost, your skills to your client, not chasing money. It just eliminates all kinds of negativity around those barriers.
How PTminder has helped me is that I've adapted my whole system to having a centralized calendar. I've got one centralized calendar and I've made it very simple. The majority of my business is membership-based, but I've moved away from that during this time.
So I've created all these class templates - I can click on it, pay for the class, book. So it's completely simplified. It's not me chasing money. The system has provided me a platform to be able to just do exactly what I'm good at
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