When the UK was forced into lockdown by the growing threat of Covid, personal trainers were among the many people hit hard by restrictions. Faced with
When the UK was forced into lockdown by the growing threat of Covid, personal trainers were among the many people hit hard by restrictions. Faced with the problem of gyms being closed, personal trainers had little choice but to look for alternative ways to generate profits. There were many responses to this, from the predictable to the unexpected.
There was a lot of ingenuity involved in the early days of the pandemic response. And personal trainers found that embracing new approaches to how they delivered their services was the key to overcoming the global disruption.
The Initial Impact
As gyms and fitness centers were forced to close, personal trainers faced an immediate problem. One-on-one sessions were predictably canceled, and clients were far more likely to cancel appointments as the fear of going outside seemed to rise. It’s no surprise that earnings for personal trainers dropped significantly in the early months of Covid. However, a faster-than-expected shift meant that many successful personal trainers managed to avoid long-term financial losses.
The Rapid Response
In the face of that threat of a drop in income, the most obvious solution was to transition to online training sessions. As office workers got used to Zoom and Slack, personal trainers weren’t far behind. Online training sessions have rapidly become the norm, and that’s an area of service provision that personal trainers had previously overlooked.
Now, most personal trainers have some form of online training sessions available. Some have even moved entirely online, largely due to the obvious advantages, such as a larger potential client base. And online training looks like being here long-term.
But it wasn’t just the move online that resulted from the threat of Covid. Outdoor training sessions also grew in popularity and now look like becoming a new standard for personal trainers. With clients still wary about returning to gyms, outdoor and online sessions could become the biggest shift in the industry for a decade.
A Shift in Health Goals
Another surprising fitness trend caused by Covid is the reasoning behind so many people’s ambitions to get fitter and healthier. Most personal trainers will attest that the most common reason for clients hiring them is so that they can look better, especially for beach season. That’s been disrupted, especially as holidays have been off the cards for a while.
Now, people are hiring personal trainers simply to get healthier. Whether that’s down to the sedentary nature of lockdowns and social restrictions or that people are wary of poor health is yet to be researched. The fact is that a bikini body is no longer the goal. Replacing it is cardio for a healthy heart and lungs and an overall focus on weight loss (did we all pack on a few pounds over lockdown?).
If Covid achieved anything positive, it was that it helped to highlight how important cardiovascular health is. With obesity making hospitalization far more likely after catching Covid, being proactive about that risk was a key trend. So too was that with so many personal trainers moving online, many consumers who would never have considered using one were suddenly interested.
That’s all down to gymtimidation — that sense of being judged when you walk into a busy gym full of buff bodies and healthy living. Being daunted by the gym can now be avoided, meaning entirely new audiences can be marketed to.
Not Everyone Coped
It’s easy to imagine that moving online was an easy decision, but it didn’t work for every personal trainer. For many, especially those new to the game, it was simply far too difficult to stand out. They couldn’t attract the clientele, and many were forced to find alternative work.
Virtual training sessions aren’t for everyone, and many personal trainers struggle. Some found it difficult to connect with their clients via webcam, and the lack of equipment was a major barrier to success. There were also many established personal trainers able to offer free online taster sessions, meaning those without an established audience were left behind and unable to generate any income.
The Creative and Virtual Personal Trainer
The current landscape is enhanced by a creative response to online training sessions. There’s a sense that the role of a personal trainer has changed during the pandemic. No longer are one-to-one sessions the norm, and personal trainers have little choice but to be as creative as possible in how they deliver their services.
The last few years have been very challenging, not just for personal trainers but for everyone. As the world continues to feel uncertain and we still struggle with a valid response to a global pandemic, the face of personal training is changing. And with the positive response to some of those changes, the world of the personal trainer might never again look like it did pre-Covid. And that might not be a bad thing.