It seems we are living hour-by-hour as governments around the world make decisions about social distancing, decreased capacity and shelter-in-place to slow the spread of COVID-19. In many places, decisions have been made for gyms, community centers, wellness centers and studios to close their doors - seemingly overnight. In other areas of the globe, health concerns have these same facilities operating at minimum capacity. During this time of uncertainty, exercise professionals are asking “What can I do to protect my livelihood and protect my business?”
As leaders, it is our responsibility to continue to support our community. Each one of us in the fitness industry is a leader in our community—whether it is leading staff, working with clients or posting within our social networks. Individuals look to us for guidance and answers. Now is the time to demonstrate leadership with a caring heart:
- Reach out to your staff, clients and community in a personalized email, text or phone call if possible. You don’t have to say a lot, simply ask how they are doing and check-in on how they are feeling. The most vulnerable among us often suffer in silence, and showing you care can be an important social connection in a time of isolation.
- Remember those who are less able-bodied. A compromised immune system comes in many forms, from someone recovering from the flu to an able-bodied octogenarian. If you are healthy and able, reach out to see what support is needed – these individuals can’t take advantage of a quick trip to the grocery store right now, and perhaps you can.
- Share reliable news and information. Ensure you are pointing your members and clients to reputable sources of information like local government websites for information about recommended shut-downs and the CDC for information about COVID-19 best practices.
- Lead by example and show your staff, clients and members that it’s possible to stay active, positive and take care of yourself while still following the recommendations by your local government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Whether owner, manager, personal trainer, group fitness instructor or health coach, each one of us contributes to the social connection that is vital to the wellness of our staff, clients and community. At this time, we need to recognize social distancing may mean social isolation for many individuals.
Social connection and exercise are important to both mental and physical well-being. Fitness and health leaders are well suited to support individuals, address exercise needs as well as simultaneously combat isolation. From phone or video calls to social media live stream there is more than one way to make sure people feel connected to you and their wider community – with a little inspiration to keep moving. Take it upon yourself to reach out regularly and support your community as much as you can. You may be surprised at how much they support you in return.
In the face of mandatory lockdowns and self-imposed quarantine, this is an opportunity to adapt to the needs of your customers with technology. Many individuals are seeking alternative exercise options amist gym and studio closures and public gathering restrictions. Instead of waiting for them to find another resource, expand your business to include an online platform. Check out ACE’s recent webinar, Live Panel Discussion: Take Your Coaching and Training Business Online, for tips to get started today.
A few options discussed include free video call platforms like Zoom, Skype, and What’s App. These provide a reasonable connection for one-to-one personal training and health coaching. To create a more cultivated video experience, check out new technology available like Remote Coach, which provides Tribe, a one-to-many group training experience, as well as a one-to-one health coaching and personal training environment. Flight Live is another unique platform that cultivates a video experience. It’s great for one-on-one services like yoga, health coaching and personal training - with an option for very small groups and partner workout experiences with friends and family.
As an alternative to live video, you can offer in-home workout programming. This is as easy as blasting out a 30-minute body weight circuit to your members via email or social media. An opportunity to monetize this service exists by investigating ongoing program plans potentially offered with options like Virtuagym or Trainerize. Learn more about pricing online sessions in ACE’s recent blog, How to Set Pricing for Virtual Coaching.
These platforms are just a few of the many fantastic options available to you. For more information and ideas, check out the other blogs and webinars that we are providing as resources to you in this time.