When the world shut down in March 2020, many people believed it would only be for a few weeks or a month at most. Yet, 18 months later, the pandemic is still very much present, and the world is forever changed. Health and exercise professionals, like many others, had to pivot, restructure and alter the way they delivered their services. Because most coaching and exercise sessions were conducted in person, health coaches and exercise professionals have been forced to find new and creative ways to reach and retain their clients and participants.
Though online and on-demand fitness programs have grown in recent years, the pandemic revealed that this option is not always possible. This article discusses strategies you can use to increase your impact as a health coach or exercise professionals and help your business emerge from COVID-19 even stronger.
Focus on Accessibility
Fitness is now more accessible. For many, a gym membership is no longer convenient or financially feasible. Monthly dues or personal training fees may no longer be feasible but paying for a few high-quality individualized workouts, group fitness classes, or coaching sessions with an exercise professional or health coach could be a cost-effective step for many people.
While some health and exercise professionals are independent, others are associated with a gym or studio. Since a gym membership is no longer required to work with a personal trainer or to attend group exercise classes, offering online training, classes, or coaching is essential to gain new clients and participants and retain existing ones. Many gyms have re-opened, and in-person offerings are once again an option, but some clients and participants are unlikely to return for a variety of reasons. Many people, however, want to maintain their exercise routine, enjoy having a workout designed for them, and want the accountability an exercise professional or health coach provides.
It is a good idea to offer online training to both current and new clients (if you currently work for a gym, make sure you are aware of their online-programming policies). With the option of online training, your client base is no longer limited to members at a gym or studio or someone in your local area. Exercise professionals and health coaches can now work with clients anywhere in the world. Reach out to friends, family and others whom you might have not considered as possible clients previously due to a lack of proximity.
Flexibility With a Hybrid Model
Most gyms and studios have now reopened, but session cancellations remain a significant challenge for trainers and coaches. Personal-training and health-coaching sessions are often cancelled due to illness, lack of childcare, travel, inclement weather or COVID-19 exposure.
To help avoid cancellations, emphasize flexibility with a hybrid model that offers both in-person and online sessions to the same client. Clients can now log on from anywhere and will no longer need to skip sessions because they are on vacation or traveling for work, or because they have a sick child at home. The hybrid model is particularly attractive to those clients who travel often, have time constraints or lack consistent childcare, or when bad weather prohibits safe travel.
Offering both in-person and online sessions and classes benefits both you and your clients, as they are able to participate more consistently and ideally achieve better results, while you are able to conduct more sessions and classes and have a lower cancellation rate.
Enhance Your Value
The health and fitness industry is competitive and there are many exercise professionals and health coaches to choose from. Why do your clients choose to work with you? What value can you offer to retain your clients? As the industry continues to shift and adapt to a new normal, now is a great time to evaluate what you can offer your clients. For example, would your clients benefit from a monthly newsletter or email? Would busy parents appreciate a few quick and healthy family recipes? Would your clients appreciate an accountability group that creates a community among healthy, like-minded individuals? Figure out where your clients might struggle and how you might be able to enhance the service you currently offer.
COVID-19 changed the health and fitness industry. By expanding your reach with online training, emphasizing flexibility with a hybrid model and offering added value, your business can continue to grow and thrive, and you can have a greater impact as a health and exercise professional.