A common message shared by fitness professionals with their clients has been: “I am here for you – – and we are in this together.” Now more than ever, the desire for togetherness and connection has multiplied. This last year has been incredibly tough on fitness professionals and fitness businesses around the world. I felt it. The unknown and fear. You felt it. The worry and what now question. And it has also been challenging for our members and exercise enthusiasts who missed going to their favorite group workout classes or training at a studio. The gym, for many, had become a home away from home. A club within a club.
Challenges aside, this past year has also presented fitness leaders with different opportunities. The home gym became a new training ground for many non-exercisers. It opened up the breadth of reach to a market group who never went to the gym because perhaps they were unsure or nervous. Even the sitting-on-the-fence exercisers could now workout more often in the comfort and safety of their home. So many fitness leaders jumped on-board immediately. Quickly solving the bottlenecks of at-home training by enthusiastically and delivering content via social media or different video platforms.
I can clearly remember heading up my first zoom-style meeting with my international Keiser training team. For the first time ever, no one was on the road teaching courses or busy at the gym training a client or presenting at conferences. We were all together. Sharing different stories from our countries, but experiencing the same ‘now what’ feelings. At the end of that meeting, my colleague said to us, “How can we come out of this stronger?” It was a wakeup call and a call to action, all within that moment. With the desire, drive and now time to do what we had always wanted to do, we launched The Ride by Keiser.
The Ride is an on-demand, indoor cycling platform that is not trying to be like anyone else, but rather, true to itself. Our mission has been to provide great indoor cycling classes, with instructors from around the world, teaching in various languages and bringing joy. The measuring stick of our workouts is not feedback like ‘wow, that was brutal’ but rather, ‘wow, I feel really good after that workout.’
The Ride also transcends languages. It is fun to take a class in German, French or Spanish. Even Dutch. I speak none of those languages fluently. And the beauty of it, is I don’t need to. Exercise is exercise. I am motivated by a smiling instructor. A great song. A count-down clock. Body language that says we are in this together and I bet you can go just a little harder. No words needed.
We also wanted to bring on real-world trainers to teach our classes on The Ride. Not necessarily superstars, although we think they are all superstars, but rather, instructors and trainers that do great things everyday and deserve to be showcased. Their own students and clients love them because they are fun, kind, talented, hard-working, and want to help. It has been exciting to watch The Ride grow and continue to diversify.
Getting The Ride by Keiser out into the world this past year has taken some ingenuity. Lessons to learn, experiences to be had and harnessing skill sets outside of my normal day-to-day. Exciting, but a little scary at the same time. And with the dreaded three words, ‘because of COVID,’ we needed to approach things differently.
It’s not too late to teach virtually if you haven’t tried it yet. Small scale or large scale, the home market is going to continue to be a part of our new fitness reality with in-studio and at-home classes here to stay. With that in mind, I’d like to share these tips to help you get started:
- Possibilities: What can I do, versus what can’t I do? Training and teaching from home is never going to perfect. However, look at your surroundings and what equipment you have. Think of what is possible. For many clients, something is always better than nothing.
- Ask: What do I need to learn? Delving into the technology piece of virtual training is probably going to be the biggest learning curve. Many fitness leaders have been doing virtual workouts for a while now. Search out tips and techniques for success, Fortunately a lot of the ground work has already been done for you.
- Reach: Who can I lean on for help? It’s okay to ask for help. Do some research. Learn from what others are doing. Do a test run with a family member or friend. And don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
- Connect: Your clients want YOU! I had a conversation with a trainer not long ago and she said she was nervous to do on-line training – – even though her clients asked her repeatedly for 6 months. She felt that there were too many professional fitness platforms on the market. But, guess what. Her clients didn’t want other fancy-looking videos or programs, they wanted her.
- Go For It: Just jump in and do it! If you wait until everything is perfect, it is never going to happen.
- Positivity: Remind your clients to change their dialogue to “I get to workout versus I have to workout.” Never before have the benefits of being healthy resonated stronger. Let’s keep that momentum going.
- Joy: Enjoy the experience! Smile and make eye contact into the camera like you are in a room with 50 dynamic-energy-spewing participants. Share your own personal magic. And at the end of the day always, “Be You!”