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There are so many opportunities for fitness professionals during the pandemic. “More than you think!” said Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, the host of canfitpro’s at-capacity webinar on January 14th.
The State of Fitness in 2021 brought together industry leaders who are changing the fitness landscape, in response to the pandemic, while supporting social change.
Highlighting the results of canfitpro’s 2021 Fitness Trends survey, the panelists spoke to a range of business and service delivery models – from big box gyms to boutique studios, and in-person, online, and hybrid fitness offerings.
Some of the topics from The State of Fitness in 2021 included popular training modalities, pivoting online, monetizing a fitness community, marketing, and making fitness more accessible to marginalized groups. Catch the on-demand replay here.
WHAT TYPES OF TRAINING ARE THE MOST POPULAR RIGHT NOW?
As Maureen Hagan, COO of canfitpro, explained, Canadians are relying upon exercise that requires little to no equipment during the pandemic. Canadians miss their gyms and the specialized equipment in them, so they are making do with simplicity.
This means Personal Trainers and Instructors can help people by programming exercise that can be done at home or outdoors. When focusing on programming bodyweight and functional exercise, clients can return to their gyms having maintained, or even gained strength, stamina, and endurance while avoiding injuries.
As Maureen Hagan, COO of canfitpro, explained, Canadians are relying upon exercise that requires little to no equipment during the pandemic. Canadians miss their gyms and the specialized equipment in them, so they are making do with simplicity. This means Personal Trainers and Instructors can help people by programming exercise that can be done at home or outdoors. When focusing on programming bodyweight and functional exercise, clients can return to their gyms having maintained, or even gained strength, stamina, and endurance while avoiding injuries.
According to Eric Wong Kai Pun, Sr. Personal Training Divisional Manager at GoodLife Fitness, trainers are helping clients get back to the gym in better condition than ever before. Trainers can program for mobility, stability, and speed, all of which can be easily trained at home.
HOW CAN FITNESS PROFESSIONALS BENEFIT FROM THE INCREASED DEMAND FOR AT-HOME FITNESS EQUIPMENT?
While many people are relying on bodyweight training, there’s also a huge demand for fitness equipment. Still, consumers don’t always know how to use equipment properly. They need certified Personal Trainers to ensure proper use and to stay accountable.
Eric sees an opportunity for trainers to create service packages together with equipment companies. For example, a starter package with a sandbag and gliders, plus 10 Personal Training sessions on Zoom. An intermediate package could include training sessions plus a set of adjustable dumbbells. Finally, an advanced package idea involves a squat rack and barbells.
As Robert Robinson, canfitpro’s head of business partnerships discussed, club owners are finding revenue by selling or renting their fitness equipment that isn’t being used during closures. These business owners are leading the way with a customer-first mindset to help members replicate the gym experience at home.
BUILDING THE COMMUNITY-FEELING OF A GYM WITHIN ONLINE PLATFORMS
Every panelist emphasized that members appreciate customer-first, caring interactions, and become loyal when they know they’re cared for. On-demand, live/online, and outdoor fitness are now highly valued experiences. There’s nothing like a client hearing their name being called out in a virtual class, with love and encouragement.
People need connection and want to be seen. Nathalie Lacombe, the VP of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada Board of Directors and canfitpro PRO TRAINER, inspired fit pros to connect with their clients in a meaningful way. It’s the strength of these relationships that will also bring members back to in-person fitness when it’s safe to open clubs again.
TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME PANDEMIC-PROOF IN YOUR SERVICE OFFERING
Nathalie knows that the fitness industry has the opportunity to create stability for people with the variety of ways we facilitate movement. Be it with safety protocols and physical distancing in a traditional gym, or outdoors. Or on virtual platforms. “When the pandemic is causing something to change everyday, fitness can be the constant support for people to trust and rely upon,” she says. It will take creativity in how you package your services, but this is our chance to focus “less on the bodies we sculpt, and more on the lives we save.”
MONETIZE YOUR COMMUNITY SO YOU’RE THERE TO SERVE THEM FOR THE LONG-TERM.
Brady Johnson, CEO of Encompass Fitness, closed her boutique gym the day before the provincial mandate required it. Then she and her staff called every member to check-in with them and to explain the virtual offerings they had planned. As a result, they retained over 85% of their paying members.
“People come for the commodity and they stay for the community,” she says. A fitness community is transactional with constant giving and receiving. It is crucial that fitness pros receive financial compensation for their time, talent, and for the community they facilitate.
Brady suggests every business has two communities. An internal community made up of paying clients and an external community of non-paying followers. Serve both with the same quality, but with a different quantity. Nathalie affirmed that free workouts can be marketing, but not programming. You can add a short clip of your virtual class on social media but save your programming for your paying clients.
YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE CAN BE EMPATHETIC WHILE ALSO AUTHORITATIVE
As an empathetic and authoritative fit pro, Brady means you can be the compassionate expert who safely leads participants through exercise and holds them accountable to consistent movement. With the right blend of empathy and authority, you offer far more value than any free YouTube workout can.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: EVERYONE DESERVES TO BE SERVED AND CARED FOR
Robert as the Chair of canfitpro’s Diversity & Inclusion committee, encourages the fitness industry to accelerate their assessment, measurement, and response to creating safe, welcoming fitness spaces for all.
Are you doing enough to ensure marginalized groups feel like they belong? He encourages each of us to acknowledge privilege, uncover unconscious bias, and make space for underrepresented groups. We are all better when we create a culture that fosters and encourages differences.
Maureen “Mo” Hagan encourages all fitness professionals to “step into the gap in 2021”. If you don’t know what to say, or do, be vulnerable about how these times of massive change, uncertainty, and much-needed social disruption are affecting you. Go deeper in your learning and admit where you have room to grow. Then take action and stay positive.
“Keep the fire lit, and more people than ever will pay you for your services” says Nathalie. No matter what the obstacles are, continue to build trust by showing up for current and future clients. The State of Fitness in 2021 from that perspective, is looking brighter than ever.
FIVE STEPS TO BECOMING A SOUGHT-AFTER PERSONAL TRAINER, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE JUST GETTING STARTED ONLINE.
Eric Wong Kai Pun’s vision to becoming an online trainer with a waitlist, will also pay off when you’re back in-person.
Step 1: Develop your winning mindset and know your “Why” (see Simon Sinek’s video “Start with Why”).
Step 2: Build your coaching connection abilities to create deep relationships that quantum leap your retention and referrals. (Reference: Joey Coleman “Never Lose a Customer Again”)
Step 3: Run your Personal Training practice like a business by focusing on your strengths and outsourcing your weaknesses. (Reference: Strengths Finder Assessment)
Step 4: Program to help clients self-regulate by selecting exercises, sets, reps, etc. that they can kinesthetically connect with the correct form.
Step 5: Focus on exercise execution – since we can’t physically cue correct form, we must use strong verbal cues and relatable analogies to explain safe and effective movement.