Virtual Fitness in the COVID-19 Era

By | Business

By Samir Murji

It’s no secret that Canadians have been less active as a result of measures to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. You’re most probably sitting at home right now, not commuting to work or school, not going out socially or even training at a gym. This sedentary lifestyle could not only have a negative impact on your physical fitness but also your mental health.

With fitness studios closed and outdoor recreational activities banned, many people in need of a sweat fix are turning to virtual fitness as a means to stay healthy and fit. Many gyms and trainers are offering live workouts to help keep their members fit. F45 has developed a robust virtual training program complete with multiple live daily workouts streamed through Zoom along with pre-recorded videos so members never have to miss a workout.

The F45 Live sessions are led by coaches who not only explain each exercise but also provide progressions, regressions and form correction. F45 training is focused on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), split between cardio and resistance and has been adapted for a seamless at-home experience with no equipment necessary. F45 has identified its crucial role in keeping its members physically and mentally fit during these uncertain times by pivoting to the virtual space and converting its personal trainers into virtual coaches.

Numerous published studies hail the benefits of exercising regularly on the immune system. In a recent article, Harvard Medical School reports that exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight are natural methods of keeping your immune system strong.[1] It gets better. The virtual HIIT sweat session you just completed may also contribute even more directly to strengthening your immune system by  promoting good circulation.[2] A strong immune system supports your body to defeat invading pathogens and defend you against disease-causing microorganisms. Given current health risks, the importance of engaging in regular exercise has expounded.

F45 Live workouts are specifically designed to provide a full-body functional workout while improving energy levels, metabolic rate, strength, and endurance—all from home. F45 is built on a philosophy of “Innovation, Motivation and Results” meaning that no two workouts are ever the same, a virtual community of members train as a team to motivate one another, and the program is results driven. During isolation, F45 members have been reaping the benefits of the F45 program and can’t stop raving about the life changing impacts they have experienced. Most notably, actor and F45 investor, Mark Wahlberg can’t get enough of F45 Live. In a recent interview with InTouch Weekly, Wahlberg said he plans to “come out of the lockdown in even better shape” by using the F45 Live program.

Since functional training is only a part of the fitness equation, F45 delivers the highest quality nutrition to its members by way of the F45 Challenge Meal Plan. The F45 Challenge portal located at provides daily recipes, nutritional content and a macronutrient calculator. Significant scientific evidence exists that various micronutrient deficiencies alter immune responses which may make us more susceptible to viruses.[3]

The F45 nutritional philosophy centers around providing the body with all nutrients, vitamins and minerals to support optimal performance and overall health. F45 motivates its members to practice good nutrition through its 45 Day Challenge and also makes it easy for its members to stay the course by facilitating prepared meals ordered online and delivered to their doorstep with contactless delivery. This has significantly helped members keep their diets in check while staying home and avoiding line-ups at the grocery store.

All of this is great but it’s not just about packing muscle on your frame so you move up a size in leggings or unleashing your six pack abs in front of the bathroom mirror. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the F45 Live program is the incredibly supportive fit fam you join when becoming a member. As we embark on two months of self-isolation, mental health among Canadians is worsening. According to a report issued by Mental Health Research Canada, anxiety has increased by 20% and self-reported cases of depression have more than doubled from 4% to 10%.[4] A major cause of anxiety and depression is a lack of social interaction. Being connected with a virtual community and feeling supported by others creates a sense of belonging that goes a long way to support mental health.

Exercise also produces endorphins, chemicals in the brain which have shown to stimulate anti-anxiety effects and can work quickly to raise depressed mood in a person. According to some studies, regular exercise may work as well as medication for some people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.[5] One vigorous exercise session can help alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time.[6] Finnish researchers from the University of Turku have recently suggested that HIIT workouts like F45 Live result in a greater release of endorphins as compared to steady state cardio over the same period of time.[7] With the future uncertain and mental health issues on the rise, virtual home fitness provides a fast and easy outlet to boost your mood and give you the social interaction that you might not get otherwise while social distancing measures are in place.

Virtual fitness is the new fitness, Zoom and Instagram live are the new studios, and the ability to adapt to this new landscape to support the physical, nutritional and mental health of members and clients may determine which gyms come out on the other side of this and how prepared they will be to operate post-quarantine.

About Samir Murji

Samir Murji is an Owner and Coach with F45 Training New Toronto and F45 Training Stockyards and the CEO of F45meals, the Canadian meal prep partner of the F45 meal plan. You can see him in action coaching an F45 Live Class on Saturdays at 10 am. Follow him on Instagram.

Shifting Your Services Online— How To Protect Your Business & Your Clients

By | Business

The world has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 global pandemic and this includes your role as a fitness professional.  As you navigate your way through the ‘new normal’ you’re likely wondering: how do I transition my in-person services to an online offering, whether it be a short-term solution or a new career opportunity?   As fitness professionals, we rarely think about the need for liability insurance as we assume that we’ll be covered by our employer or that the possibility of anything happening is little to none, but now with the dramatic shift to offering fitness experiences and training online, it’s important that we are all informed of the risks.

There are tools and resources that can positively support you, through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, where we have been forced to change the way we work and deliver our classes and trainings. With today’s technology you can literally train clients and offer workouts, from anywhere, at anytime. This may be the first time you are working as an entrepreneur out of your own home, and even if you plan to return to your club or facility when it re-opens; it is important to protect yourself and your business.

At canfitpro, we are here to support you through this challenging time by continuing to provide education and training that will help you grow and expand your skills and expertise as a certified fitness professional.

Tips to protect yourself and your Business/brand: 

  1. Ensure that you are certified and that your certification is up to date. Go to your canfitpro Member Portalto make sure your certification is up to date.
  2. Invest in your own liability insurance.
  3. Be sure to you promote your training services and workouts online with the following:
    • Include the appropriate disclaimers and reminders to participants to work at their own level and ability
    • Update your waivers and assessments for virtual training
    • Offer a variety of intensity options and exercise progressions
    • Educate and demonstrate safe and effective progressions and encourage feedback
    • Encourage your virtual clients to wear appropriate fitness clothing and shoes
    • Offer smart options for equipment use and spacing (area to workout)


To support the transition from live to online workouts and training sessions, canfitpro has partnered with Gallagher to offer affordable and comprehensive coverage to protect your professional practice.  As you deliver new online sessions and classes to support the fitness goals of your clients, don’t forget to protect your personal financial health with the right insurance program.

As our Insurance Broker of choice for fitness professionals and fitness facilities across the country, Gallagher understands the risks, exposures and needs of the Fitness Industry.  With Gallagher’s knowledge and experience in the industry, their team understands that the current situation facing the fitness industry has changed and your insurance needs will have changed as well.

To address the recent global changes, Gallagher is offering Online Training Insurance which is easily added to your existing Liability Plan.  Learn about the lowest rates that are being offered for both your standard Liability Insurance coverage and the Online Training Insurance add-on package. This insurance covers up to 100% of your revenue coming from online sources.


Whether you are training or teaching a class in-person or online, always screen clients and potential clients for health conditions.  You must always have an updated Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PARQ+) for all your clients on file.  The completed PARQ+ must be from within the last year or more recently if your clients’ health status has changed.  Clients and Participants can visit ePMARmed-X to complete the  PARQ+ questions online where they will receive a health screening, recommendations, and should then send you an e-copy of their results.  Health screening forms can be completed and sent by email, google docs, or another online format that you are using.


Be sure to update your waivers according to the terms and conditions of your virtual training and/or your virtual fitness classes. If you don’t have a waiver, it is crucial to adopt one for your business. Please seek guidance from a legal counsel / lawyer to develop one that’s right for you.


As a fitness professional you are bound by your Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics and moving online does not change what you have learned and/or can offer safely to your participants.  Standards of Practice for Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors are essential to follow at all times as are the canfitpro Code of Ethics.  Following these will ensure that you are staying within what you are insured to do!


Keep in mind where and how you store your participant and client information is also important. As a consumer, you may be familiar with the Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPEDA) and/or the Consumer Anti-Spam Registration (CASL); however, it is essential that you keep these in line with government requirements related to privacy as a business.  In Canada the government websites provided above give guidance and samples for you to follow.

How A Great Leader Creates A Better Vibe Within Their Tribe

By | Business

By Mo Hagan

With a global pandemic underway, and concerns over our own health, safety and personal and professional security mounting, doubt, anxiety, and fear distract us from being at our best as leaders.

This is a time of unprecedented knowing; knowing what to do, how to do it and when to pivot and change course and all of this uncertainty creates significant stress and anxiety which steals our energy to lead ourselves let alone our team.  The new and heightened levels of Fear: “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out), “FOGO“ (Fear Of Going Out) and now “FORO” (Fear of Running Out)—fear of running out of resources, time and money—keeps us awake at night.  To add insult to injury, we now feel doubt to levels that we never before experienced.  Up to now, we have always strived to be positive in everything we do and achieve. All of a sudden, the word ‘positive’ scares us, and we only want to hear ‘negative’ and ‘flatten the curve’.  More doubt comes with the understanding of our new reality; that on the other side of this COVID crisis everything will be different and what was an ‘essential’ part of our business—the physical vibe and connection between us and our people (peers and members)—is now deemed non-essential and forbidden.

We must never forget that while we are and will likely continue to practice physical distancing for an uncertain length of time, and will extend beyond the time when we get to re-open our clubs and studios, as an essential step to ensure safety and to lower the risk for the spread of this virus, nothing can or will ever replace the emotional connection and the ‘vibe’ that exists between people within a tribe.  The story you will want to tell when you look back on this historic time in our lives will be one of pride, having led your tribe through the crisis of COVID to become stronger and better.  Creating a vibe that can outrun anxiety, fear and doubt will be both your greatest challenge and opportunity as a leader.  We will be judged not by our own gain but by the sum of the total of the lives we positively influenced on our team – within our tribe.

Let us step back for a moment and recall what motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.  The people you surround yourself with have the biggest influence on your behaviour, attitudes, and results, and will shape who you become. According to research by social psychologist Dr David McClelland of Harvard, the people you habitually associate with determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.  Now put yourself in the role as leader and ask yourself “What can I do to create a healthy ‘vibe’ within my tribe?”.

Here are 7 ways you can create a better “vibe” within your tribe:

Communicate, communicate, and communicate— All of us have been glued to our devices and have watched or listened to the news and media outlets far more than ever before. We are relying on our political, media, spiritual, medical and fitness leaders to provide us with relevant, honest, and up-to-date information and advice. Leaders who influence do so by being honest, transparent, authentic, and consistent. You can never go wrong by over communicating especially during a time of uncertainty.

Remember WHY you are leading — Knowing and reminding yourself WHY will be your compass and help keep you on the right path even if you are not quite certain where this path is taking you.  While it is okay for now to feel lost (we all do), knowing WHY you are here in this adventure called ‘life’ will pave the path forward for you and for your tribe to follow you.

Leadership, in the euro-Greek language means “Path-Finder”. When you know WHY, the way will appear. Your WHY is your compass. What story will you tell people about this historical global pandemic? What character will you play on this road to recovery and beyond? Live today the story you want to tell tomorrow. Act each day as if you have successfully led your army through this war and you will create the vibe for your tribe that makes you proud.

Emotionally connect with others — Reach out to family, friends, your members and clients and check in with them. Simply ask them how they are doing, and you will be amazed at how such a small gesture on your part will impact others and reduce their anxiety, fear and doubt associated with isolation and physical disconnection. Find new ways to connect virtually to keep your tribe engaged with you and each other. Virtual ‘hangouts’, ‘happy hours’, ‘book clubs’ and ‘events’ are popping up everywhere and on every platform.

Accept the challenge to learn something new — Be it a sport, new skill, or technology, challenge yourself by getting out of your comfort zone by learning something new. In doing so you will become more comfortable with change. This will help to build resilience and demonstrate to your tribe it is okay to get uncomfortable. Getting uncomfortable on a regular basis will spark both creativity and build emotional intelligence.

Take care of yourself and then others — Reach inside of yourself to care for your health and well-being so that you can best serve others. Being selfish will give you oxygen to become selfless.  Think of the in-flight safety video on airplanes — ‘put your own oxygen mask on first so that you then help others’. There is no better time than now during quarantine, when perhaps we cannot physically train others, to reassess our health and our habits and train ourselves.

Empower yourself to be a champion of change — We have had to face and will continue to face enormous changes in our industry and lives now and for a long time to come as a result of this crisis. Change is inevitable and we can choose to move with it or be moved by it.

Often, challenge with change is the fear and uncertainty that accompany it. So step into fear and be open and resilient as this is a time like no other time in history where you do not have to know if what you are doing is even right because no one really knows what is right or what is wrong as we have never been through such a time of uncertainty before. Leading by example will build the vibe within your tribe that change is invited as well as necessary.

You can’t quarantine Zumba

By | Business

You can't quarantine joy. You can't quarantine movement. You can't quarantine Zumba.

By Alberto Perlman

In recent times we have become accustomed to disruption in the fitness industry, often coming from technology and other industries that look to play in our arena. However, the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to reimagine our instructor networks (Zumba and Strong Nation) in a way that we never thought was possible nor required before. This disruption has created interesting opportunities for our education division and for our instructors to expand their horizons.

The entry point for any individual to become a Zumba or Strong Nation Instructor has been through live, face-to-face trainings. This has been successfully executed across 188 countries and in over 25 languages by our team of fantastic educators. However, when studios closed and hosts had no ability to facilitate live trainings, we needed to pivot to ensure that we continue to create opportunities for individuals to become instructors and join our amazing community.

We had been working on an online, entry-level Zumba training for a number of months in 2019 with a goal to help those who could not attend live trainings (e.g. someone who lives too far). This was immediately prioritized when the pandemic hit and rolled out within a week of live trainings shutting down in most countries. This online course is extremely comprehensive and allows individuals to become instructors from the comfort of their own home. We have incorporated proprietary AI technology into the training course, as well as allocated live coaches to support people during their journey. The coaches are the same Zumba Education Specialists that were conducting in-person trainings before.

The feedback has been exceptional with satisfaction ratings on par with live trainings. Also, the time to complete the course typically ranges from 10 hours to 2 days in the convenience of people's homes (our live training is a full, one-day commitment). Most recently, we have released Zoom based trainings for our music driven HIIT program, Strong Nation, and the reviews have been phenomenal.

Additional opportunities have also been created for our Zumba and Strong Nation Instructors during the pandemic to allow them to safeguard their income as well as be successful. These have ranged from creating our own teaching platform to allowing instructors to teach virtually on platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts. We have also initiated Facebook Groups for support and provided tutorials to ensure that they are completely up to speed on the nuances of teaching in a virtual environment.

The response has been enormous, and a large percentage of our instructor base is generating income and connecting to their students online. We have also started to see a trend in outdoor, contactless, spread out outdoor classes which seem to be attracting lots of interest.

We have created as many engagement opportunities directly with our instructor base as possible, such as twice daily livestream classes, virtual convention experiences and bonus educational courses to support our instructors. Creating these unique experiences have allowed us to continue to engage with our instructors on a real and personal level.

Being a community-focused organization with members across the globe in varying levels of lockdown, abilities, frustrations and personal challenges mean that we need to have clear communication available at all times. Like most businesses, our home office was immediately closed and our entire organization was also working remotely within a couple of weeks of the pandemic hitting the US. With an all “hands on deck” approach, we continued as an organization that is quick to respond and exceptional with customer service.  We also provided Membership Assistance Relief to our instructors in need, set up a Zumba Family Fund to help instructors who are frontline workers or have suffered tragedies related to covid-19, and we are embarking on a campaign to provide 1 million free meals through foodbanks around the world.

We are committed to providing comprehensive educational opportunities to individuals looking to enter the fitness and dance industry. Regardless of whether this is a hobby or full-time career, we offer ongoing support to achieve their goals. Although our revenue has been hit hard, the Zumba ecosystem and brand continue to be well poised as a solution during this challenging time. Should you or any others wish to become instructors, please visit or

About Alberto Perlman

Alberto Perlman is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Zumba Fitness, LLC, the largest branded fitness program in the world. The global lifestyle brand fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into a dance-party experience and has more than 15 million weekly participants in 200,000 locations across 180-plus countries.

Mastering Effective Employee Engagement™

By | Business

By SGT Ken® and Stephanie Weichert

Leadership expert John C. Maxwell says, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” Thriving depends on how businesses view change. Change can create an obstacle or an opportunity. If viewed as positive, change can be the impetus for strategic growth.

It is during tough times that we see some businesses fall apart and others bounce back. The good news for those that thrust through difficult days is that when you bounce back, you bounce back better.

You might be wondering about leading your team through the tough times. How do you get your employees on board with you? You can help employees reach higher standards by how you effectively engage with them and how you intentionally add value to their lives while working toward a goal.

In chapter three of his book, The Effective Executive [2], Peter Drucker states,

“The man who focuses on efforts and who stresses his downward authority is a subordinate no matter how exalted his title and rank…But the man who focuses on contribution and who takes responsibility for results, no matter how junior, is in the most literal sense of the phrase, ‘top management.’”

One of the things I appreciate about working for WaterRower® is that they have empowered my wife and I to think creatively and strategically about results-minded solutions that will drive immense value to their clients while many are caught in quarantine crisis. In the same way that WaterRower® affords us the opportunity to engage with key leaders and designers to inspire initiative, create connection and strengthen solutions, you too can keep your own employees engaged during times of crisis through open communication and effectual leadership.

Instead of asking employees to be task-oriented, as leaders, we can opt to shift to being contribution-minded so that each of our employees become, “top management.” By creating a platform for employee engagement and contribution, we give each voice an opportunity to be heard and acknowledged. This gives employees greater responsibility for their work because it makes them a part of the process in achieving the goals that you set (and even creating a few of their own). When we allow for feedback and creative ideas to flow from the bottom up, we wind up with engaged and inspired employees. Instead of merely having the employee accomplish a task, employees become part of a collective solution.

For instance, Pixar uses something they call, “The BrainTrust.”[1] The Braintrust is a meeting that brings together the entire team of directors, John Lassater, and the team that is working through the script of a new movie in an environment built on trust and respect. The group is assembled when a director and a producer who are working on a project need a fresh perspective on a problem. The Braintrust meetings first consist of a show and tell of the current work in process and are followed by a lively, open dialogue about how to fix the problems. The advantage to its structure is that the insight is provided as peer review. Project leads are free to use or toss out the ideas presented. It is a method for feedback to help small groups overcome problems.

In thinking about invoking employee engagement, and I’ll add, during challenging seasons, such as the COVID-19 Pandemic, Drucker suggests asking this question: “What can I contribute?” As owners and directors, we can expand this question to, how can we lead a culture of contribution? Right now, many companies are cutting back. For some, this business decision is absolutely necessary. For those who can keep their staff, I challenge you to rally a sense of contribution and engagement in solving your overarching business problems. Perhaps your employees will come up with ideas for growth that you couldn’t yourself imagine.

Drucker’s bottom line for effective engagement (he calls it “human relations” [2]) includes:

  1. Communications
  2. Teamwork
  3. Self-development
  4. Development of others

Instead of worrying and seeking to control the situation, we simply need to pinpoint the pain point. When we identify the problem to be solved, we can set goals with measurable deliverables, then create an organized workflow and allow for teamwork. We can tap into the potential that exists in each of our employees to help them contribute toward the solution. When you create the container for rich contribution and employee engagement, you awaken the potential that exists in every employee.

About the authors

Ken Weichert (aka SGT Ken®) is an award-winning international speaker, six-time US Army Soldier of the Year, Master Fitness Trainer, Master Resilience Trainer, Counterintelligence Agent, decorated combat veteran and canfitpro International Presenter of the Year (2017, 2019). Ken’s personal mission is to help people turn stress into strength and obstacles into opportunities through physical and emotional resiliency coaching and leadership training. Ken serves as the Director of Programming and Education for WaterRower®. For more information, email

Stephanie Weichert is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and Business Strategist. She has performed life-coaching workshops for multiple military groups, youth organizations, as well as at canfitpro and Empower Fitness Conferences. Stephanie has a B.A. from San Francisco State University, and an MBA from King University. She has written for,, Foundations, HOOAH, Military Spouse and GX®: The National Guard Experience. Her book, Everything I Would Have Said: Survival Strategies for Getting Through Tough Times, is now available on Amazon. For more information, email


  1. Catmull, E., Harvard Business Review. (2008, September) How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity Retrieved from:
  2. Drucker, P.F. (2006). The Effective Executive. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Learn more about WaterRower.


Winning strategies that 4,000+ studio owners are using to protect cash, serve clients, and grow during COVID-19

By | Business

By Sean Greeley

We all know it’s a challenging time in the fitness industry. 

Studio and gym owners are getting a lot thrown at them at once. Clients ghosting or putting themselves on hold, the economy’s partially shut down, cash flow’s getting tight (and tighter), and everyone has to keep going despite the uncertainty. 

And your clients and members don’t know what to do either. They’re losing strength, gaining weight, and backsliding with the progress they’ve made. And they’re feeling lost, confused, overwhelmed, and losing hope.

In the past 6 weeks we’ve worked with more than 4,000+ gym and studio owners across the globe to solve these problems and more. Here’s the 3-step plan you can follow to start turning things around.

1. Get your head right to capitalize on the tremendous growth opportunities in front of you!

Right now, most studio and gym owners are overwhelmed with the messages coming at them. 

The endless news cycle is distracting; government leaders are daily coming out with policies you have no control over. The fitness industry got shut down. And studio owners see a whole lot of trainers giving away free workouts available on YouTube and Instagram.

And then there’s just the uncertainty coming from the crisis itself. 

Step 1: Protect your mindset and don’t get overwhelmed. Take a step back, get clear, and get focused. Think it through. 

Yes, this is a wake up call for personal trainers and studio owners. Previously your business model relied 100% on face-to-face interaction to generate income, and that’s a huge risk. 

Now you have a tremendous opportunity to strengthen your model, based on the way you step up and serve the people who need your help. Clients still need results. With the gyms shut, and all the challenges that come from being isolated at home, the value a coach brings to them is incredible. They need a coach who can support and challenge them to keep moving forward with action steps that will get them closer to their goals.  

And from a business standpoint, virtual coaching is low risk, scalable, and flexible. Virtual group classes don’t get full, and group, personal training and semi-private clients can stay with you no matter where they go … if they’re on holiday or move away, they’re still your clients. And you can add Zoom accounts and coaches faster and cheaper than you find, build out, and add new facility space. 

For example, Kate Laird, owner of Love Your Body Fitness in Ottawa, immediately adapted her in-person programs for Moms to online–and is now thriving. She took the approach of “we have to keep doing this and this is how we do it now.” She didn’t give her clients the option of going “on hold” or waiting things out. She had her services up and running the same day her gym was down. Now she’s up to 45 new members, has a corporate contract, and revenue is up 31%. NOTE: For a full interview and to hear Kate’s case study, visit 

Key: Get a strategic mindset about coaching your clients, and don’t get overwhelmed about things you cannot control.  

2. Learn the systems and tools needed to run and manage a virtual location 

You can’t take the OFFLINE customer journey, put it on Zoom, and expect for things to work. 

Too many coaches (incorrectly) try that – it doesn’t work – and think they can’t deliver value online. They develop ‘head trash” around competing with free workouts on Instagram and YouTube.

But they forget what COACHING vs. WATCHING videos is all about.

You watch a video, try it, and … what? 

You still need a trainer to personally teach technique to avoid injuries and write programming personalized to your goals.

But even that’s not good enough. 

People need coaches. Coaches lead clients to outcomes. And coaches consider all the methods and tools available to lead clients to their goals including assessment, programming, teaching technique, accountability and support, nutrition and recovery, and community.

So your virtual business model needs to be online coaching. That means understanding your client needs (their health and fitness goals, such as getting out of pain, losing weight, improving energy levels) and removing barriers to their receiving value online. 

It’s your job to design the right way to support and best lead clients to their goals (outcomes)–depending on your model (group, semi-private, private training) and client avatar (clients that need lots of hand holding vs. clients that just want programming, etc).

Don’t wait for things to be perfect. Roll out the first version of your online program fast then work to keep improving it every day.  

You can find the opportunities to improve by simply ending every workout with 3 questions: 

  1. How was the intensity of the workout for you today? 
  2. How can we continue to improve the remote coaching experience for you? 
  3. Would you please take 2 min and send me a brief message saying what you most enjoyed about the remote session and why you’d recommend others engage this as well?

Then use the feedback to improve value to clients. Don’t stop until you are consistently delivering WOW! Only then are you ready to sell. 

3. Learn how to find and sign new clients (even during COVID-19)

We are in a new world. The strategies, offers, messaging you used to successfully market your business will NOT work in this climate.

If you want to grow, you’ve got to level up in your sales and marketing strategy and skill sets.

Most people are only PROBLEM or SOLUTION aware. That is, they don’t understand the PRODUCT or service you are selling, only the problem they have or the solution you are offering. 

Meaning they know they are gaining weight and getting weak, they know they need to move more and eat better, but they don’t understand what online training is, how it works, or how it will help them solve their problems and achieve their goals.

Therefore, right now, your best strategy and offers are to offer them a FREE trial/session. Let them experience how it works and see the benefits. Then transition to selling your regular program OR a downsell a short term program such as a 4-8 week challenge. 

Normally, we never counsel short-term programs. But some people are not thinking more than a month or two out given the current climate. Use this time to perfect the value you create for clients. 

Then keep it simple. Go for easy wins for marketing. Run engagement campaigns to most recently engaged clients. Use reactivation campaigns for inactive clients. 

Create a Referral/Bring-a-Friend campaigns with current clients who are LOVING your new programs. 

And get ready for organic growth–you’re going to get more new business by word of mouth, just by the fact there is demand and everyone else is closed.

Let’s Review

There has NEVER been a better time to grow a fitness coaching business online. Get excited (and get to work!) to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities in front of you right now.

Deliver great VALUE to clients (online or offline). It’s all about understanding client needs and removing barriers to receiving value. Learn the systems and tools needed to run and manage a virtual location and you can deliver that value. 

And most importantly, when you want to grow, commit to strategy not promotion. Learn how to better inspire and lead commitment to goals. Be clear about WHO you’re looking for and communicate HOW you can help them solve their problems and achieve their goals.

And then go at it hard–and keep at it! 

About Sean Greeley

Sean Greeley, Founder and CEO of NPE, has an unrelenting passion for empowering fitness business owners to grow their business and create the life they want. Since 2006, NPE has helped over 45,000+ fitness professionals and business owners in 96+ countries grow to the next level. 

Need a better business plan to reach your goals this year? Get clarity with a path forward to achieve your goals in 50 minutes (or less) when you schedule a free ‘Get Clear’ Strategy Session with NPE at 

Build an In-Demand Online Brand

By | Business

By Lisa Simone Richards

The fitness industry has been rocked over the last few weeks with in-person training no longer being an option for most of us. Physical gyms and fitness studios have been shut down indefinitely, and there’s been a huge uptick in creating online fitness programs to support clients who are staying home.

According to the 2019 Personal Trainer Salary Survey conducted by the Personal Trainer Development Center, only six percent of their respondents were doing online training exclusively. We can be sure that number has skyrocketed since then.

The truth is that just like in-person training, competition in the online world is real. Mega fitness brands are already streaming live content and offering virtual workouts. So how can smaller studios and personal trainers create a strong online presence and attract clients to their virtual workouts?

There are three key strategies that you can put into place so that you can build an in-demand online brand that attracts your ideal clients.

Don’t Be Vanilla

Did you know that Baskin Robbins is considered an essential service? That’s something that the lockdown here in Toronto taught me. And every time I go in there, I order the same thing.

My whole life. All 36 years.

Rum raisin.

Chances are 98% of you are gagging. The other two percent of you get me. And my point in sharing that is that I am loyal to a fault to my favourite flavour. Everyone can probably agree on vanilla – it’s good, it’s non-offensive. But it’s probably not one of those flavours that you’re going for time and time again.

You cannot afford to be a vanilla-flavoured fitness brand. Identify your USP – unique selling proposition – that keeps your clients loyal and coming back for more.

Create a Movement

One of the big reasons that brands like SoulCycle and Barry’s are absolutely crushing it is because it’s about more than a workout – it’s about a lifestyle, a promise, and a movement that their clients want to be a part of.

SoulCycle isn’t just a spin class, it’s about connecting with your true and best self.

Barry’s isn’t just HIIT training, it’s about finding your strength.

There are some questions you can ask yourself to identify your brand’s values and create a movement for your community:

  • What does your brand stand for?
  • What are its values?
  • When it comes to you taking a stand for the clients that you work with, what do you absolutely want your clients to have?
  • What do you want them to never, ever, have to tolerate again?

Having a clearly defined stand will help enroll clients into the movement you’re creating, and make them feel connected to something that’s a part of something bigger.

Be Polarizing

Donald Trump.

Kim Kardashian.

One way or another, did you have a strong reaction to those names? The reason that Donald and Kim are at the top of their game is because they’re unapologetic about who they are and what they’re about. They’re there for their tribe, and they don’t bother trying to please anyone who isn’t a member.

Leanna Baucum, a bodybuilding athlete and personal trainer who’s been a client of mine for almost two years, is a mom of two who is absolutely unapologetic about how she likes to look. She lives for having her long, blonde hair extensions, her eyelash extensions, and she rocks competition-ready body year-round. The mom who is chill with wearing a t-shirt and ponytail will never be attracted to working with Leanna. But the mom who wants to be tight and toned throughout motherhood will absolutely be attracted to her.

Let’s be honest: everyone wants to be liked. But to win when it comes to client attraction, you want to be magnetic to your perfect clients and absolutely repel the rest.

As fitness professionals, we’re pretty much all teaching squats, lunges and cardio. However, what will really help you create a powerful brand with equally powerful experiences for your clients is taking a stand, creating a movement that they can be a part of, and being absolutely unapologetic about the specific client you want to work with.

About Lisa Simone Richards

Lisa Simone Richards is a former trainer and kickboxing instructor turned publicist for online coaches. She’s worked with fitness brands for over 10 years to help their clients find them and grow to 6- and 7-, and multiple 7-figures. Find out the best way to get the word out about your coaching business at

Soul Fitness: Creating a Community Within Your Community

By | Business

By Sareena Nickoli

As a small business, we’ve all been faced with the biggest, most unexpected challenge we could have ever imagined; and the reality is, that only one month could be devastating.  I still have to pay rent, put memberships on hold, and I realize that everything I’ve worked so hard for in over 5 years could go down the drain JUST LIKE THAT. It’s been a pretty hard pill to swallow.

March 16th 2020 was a day I will never forget. That evening, I decided to post on our social media that I had made the decision to be socially responsible and close my doors.  I was heart broken, because so many expressed how Soul Studio has been their happy place despite everything that has been going on.

I spent the next day at my empty studio and the question that kept going through my head is “how can I make it possible for all of us to connect and move together and to help bring some joy to people during this really sad and challenging time?”  The answer – VIRTUALLY (which I knew at one point would be my next step down the road).  Yes, it sounds simple… but boy, let me tell you – what a learning curve this has been.  Not to mention the 12-14-hour days I have put in since I’ve closed my doors.

A few challenges we needed to over come were:

  1. To understand and dive into new technology,
  2. How to make the process on the members friendly and seamless?
  3. Are we able to create the same type of energy that we do in the studio… virtually?  Soul Studio is known for its energy, that is why people are drawn to this place.  We are a community first, and fitness is the bonus!

Despite the challenges, I had to figure out very quickly how to PIVOT my business in order to adapt to the challenges we were facing by shutting our doors. Before we did anything, I wanted to make sure we ironed out kinks as much as we could; I also understood that this was all a work in progress.

In such a short period of time and a pretty amazing team by my side, I am proud to say that Soul Studio is now a virtually run studio with over 20 classes a week with a HUGE variety, Zumba, Barre, Yoga, Pilates, Pound, and more, plus we’ve added our Indoor Cycling Classes, and rented out all of our bikes!  Everything we did in person at Soul, is now available to anyone, anywhere!

I have been so impressed with our members, and their ability to adapt to the new systems we have put in place.  I credit that to the fact that we have trained from the beginning, as everything at Soul is done through an app.  We have had record breaking class attendance, and people from different cities that have visited us in the past, have joined us again, and some that moved away can still be a part of us. We’ve even had a bunch of newbies from all over Canada, and even a few from California.

The ability to CONNECT to each other virtually has literally been the bright light in all our tunnels as we get to see each other before and after class to connect. We joke at how we are all going to be so fit when we open again.

I could NOT have done what we’ve accomplished without the support of my husband and family, Sue Zimmerman who spent endless hours with me helping me perfect the technology end, my amazing team of instructors, as well as the support of my members. In December 2014, I opened Soul Studio in 3 months from thought to finish; then on January 2018, I expanded and opened Soul Ryde in 4 months, and now I am excited to see the next chapter of Soul unfold… Soul Connect, that launched in less than 4 days.

When life throws you a lemon – you make lemonade.

Please be sure to join us virtually!

About Sareena Nickoli

Sareena Nickoli has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years. She was also top 5 FIS last year at canfitpro.  She LOVES teaching because she gets to witness the most amazing transformations in body, mind and spirit for so many!  She finds so much JOY watching people allow themselves to do things out of their comfort zones, to do things they once never though before.  Watching people grow into their “own” skin has always been a highlight for her over the years.

Soul Fitness Sareena


Virtual Class tab


Facebook Virtual Group


Recent articles

Vernon’s Soul Studio hosts virtual Zumba class for self-isolators

From Zumba to ZOOM-ba: Vernon fitness studio moves classes online amid COVID-19



Make sure your Group Fitness offering is THAT GOOD!

By | Business

By Greg Lawlor

COVID-19 has changed the landscape dramatically. Group experiences are being scrutinized more than ever. Consumers will be very selective where they “congregate” in groups. They will only gravitate for the best experiences.

That is the NEW reality. We think about the group gatherings carefully before proceeding.

That has a big impact on how we think of Group Fitness, does it not?

COVID-19 is just the latest variable inserted to disrupt our fitness offering. It won’t be the last. Live streaming, direct to consumer content driven exercise is another. This was strong prior to COVID-19, will be even stronger after. New competition. Different disruptor. When you add specialized group activity that have carved out their niche, from CrossFit to heart rate interval training to yoga to indoor cycling, the consumer has tons of options.

That’s ok.

We got this.

Like anything else competing for spending, only the best will thrive!

Is providing the same things as those down the street the answer?  Not if someone has the exact same. Now you are splitting the spending dollar.

So how do you make sure your group experience and offering get the traction you need?

If the answer were easy, everyone would do it.

The answer lies in programming that allows you to evolve and differentiate while widening your reach. To improve what we offer. To monitor the demographic trends and serve them. To serve the demographics in a way that attracts consumers but is difficult to duplicate.


Not easy.

From our experience there are 2 areas that currently check the above boxes.

One is in group training that caters to the beginner and older population. Accommodating is a key word in serving those groups. Matrix Fitness introduced MX4 active in 2019; it is a template that provides turnkey standards around the offering of group exercise to this demographic.

Think about it.

Who is doing that now? Programming that takes into consideration the aging body, and the body that is new to regular exercise?  Provides programming that standardizes delivery without compromising the talents of the leaders who are delivering the programming?

With employee turnover, and various levels of training expertise on different modalities from trainers, it is extremely challenging to scale the standard of experience you want for patrons. MX4 Active does all of that for you.

The 2nd is using equipment and education to provide a Sprint Intensity Experience that drives results in a time crunched world.  Sprint8 is another turnkey program that provides 3x per week 20-minute program that will deliver results for your customers.  This is something that works best in a group setting.   Nothing builds community like getting together towards a common goal.  Getting through these workouts are a common goal that will rally the troops, while being easy on body joints.

Developed over 30 years ago by Phil Campbell as a method to train athletes, Sprint8 has now entered the consciousness as our clientele want quicker ways to burn fat and build muscle. The magic of Sprint8 is manipulating intensity. Maximum effort over a series of intervals will naturally release human growth hormone. This is the same hormone, who’s synthetic version has been used to chemically enhance performance by athletes and delay the aging process in wealthy folks for years. When implemented in a group setting, at low or no impact your member will get guaranteed results. Up to 27% loss of fat over 8-week program. Yes, this has science behind it. *

Building community through Group Fitness has to do with 2 things.

  1. Getting an experience appropriate for the client that is difficult to duplicate anywhere else.
  2. Having an obstacle that is challenging, that at the same time brings people together to attack the common goal.

What increased demands on the viability of Group Fitness is teaching us, is we need to be more deliberate in planning what we offer.

A group together throwing weights around or cycling may not be enough anymore to keep people coming through the barriers to entry.

MX4 and Sprint8 are examples of 2 proven ways to solve these challenges.  With real ROI and step by step guidelines.

Let’s think about.  We need to keep evolving.

*See more on sprint8 research.

About Greg Lawlor

Greg Lawlor (B.Ed. M.A.) is Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Matrix Fitness Canada, a division of Johnson Health Tech. You can connect on social media at Matrix Fitness Canada.

Thrive Online With These Fundamentals

By | Business

The world has been turned upside down by the global pandemic and this includes your role as a fitness professional.  As you navigate your way into the ‘new normal’ you’re likely wondering: how do I transition my in-person services to an online offering?

With today’s technology, as fitness professionals, you can literally train clients, from anywhere, at anytime. This may be the first time you are working as an entrepreneur so below are some of the essentials to starting as your own business – live or online:


You may have been covered by the facility you worked with before or had your own insurance that covered in-person personal training or fitness instruction only.  Contact your provider to make sure that you are covered for online training and what percentage of your revenue can come from online sources!

If you do need online insurance, Gallagher Insurance offers preferred rates for canfitpro members.  This insurance covers up to 100% of your revenue coming from online sources!  Our blog post has all the info and links you need to make sure that you are protected.

Screening & Health Questionnaires

Whether you are training or teaching a class in-person or online, always screen clients and potential clients for health conditions.  You must always have an updated Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PARQ+) for all your clients on file.  The completed PARQ+ must be from within the last year or more recently if your clients’ health status has changed.

Clients can visit ePMARmed-X to complete the  PARQ+ questions online where they will receive a health screening, recommendations, and should then send you an e-copy of their results.

Health screening forms can be completed and sent by email, google docs, or another online format that you are using.

Standards and Ethics

As a fitness professional you are bound by your Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics and moving online does not change what you have learned and/or can offer safely to your participants.

Standards of Practice for Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors are essential to follow at all times as are the canfitpro Code of Ethics.  Following these will ensure that you are staying within what you are insured to do!


Keep in mind where and how you store your participant and client information is also important. As a consumer, you may be familiar with the Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPEDA) and/or the Consumer Anti-Spam Registration (CASL); however, it is essential that you keep these in line with government requirements related to privacy as a business.  In Canada the government websites provided above give guidance and samples for you to use.


You’re online!  You need to pick your platform and learn as much about it as possible!  Are you using Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Loom, or another place where people can connect and/or stream content?  This is where you will need to spend some time finding what works best for you and you may need to ‘up’ your technology game.  Check out Hosting Virtual Workouts 101: Connect with Your Clients And Members to help you navigate through the technology.

Keep in mind each have their own security and privacy features that you will need to decide what works best for you, and those with whom you work.

Get started with the webinar ‘Think Yourself a Tech Pro’ to learn more about what IS possible.


We all know that music motivates and keeps us moving.  How you use music in your online training and classes is up to you.  However, to use music you do need a licence and there are many companies offering little, to no cost, music that you can use in a commercial setting.  More information about available music and licensing can be found online. canfitpro will update this listing as new offers and promotions come in during the pandemic.

Practice, Test, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

You did this when you were getting started as a fitness professional – creating programs, trying movement combinations, learning where to stand or how to cue for clarity and success.  Now, you need to do this in a virtual world.  How well can you see your participants or clients?  How does your microphone sound?  Where do you set up so that people can see and hear you?  How can you connect with people while online?

Once you have chosen which services you are offering online you will need to practice, and practice, and repeat!  There is no exchanging the experience and learning you will gain from a trial run, filming yourself, or working with live clients.  Offering your services online is a new skill to learn and may help you remember how your clients and participants feel the first time they join you and learn new skills.


This may also be your clients and participants first time online too.  Ask for feedback – you might be surprised by what they actually need from you to keep motivated and feel successful online.  They might need tech support, resources and recommendations for quality equipment, or a four-month plan to stay committed.  The people you work with will be just as diverse and unique online as they are ‘in person’.  A one size fits all may not work for all.

Have resources and supports for the tech platform you use, a ‘how-to’ video and best practices available.  Try to anticipate any questions people might have to prepare yourself for any scenario.

The Future

Take a moment to look back and remember why you started as a fitness professional. What is it that motivates you to help people with their health every day?  How do you want to continue doing that in the future?  If you have the capacity to think ahead this is a great time to discover your next adventure.

Some questions you may wish to consider:

  • Do I want to be an entrepreneur or work at a facility?
  • Do I want to train online and in-person?
  • How can I connect with people virtually?
  • What excites me about what I do and how can I do it?

Making the move to online and becoming an entrepreneur, comes with many rewards.  However, it’s up to you to decide if, how, or what your next step will be in your career and evolution.  canfitpro is here to support you, as a fitness professional, and will continue to provide education and services to help you evolve.

Stay safe and be well. Now get out there, have fun and inspire!




Personal Trainers Standards of Practice

Fitness Instructors Standards of Practice

Code of Ethics





canfitpro member portal – for online courses, quizzes, and updates related to COVID-19