Self-isolation, working from home and remote learning have not made good bedfellows for allowing your clients to maintain a fitness regime of any sort. Your clients may have made it outside, for their daily ‘iso walk’; or they may have even done a home workout each day.
Essentially though, for the past fourteen months, your clients haven’t been able to step foot inside a gym or to your bootcamp.
And that’s a long time to have off!
Things will have changed – some out of necessity and some because you’ve have taken the opportunity to reinvigorate your business.
So, your clients post-iso return to the gym or their favourite group fitness class is going to make them feel like a beginner all over again. It’s going to be great for them to see everyone again, but they may be feeling nervous about what it will all be like.
Or maybe they are a beginner? Maybe they’d like to start attending your Bootcamp once the doors fly back open.
Either way these tips are designed to help your clients have a great time at their first session back.
These tips have been written from you to your clients – so feel free to adapt as suit you and your situation. This would make a great series for your email or social media posts (or both!).
A Checklist For Your Clients Returning To Training
☑ Book in
This helps us know we are expecting a new member and it allows the instructor to be aware of this. It gives us a chance to have a chat with you before your first class – to touch base and to find out how you are, and to answer any concerns you may have before that class.
It also helps us maintain correct gathering size limits and provide the all important contact tracing data.
☑ Come with a friend
Having a familiar face to smile or grimace at can be reassuring in such an unfamiliar situation. You can both fumble through together and you can both be as unsure as each other about what to do. Or, maybe your friend has already done the class a few times? Great! They can show you what to do, where to set up, introduce you (quietly) to the instructor and even to a few friendly class members.
Remember, everyone in that room – and I mean EVERYONE – was new at one stage. Even the instructor! Yep, even the instructor had to walk through those doors for the first time once upon a time. So everyone in that room should be able to empathise with your nerves and a couple of friendly ones will help you out with your first class.
☑ Come in with an open mind
Don’t set any expectations of yourself or of the class. Be open to trying new things and be curious about how many new ways you can move your body. While some moves may feel uncomfortable or unusual, nothing should actually physically hurt you during the class.
☑ Take your time
I want to look at this from two different perspectives – the first one being a practical point of view (actually getting yourself to the class) and the second being the expectations on yourself in the class.
So, first of all, you definitely want to arrive at least ten minutes before the class starts, if not a tad bit more. You need time to get a lay of the land, to go to the toilet, to fill out any paperwork (such as a health form) that may not have already been done, to set up and to have a chat to the instructor.
To do this, you need to know how long it’s going to take you to drive/walk/public transport to the class. It may also pay to check out what the car-parking is like.
Taking your time once you’re in the class is so important. Every single instruction and cue is going to be new for you, or you need to remember. It’s much better to do five great squats while everyone else in the class is doing twenty, than to hurt yourself doing those twenty poorly. You are going to be asking your body to move in ways that it may not be used to, so just be gentle on yourself. A good instructor should definitely allow for this, and will have some great modifications up their sleeve if you really do find something too tricky.
☑ You don’t have to be fit to start
This follows on nicely from my last point. Just like you wouldn’t get your hair trimmed before you go to the hairdresser, you don’t have to be fit to start in a group fitness class (as long as the class is suitable for all fitness levels).
While it might seem like everyone else in the room are fitness experts, the truth of the matter is, they’re not! Everyone has their own reason for being there, everyone has their own perspective on fitness and everyone in the class was a beginner once upon a time. You’ll soon see that the instructor will give individual feedback to class participants – no one gets it right all of the time.
A good instructor will be able to help you at whatever fitness level you are coming into the class with.
☑ Wear comfy clothes and runners/sneakers
The clothes you choose to wear is not really the important point here. You just need to be able to move well in them – so a pair of tracksuit pants or leggings on the bottom, and a comfy t-shirt or active wear top is best. Something to consider for comfort will also be the ways you may have to move in these clothes – so check to see how comfortable you are bending over (reach towards your toes), squatting (a sitting position without the chair), reaching above your head, lying on your back and getting up and down off the ground.
Your shoes should ideally be laced-up runners (not slip on) – and this is simply because you will need the extra support. You need to be comfortable and supported enough to move forwards, backwards and side to side. They should have good grip to keep yourself safe.
Another clothing consideration, for those who wear one, is your bra. Again, you will be moving in many different ways to what you are used to, so it is wise to check that your bra can support you as you reach your arms above your head, as you lean forward, as you lie on your back and as you get up and down off the ground.
Layers are key! Often times, the class participants start a class wearing a jumper and soon take that off for the long-sleeved t-shirt they are wearing underneath as they warm up. Then, as the class really gets into the swing of things, they take the long-sleeved off for a short-sleeved t-shirt. As we cool down at the end, they then put their jumpers back on.
☑ Some other things to bring
Some gyms or group fitness business will require you to bring your own mat and maybe even your own weights at the start – so do check ahead about this; check ahead to see if you’ll be required to wear a mask; you’ll want your own water bottle (fill it before you leave home); you may wish to bring a towel (a hand-towel will do here) to wipe your face through the class and also for any floor work you may do; a small bag for your things (it makes it easier to keep your phone, keys, wallet, drink bottle, towel, etc. all in the one place). And of course, a small bottle of hand sanitiser, although this should be supplied.
Consider bringing: a small, spray deodorant in case you become aware of your own BO during the class; and any other toiletries / accessories that you may need.
This may seem like a long list for new or returning clients. But it is always much better to over prepare than to under prepare. Communication is key to ensuring your clients feel safe and ready to return to face-to-face sessions.
Theresa Prior has a mission to bring Mums and women together in a safe and supportive environment that just so happens to have fun fitness sessions at it’s core. She has been running her own personal training business since 2013. Theresa helps her clients understand that all aspects of their health are equally important.