Now that the dust has begun to settle, it’s become clear that we are going to be in this situation of running group fitness businesses online for the forseeable future.
When we are allowed to exercise face-to-face again, it will likely only be for a short while before things are once more restricted.
So, if you’ve been feeling resistant to changing, please note that this is the new normal.
If you’ve already made changes, great job, you’re doing amazing. Keep it up. I know this is a scary and uncertain time.
Either way, I hope this article helps set you on a good trajectory over the next few months.
Tip #1: Do What Works For You
While many trainers are switching over to running their sessions via Zoom, you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.
Talk to your clients and find out what will work for them. Many trainers are also having success with:
- Running Live videos using Facebook or YouTube
- Setting up private communities online using Facebook Groups
- Simply sending out written workouts via email or posted to a Facebook group
- Pre-recording workouts and sharing those via any of the channels above
But ultimately, pick the thing that you’re going to be able to be consistent with. If you’ve now got 3 kids at home and you can only work after 8pm each night, choose a solution that is going to work with those constraints.
Tip #2: It Doesn’t Have To Be A Workout
What is just as important as workouts to clients right now, and what will likely keep them signed up over the next few months, is community.
Start planning some non-workout virtual meet ups for your clients. Some trainers have had success with Happy Hour or ‘Wine Time’ where everyone brings a drink to a video call and debriefs on the week.
You could also arrange a voice-only ‘Walk and Talk’ call where everyone grabs their phone and headphones and chats while they go for a walk at the same time.
Train mostly parents? Start swapping ideas of things you are doing with the kids for homeschooling or just keeping them entertained.
Get creative. What are you needing/missing right now? It’s probably the same for your clients.
Tip #3: Location No Longer Matters
One thing most trainers are telling me is that they’re not getting any new clients at the moment.
My advice here is to remember that clients no longer need to live nearby to participate in your classes. This means that your cousin who lives in a different state can come do your workouts and be apart of your community.
Reach out to your personal network of friends, family and old collegues to let them know you’re now offering workouts remotely. Ask your clients if they will share what you’re doing too.
Tip #4: Fully Pivot Your Business To Online
Now you’re running classes online (or at the least sending out workouts online) you need to make sure you’ve updated your business systems and marketing so that new people finding you know that you’re still running classes.
Here’s a checklist of things to update:
- Call insurer to see if you’re covered to give training online
- Update your client welcome experience to explain how a new client can access classes and community
- Change bio’s on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) to say you’re still active
- Edit website homepage to let everyone know you’re still operating and how they can sign up
- Update PAQ and upload to a site that let’s people sign documents digitally
- Kick your email newsletter back into gear – communication is key to keeping clients
- Post to all social media platforms how new clients can join
These are all things that can easily be undone later, but by committing to going online fully instead of sitting on the fence, it will make life much more certain for you in the meantime and that will free up much needed brain power.
Tips #5: Take Time To Unplug and Disconnect
6 years ago (nearly to the day) I stopped running my bootcamp and took Bootcamp Ideas on full time. Running your business online has a lot of perks.
You don’t have to drive anywhere. You can work in your pyjamas all day (tip: just put a different shirt on for video calls). In just a few steps you can access all of the deliciousness the fridge holds.
But, as I’ve learned the hard way (sometimes multiple times) there is also some downsides that can be crippling to your health if you aren’t intentional about them.
The biggest thing is that it can become really easy to be plugged in and working on your business 24/7. Before, you could get a break from the phone messages, emails and social media when you were training clients. But now you’re training clients online that’s just more screen time in your day.
We’re human beings. Evolved to climb, leap, dance and be in the sun. You must make intentional time where you’re away from your business.
Here are some tips for unplugging:
- Make intential time to socialise with friends. Call them using a handsfree headset so you don’t have to carry around your phone.
- Go for a walk without your phone.
- Set a time each night where you stop working and stop answering messages on your phone.
- Take at least Saturday or Sunday completely off work (no messages, no emails, no social media, nothing) if not both days.
- Set aside time for just you and your partner to reconnect and catch up.
By putting some good boundaries in place you’ll feel better and be able to do better work.
Events like this bring out the best or the worst in people. When in doubt, ask yourself:
‘Am I making this decision out of love or fear?’
Embrace the change, do what is going to work for you, look after your clients beyond just workouts and put aside time to look after yourself too. Personally, I’ve been finding walks without my phone a great way to just let everything digest.
Now over to you…
Which of the tips above do you need to get done? Share with us in the comments below.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.
awesome tips as ever Kyle. I need to implement the social media and pivot to the fact I am doing everything online now.
Kyle Wood says
Thanks for checking in Junior
Really appreciated the Zoom tutorial meeting last week. Thanks, Kyle. Did a couple of test Zoom sessions over the weekend, and have now done 2 sessions (indoors), and two more to go this week. The response was great! I allowed 15 minutes at the beginning for people to arrive, set up and chat, and 10 minutes at the end for verbal feedback and chat – obviously people were free to leave at this point, but we have all been missing the face-to-face!
Saturday’s session should be outdoors, however. Does anyone have any tips for Zooming outdoors? I imagine sound will be the main issue – have ordered a bluetooth headset,, hoping this will help. Thanks in advance for anything you can suggest.
Kyle Wood says
A headset will definitely help Janet. Also avoid wind if possible. Otherwise you should be okay.
Pam Connolly says
First off, thank you SO MUCH for your e-mails! I always read them, and appreciate workout ideas, trainer/business owner ideas, and options to learn more.
As I was reading through today’s e-mail, there was a lot I was grateful to relate to:
Tip #1: I have been making videos to send out to clients and classes, teaching through Zoom, and, teaching live classes through FB.
Tip #2: I have had non-exercise meetings with friends, but love the idea of doing this with clients!
Tip #3: I feel like I’m doing this with my videos, sending them not only to current classes and clients, but friends and family as well!
Tip #4: I send out a monthly e-mail using mail chimp, and just sent out my April e-mail yesterday with all of my updates!
Tip #5: In addition to on-line teaching and getting my own workouts in, I’ve been going out for a 30-60 minute walk almost every day! I try to either leave the phone at home, or listed to an educational video of some kind.
I rarely worked Saturdays, and never Sundays, but I’ve been working a little more as I’m trying to figure everything out, but it’s all work that I enjoy (like making videos), and figuring out how to connect to more people to get them MOVING!!!!
And, I make time for my hubby, too!
Kyle Wood says
Thanks Pam, it’s awesome that you’re embracing the change and enjoying learning new things 🙂
I’m very new to all this online training and I’ve yet to get a hang of it. I feel like I’m over-conscious when I’m running a session. I’ve only run a zoom session for children. I will give your Tip #2 a go to just Zoom in with clients and just chill and talk and know how they are doing. I worked with the City Council and did lots of free sessions and I’m finding most of the clients don’t want to do online training. Most say they don’t like online training or maybe it’s because they now have to pay for a session
Kyle Wood says
Hey Aggie, being self-concious is totally normal. Anytime you start something new you’ve never done before you’ll have that feeling. Just remember how your first few face-to-face group sessions felt. And then what happened? You got better and it started feeling more normal. The same will happen with this.
Lizet Bakker says
I like the idea of ‘walk and talk’ with many sporters… But which application can i use as call-only with 10 people? Thanks, Lizet
Kyle Wood says
Zoom will let you add more than 10, just do the call without video.