As the COVID-19 pandemic floored business across the globe, one of the hardest-hit industries was that of the fitness sector.
As gyms and leisure centres closed their doors to help slow the spread of the virus, many brands found themselves facing bankruptcy – and a huge number of personal trainers were left without a base to work from.
Working it in 2021
In the UK alone, there are around 13,770 personal trainers, and 80% of those work on a freelance basis and rent space in gyms or leisure centres – to say that the pandemic has been tough on these fitness professionals would very much be an understatement. While some of these trainers were forced to seek alternative employment during the lockdowns, others have punched above their weight in terms of innovation, in order to stay afloat.
Although fitness centres remained closed, in May 2020 restrictions were lifted to allow groups of six people to meet outdoors in the UK. This allowed personal trainers to (weather permitting) resume seeing their clients in local parks and common areas. This provided a very real lifeline to these professionals, many of which had been without income since March.
Lights, camera, action
Faced with limited options, a lot of trainers chose to invest in their brands by going online. The success of Joe Wicks PE sessions on television inspired personal trainers to pivot to classes conducted by Zoom- something which has remained popular post-pandemic due to the convenience and cost savings that it offers to customers and trainers alike.
While Zoom classes are a great solution, they’re not always a practical one- particularly for trainers who live in areas of iffy internet access. To get around this, some clever folk decided to pre-record workout plans and classes for their customers who would then be able to access them and pay for them online- with the added convenience of being able to do their exercise at a time to suit them.
The ‘weight’ is over
The final opening up of our businesses comes as a relief to millions of people – not least those in the fitness and training sector. Although there will, of course, be some who are choosing to get back to business by returning to gyms and fitness centres, many have found that the new way is the better way.
As we head into the second half of 2021, a significant number of trainers are coming back stronger than ever by adopting a hybrid approach whereby they may see clients in person once or twice a week but will still continue with Zoom and/or pre-recorded classes. While this can prove to be a lucrative choice, the downside is that it requires a lot more organisation.
A turn up for the books
In the post-pandemic world, a lot of personal trainers are taking a leaf out of the book of the hair and beauty industry by getting onboard with scheduling apps like Booksy.
These tools are a great solution for trainers who are trying to juggle online and on-site classes and keep all their appointments straight. With scheduling apps, customers are able to book their own appointments quickly and easily, saving trainers time – and, as an added bonus, they can even help with marketing a trainer’s brand to help bring in even more clients.
In the past year and a half, there’s only really been one clear winner – and that’s technology. Professionals from every industry – including the fitness sector – have now discovered the very real benefits offered by techy tools and tricks and, for personal trainers, this has been quite literally a lifesaver.