The spread of the COVID-19 virus is impacting our everyday lives in almost every way imaginable, including our fitness routines. Gyms all over the world have begun to close and, those that have not, have seen a decrease in membership and attendance rates.
This is a time for owners to be understanding of the impact their facility has on the community and to find a way to help their members hold on to as much normalcy as possible. You can help ensure the safety of your employees and members, as well as help stop the spread of the virus, by transitioning your business to an online format.
If your gym is still open, check out our latest article on how to enforce cleanliness and social distancing.
Not all facilities are currently set up to conduct business online. If you fall under this category, Exercise.com is here to help. Request a demo of our all-in-one fitness business management software now.
Best Practices for Delivering Online Workouts
When a gym member cannot physically be in the facility interacting with others, it can be difficult to stay motivated and feel like a part of the fitness community. With this in mind, the way you deliver online workouts is important for keeping your members connected and progressing. Exercise.com’s software has a variety of different features that will help keep your members engaged and feeling like a part of your facility. Here are a few:
- Custom-Branded Apps. If your members are going to continue feeling like a part of your facility, they have to be thinking about it. Having a custom-branded app with your gym’s pictures, colors, and logo is a powerful tool for keeping people connected.
- Workout Journal. You want your clients to succeed and your clients want to know they are progressing. Using the workout journal found in Exercise.com’s software, your clients can track their workouts and trainers can check in on progress.
- Exercise Details. To perform workouts correctly, your clients need to understand them. In Exercise.com’s software, you can prescribe sets, reps, time, distance, rounds, and any number of other details a client would need to know to complete his or her workout.
- Exercise Demonstration Videos. Sometimes, reading a description doesn’t work well for a client. This is not a problem for Exercise.com users. We have an extensive library of exercises, or you can upload your own videos for a more personal touch.
Utilizing these features will help you deliver workouts in a way that sets your clients up to succeed; which, in turn, is great for your business. Once you have mastered delivering online workouts, staying engaged with your clients is crucial.
The Exercise.com team is amazing, and their all-in-one software is more than we ever expected! All of this is made possible by a high-quality team.
Ways to Engage Online
You have created and delivered a bunch of killer workouts to your clients, but now you need to find ways to keep them motivated. Interacting and communicating with them online serves as a reminder that you are committed to helping them be successful. Exercise.com has several ways you can engage with your clients online:
- Send Messages. Within the Exercise.com software, you can communicate to individuals or groups via the messaging platform.
- Create a Discussion Board. Connect all of your clients, or those with similar workout goals, in a discussion board within our software. Everyone involved can help provide motivation and keep each other accountable.
- Leverage Social Media. Stay engaged with your clients and gym members by connecting on social media. Creating a Facebook group or sharing an Instagram story are great ways to keep your clients focused on their goals.
- Connect Marketing Tools to Drive Growth. Clients and members all have different preferences when it comes to communication. With Exercise.com, you can integrate your marketing tools so you get all of the benefits with less work. For example, if you use Mailchimp to communicate with your members, Exercise.com provides an easy integration so you can fully engage with your clients from one platform.
Online training is an important option to have even if your gym’s doors are still open. For starters, it is easier to fully utilize and offer online training if you and your clients understand how it works before you need it. If you have to close your business without much warning and are forced to immediately transition online before you’re ready, there will be an adjustment period and a learning curve that will slow down productivity on both sides.
Additionally, we are moving to a more virtual fitness world in general. Once this pandemic has subsided, there will still be a growing demand for online training. You can help your business avoid falling behind in the industry by having an online option to supplement what you do in person.
Below is a table showing the states in which gyms have been ordered to close*. This table is accurate at the time of writing, but continue to check with your local governing body for updates.
*This list is expected to grow and includes only states that have mandated closures issued by the Governor’s office. However, in several states, closures have been mandated at the city level. Please check with local and state authorities regarding the latest information on health club and gym closures. At this point, many states are only issuing the President’s recommendation to limit gatherings to less than 10 people, while banning gatherings of over 50 people.
Ways to Deliver Online Training
If your state is on this list or if you anticipate being there shortly, you should be doing all you can to prepare your business to provide a service to your members in an online platform. Here are a few things you can do with the Exercise.com software to deliver the best online training product you can.
Sell Single Workout Plans
Some of your members might be comfortable with working certain muscle groups at home, like legs and core, but might be stumped on a chest workout. By having single plans available for purchase, you can provide for the people who only want help with a specific part of their fitness. They are more apt to purchase your service because they know they are only paying for what they feel they need.
Offer Monthly Workout Memberships
A monthly online workout membership is a great option for your facility. Many people like the idea of having a plan delivered to them, but purchasing a bunch of single plans may not seem worth it, to them.
By offering a monthly membership, you provide clients with new workouts, at whatever interval you choose, and you have a monthly revenue stream. Your clients will benefit because they do not get stuck in the same boring routine and your business will benefit from the consistent income.
This is also an especially attractive option for gyms that choose to sell single workout plans. Once a client sees the value in a single plan, upgrading to a more frequent option, like a monthly membership, seems like a logical step.
Offer Membership to a Workout Database
One great thing about Exercise.com’s software is that, once a workout is created, it can be used over and over again within the software. Many of your members would find benefit in the ability to choose from an entire database of workouts.
You can categorize workouts by muscle group, trainer, or anything else you choose. This makes workouts easily searchable by your clients and they can find whatever they need to meet their goals. This is a perfect option for clients who want to work out on their own but have a difficult time with exercise selection.
Offer a Workout of the Day Membership
Delivering a new workout every day is a great way to keep your clients constantly connected to your facility. They can constantly change up their routine, doing so with a service provided by your gym.
This helps strengthen the connection between you and your members, as they look forward to hearing from your gym every day. As they see progress, they will have you to thank and are likely to tell their friends about the facility that is helping them make changes. This could even help you gain new members or convince current members to upgrade or utilize other services you offer.
Run Workout Challenges
One of the hardest parts about dealing with this quarantine can be the social distancing that is becoming mandatory. Social distancing has taken away our ability to interact with others face-to-face, and that can easily lead to people becoming restless.
Utilizing Exercise.com’s software, you can create online workout challenges for those who attend your gym. These challenges will help foster a virtual community that helps fill a part of the gap we have when it comes to social interaction. As a service to the community, you could even consider opening these challenges to those who are not members of your gym. They would appreciate the act of kindness and it might make them think about joining your facility when it re-opens.
Check out the example below from Exercise.com client, Madeline Moves, of an online workout challenge created by using our software.
Offer Easily Adaptable Workout Plans
Everyone’s situation is different, in terms of the type of workout they are able to do at home. Space, equipment, goals, and personal fitness level are all factors that contribute to the type of workout someone can do on their own. Exercise.com’s software gives gym owners and trainers the ability to create a universal program that can be adapted based on the needs of any individual.
For example, a trainer may prescribe a dumbbell chest press, on a bench, as part of an at-home chest and back workout. Not all people will have a bench, or even dumbbells, at home. So, as part of the workout, the trainer may also make note that the press can be performed on the floor or changed to a push-up if dumbbells are not available.
At Exercise.com, we customize our software to meet the needs of your business. If you need to design a workout giving three different options for each exercise, we can help you do that. This provides an excellent service to your clients and members because it makes your product useable by anyone.
Stream Workouts Online
Exercise.com has an extensive video library that you can use to create workouts for your members and clients. This library is part of the software so that, if you’re short on time, you can find everything you need to develop and share a quality workout.
As an added bonus, with Exercise.com you can upload your own videos to give a more personal feel to your workouts. The people who attend training sessions and classes at your gym are connected with your trainers and instructors. Keeping this connection strong is important in keeping members engaged and uploading videos featuring your employees is a great way to do it.
These videos don’t have to stop at a single exercise. You could have a trainer or instructor film himself or herself doing the workout and then upload the entire thing into our software. This way, members, clients, and potential clients can feel even more connected as they work out alongside their trainer.
Offer Virtual Custom Training
Despite the options for working out when a gym is closed, some people still want one-on-one training. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, and it gives you another online service to offer to your members.
Even without the in-person interaction, you can still provide a quality workout that is individualized to your client. We’ve touched on the ability you have, with Exercise.com, to create workouts within the software, but there is more. You can also schedule these workouts for your clients so that they are held accountable to complete them on a certain day and time.
For those clients who still need interaction with their trainer when the gym is closed, use Exercise.com’s calendar and booking features to schedule appointments for Skype or FaceTime. Trainers can use these platforms to virtually train their clients. This is a great way to continue revenue for your business, provide work for your employees, and keep progress going for your members.
Act as Trainer & Accountability Coach
For a lot of personal training clients, accountability is as important as the workout they receive from their trainer. If your gym is closed, this accountability is still needed but will be approached in a different way.
Exercise.com’s software features a section in which clients can log their workouts and track their progress. Trainers can see when a workout has been completed or follow up if they see a client has missed a day. The trainer and client can communicate by messaging within the software, and this will help provide the normal accountability that clients become used to.
Our software also features nutrition tracking so that if a client is not progressing as he or she should be, a trainer can help work through some suggestions on how nutrition should support the workouts.
Using an online training app can help you deliver workouts to them without you needing to be there. It also helps to track their progress and holds them accountable as they know you’ll be checking if they’re checking in for workouts.
Online training is becoming a bigger part of our fitness world, whether we are in the midst of a pandemic or not. Use the box below to see how our software can work for you.
Offer online training today with Exercise.com
We are in the middle of uncertain times, to say the least, with the outbreak of COVID-19. One thing that is certain, however, is that your gym is likely to be affected and potentially even close. In order to maintain some normalcy for your employees and members, you need to be ready to act when the need arises.
Your facility needs to be equipped to move its workouts online. By having this service, you provide members with a means to work out by utilizing your services, but you also give your employees a chance to keep earning an income while your gym is closed.
Using Exercise.com’s software, you can create personalized workouts, group workouts, and stream workouts or classes. You can also hold your clients accountable by setting them up with your workout tracker, nutrition tracking, and messaging system within our software.
By customizing your software to fit your business, you will be able to best serve the needs of your members and employees in this period of uncertainty.
COVID-19 Trainer FAQs
How Do I Talk to My In-Person Clients About Online Training?
It is very important when talking to your clients about offering online training, that you make sure they know you are still there for them and have their best interest in mind. If you come off as if you are making a sales pitch, they are less likely to continue following through with your training.
Explain the benefits that come with training online such as continued customized workouts, accountability, and workout tracking so they can see progress. You can also provide them with expectations, from a cost perspective, on a transition to online training.
Using your gym’s pricing structure, offer them an incentive for continuing to train online. For example, “I understand you’ve paid for three months of in-person training, but we’d like to give you an extra two weeks at no charge when you transition to online training.” This will show the client that you are not trying to give them a bad deal and, in fact, will motivate them to trust you about the change.
How Do I Set Up Live Streams for Clients?
There are several different platforms you can use to live stream workouts for your clients. YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook are all great examples of easy-to-use services that just require an account. Best of all, you can use them for free.
After streaming your video, you have the ability to save it and then upload it into Exercise.com’s software. By doing this, you can use the video for future clients and workouts. This saves you time and provides a quicker service to your members since you have it ready to go.
How Do I Alert My Clients/Members of My Gym’s Closure?
If you’ve been forced, or have made the difficult decision, to close your gym, it is time to contact your clients and members. Due to the close relationship personal training clients have with their trainers, they should be contacted through their preferred method of communication (text, email, phone call, Facebook message,etc.).
Trainers should reassure clients that, just because the gym is closing, they should not take a break from their fitness goals. Trainers can tell clients about the online services offered and how online personal training would continue to benefit the client as he or she continues toward their goal, despite the difficult situation.
General members, who are not training, also need to be contacted. This is typically a large group of people, so posting on your website, social media accounts, and sending an email are the most logical ways to go about this announcement. For ideas on what to say, refer to this article for an email template.
What Do I Do About My Staff?
This is an unfortunate and fairly unprecedented situation for everyone. As a gym owner, you want to do right by your staff while also doing what is best for the community. Lost income is the foremost concern of the majority of gym employees who are out of work. Finding work for these employees, even when your facility is closed, is a benefit to you both. Your employee continues to earn and your gym continues to attract attention.
We’ve addressed how personal training can move to an online format, but there are other online avenues that you and your employees can explore. You should already have some sort of presence on social media but, if not, getting an account set up is the first step. After that, have staff members take over the account for a given period of time. They can interact with members, post workout ideas, and share any updates you might have.
You can also consider live streaming group fitness classes a few times per week. It is impractical to try to stream every class on the schedule, but providing several per week for members will help your instructors offset lost income and will simultaneously keep your members engaged.
When Should I Close My Gym or Stop In-Person Training?
Local and federal guidelines will provide the final say regarding whether or not you should close your facility. You should also listen to your staff members, in case some of them feel they are risking their health by coming into work. Ultimately, outside of governmental guidelines, you know the needs of your business, staff, and members better than anyone and the decision will be yours.
With that said, even if your gym is currently staying open, you should begin setting up online training capabilities now so that you can offer this service to you clients as soon as possible. Most gyms are likely to be forced to close in the coming days and weeks, and you will want to be out ahead of the situation rather than trying to play catch-up. Get set up with Exercise.com, make a plan for how you want to utilize the software, and be ready to implement it when the time comes.
Is Exercise.com Staying Open?
Yes! Our team is fully remote and is ready to assist you in setting up your virtual training platform. We are operating under normal business hours and are not planning on closing our virtual doors.
Contact us today to set up your online training platform using our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software. And stay safe out there. Remember, we’re all in this together.
Dan Chojnacki is a team writer for Exercise.com. When he’s not writing for Exercise.com, he is a group fitness director in Green Bay and has been a certified trainer with NETA for ten years. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, running, and brewing his own beer.