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The Benefits of Offering Online Personal Training Services During Uncertain Times


It would appear we're not out of the woods yet with COVID-19, with a second wave underway for much of the world. Gyms in some parts of Canada are already seeing restrictions being put back in place, and the UK introduced a "3 tier" lockdown system this week with significant rules in place for much of the country. 

There is a lot of uncertainty for personal trainers around the world which doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. When the first lockdown happened, many trainers were left scrambling to find a way to serve their clients adequately and protect their businesses. Now, with the prospect of restrictions being reintroduced, clients are looking for solutions to be 
better prepared if they should lose access to gyms again.

However, there are often unpredictable changes as a self-employed personal trainer. As a business owner, the need to be able to adapt quickly is vital. Even if it weren't for COVID-19, life is unpredictable. Injuries that limit face to face training, or pregnancy and the need for time away from the gym floor are part of life. Without a way to stay in business and the ability to provide a flexible service, a personal trainer's fitness business is fragile.

Expanding your personal training services online might seem overwhelming, but not only can offering an online component to your services help you survive now, but it can also help you to scale and grow your business in the future.


The Data
According to data from Salesforce, digital traffic has gone up 39% since people have been at home more, with increases in purchasing across all industries - including fitness. A survey conducted by the PTDC suggested trainers made significantly more money when taking their personal training businesses online. 


The Benefits of Online Coaching for Personal Trainers
In the event of something which takes you away from the gym floor, or closes gyms completely, online coaching can take over your face to face service and provide your clients with continuing help with their fitness goals. Venturing into the online space doesn't only help you with your cash-flow but also helps your clients stay focused on their well-being in challenging times.

 During more normal and predictable times, online coaching can supplement face to face training. It adds a layer of additional accountability that helps your clients feel supported
at all times and locations.

So let’s see the 4 main pros of online coaching during uncertain times.


1. Mitigate the Impact of Gym Closures
Many personal trainers would still completely lose their businesses, thus their income if they lost access to the gym. One of the main benefits of online training is the peace of mind that you've got a safety net, if gyms close for any reason you still have a way to help your clients and keep your income without having to rely on government support that could be cut at any time.


2. Jump on the Wagon of the Growing Online Fitness Market Space
The online fitness market is growing incredibly quickly (if the stock prices of Peloton are anything to go by!) and not showing any signs of slowing down. While the demand for remote coaching options is high, you might want to capitalise on the market full of eager potential clients. 

People are much more familiar now with running elements of their lives remotely. COVID-19 normalised online options for much of what has been traditionally in-person. That removes a barrier to buying for a potential client because they understand that fitness is something which can be done online. Before COVID-19, there was a considerable objection to online fitness solutions because prospective clients couldn't imagine how it would work for them. Out of necessity, however many people now understand that indeed online personal training can help them just as well to stay on top of their fitness.

If you still are unconvinced, online platforms like Peloton and Les Mills Online have exploded in popularity in the last 6 months. Time away from the gym seems to have people more focused than ever on their health and fitness.


3. Take Care of Current Clients
This year has taught us to be cautious and take steps to look after our clients. People will be able to tell the difference between an exceptional service that they see as an essential rather than a "nice to have". Finding ways to wow them will help you to retain as many clients as possible, and provide them with a continuity of service to progress towards their goals. 

Online coaching allows you to provide more holistic support around your client's whole day. For example, they might be looking for help around food choices or mindset, or mobility and recovery outside the gym. Online training gives you scope to support them with these additional areas.


4. Long-term Reliable Cashflow Strategy
Long term, online personal training is a wise strategy if you'd like to be able to rely on regular income even during times when you're not able to meet your clients in person. If you have ambitious goals to grow your business and boost your income without having to spend 80hrs in the gym or hiring a team, online coaching is a solution for that too.  

Not only is it far more scalable than face to face training, but you're able to ask for referrals from a much more specific type of audience. This allows you to compete in a more niche market, and therefore, grow your business with the type of clients you enjoy working with the most.


Wrapping Up
Online coaching is a quickly growing segment of the fitness industry, and it is to stay with us. People are keener to reach out for help online, and their physical fitness is no exception. 

On the other hand, if you plan to step away from training people on the gym floor for the rest of your career, online coaching provides you with an option where you can reach a much bigger audience and specialise in a niche so people will come to you for expert advice in your favourite area.

Many of our PT Distinction members didn't have a clue where to start first but like with any change, you only have to take the first step then follow through. There are many resources to help you get started; the Institute of Personal Trainers has a comprehensive course on How to Become an Online Personal Trainer. If you have questions about how PT Distinction can support you on your journey to becoming a successful hybrid or online personal trainer, you can join our free support group on Facebook and ask your questions in the community.
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