Coronavirus: How Trainers & Gyms Are Working | Exercise.com

Coronavirus: How Trainers & Gyms Are Working

Dan Chojnacki is a writer for Exercise.com and a personal trainer in Green Bay, WI. In his free time away from work, Dan stays busy in a variety of different ways. He is a runner, tennis player, youth softball coach, home beer brewer, and saxophone player. Dan is also a fan of all things having to do with Wisconsin sports including Brewers baseball, Bucks basketball, all Wisconsin Badgers sports, ...

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UPDATED: Aug 31, 2020

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Get the Basics...
  • Online training is important whether your gym is open or closed
  • Exercise.com can help provide many different online services to your members
  • Members will appreciate your business for helping them during this difficult time

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.

Gym Closures by State

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.

StateStatus
AlabamaSelect Cities Closed
AlaskaClosed: State Mandated
ArizonaClosed: State Mandated
ArkansasOpen
CaliforniaClosed: State Mandated
ColoradoClosed: State Mandated
ConnecticutClosed: State Mandated
DelawareClosed: State Mandated
District of ColumbiaClosed: State Mandated
FloridaClosed: State Mandated
GeorgiaClosed: State Mandated
HawaiiClosed: State Mandated
IdahoClosed: State Mandated
IllinoisClosed: State Mandated
IndianaClosed: State Mandated
IowaClosed: State Mandated
KansasClosed: State Mandated
KentuckyClosed: State Mandated
LouisianaClosed: State Mandated
MaineClosed: State Mandated
MarylandClosed: State Mandated
MassachusettsClosed: State Mandated
MichiganClosed: State Mandated
MinnesotaClosed: State Mandated
MississippiClosed: State Mandated
MissouriClosed: State Mandated
MontanaClosed: State Mandated
NebraskaSelect Cities Closed
NevadaClosed: State Mandated
New HampshireClosed: State Mandated
New JerseyClosed: State Mandated
New MexicoClosed: State Mandated
New YorkClosed: State Mandated
North CarolinaClosed: State Mandated
North DakotaOpen
OhioClosed: State Mandated
OklahomaClosed: State Mandated
OregonClosed: State Mandated
PennsylvaniaClosed: State Mandated
Rhode IslandClosed: State Mandated
South CarolinaOpen
South DakotaOpen
TennesseeClosed: State Mandated
TexasClosed: State Mandated
UtahOpen
VermontClosed: State Mandated
VirginiaClosed: State Mandated
WashingtonClosed: State Mandated
West VirginiaClosed: State Mandated
WisconsinClosed: State Mandated
WyomingClosed: State Mandated

Coping With Coronavirus: Online Training Is Key

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.

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 some:

  • 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 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.

Mike Boyle

Co-Founder, Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning

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.

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.

Deliver Workouts to Your Groups

This can be an easy way for brick and mortar gyms to deliver online workouts by copying their in-person group training format to deliver workouts through a group workout calendar.

It’s easy for the gym to manage and easy for the members to understand open app = today’s workout.

group workout calendar

Keep in mind that every “at home” 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.

Deliver Workouts to Your Clients

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.

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

sell 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 a 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.

Exercise.com has enabled our company to expand in ways we couldn’t imagine possible. As a Strength Coach that also manages the business this platform has made it much easier to get our programming out to not only our local clientele but also new clientele throughout the world as well as our professional athletes in different cities.
Eric Mahanke Carr Elite
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.
I sold a workout program and matched my yearly salary of in-person training within two weeks of selling to my community.
Exercise.com makes my life easier by providing an all-in-one solution and the opportunity to help those who otherwise would never have access to my programming!
Tony Gentilcore Founder, Core Online
Our custom-branded apps have helped us continue to make progress when training athletes, tracking their performance, and managing our business.

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. The best part? Your clients can access these workouts directly from your custom app. All a client has to do is download the app directly from their iPhone’s App Store or their Android’s Google Play Store:

app store screenshot

 

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.

Madeline Moves Tighter together Workout Challenge

With Exercise.com, I'm able to reach people around the world with the programs that I design, implement, and push out. You don’t have that opportunity working in a local gym. So that's been huge.
Kellie Davis 
Working with Exercise.com and their team has been an amazing experience and a dream come true in terms of accomplishing a vision! Their workout technology has helped us effectively engage our community, and I highly recommend Exercise.com to grow your business!
APMD Performance 

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.

See for yourself - Meet with the Exercise.com Team today

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.

How Are Other Trainers Responding to This Disaster?

Question: How has the coronavirus impacted your business?

Salman Kassam of SALECCA made the decision to close his fitness studio on Friday, March 20th, which has had a huge impact on their business:

“We are a strength training facility and our clients are used to lifting heavy, which is pretty difficult to do from your living room! We are hosting some workouts online as we still want to be there to support our clients, but there are many people who are not able to sustain paying for their memberships over this time. When you have high costs of a central London location, this has an impact pretty fast.”

Once people are back at work, Salman believes there will be a much bigger uptake for personal training, and for those who want to work on their health, and there will be less competition.

Paul Fabritz of PJF Performance feels relatively lucky despite the toll the coronavirus has had on many fitness businesses:

“We are fortunate that our business hasn’t really been affected that much because of it. We haven’t seen a huge decline in our online memberships, and we had already made the decision to temporarily close our largest hub in Anaheim in January. Therefore, operations were already in place to be predominantly 100% online (aside from training our high profile clientele) for the past 4 months.”

Question: Were you offering online training prior to the recent restrictions caused by the coronavirus? If so, what was the percentage of your business’ in terms of in-person vs. online?

“Yes, I offer online training through the app” says Sloane Davis of Pancakes and Pushups. “I only personally train a few clients each week in person. 90% of my business is done online.”

Paul Fabritz has a similar response: “Yes, the bulk of our business revenue is online training. We operate in a 90% to 10% split with 90 being online and 10 being in person year-round.”

Question: What advice do you have for other personal trainers and gym owners during this time?

Chris Muir, online personal trainer at CaliberStrong.com, noted “during this difficult period, it is important for both personal trainers and gym owners to continue engaging with their clients regularly. Perhaps now more than ever, it is imperative that people stay healthy, and don’t abandon working out just because they can’t get to a gym. There are many ways to do this – including writing home workout plans for your clients, training them over skype, and being available via text/phone to continue supporting them.”

Question: How will adapting because of the coronavirus affect your future business plans?

Craig Lindell of The Prehab Guys mentioned, “It’s only going to open more doors and opportunities for us to help people online and other needed ways.”

PJF Performance‘s Paul Fabritz had this to say: “The greatest effect will be on our high-level athletes and NBA clients who won’t be able to receive in-person conditioning and nutrition guidance, not necessarily on our business operations….So, keeping players consistently in shape while we know that they’re likely at home and falling into their own routine will be the largest hurdle.”

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.

See for yourself – Meet with the Exercise.com Team today.