With many states lifting restrictions, it’s finally time for trainers and coaches to initiate a plan to start helping clients return to training after COVID-19. Returning to training will be dependent on your state, facility, and your clients’ perception of any COVID-19 concerns.
Throughout this article, we’ll emphasize tips for returning to exercise after COVID-19 which include new assessments, understanding your clients’ concerns, adjusting fitness programming, improving cleaning protocols, and more. With these tips, you should feel confident getting personal training clients back in action despite the barriers presented by COVID-19.
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Transition to Training After COVID-19
While the COVID-19 pandemic may not be entirely eradicated, many cities and states are now in the process of returning to normalcy. Gym-goers nationwide are working on re-establishing their fitness routines after months of improvising. In some places, winter has made home gyms even more improbable despite their good intentions.
The truth is, there’s a lot to consider for gym owners, trainers, coaches, and members of fitness studios or gyms. It’s reasonable to expect gym routines to be different in today’s society, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer a quality workout experience. By considering a few important factors, gyms should have no problem providing clients with the necessary means to participate in successful workouts.
Changes in Gym Protocols Due to COVID-19
There may still be some regulations or preferences that should be used for gyms that are finally re-opening. If your state has strict regulations in place, it’s most likely best to find ways to abide by those. Some fitness studios have accommodated those regulations by creating outdoor workout spaces, limiting class sizes, requiring pre-registrations, or through other tactics like live-streaming their fitness classes.
It’s not easy to jump through loopholes if you’re a fitness facility that relies on pleasing a large volume of guests. For many establishments, this might mean getting creative. For example, in California, 24 Hour Fitness has resorted to creating outdoor fitness spaces at a handful of its gyms to battle strict regulations that remain in place in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
Thinking of starting an outdoor bootcamp now that the weather is warming up? Check out “The Best Outdoor Bootcamp Equipment” to see what pieces of equipment are must-haves for a well-rounded bootcamp experience.
Many fitness studios have been able to capitalize on scheduling platforms that limit the number of participants in each session. This can be beneficial because it helps adhere to state-mandated regulations while also helping owners and coaches prepare for incoming guests. This helps to maintain social distancing protocols and equipment preparation.
For studios and gyms that have a large clientele, this could still amount to other concerns as members grow frustrated with missing classes or being restricted to inconvenient time slots. These studios could benefit from more complex workout software that would allow their coaches to train clients both in-person and virtually for those who are unable to attend.
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Returning to Workouts Post-COVID
Returning to the gym or fitness studio after a long time can be challenging and frustrating. For many people, gyms have been closed or restricted for over a year because of the pandemic. For some, this meant finding unique ways to try to keep off any undesired weight. For others, there may have been too many barriers to continue any real workout regimen.
It’s important to understand that our bodies adapt to chronic changes. In this case, your clients’ bodies may have grown accustomed to moving less, stretching less, and not making their hearts work as hard. What does this mean for you? It’s in your best interest to start slow when your clients return to the gym after COVID-19, regardless of if they’ve had the virus or not.
Unfortunately, benefits they have gained through exercise can be lost rather quickly. For cardiovascular performance, benefits can begin declining after just one week without sufficient training according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Muscular fitness tends to decline after about a month of insufficient training, leading to what exercise professionals refer to as detraining. This is considered one of the common worries for getting back into training after a long break because improper training after a break can lead to injuries.
On the bright side, many of the lost adaptations can be acquired rather quickly. Some studies show that previously trained people can reacquire adaptations faster than those who have never trained. This doesn’t mean your clients should rush to get back to their old personal records, but it does provide encouragement that the process may not be as long as it was initially.
How do you scale back your clients workouts after COVID? The way you adjust their workouts should depend on their goals, workout styles, and so on. For example, if a client is strictly trying to lose weight, you are most likely training them with a different protocol than someone who is strictly training to improve their strength. As a gym owner, it’s important to be able to accommodate those changes for your client.
No matter the scenario, the best route is to put your clients through a health and fitness assessment to determine if they have experienced any significant changes during the pandemic. A good assessment will address their mobility, muscular fitness, and cardiorespiratory fitness at the very least. From there, you should have a better understanding of what your clients need to work on.
If you have a client who was at one point diagnosed with COVID-19, you may want to require clearance from their physicians prior to them returning to training, even if they’re testing negative. Why? Some studies, primarily of severe cases, have shown that those exposed to COVID have experienced myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle.
Harvard Medical School reports that myocarditis could contribute to greater stress on the cardiovascular system, irregular blood pressure, or even decreased blood oxygen levels if clotting occurs. Myocarditis can be detected through an MRI to clear your clients to return to training. While this isn’t mandatory, it could be a valuable step that prevents any dangerous events from occurring at your fitness facility.
Establishing New Procedures After COVID-19
For gym owners, getting clients to come back after COVID-19 isn’t as easy as re-opening. You’ll be expected by many to be assertive when it comes to keeping your establishment safe. Regardless of what your city or state has mandated, there are a few practices you should inherit to maximize your customer satisfaction for anyone that may have continued concerns about COVID.
Some of the most popular and reasonable procedures include:
- Regular Cleaning
- Maintaining Social Distancing
- Limiting Class Sizes
- Using Open Spaces
- Avoiding Shared Equipment
- Staying Home When Sick
For many people, the above list might seem self-explanatory. That said, if your gym has been shut down or restricted for over a year, it’s easy to want to make as much profit as soon as possible. The practices above can help to be sure you develop long-lasting habits that help to retain gym members through addressing the need for safely returning to training.
A clean gym makes everyone happy. In today’s society, many of your guests will happily assist with cleaning if you provide the materials. You’ll still need a deep clean now and again, but benches, plates, dumbbells, and other commonly used items can be quickly wiped and ready for the next client.
Some clients may be wary of having others in their personal space or sharing equipment. Whether you find this to be reasonable or not, it’s important to respect your clients’ concerns. At the end of the day, without those clients, you might not have a job.
Last but not least, make sure any symptomatic employees stay home from work. Gone are the days where employees are required to withstand illnesses to please employers. Consider the safety of yourself, your clients, and your staff before forcing anyone to show up to work sick. This is a simple way to avoid spreading the virus and risking a potential shutdown.
The Bottom Line: Returning to Training After COVID-19
Your clients are the foundation of your business. As you embrace changes in practice due to COVID-19, you’ll want to consider new mandates or restrictions, changes in client abilities, and how you can establish new procedures to satisfy your clients regardless of legal repercussions.
Gym owners have a lot to consider when helping clients return to training after COVID-19. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be successful. Book a demo with Exercise.com today to see how gym management software can make the transition to training after COVID-19 smooth and effortless.