Sweat Equity: COVID-19 Gym Resources & Online Training Tips | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Sweat Equity: COVID-19 Gym Resources & Online Training Tips

Alisa Martin is a team writer and researcher for Exercise.com. She loves all things biology, fitness, and travel. Following a career in Molecular Pathology, Alisa spent a season as an ISSA personal trainer before moving to North Africa where she served as an English lecturer for a British university. She holds a BS in Clinical Laboratory Science from LSUHSC. In her free time, she enjoys morning jo...

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UPDATED: Oct 17, 2022

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  • 😷COVID-19 gym resources
  • Soft skills in times of crisis
  • Build community with online challenges
  • Interview with Mike D’Andrea 💬

Surprised by our digital newsletter “hitting the stands” earlier than usual? Given the current state of the world and the shuttering of gyms across the globe, we wanted to get some strategies and resources to you as quickly as possible; strategies we hope you’ll find helpful in the coming days and weeks.

With social distancing in play and an economic crisis on the horizon, fitness businesses and professionals are thinking creatively about how to maintain revenue streams and how to continue offering stellar training services. The uncertainty is certainly unnerving, but maintaining a positive trajectory in the face of disastrous uncertainty will help not only you but will help your staff and your clients to productively press forward as well.

Over the past several weeks we’ve been looking at business from a business perspective, but this week we’re going to take an introspective look at the business owner. A business isn’t only a strategy and analytics; a business is also a manifestation of the owner(s). Your personal and professional experience has a direct impact on your business’s sustainability and longevity. So, with life on hold as our communities fight COVID-19, may this unexpected season of social-distancing offer us all a moment of self-reflection.

New This Week: COVID-19 gym resources and strategies… Pursuing professional development… Branding with hashtags… Utilizing 30-day challenges… Interview with Mike D’Andrea, founder of T3Performance.

Still with us? Great. Let’s get started.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.


Online Training for Social Distancing

Keep your clients motivated with online training

10 Ways to Train Clients During Social Distancing

As a fitness professional, there is no need to panic (or hoard toilet paper). The fitness industry is renowned for its innovation and technology. Although the neighborhood gym and fitness center still hold a prominent role in our communities, workout delivery has come a long way. Software applications (think Apple and Android) have revolutionized the relationship between fitness professionals and their clients; namely, with online training.

If you’ve ever wondered how it could benefit your fitness business to incorporate digital fitness into your business’s platform, now is the time. You are one step away from delivering online workouts through your own custom-branded app to current and potential members.

Here at Exercise.com, our sole purpose is to be your business’s champion. Is your fitness business good at what it does? We’re continuously working behind the scenes to make sure your business is the best. From automated workout delivery, calendaring, e-commerce, payment solutions, website management, marketing applications, dedicated customer support, business management and application solutions, we’ve got it covered! Don’t hesitate to reach out to our development team with any questions or to book a demo. Fill out the form below to get started:

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

Start offering online training today with Exercise.com

We’ve delivered millions of online workouts and below are ten ways fitness businesses and professionals are training online and on-site via Exercise.com:

1. Deliver workouts
2. Deliver group workouts
3. Sell single workout plans
4. Offer automated monthly workout memberships
5. Offer memberships
6. Offer workout of the day membership
7. Run workout challenges
8. Deliver athletic team training
9. Run promotions
10. Deliver live-stream training sessions

Want to see these strategies in action? Take a look at how some of our fitness business clients are leading the industry with their branded-apps:

Transitioning Clients to Online Training

Communication is key when transitioning your in-person clients to an online training program. Here’s what your clients need to know to get on board:

  • What you’re doing: It’s important for gyms and fitness studios to stress that they are not closed for business, but are rather transitioning to a new exercise platform to facilitate training during our nation’s state of emergency.
  • Why you’re doing it: Stress your commitment to your clients’ personal wellbeing and fitness goals. Remind them of the importance of wellness and fitness, especially in regard to stress management and operating with a healthy immune system.
  • How it works: Let your clients know that they will need a computer or smart device with internet access. Also, describe any equipment necessary to complete the workouts (e.g. yoga mat).
  • The benefits: You are offering your clients an opportunity to experience online training at a discounted rate, or are offering free introductory sessions. Once your client is on board, even if they choose to return to in-person training later, they’ll have access to your online programs when they have travel plans or can’t hit the gym.

What Will the Transition to Online Training Look Like From a Management Perspective?

Here’s a template showing how simple it can be for you and your staff to manage online training for your club’s clients:

  • Staff can log in with your main account, or you can create a staff account for them to use (recommended). Once logged in as a trainer, they can:
    • add clients and manage their workout calendar along with other information
    • deliver a daily group workout to current members
    • create a group with a workout calendar
    • add members as clients and continuously add clients to the group
    • schedule workouts to a group workout calendar so members can easily view/log workouts from the app
  • You can also run an online group workout challenge by:
    • editing group name and settings
    • designing a landing page with a link to the challenge payment portal
    • scheduling workouts to the group calendar
  • Offer an online workout of the day group membership by:
    • creating a group with the group workout calendar

COVID-19 Resources

States with mandated gym/health club closures*: Colorado, Connecticut, Deleware, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia

*This list includes only states that have mandated closures issued by the Governor’s office. However, in several states even though closures have not been mandated at the state level, 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.


Soft Skills for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs can use these skills during trying times

Soft Skills in the Face of Uncertainty

When it comes to the necessary skills for entrepreneurship, the list is long and complex. Are entrepreneurs born? Or are they cultivated?

“Despite much research into explaining what makes entrepreneurial leaders tick, the answers are far from clear. In fact, most studies present conflicting findings. Entrepreneurs, it seems, are still very much a black box waiting to be opened.” (HBS Working Knowledge)

Are soft skills beneficial exclusively to our professional lives? Hardly not! Taking time to evaluate and develop your soft skills will benefit personal relations and endeavors, too.  And this is true especially in our current situation, as our communities are juggling school closings, possible unemployment, and infection control measures.

Soft skills, otherwise known as emotional intelligence, are accompanied by an innate initiative toward flexibility and adaptability to do what’s right and to help others while maintaining objectivity and rationality. No doubt you’re not only your community’s (whether local or online) resident fitness guru but also a respected expert and leader – and this example of emotional balance is what our communities need to see demonstrated right now.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills (non-technical skills) describe your ability to problem-solve, negotiate, communicate/listen, collaborate, network, manage time, and think creatively; these skills also include emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, technological aptitude, and resilience.

Running a business involves many moving parts and many unpredictable scenarios; new competitors, property damage, injuries, staff issues, financial woes, personal crises. How you as a business owner respond to each new and unique situation is paramount, and often it’s your job to provide the solution.

[Source: LinkedIn 2019 Global Talent Trends]

According to the GMAC. the top three soft skills for business success are “innovation, developing ideas and creating approaches; operational thinking, managing priorities, resources, and time; decision making; assessing risks, opportunities, and alternatives.”

Related: CASE STUDY: California Government Operations Agency: Defining leadership values and training managers, Great managers still matter: the evolution of Google’s Project Oxygen

When we think of successful entrepreneurs, people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson come to mind; none of which had an easy road with automatic success. It’s easy to be star-struck by the final product without a passing thought toward the product’s development.

Individuals like Bill Gates are by no means perfect, however, key abilities that have set them apart in their business endeavors include understanding themselves and others, reaction time and cleverness in fast-paced and volatile environments, building trust as a collaborative listener, and objectively considering solutions and resolving problems.


Hands-On Professional Development Opportunity Ideas

We’ve put together a list of practical suggestions that might be beneficial when looking for opportunities to cultivate various soft skills:

  • read something
  • participate in coaching/mentoring
  • enroll in academic study/training courses
  • volunteer in your community
  • cross-train in a related activity in your sector
  • join local, professional associations
  • attend forums, conferences

[Source: Insights into skills and jobs advertised on LinkedIn in 2018]

You know that thing you always wanted to learn? Well, while you’re stuck at home, right now might be the time to learn it. Maybe it’s not only soft skills you’d like to pursue; here are some resources that offer various craft and business courses (and many of them are free):

[Related: 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report: The Skills of the Future]

Using Testimonials for Marketing

Attract new clients with testimonials

With everyone confined at home for the unforeseeable future, now is the ideal time to connect with your clients. Isolation isn’t going to be easy, so check in on your members and clients via email, SMS, or even utilize a dedicated Facebook group. Although life is slowing down, economic uncertainties will take their toll on our communities’ morale.

As well, use your engagement as an opportunity to work with your dedicated clients to craft customer testimonials.

Client testimonials are essential to your business’s branding and marketing. You can incorporate testimonials and stories on social media (ex: Facebook cover photo), landing pages, testimonial pages, in-depth case studies, email signatures, blogs/vlogs, and in-person at events.

Related: Create an Authentic Brand Story, 25 Success Tips for Writing Customer Success Stories


Creating a 30-Day Challenge

What are the critical elements of an online training program?

How to Create a 30-Day Challenge

When planning your first 30-day challenge, there are a few things to consider as you begin. First, how do you intend for this challenge to benefit your business? Would you like to increase current client involvement or recruit new leads? Next, brainstorm ideas and a theme with relevance to your audience and goals. For example, for the foreseeable future, your audience will likely be online clients and their goals will likely be a mix of maintaining fitness levels, fat loss, and exercising for mental health.

Once you’ve settled on the type of challenge, you can begin organizing the calendar. The final stage of planning involves developing advertisements, focusing on a distribution channel, and crafting associated content. And, of course, marketing (email, social media) your launch. Don’t forget to create a community group for participants (this is especially important during self-distancing and self-isolation where many people crave community, even if it’s virtual). The key to sustaining the challenge’s momentum once it has launched is continuous involvement and follow-up by you personally.

If you’re a gym owner, you might consider offering the challenge as a bonus in conjunction with current memberships and at a discounted price to new clients. And for personal trainers, consider a discounted price for both current and potential clients as well. No doubt promotions will be a welcomed encouragement to clients facing their own economic hardships.

On a side note, what’s your competition up to during this season of isolation? Many are taking advantage of online business platforms and offering live classes. Check out the Guardian’s 10 best online home workouts for more insight.

Then, contact us to see how our software can easily set your fitness business up with online challenges that clients and potential clients can join during this worldwide pandemic. Click here to learn more!


Fitness Business Hashtags

In a social-media-driven world, hashtags are a necessity

Why Should My Fitness Business Use Hashtags?

No doubt you’re familiar with #flattenthecurve, promoting the message and website for COVID19 Update & Guidance to Limit Spread. You’ve seen the hashtag on social media, commercials, printed materials…it’s everywhere. Is your fitness business transitioning to online training? Let the power of a hashtag communicate this news.

What Is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a user-generated word or phrase preceded by a # sign that’s used on social media outlets to spread a message, identify a topic, and/or start or join a conversation. Hashtags are a powerful tool in marketing and branding. They make your business’s content easier to find and they identify industry trends, leading to increased audience involvement and increased brand promotion. Once you shoot your hashtag out into cyberspace, anyone can use it.

So, are all social media hashtags the same? The Facebook hashtag is used to discover pages, groups, and latest news. Twitter uses hashtags to connect relevant topics. Instagram’s hashtag is used by members as a discovery tool to gain followers. As well, LinkedIn uses hashtags for the same purposes. Regarding your fitness business, you can follow hashtags to keep up with industry news and you can also use hashtag analytics to identify your top-performing posts.

How Do I Create a Hashtag for My Business?

Want to start a hashtag for your fitness business? Begin with a little research. You can use Hashtagify.me or Twitter’s Keyhole to view analytics and monitor hashtag performance. Make sure the hashtag you’d like to use isn’t already in play; as well, check other conversations related to your hashtag of interest to be sure the topics are relevant and appropriate.

How Do I Implement My Hashtag?

It’s as simple as writing a post, then adding the # sign followed by your hashtag message and, boom, you’ve got your hashtag. Below are how-to summaries on creating hashtags specific to each social media platform:

And a few do’s and don’ts:

  • DO use three hashtags per post (five max), use short phrases or single words, apply titlecase to make the phrase easier to read
  • DON’T use punctuation marks, spaces, or symbols

Finally, just use it, and not only on social media. Include your business’s hashtags in emails, newsletters, and advertisements.

[Related: How to Use Hashtags: A Quick and Simple Guide for Every Network, How To Create A Hashtag For Your Brand [7 experts weigh in]


The Importance of Simplicity With Mike D’Andrea

Our resident interviewer, Schimri Yoyo, sits down with Mike D’Andrea, founder of T3Performance, to discuss the importance of simplicity in business management.

Notable quotes:

  • “Training philosophy, I would say simplicity. It’s funny: When you first start out—and whether you’re an athlete or coach—when you first start out down this path, everything is being thrown at you and you’re trying to simplify things and it’s like you just do what you know at the beginning. And then as you learn more you try to add on to it, and it gets more and more complex and then it gets to a point where you realize it doesn’t need to be that complex and you try to simplify it down.”
  • “I would say just the ability to be open and, I guess, dynamic and I kind of look at those as really the same thing. Whether you’re dealing with an athlete on the floor or you’re doing dealing with a parent or you’re dealing with a business opportunity or situation, having multiple options available to you.”
  • “So being kind of dynamic and looking at different options as they come at you. I think it just opens up the possibilities of what you can do and you’re not limited in such a way. And really with dealing with parents, everyone’s a little bit different [about] what they want for their kids. So just having a lot of tools at your disposal.”

Read the full interview


Interesting Internet Finds

Share these links on your social media platforms for increased reach and engagement

Taste: 8 Immune-Boosting Smoothies We Want to Sip All Day Long

Read: If your fitness business is still open to the public, check out our most recent article on gyms and COVID-19

Watch: PBS’s Influenza 1918 documentary 

Buy:  We’re all in this together! Encourage your followers to support their local (closed) businesses by buying gift certificates to their favorite boutique or ordering curbside from a nearby eatery: How To Help Your Local Businesses, Even If You’re Self-Isolating

And, that’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s issue of Sweat Equity: Insider Fitness Business Insights. Stay safe. Stay kind. And wash your hands.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.

This week’s Fitness Business trends was brought to you by Brittany, Mathew, and Jeff.

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