There are some things you learn best in calm, and some learned best in the storm.” – Willa Cather
This week has been a massive one. If you’re a trainer and work in a gym that isn’t currently closed, you likely will be within the week. If you go to the gym, you’ve likely seen them all shuttered. For those who work in the fitness industry, this means a high probability that their entire source of income is now gone. Like many in the hospitality, service, or retail industries, we’re hurting.
The next 2-6 months will be challenging to say the least. With many consumers and trainers rushing fitness retailers to get equipment for themselves to use while quarantined or to fill the void, it’s not all doom and gloom though. Yes, many self-employed individuals are now essentially temporarily unemployed, but there are still a lot of people out there who are still gainfully employed, stuck at home, and need help keeping up with some kind of fitness routine, now for physical and emotional health more than ever.
Some sectors even see a spike in revenues during recessions or health restrictioned economies. Many people directly affected may take this as a big kick in the butt to start working on a new project, or find a new way of delivering service to their clients or members to help them through this time, but also gain some income. Some might just leave the industry entirely and go to other sources of income. So since we’re all stuck in this together, we might as well start finding a way to get the job done, create something new, and become better than before, all while making sure we stay as safe and healthy as possible.
One of my common quotes that I give to clients when coaching a movement is “Find a way.” If I give them a complex task that’s a bit of a struggle, I can give cues to say how to do it or what muscles to feel, but sometimes they just have to figure it out in their own brain, find a successful connection, and make it happen. Hence “find a way.” I can’t tell them what kind of connection in their brain will be the right one, and sometimes they just have to play and fail and find success on their own. Humans are incredibly adaptable to changes in their environment, which is likely why we’ve made it this far.
There’s no blueprint. There’s no teachings I can give to say “do this and you’ll be successful.” Nope. I can give you some scenarios and possibilities, but then it’s up to you to do the work and find that successful path for yourself, if possible.
Can’t do in person sessions? Offer online coaching. Offer training sessions by digital communication mediums like Skype, Google Hangout, Zoom, whatever works for you.
(Shameless plug: I offer both Distance coaching and Skype sessions if you’re stuck at home and want me to build you a kick ass program with the stuff you have at home, even if it’s nothing more than a rolling pin, small pet, and jug of water. Click HERE if interested). Sometimes pets join in too and it’s always awesome.
Stuck at home with nothing to do? Film a bunch of exercise demos with whatever equipment you have available. Upload them into Youtube and click the “monetize” button so that you can earn even a small income from the views on the videos. Put those together for programs for your in-person clients so you can keep them training, and use them for any online coaching clients you might have too.
Then, compile those videos into stand-alone products, like I did with High Tensile Strength (note, click the link to see how to get 2 months free access to High Tensile Strength, with a ton of home based workout options). I guarantee no matter what target audience you’re hoping to reach, a customized program to help them reach their goals will be way more appealing than just “20 exercises you can do at home.” Plus putting content on a searchable medium like Youtube can allow people looking on Google to find it, and you can use it for things like blog posts, newsletters, and evergreen content you can come back to at any time.
Do you run a gym or studio that’s been temporarily shut down? Loan out your equipment to your clients for the duration so they have something to use at home. Sign out stuff as needed, and just ask for a deposit of a pack of training sessions or a monthly rate, or whatever you use, that will go towards their ability to train with you again when you open up once the storm has passed. Does Dale from HR love using a Concept Rower? Loan it to him for a down payment of a 10 pack of sessions that he can start using once he returns. Kim the lawyer loves training with kettlebells? Loan them out for a 1 month membership useable once the gym opens again, at which point she can bring the equipment back and get to work on the pass she paid for in advance. This would beat the heck out of them spending money on near empty retailers and waiting for delivery, plus it can be a cash influx to help a business owner pay their bills, without letting the equipment just sit there.
Do you teach group classes? Keep the same schedule with your regulars, and set up for video conferencing with a camera, laptop or TV display, and lead the group through a workout. Everyone’s in their own homes or spaces, you’re in yours or even in your empty studio, and you lead it like you’re all together.
A big challenge is finding a new routine after the old one has been disrupted. If you have kids at home with you, then you know how much of a difference having that routine can make, but adults are not any different. Try to schedule things like your own workout time, time to write, read, or work on professional development, and make sure you stick to it in order to get something you feel can anchor your day.
Set a challenge for yourself. Want to nail your first pullup? There’s no better time to train for it, and my friend Meghan Callaway has the ultimate guide to help you get there.
Do you own a pet? Take them for walks. I know, it sounds weird, but if your region isn’t in super lockdown and preventing you from even leaving the house, you can go for a walk as long as you aren’t in a group or close enough to other people, plus fresh air and a little buddy can help clear your head more than obsessively checking your Twitter feed.
Real talk, this is going to suck. But with some drive, creativity and simply listening to how to best serve clients and each other, we’ll be able to pull through successfully, and in some cases hopefully even in better shape, physically and maybe even financially.
We can do this.
Find a way.