We can all agree that 2020 has been an interesting year to say the least. This time has affected all coaches whether you work in person or online with your clients. With the shutting down of gyms, businesses and reshaping what “normal” looks like, it will have massive implications to fitness trainers and coaches across the globe. It just may not be the change you are expecting.
While it’s not over, we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel as gyms and training facilities begin to open. I’m sure that you, like many of us, have had to get creative and try new things to work with clients and provide value. While we may eventually get to a resemblance of “normal”, there will be big changes. Your ability to adapt is going to shape your future.
First let’s talk about what’s happening. I live in Denver, Colorado and I’ve never seen so many people going for walks through the neighborhoods, riding bikes or spending time at the local park. The upside to this, is people are getting outside in nature and using their fitness in a more applicable way.
One of the wildest things I’ve seen is that everyone has suddenly decided to start riding bikes. With little options of things to do under various stay at home orders, there has been a surge in the purchasing of bikes. Talking with local bike shops here in Denver as well as a friend who owns several shops in Portland, Maine, I am getting the same message: bikes are sold out everywhere.
In addition to people going for walks, running, hikes, and riding their bikes, I have seen a big increase in simplifying workouts at home. I’m a part of a local gym here in Denver and we, like many others, have rented out our equipment to members during our closure. The feedback I’m getting is how surprised people are at the toughness and effectiveness of the at-home workouts that seem so “simple”.
If you’re like me, you probably just cracked a smile. Getting your clients to have this “aha” moment is a huge breakthrough, because “simple” doesn’t have to mean easy. This is our opportunity to reshape what fitness looks like to your clients, and really dive into what’s important to them and what will move the needle forward.
So how will the fitness industry change? I’d say it’s still a little early to know for sure, but I do believe that people are going to realize they may not need to go to the gym or have all the fancy equipment they once had. More people than ever are working from home and the convenience of training at home is giving them the time to do more of the things they love.
With this surge of people using their fitness in real life applications by getting outside, I expect to see many spending less time on indoor equipment. People will seek a coach or program that allows them to reach their fitness goals while getting outdoors, living life and being a part of their community.
This means a few things for you as the coach. The first, is that this is a huge opportunity to educate your clients and reshape what health and fitness actually means. For the first time, people are stepping back from thinking more is better and are now willing to prescribe to the “minimal effective dose” principle. When you help them understand how you can; guide them to their goals, have more time, and enjoy their training, you will become invaluable.
Secondly, I believe people are going to seek out coaches more than ever. The timing of this pandemic has shifted the lives of everyone. The degree to which this shift has happened has varied for every single person. I predict that many are going to realize how specific their needs are in terms of fitness and lifestyle coaching. And the best way to get where they want to go is to have a personal guide.
Lastly, and most importantly, the relationship with a coach is going to become the pivotal difference between people hiring a coach or not. With the spike in outdoor activities, garage gym build outs, and change in priorities, I believe many will have a shift in the way they view joining a gym or hiring a coach. People have been able to reflect on what’s important to them and the value they were or were not receiving prior to this change in the world.
While you need a foundation of practical knowledge to become a coach and help your clients, that’s just the minimum barrier to entry. At the end of the day, people hire you for YOU, not for the letters behind your name. They keep working with you because of the problem you can solve. If you want to stand out in the future, you can separate yourself by focusing on your relationships with your clients over the programming you deliver.
At the end of the day, people can work out anywhere. The things that a coach can provide is guidance, motivation, accountability and a relationship. While many clients may start with you because they want to get stronger, faster or look better, they will keep working with you because of how you make them feel.
There’s a lot going on in the world that we can’t control such as the accessibility to gyms or traditional forms of training, which is why I encourage you to focus on what you can control. Show up as the best version of yourself with your clients every single day. Spend more time creating systems to cultivate community and build a personal connection with your clients. Especially if you’re in the online space! When you focus on developing the person, not just progressing sets and reps, you will differentiate yourself amongst the rest of the industry regardless of what happens next.