The VoicE 2020 Q4 - Page 20

The VoicE Q4


Group Ex Instructors and Personal Trainers Survival and Self-Employment as a Threat to our Clubs

The current COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many companies and individuals to become creative with business strategies to ensure survival during these difficult and challenging times . As the Greek Philosopher , Heraclitus , once said , “ Change is the only constant .” This now applies more than ever to the Fitness Industry and many experts are noting that the landscape has been forever changed , and this change is accelerating .

Pivot or Perish has become our new mantra , and digitization

has become our fuel .

Virtual training , on-demand workouts and homegrown fitness forums have sprung-up and are expanding . These workouts come from our clubs , outside businesses and even our own unemployed or underutilized staff .

Our fitness staff are our frontline workers , our Group Ex Instructors and our Personal Trainers .

Since governmental regulations limit participation in our clubs , we have laid-off or are limiting the hours of these frontline workers , thereby reducing their salaries , and out of necessity , our frontline workers have and are pivoting by droves . Workouts are online , in parking lots , and in personal homes . It is amazing how resourceful our Frontline Workers have become .

Group Ex Instructors and Personal Trainers have always been the heart and soul of our clubs , studios and centers . Our members know them , love them and listen to them .

When told to squat , our members squat . When told to plank , our members plank , and when told to follow … our members follow .

Our top Group Ex Instructors and most popular Personal Trainers are smart , savvy and hold the heart and hand of our club members . They connect our members to our clubs . They are the conduit and the frontline of our facility . And if club owners and managers don ’ t take care and pay attention to our top Group Ex Instructors and most popular Personal Trainers , they will leave … if they haven ’ t already .

Our clubs and studios are in possible danger of losing their best and brightest Group Ex Instructors and Personal Trainers to self-employed digital and small boutique or home-based solutions . These frontline health club workers have discovered how to stream sessions , utilize portable platforms , open their own private studios and transform their garages into private workout centers .

They have figured out social media and how to source inexpensive fitness equipment . Even if these solutions are temporary , our out-of-work Instructors and Trainers are finding ways to stay connected to our clients and are making money ( and lots of it ) without us .

The long-term answer to the question “ will we ever regain and regrow our memberships ?” remain in the hands of our clients . Will clients choose to stay with their independent Instructors and Trainers after the pandemic , forgoing such amenities as locker rooms , larger group ex offerings and sophisticated equipment , or will our members choose to migrate back to our facilities and rejoin ? We are left with a plethora of questions .

Will clients even need to make a choice between our facilities and remaining loyal to their fitness guru ?

Will members stay with their favorite Trainer and Instructor , or will they do both ?

After this pandemic lifts , will clients have the money to do both ?

And most importantly , will we have staff to hire back ?

Will our best Instructors and Trainers even come back after they have experienced the pay increases and freedom that self-employment offers ?

All these questions have no clear answers . But there are steps that owners and managers can take to ensure that they will hopefully have their choice of the best instructors and trainers to hire .

1 . Remain close to your past and present staff . Stay in contact through emails , zoom and messaging . Thank them for their patience and loyalty . Remind them that you are there to support them and help them through this time .

2 . Start and expand your digital solutions . This pandemic is not lifting quickly and looks like it may last through the entire winter and far into next summer . Even as our fitness businesses may be deemed essential , the residual impact of governmental closings or limiting most likely will be devastating to our economy and to our member ’ s financial stability .

3 . Support the independent Instructor and Trainer by allowing them to remain independent and economically self-sufficient while they also work for you . Do not require exclusivity .

4 . Explore ways to encourage exclusivity by starting or expanding creative and attractive revenue splits with our frontline workers . Analyze ways to support Instructor and Trainer continuing education to inspire and maintain loyalty .

5 . Find and hire the top Instructors or Trainers from facilities that have permanently closed or have reduced their staff . Ask around . Find out who these frontline favorites were , or are , and how to contact them .

When the pandemic began , Group Ex Instructors offered classes for free by connecting with participants on Social Media sites such as Facebook , YouTube and Instagram . These Teachers missed their students and their students were equally craving sessions and social contact . This authentic connection and honest sharing of health and wellness spirited the value of the Group Ex Instructor . The Group Ex Instructor figured out this technology on their own , quickly and efficiently .

And for the first time in fitness history , the Group Ex instructor was the hero .

The best instructors got online quickly capturing the attention and hearts of our members . Personal Trainers already had their clients cell phone numbers and emails . They too connected rapidly and with compassion to our members . The top Trainers were not willing to lose the connection with ( or the income from ) their clients . Trainers figured out their technology , provided portable , inexpensive equipment to their clients , found fitness alternatives and continued to train .

Our Group Ex Instructors , Personal Trainers , Yoga Instructors , Active Aging Specialists , Pilates Teachers have all adapted to the times . These Fitness Professionals who are the industry ’ s Frontline Workers have pivoted and determined how to survive financially during this pandemic . They have embraced technology platforms such as Zoom , FaceTime , YouTube and other digital resources to offer programming to their clients while their gyms have been closed .

While our clubs are slowly opening , many of our “ workers ” remain unemployed by our facilities . It is predicted that 30 % of clubs will never open , and those that do open will employ fewer staff due to decreased membership . Yet , we remain optimistic about opening and embracing our members . Therefore , we must plan .

How and where members come back remains to be determined . Will they come back to a gym , a studio , their favorite instructor ’ s garage , or stay at home and have their Personal Trainer come to them ?

We are humans ; we are social beings and crave social interaction , camaraderie , and companionship .

Some individuals will come back to the gyms sooner than others depending upon their comfort levels , age and the perception of the gym ’ s safety