Hints and help from the new frontline of personal training.
COVID-19 has happened. March 23rd my gym like all others in Australia abruptly closed leaving me just enough time to grab my belongings, and head on home. My first step was to get permission from the local council so I could train people outdoors, because man, I was just so not wanting to do this all by computer. I set-up initial appointments and was ready to go, then bam, next day our Dr calls and says “You and your family are not going anywhere, you are at extreme risk of the virus, so you need to be in total isolation”. (For the record we suffer from Lyme disease and a few of my family are pretty much in bed 20 plus hours per day). Hmm, now what?
I didn’t want technology to be a factor in the online experience so for the next couple of days I trialled zoom and facetime to make sure I could handle any issues that came up. A variety of friends and family were treated to calls as I sort to work out what they could see, hear and most importantly how easily they connected. Then it was time to train my first client so I selected my “easiest” one and offered a free session just so I could get some experience. Surprisingly enough he loved it so it was time to make my new offer.
See the thing is even though only a few days had gone past, I’d been in communication (of course!) with my clients and already knew some of them were doing it tough, some wouldn’t even consider online, and some now had to manage children at home as well as working full-time. So I knew that I wasn’t going to attract everyone back. But I also knew that if someone wanted to train, I was going to make that happen for them regardless (I’m 58, if I don’t start to give back now, then when?)
I made my pitch, nothing very fancy just a bit reduced in cost because I no longer pay rent to the gym, and also encouraged whole families to train with me at the same price if they wanted. I’m sure PTA could help you with a lot more sophisticated approach than mine, but anyway it attracted several clients and I was on!
Nerves and adding value
My first few sessions were a combination of anxiety and relief. Might sound crazy I know as I have trained people face to face for years, but it is just so different – at first. What was I afraid of? That I’d become more like a rep counter and not be able to engage as deeply and fully as I could in the flesh. If I’m being completely transparent I began to doubt the value of what I was bringing, and since I’m not exactly cheap, that worried me.
I’m sure I would have gotten over it anyway, but what really changed things for me was talking it out with my son. As I explained what I wanted to do, it became obvious to me that my heart was to serve, and that I didn’t need to worry that people may or may not enjoy it. In other words, I decided that I would just keep being me, doing what I did and caring deeply for my “people”. If they got something from it, cool, but if it wasn’t their thing, that was ok too.
Whether it is in a gym, park on screen or over the phone, people can tell if you are “for” them or just trying to earn a buck. I know we all need to earn a buck, but now more than ever your connection with your client is critically important. Next time I’ll give you some ways the sessions have turned out so much differently than I expected, but how great it has been.