Travis and Jono from Fitness Education Online interviewed each other to discuss what Fitness Professionals need to consider when re-opening their face to face group fitness programs during the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Check out the transcript below.
CONSIDERATION 1: Equipment
TRAVIS: Some of the big questions at the moment with equipment are:
“What can we use as personal trainers”
“Are we allowed to use equipment”
“Are we not allowed to use equipment”
“Can participants share equipment”
“What’s going to be the right thing and what’s going to be the wrong thing to do”
I think at the moment, we need to understand that it’s a very quickly evolving situation. We know that the Prime Minister has very recently, as of the 8th of May announced some new guidelines about different stages, and then we’re hopefully going into stage one shortly.
I think realistically, the best thing that we can do at the moment is keep it body weight.
If you’re using equipment, I would suggest trying to use equipment that people don’t need to share. (e.g. people bring their own kettlebell or they bring their own dumbbells, they bring their own bands, whatever it might be where you don’t need to share that equipment around during the workout).
I think they are going to be the biggest things for trainers to think about. If you’re providing the equipment, maybe you’re able to provide that dumbbell or that kettlebell, wipe it down beforehand, that stays with that client for the whole workout. Wipe it down afterward.
JONO: I would play it safe. I would just do bodyweight,
Because I’m a big scaredy-cat and I want to be on the safe rather than sorry side but also I think you can use it as an opportunity to upskill yourself. I would focus on two different things.
Firstly, bodyweight exercises. I recommend becoming an expert at bodyweight exercises over the next few months, have a look on YouTube, upskill, do some courses, muck around yourself and just learn a whole heap of different bodyweight exercises because sometimes as trainers, using equipment can also make us a little bit lazy. We’ve got all this equipment, we’re spoiled, but if you just have bodyweight, you’ve got to get more creative and you may even learn some things in the next few weeks that you actually like body weight-wise then you can use it back when you are using equipment.
Secondly, Vary up your workout variations. It doesn’t always have to be a circuit. It doesn’t always have to be a Tabata. Go out and try some different styles. There’s Accumulators, Phone Number workouts, Interval Sessions, Beyonce workouts, Traps, Matrix’, 10 to 1’s, there’s just so many different formats. I would recommend mastering those too. So learn different exercises and learn different workout formats, focus on body weight and you’re playing it safe, and then when you start back up, you may even have some different exercises and workouts you can use.
CONSIDERATION 2: Maximum 10 people
TRAVIS: So again, I think it’s important to remember the context of when this has been written. So we’re talking on the 8th of May, we’re just coming out to stage one restrictions or stage one restrictions are coming our way. And as part of this, we’ve been allowed to operate with 10 people outdoors again. So this will change as time goes on. But these are the current restrictions. Very similar to when we went into the full or the more strict lockdown. We’re now releasing it slowly. So, 10 people at the park, nine and the trainer at the park. Social distance is the current situation. Now does that mean you should go out and start running a boot camp with 10 people?
This is really going to depend on your client numbers and also your demographics. If your demographics are elderly adults and you’ve got 20 clients or 30 clients, maybe it’s best to keep running things virtually. But, if your clients are younger, are healthier and you’ve only got 10 clients and they all wanna go back and do their exercise in the park, by all means, go back and do your exercise in the park, with social distancing. So, I think it’s a really important thing to make sure it’s very much almost case by case.
If you’ve got lots of clients, it’s probably you wanna make sure that you’re catering for the majority of your clients, not the minority of your clients. So again, if you’ve got 50 clients but only 10 of them want to go back and do face-to-face and 40 of them want to do virtual, you’ve got to figure out where it is best to spend that energy. We all know that rule of 80/20 and how to maximise your output. It’s a matter of finding what works best for your business.
JONO: My take on this is similar to my take in normal situations where you wanna give your clients so much value where it doesn’t matter whether they attend the session or not.
So in the current situation, you want to make sure you’ve got things like a closed Facebook group, you’re running online challenges, you’re giving some home workout options, you’re giving some nutrition options, you’ve got a whole heap of different things going on so clients are getting value even if they’re not coming to the session. I would keep running a virtual session every single day. I would if it’s suited for your business look at running a bootcamp with 10 people thereby (the trainer plus nine people) assuming you’re following all the other guidelines that are in place.
What will be important is that you have a strong booking procedure because let’s say you’ve got 20 clients and you say first nine people that book in gets the spots. Nine of your members tell you they’re attending that session but then two of those nine people don’t come, that’s really not fair for your other participants who may have wanted to come but didn’t get the chance because of those two people who booked in and didn’t attend. So it’s just something to be aware of.
To simplify that, keep running things, run your bootcamp so that your clients are getting so much value even if they’re not coming to the session. Keep running your virtual session so everyone has at least an option for something. If you’re going to run the 10 people session as well, just make sure that there’s a strong booking procedure in place.
CONSIDERATION 3: Weather
TRAVIS: We’re coming into winter here, so do you really want to go back and train exclusively outdoors in the middle of winter when flu season is higher when we’re just coming out of a pandemic, which is like a flu-like pandemic. Is this really what you want to be doing? Is that the best thing to do, especially if you’re in Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, where it does get a lot colder. Personally, I don’t want to train outdoors at 6:00 A.M. in the middle of winter, ever. So it’s going to be, case by case basis. Maybe you’ve always trained outdoors in the middle of winter and it never affects your business. So then maybe you can go back to doing that. But, maybe you normally train indoors in winter. So it’s going to be a case by case situation. I think you need to be doing what’s best for your individual business within the current guidelines.
JONO: Now this is an interesting one for me. I never recommend training outdoors in winter just because it’s cold and it’s rainy, however, here’s the one time I may make an exception just because people have been so socially isolated and there may be some advantages to running a group sort of thing.
What I would focus on here is specifically the shelter and the lighting. Because they are two other hazards that come into play, if there’s not sufficient lighting, if someone falls over and injures themselves, that’s your fault. That’s got nothing to do with COVID-19. You can’t go and blame someone else, that’s your fault that you were training at a place where it wasn’t sufficient lighting. The same thing with the rain. For me, both of these two things are just uncomfortable. There’s no way I’m training in the dark and rain. So if you are going to run any outdoor session, make sure that it does have shelter and lighting there.
CONSIDERATION 4: Spacing
TRAVIS: I think the most important thing is going along with the most up to date guidelines. The current guidelines are still going to be pushing social distancing, one and a half meters between people. So, I think just making sure you cater for that. Things like boxing are probably out of action for the meantime, things like partner workouts are probably out of action and unfortunately for me, Jiu-jitsu is probably out of action for the meantime.
Whether that changes when stage two comes or stage three comes, I don’t know, we don’t really know yet. I think it’s a matter of keeping up to date with the current guidelines and the current advisories from the government and just following those as best as possible.
JONO: So spacing for me is an interesting one. The reason why I like boot camps so much is partner work, social interaction, high fives and getting to know each other, however, I understand that that’s not going to be appropriate at the moment. But what I would do is just challenge you to see if there are any other ways you can bring up the community and fun and games without necessarily having people high-fiving, hugging or being partners. Even just the top of my head, there are certain games out there like the directions game or even things like Hills and Hollows or even Rob the Nest, these are creative ways you can still play games and get teamwork while keeping social distancing.
CONSIDERATION 5: PRICING
TRAVIS: Pricing’s going to be an interesting one moving forward because with this if big boxing gyms are still closed then and bootcamp starts to open up, or studios start to open up, pricing’s going be playing a really important role, especially, if you can only offer sessions for 10 people. So, should those face-to-face sessions be charged extra compared to your virtual sessions and how are you going to manage that? I think this is going to come down to a really strong booking system, which I know Jono I mentioned earlier, so maybe you need to have people only able to attend two sessions a week plus three virtual sessions a week or something like that.
And then you’re going to have to set pricings for that and maybe someone who wants to attend five face-to-face sessions per week, maybe they’re at a higher price point because it’s just a far more restricted service compared to the virtual. So it is going to be a really interesting thing to look at. I think also the other thing here is economically speaking, people are being affected in very different ways. Some clients may have no issue paying that extra money, other clients may have that problem. So it could almost be a way to look at it is like a small group training.
Essentially, what you’re going to be offering is small group training as opposed to boot camp, at least in the short term. So maybe you need to think about it on a price point on that same level, whether everyone’s going to be happy with it or not happy with it. It’s very difficult to say, and I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer. Do what works best for you and your clients. One thing that is sure and that is important, you need to be happy with what you’re charging. So if you feel like you’re charging too much, you’re going to feel like you’re not giving enough value or conversely if you feel like you’re not charging enough, you might end up resenting having to work extra hard with little return, monetary wise. So, it’s important to get it right for you and your specific circumstances.
JONO: For me, this is such a tough one because there are just so many different variables going on. Firstly, it depends on what you currently doing, what you initially did after COVID-19. So if you kept your prices the same, okay, you can probably keep them the same here because if anything, you’re not dropping value, you’re adding more value. However, if you dropped your prices, now all of a sudden that’s like, okay, I’ve dropped my prices now that I’m doing face-to-face, do I bring them back up? So that’s an important consideration there.
Travis also mentioned the economy as well and that’s also going to depend on what you did before. I might give an ideal situation than some options. In an ideal world, you want to keep your rates the same.
So whatever you were charging the bootcamp before, ideally you kept them the same during COVID-19 and then you can keep them the same here as well.
If you dropped them, okay, you might have to keep your virtual sessions dropped but charge a little more per week if your participants want to attend a face to face session
That may also help keep people accountable as well because if they’ve already paid their money for that session, they’re going be more likely to come to that session.
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