This article is now out of date but we’re leaving it here for reference. Don’t miss our new guide to re-opening.
The world is facing some challenging times, and the fitness industry has been particular affected by quarantine measures. At the same time, most of your clients will be healthy and potentially stuck at home for a long period. This is an opportunity for you to show leadership and help them through so that quarantine or illness doesn't derail their goals.
TeamUp has implemented new features and measures to help your business, and we are maintaining this tips page for the whole industry to give advice on how to prepare, approach and communicate keeping your business going during the crisis.
Top tips for handling a lockdown or quarantine due to Coronavirus
- Be pro-active. Lead your customers and they will be grateful. Be more responsive on social and talk about taking on the challenge, particularly special measures you are taking to keep your environment clean and safe.
- Don't do nothing. Most of your clients will be healthy and bored in the event of a lockdown. They will need social interaction and fitness leadership.
- Communicate clearly. Tell your clients how you are going to handle the situation and why it is important.
- Consider moving some classes online. Several leading experts have recommended offering home workout kits for every member, workout ebooks, live-streamed workouts and nutrition challenges.
- Some clients might not want to do online training. If so, you could suggest consultation calls to check in with them. Or, offer programs for them to follow and report back to you in follow up calls.
- Consider clients' home situations. For parents with kids, whole family workouts might be helpful. Offering to let kids join in might be appreciated.
How to handle members wanting to cancel their membership in the event of a Covid-19 closure
Some members will be worried about money in the event of a lockdown. Here are some tips on how to approach touch conversations.
- Offer to freeze payments. This could be a membership hold or setting their membership to free until the crisis is resolved. Setting their membership to free allows to you to start billing again at a later date, which will help get things started again when you need to.
- Offer to half-price or discount next month's membership.
- Add value - offer online classes - keep them on course for their goals.
- Ask clients not to stop their payments and message you instead.
- If you have trialists you can extend their trial or offer a discounted membership to get started with online.
- You will want to halt penalizing class cancellations. If someone is feeling like they might be ill, even at the last minute, encourage them to stay home.
- Membership cancellations (not freezes), though, should follow your normal rules until there is any official lock-down. Instead, you could add any missed classes into future memberships. This is possible using TeamUp.
- At the most extreme you could ask members not to cancel payments but say you will refund in the future so that cash flow isn't too badly affected now. Some will say no, but the majority will likely be ok with this.
Getting classes set up online to offer an alternative for clients while they can't attend your facility
Online sessions could be useful in the event of your studio or gym being closed. It's something proactive you can do to show your clients that regardless of where they train, you are their coach and will keep them accountable and healthy.
- Start the process of getting ready now for online training.
- Use some of your session time with clients now to educate them on how to take classes online with you if you have to switch.
- Plan how to implement training that will work at home.
- Record some sample sessions and perfect your technique so that you can deliver professional quality when you need to.
- If some clients are already avoiding the gym then get started with online classes now.
- Consider streaming current sessions for clients who aren't attending (make sure to adapt workouts for them).
- Considering ordering equipment so that clients have an extra dimension to training (one hour of jumping jacks might get tired quickly). For example, exercise bands, dumbells or swiss balls. You could also loan gym equipment if it's not going to be in use.
- Add your online platform as a venue and schedule classes in TeamUp as normal. This will help ensure buy-in from your clients and help them be accountable, as well as make the whole process more professional. It will also mean you can see which clients are not being carried through on the process.
- If you are a TeamUp customer, use the dedicated Covid-19 tools section within your dashboard, and see this article for more set up and operational tips
If you are a TeamUp customer, use the dedicated Covid-19 tools section within your dashboard.
Recommended online platforms for delivering online classes
Here are some recommended platforms for delivering online sessions.
- Zoom - this is the recommended choice. It's free for limited usage and cheap after. You will be able to see a wall of clients working out too. Clients can use their phones or computers.
- Webex - Cisco have made Webex free to support small businesses during the Covid-19 issues - visit their dedicated page here
- Facebook Live - if you have a group for your clients then you can stream directly from there using Facebook Live. Quality can be an issue. The recordings automatically stay on Facebook as a post which is a nice feature.
- Make sure your platform can record so members can access previous workouts.
- Check with your insurers to make sure that you are covered. Most insurers do include online as long as you can see the client (our recommended solution, Zoom, allows you to do this).
- If you license any programs, ensure that you can deliver workouts online without breaching your contract.
Alternative venues if delivering sessions is still an option
- Plan an open space where you can organise if the rules permit it if you get shut down. This may or may not be possible, depending on the rules. However, it's a good backup plan.
How to manage a temporary closure in TeamUp
For more tips on how to handle communications around a temporary business closure, as well as how to handle this in TeamUp see this article.
We've implemented several new features including online class schedule management, membership discounting, bulk class cancellations and lots of guides and content.
If you need help get in touch with our team, we are here for you.
- If you are a personal trainer or run a facility we highly recommend Lift The Bar. They have dedicated training resources to help you set up online training as well as sample workouts. They have very active and managed communities with lots of content that will help you. Read more about Lift The Bar here.
- Here is a video that Chris Burgess recorded for Lift The Bar, with lots of tips and recommendations.
- Institute of Personal Trainers are giving their unlimited training package for free - sign up for free here, and you'll automatically be upgraded for free to 'unlimited'.
- Pat Rigsby's Fitness Business Academy is donating their Online Coach Certification program to help business owners through the crisis. You can sign up here and take the program for free.
- Fit Pro Essentials has launched a page with lots of valuable information and resources.
Do you have more recommendations that you'd like to share with our community and the wider industry? Send an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be glad to include anything that adds value.