COVID-19: Choosing to offer 1:1 training

7 min read
Now rules allow, should you start offering one to one training outdoors? What are the implications and how do you best communicate your decision to your clients?

Now rules allow, should you start offering one to one training outdoors? What are the implications and how do you best communicate your decision to your clients?

This article is now out of date but we’re leaving it here for reference.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 Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced that one-to-one training may resume in England (check local rules for other countries in the UK), and group classes can start again in Ireland from the 18th of May. This is what they published on the 13th of May:

If you are a personal trainer/coach you can now work with clients outdoors, providing you are alone and only meeting with 1 person from outside of your household, outdoors, and you are staying a minimum of 2 metres apart.

You can meet with different clients in a single day as long as it is only via one-to-one sessions and you are maintaining social distancing.

You should also enforce strong hygiene measures. This might be cleaning any equipment rigorously in line with wider guidance on hygiene, for example by using antibacterial spray and washing hands thoroughly before and after use.

Guidance for personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation, Published 13 May 2020

After an announcement like this, it's important to communicate your plan to your clients. To get in front of rumours and guesses, be clear about your plans. If you decide not to do in-person training yet, let your customers know. If you decide to open personal training, there is a template that you can use for re-opening at the bottom of this post.

Some clients will want to start training again

What kind of training is right for your customers?

Everyone has different reasons for coming to you for help. Your job is to give them a consistent service. If your customers want to be social, then group video sessions might be the best option for you right now. If they're more worried about fitness and performance, then accountability calls, one-to-one training, and personal nutritional programs will keep them on track.

Online classes are still the best way to run group classes

From what we've seen, online classes seem to be working for businesses that have tried it out. They have become an important part of some clients' days and a good social connection. If online classes are working for you and your clients, you might want to stick with it.

CrossFit Uckfield on Instagram

If you're one of the businesses running online classes, you're offering more than fitness to your customers. Online classes have been a source of connection for many of us. It's been a difficult time for people shut indoors. Live online classes have been an escape and salvation, and a way to see friends. What this means is that despite the aching desire to get back "out there," the real situation is that you are still serving clients' needs with online classes.

In this interim time, online classes are the most inclusive offering. People who are immunocompromised, who don't have access to transportation, or who are caring for family members may not be able to attend 1:1 training sessions. Running online classes, sharing video content, and recording or streaming your regular class will be the most helpful thing for those individuals.

Long term, too, it seems like online is here to stay, even just as a fallback. Weaving online into your training packages to allow for periods of lockdown over the next few years seems realistic and sensible. Some clients may come out of this phase and want more online classes or will like that they can continue training even if they are away. For example, business trips used to mean disruption to their programs. That doesn't need to be the case anymore.

Open your in-person training sessions slowly

If you decide to offer in-person training sessions, please start slowly. Your health, your family's health, and the health of your clients should be a priority. And, you will want to be flexible in case new information comes to light. Start small. Try with a few choice clients first and see how it goes. You may choose to stick to online until things become clearer.

Keep your business's reputation in mind. Some members will be incredibly grateful for it being offered, and some will not be as happy if they don't agree with the decision to relax the rules. You don't need or want to be the spokesperson for public health issues, but you can still offer leadership. How you choose to present the decision will be important (we've added an email template below).

One important thing to remember is that your target audience is bigger than your current member list. The impression you give the wider community is vital to your long term success. Our advice: take it slow. 

Make sure you're covered by your insurance

Most insurers are confirming that cover will be valid as long as you stick to government rules. Make sure you check with yours directly rather than assume this is the case.

Be careful because some are giving disclaimers like "as long as there is no link with anyone who has the virus." This includes family, work contacts, and friends, most of whose schedules are out of your control. Ask your insurer to clarify exactly what their policy means and ensure you stick to their rules to make sure you are protected.

Fitness business tools to help you schedule 1:1 sessions

The TeamUp support team is available to help you through any transitions. And, we've written a support guide for how to manage one-to-one sessions in TeamUp.

teamup calendar on the customer site

Template for personal training re-opening

On 13th May 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have announced that one-to-one training may resume in England (See local rules for other countries in the UK), with some restrictions:

  1. We must only meet for 1:1 training sessions
  2. We must stay a minimum of 2m apart
  3. We must enforce hygiene measures (like cleaning the equipment with antibacterial spray, washing hands, etc)

The level of risk has decreased, but not disappeared. Due to this announcement have decided to partially re-open for 1:1 training as of 22nd May, with some restrictions. We take this decision seriously and will change it if the level of risk changes at any point.

The training sessions will be 60 minutes each and allow for 30 minutes between sessions for cleaning. They will be outdoors in the (parking lot/park/municipal park).

You are welcome to book a session if you choose. We would love to see you (and we promise to go easy on the first week back ;) )


Personal training will not be for everyone at this time. To help you decide if this is the right choice for you, here are the considerations we have made to make this possible:

Hygiene measures. We have scheduled classes so as to not overlap. This reduces how many people come in contact with one another, and gives trainers time to sanitize equipment. We will wash our hands before and after you attend. There is a handwashing station [location] OR We have set up a handwashing station with soap and water and hand sanitiser. We will ask that all customers wash their hands upon arrival and as you leave. Trainers will be wearing masks and will stay a minimum of 2m away from trainees.

Location considerations. We have chosen a location with lots of space, as close to the studio as we could find. This is a public park with greenery and a washroom for handwashing. It will be a bit different from the studio, however. For one thing, there will be other people at the park, so sessions may have onlookers. For another, sessions could be in the rain. Our cancellation policy will be 24 hours, but if it's truly downpouring we will work around the weather; we don't want anyone catching a cold.

Thank you for your support during this time. We understand that this is a sensitive decision, and will update you via email as the situation evolves.

Read more about how TeamUp can help you launch and manage online classes.

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