Virtual Training and the Future of the Fitness Industry

In March when the Covid-19 pandemic began many of us thought that the stay at home orders would be two weeks or maybe four and then life as we knew it would return to normal. That certainly has not been the case and it looks like this situation may have our lives altered for at least a couple of years to come. The fitness industry through the years has changed so many times to adapt to the times and the growing interest of people.

Back in the sixties they believed you could drop body fat with a vibrating belt. Throughout the decades we have seen an increase in interest from older people, women, and even children to go to the gym! We have also had our fair share of ‘fitness equipment’ & exercise programs along the way (shake weight, jazzercise, sweating to the oldies, the ab rocker, tae bo, etc) but the one thing that has always remained strong is the love of the iron. Iron in this instance we are referring to the weight machines, dumbbells, kettlebells, and most importantly barbells. The financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 showed a decrease in gym memberships and personal training. That however was only temporary. In almost fifteen years as a personal trainer I have seen many changes. 

Here again we come to a major change which came right along with a new decade. What will the 20’s stand for in the fitness industry. Will it be the rise of virtual reality fitness, will the fitness mirror or Peloton take over? I believe as always there will be enough customers to go around and there will be many facets of fitness, but I believe virtual personal training and virtual small group fitness classes (Facetime, Zoom, Google Duo, Skype) will be the new normal. Overweight and obesity levels still soar around the 43-75% every single year so obviously some of these trends still need some inertia to get people moving.

What keeps people from working out? The number one thing is convenience. People prefer simplicity before they jump into something which will strain their time and resources. Cost & time associated with working out include driving to and from the gym, workout apparel, gym membership, supplements, healthy food, personal training, and about two hours of your day. Does that sound appealing? Maybe for the seasoned gym fanatic, but for the average Joe the idea of doing that two to five days per week is daunting. Should I sacrifice twelve hours of NETFLIX AND CHILL to go workout with no guarantee I’m going to get results?

This is where the fitness professionals need to find ways to make working out fun, convenient, appealing & effective for everyone. This is where virtual personal training comes in. Since March many of the Formal Fitness Training clientele have switched over to virtual personal training. This is something many of them would have not consider before. They all seem to be enjoying the virtual training. We meet 1 on 1, 2 on 1, or in our virtual small group training class on Wednesday nights. These clients can get their fifty minute workout in, shower, and be back to working from home in just over an hour. That is amazing! Virtual training also doesn’t have to take place in your home. As long as it is a nice day both trainer and client is able to workout outside as long as they have a fast internet connection and enjoy the great outdoors. Incidentally you can also work with clients or  trainers who are not in your hometown which is an added bonus. Also once things loosen up a bit I believe social distancing outdoor workouts will resume! Can you say endless possibilities? 

Now I’m a fitness professional for life and I would not want to cut the legs of my fellow gym owners or workout oriented friends so I will simply say I believe that virtual training will get the fitness industry through this tough time and when the dust settles there will be room for both virtual training & in person personal training available and the industry will be stronger due to this Covid-19 situation.

Stay strong, stay healthy, and stay active during this time. Hopefully by this time next year Covid-19 will have been a bad dream and the world will be healthy and thriving again. Until then we need to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Give the virtual training a try. I know you wont be disappointed. Lastly, remember Formal Fitness Training is always here for you, whether it is a virtual high-five, hug, phone call, or text message. Don’t be a stranger! I hope to see you all in person soon.

 

~Michael Hartman

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