COVID-19: A Good Thing for the Fitness Industry

Coronavirus is creating havoc worldwide. With millions of people in insolation, the fitness industry is most definitely feeling the pinch. Gyms have been forced to temporarily shut down, trainers can’t come into contact with clients, and economic downturn will no doubt lead to tough times for everyone involved. It’s not all bad news though, the fitness industry will survive this and come out better off on the other side. Let’s get into some of the positives that can be taken from this dire situation.

The Cream Will Rise

One of my biggest frustrations with the fitness industry has always been the low barrier for entry. In fact, no barrier for entry. Your Nan could start posting workout videos online tomorrow and call herself a “trainer”. Unfortunately, lack of regulation in this field sometimes results in an extremely low standard of trainers out there. Trainers who lack knowledge, ethics and experience have been duping the general public for years. Perhaps COVID-19 could be just what we need to clear out some of the trash. I’ve always believed in the premise that the cream will rise to the top. In economic downturn, only the best will survive. Consumers will be more frugal with spending, meaning they are more likely to shop around to find the best trainers. Weak trainers will come undone when facing the challenge of adapting their service. Personal training has never traditionally been a good way to make money. In fact, it's very difficult. The best trainers are not in this game for money though, they are in it to help others above all else. With not as much money floating around those trainers who are in it for the wrong reasons will be found out real quick. If you’re going to make it through this you’d better have a passion for what you do.

The Best Get Better

For those of us that make it through this, the standard of training should see a dramatic increase in quality. Any trainer who values their career already places a large emphasis on continuing education. Being forced to stay home provides a golden opportunity to get ahead of the curve on this. Online continuing education courses are thriving, more of us have time to read and educate ourselves. You should have a schedule set up and plan in place on how to best utilize your time at home. Address weaknesses, grow your knowledge base, and be ready to blow your clients away when gyms re-open.

The circumstances have also challenged us in ways we never thought we would be. How can we continue to service our clients from afar? Online training has been growing exponentially over the last few years, we will no doubt see innovation in this area now out of necessity. My hope is that some of the better trainers can use this time to increase their presence online, increasing the amount of good information online, and weeding out some of the people who have been able to grow online businesses based purely on the fact they have abs. The situation could also lead to a rethink in how many trainers do their business. I for one will need to address how I take payments from my clients when normality resumes. I didn’t protect myself against scenarios like this, I can assure you that won’t happen again. Systems must be put in place to make sure trainers get paid consistently without question.

If you’re a trainer you’ll have a good understanding of how adaptation works within human physiology (if you don’t, you should). When the body is placed under stress it is forced to adapt to this and become stronger. The situation we find ourselves in is no different. We are under a huge amount of stress right now, we must adapt. Find ways to fill your time, serve clients online, improve systems, learn more, and work on your online presence. Someone somewhere is making the most of this situation, don’t get left behind.

Wake Up Call

What has struck me most about the mass hysteria has been the general publics sudden interest in health. All of a sudden people care about their immune system. The irony is many of them could be complelty relaxed right now if they’d taken better care of themselves prior to COVID-19. Perhaps a pandemic will serve as a wake up call for many people who have let their personal health get away from them. Perhaps on the other side of this we will see a boom in people looking for assistance in their health endeavours. I wouldn’t hold your breath, I think the boom will be delayed until the economy recovers, which could be years, but I do believe there will be an end to this and the fitness industry will profit once all is said and done.

It’s without question there are tough times ahead in the fitness space. Isolation aside, the damage to the economy will have a dramatic impact on everyone involved in fitness. Know that there will be an end to this though. The fitness industry will survive, people will still want to get in shape, maybe more now than ever before, and people will still need help to do that. If you’re a trainer or a gym owner, buckle up, its going to be a rough ride but there is light at the end of the tunnel.