Extrovert at Heart

I know many trainers and running coaches have offered virtual training for years, but it was never something I chose to do. And even though I’m quick to admit that I love my alone time, I draw my energy from interacting face-to-face with others. I’m doing quite well with the social distancing that we’re practicing at the moment, but I do miss seeing my clients and realized that the only way to stay in contact would be by taking my business virtual.

 

Temporarily Suspending My Business

Per Virginia’s governor’s March 30th mandate, all non-essential businesses are to remain closed through June 10th – gyms are non-essential. On March 15th, I made the very difficult decision to temporarily close my personal training business. As we learned about the need to social distance to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, it made sense to avoid the gym, a petri dish of sweat and germs. I also made the even harder decision to no longer welcome clients into my home gym. Many of those clients have been training with me for over ten years and seem like family, but to stop the spread, we have to stop all interactions with others outside of those who live with us.

Once I made my decision, I sent the following text to each of my clients…
Out of an abundance of caution and to do my part in not tempting people to ignore the need to stay home, I am canceling all personal training sessions and classes for the upcoming week. I will address whether or not I need to continue this practice on a weekly basis until the threat of spreading COVID-19 is behind us. 
 
Stay safe and thank you for understanding!

 

The number of replies from my clients, especially my older ones, thanking me for putting their safety first was overwhelming and I knew that I had made the right decision.

 

Back in Business, Virtually at Least

On March 23rd when our governor first declared a state of emergency, closed all schools through the end of the academic year, and stated that we’d need to greatly restrict our movement, I realized that my business would have to stay closed much longer than I’d originally expected and that it was time to look into alternative ways of reaching my clients.

By Thursday, March 26th I had set up several different online video conferencing services and started seeing clients again, albeit virtually. It felt so good to be working with my clients again!

 

Steps Needed to Take My Business Virtual

I was facing a whole new set of challenges when I decided to go virtual. In the past whenever I had FaceTimed with my family, I’d used my iPhone, but when working with clients, I wanted to be able to see them on a larger screen so I could check their form, etc. and I had to figure out how to do it on my MacBook. When I tried to sign into Skype, I learned that my old password no longer worked, but I easily updated my account by signing in with Microsoft 365. For my clients who don’t have an iPhone or don’t like Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts are other options we can try.

Teaching my group exercise classes created a whole new set of challenges and I decided that Facebook Live would work best, but only for those students who had Facebook accounts. I spent much of an afternoon trying to figure out how to go live in a private group only to discover that I could do it much more easily from my personal page and selecting the group with which I wanted to share the video. It felt odd teaching a class in my basement gym to an open laptop, but the ladies who tuned in loved it.

 

Six Tips for Going Going Virtual

Once I decided how I would interact with my clients, I had to plan for an entirely different way to make our sessions work. Since we would not be in a gym setting, I would need to plan their workouts around what pieces of equipment each client owns or design their workouts to be bodyweight type exercises (squats, push-ups, etc).

To go virtual…

  1. Research and learn how to use the various video conferencing services available
  2. Decide on which platforms works best for all parties involved
  3. Expect that you may have to teach clients how to use the conferencing service
  4. Practice in advance
  5. Have everything at your fingertips so you don’t have to leave the screen
  6. Take a deep breath and remain calm

Yes, it has taken a bit more time and work to get my business back up and running virtually, but with being sheltered in place, time is on my side…

 

Questions:
  • • Do you work in a profession where you’re able to work remotely?
  • • Prior to our current situation, have you trained virtually with a coach or trainer; or if you’re a fitness professional, did you offer virtual training?
  • • What other video conferencing tools have you used?

 

Happy Running! ~ Deb