Bringing Fitness Into Your Home
Brian Tully writes a monthly column for us (you can check out his latest on page 20) and as we put the magazine together, we really look forward to reading it. Brian is upbeat and positive and always finds a way to make us think that we can take charge of our own fitness, no matter our challenges. We thought he’d be a great person to talk to about making the best of the changes brought on by social distancing requirements on businesses like his.
What changes have you made to keep your business going during the stay at home order?
I had heard from fitness professionals in other states that their businesses were being shut down in response to the Coronavirus, so I had to assume the stay at home order was coming our way too. I wanted to get out ahead of it. I began working on a plan to be able to continue to offer my services to those wanting to stay home by choice (before the order was given), and ultimately switch everyone over once the order came down. To accommodate this, I turned to offering Virtual Personal Training using Zoom (free software) over the internet. This allows me to train my clients in their home like I am standing there in the room with them. Allowing us to safely be apart following the stay at home order, but still work closely together.
What technology or social media has been most helpful? What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
My primary tool has been Zoom (video meeting software) over the internet. The biggest challenge has been getting people set up in their home environment. Even though some were hesitant at first, we worked closely together and got them connected. I also spent about 30 minutes with each client before having our first virtual training session to help them setup a safe space for their workout, and to inventory their available equipment. That was the second major challenge. No one had the same equipment (or any equipment) compared to what we work with in the studio. I used this detailed inventory of each client’s available equipment to create a personalized at home workout program for them. I had to get a little creative, but we are getting in some really great, quality workouts during this stay at home order.
What things you learned or skills you developed while building your business have come into play and helped you recently?
After 25+ years of experience training 100s of clients, a Bachelors and Masters in Exercise Science, and numerous specialty certifications, I still have a high level of passion for anatomy and how the body works. It is through this experience and knowledge that I am able to deliver detailed instruction and exercise programming even without being there physically. This is very important to ensure people are executing the exercises properly. Incorrect movement will perpetuate a faulty movement pattern or cause compensation, which ultimately leads to pain or injury. Nearly every person I have ever worked with had some pain point or movement restriction when they came to me. Resolving that pain through proper exercise is difficult for most to do while in the same room, but I believe enough in my skill set that I can successfully do it in person or online. I believe this is one of the aspects that has always set my training apart and truly helps people move and feel better.
What have you learned in re-tooling to face current conditions will end up helping you as we move forward and out of this mess?
I learned that the service I offer is important. That people are willing to commit to it, even when it would be easy not to because it truly improves their life. I also learned that there is always a way. Even when the path toward where you want to go is not obvious. With enough desire, support and effort to make it work...you can make it happen.
Have you been able to keep a sense of community with your clients? How have they responded to your changes?
I feel that the time on our video training sessions is not only important to keeping them taking care of themselves from a physical perspective, but it also provides a needed social connection. I make sure we spend some time talking and joking either before or during the workout to maintain some human connection. For many of us, this is a big missing piece during the stay at home order. Shortly after implementing the change over, I reached out to everyone with a short survey for feedback. And I must say I was very pleasantly surprised as to how well everyone had received the switch to virtual. And since membership is a month to month renewal (no long-term contract) and everyone is renewing for the upcoming month, I would say it is a good sign that it is going well.
Are you sharing thoughts and questions and advice with others in your field?
I am part of several organizations in the health and fitness industry, including the Association of Fitness Studios and IDEA Health & Fitness Association, as well as numerous other social groups in the fitness industry. I will say that being a part of these groups helped me see what was coming, prepare for options to keep things business as usual, and even attempt to grow the business instead of just trying to survive. I have been lucky that I have amazing clients and have been able to successfully navigate this unprecedented time. I try to stay positive and keep moving forward doing the best I can to help those that put their trust in me, including my fitness industry peers, my clients, and others right here in the community I live in.
Better Together Fitness