Get the Most Out of Your Hybrid Fitness Program by Utilizing Omnichannel Customer Engagement

You don’t have to be Zuckerberg to know that a blending of the virtual and physical worlds is where the future of commercialization lies. Nowhere is that more pronounced than in the fitness space, where an approach driven by omnichannel customer engagement is making waves across the industry.

Like tight hamstrings after a long run, fitness and technology are irreparably linked. In fact, the Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report found that 80% of gym members now want digital workout options that are fully integrated into their fitness plans. Not to mention the fact that those with a hybrid fitness program involving digital workout options train 22% more than those who only work out in a physical club space.

This new model is also known as omnichannel fitness: a process that has proven tantamount to improving client engagement for gyms, clubs, and studios; it will continue to be a crucial means of delivering services in the new landscape of our industry post-pandemic.

Here, we break down what omnichannel fitness means exactly, plus some of the ways you can make the most out of a hybrid fitness program.

Why Do I Need Omnichannel Customer Engagement?

Shifting to an omnichannel approach means going beyond the four walls of your facility and providing a complete ecosystem of options for your clients in order to meet their diverse needs and expectations.

Put simply, omnichannel customer engagement is a way of integrating all of your on and offline services into a format that is highly valuable to your clients, drives revenue for your business, and reduces churn by keeping members loyal and engaged long-term.

The promise of what optimizing on this might mean is clear — adopting a hybrid model is key to retaining and engaging members by helping them stay fit and healthy long-term. Fitness businesses that have already begun adopting a hybrid model — one that blends the fitness offerings of a physical studio with those orchestrated online through a website and app like this one — are way ahead of the game.

How Can I Adopt a Hybrid Fitness Program for My Clients?

With more hybrid fitness options to choose from, developing your unique approach to omnichannel fitness is now easier than ever. We’ve lined up four of the most popular and effective ways business owners are utilizing omnichannel models of fitness for their businesses.

1.Video Workouts

Video workouts have proven highly popular throughout the pandemic and will continue to be a sure-fire favorite among fitness consumers in the years to come. For you, this is great news. Video workouts provide you with the opportunity to optimize the experience you provide to your clients making your hybrid fitness program a high-value addition to your services.

By creating and uploading your own video workoutsto your personalized club app, you can help your clients stay on track with their training even when they are nowhere near your facility. 

If clients can access your fitness classes through an app on their phone or by casting your instructors to the TV set in their living room via Apple TV or Chromecast, you can boost engagement and forge a strong sense of community between your clients who are all participating in virtual workouts, despite any distances or access issues.

2. Livestream Your Workouts

To make tuning into your businesses’ video workouts as easy and interactive as possible, consider making livestreaming a part of your omnichannel model of fitness. You can add livestreamed classes or workout video links to your regular booking schedule through your personalized branded app.

Alternatively, you can livestream the odd promotional class on social media. While in the long run, this is not the best way to drive revenue for your business, it can be an effective way to show prospective clients what they can expect from you and the classes you have to offer.

By running the occasional Instagram live class or Facebook live session, you can drive new clients to your business and encourage clients you already have to engage with your business outside your facility, in online spaces. This helps develop social proof for your business. It is a marketing tactic that works by fostering a community feeling and a strong sense that, due to its popularity with others, yours is a business worth signing up to.

3. Incorporate wearable devices

Today, it is estimated that there are over 75 million dedicated smartwatch users in the US alone. This is a number that is set to keep on growing, as a holistic approach to health becomes the most popular way in which consumers pursue their fitness goals.

By tracking not just their workouts but also their calories, steps, VO2 max, sleep, and all kinds of personal biometric data, consumers, and specifically your clients, can optimize their health and, as such, better reach the fitness goals that they hope to pursue with your gym, club or studio.

By jumping aboard this technological trend and incorporating wearable devices into your offering, you can not only create a new line of omnichannel customer engagement, but you can also drive profit by introducing a new revenue stream.

For example, by integrating a heart rate tracking function into both your app and your fitness classes, you can create a new experience for your clients and supplement your income by reselling wearable fitness devices.

4. Utilize Exergaming

Exergaming is technology-driven fitness at its most fun. It’s an interactive method of fitness that incorporates a physical workout with the excitement of a video game. As featured in Facebook’s new Meta promotional video, exergaming is set to prove hugely influential in the way future consumers stay fit. But this does not have to be a threat to your business. Rather, it could work as an effective add-on when incorporated into your hybrid fitness program.

One example might be encouraging your clients to start using Xbox games like Olympic Games or Just Dance, which get them up and moving, or the Ring Fit Adventure or Fitness Boxing games on PlayStation. By combining hardware motion sensors with fun virtual activities, your clients have more reason to stay fit.

VR — or virtual reality – headsets are growing ever more popular, and have also infiltrated the world of fitness. The Oculus Quest 2 is an affordable range of VR headset that offers dancing games and fitness games like Supernatural that have users stand in beautiful landscapes as they squat, lunge, and smash orbs to an awesome soundtrack.

Another way to gamify the experience of your hybrid model is to encourage your clients to take part in fitness challenges. We have found that, even with our own Virtuagym staff, this is an effective way to keep people on track with their workout goals, introduce a sense of competition, and create a feeling of connection with others.

Implementing just some of these hybrid models will be crucial to adapting your business for the demands of the future. When we conducted a survey of our clients in 2020 to see how they were coping with the challenges of the pandemic, results showed overwhelmingly that businesses that quickly adapted their offerings into the digital domain fared better than those that did not Discover the lessons the fitness industry has learned from the pandemic and for more tips on how to go hybrid, keep your eye on the Virtuagym blog.

Get a Grip of Your Time With the Appointment Schedule!

Save a tonne of time with our newly updated appointment schedule software.

Manually processing appointments is an inefficient way of spending time that you could be using to work on your brand, business, and clients. In addition, getting multiple texts, emails, and other messages can be hard to keep track of. It’s easy to miss something or double book a 1-on-1 training session.

Luckily for you, we updated our appointment schedule so you can spend more time on the most important tasks, such as hosting classes and keeping your clients happy.

Fill in Your Own Time

Our brand new design ensures that you can maximise efficiency with ease. You don’t have to put everything in manually any longer.

Instead, let clients book a spot on your agenda. This will help you avoid making double appointments and getting lost in all the messages you usually get.

For example, what if a client wants to make an appointment with you in three weeks? No problem! You can easily schedule ahead of time. Make your gym fun and welcoming to all without the manual hassle, just like Halima and Valeria from FemmeGym did!

“Virtuagym’s online signup helped us grow by 80%.”

Halima Hollenberg, Co-founder FemmeGym.

Of course, you also have a life outside of work – getting a haircut, celebrating a birthday, etc. That is why you can manage your availability and block time periods in the newly updated appointment schedule. Party time!

In case you work with other trainers, you can easily keep track of their agendas too. This ensures that your clients always have a trainer to go to!

With our constantly updated schedule, you can see the weekly activities, set and publish availability, and let clients choose their favorite timing. Besides that, you can easily use a laptop, tablet, or Smartphone to make appointments and update your schedule. Fast handling with almost no effort!


Ready, Set, Go!

Are you interested in the new appointment schedule, and do you want to know how to get ready to use it? Well, you’re in the right place!

First, you will need to log in to your portal and go to the system settings. There you can activate the appointment schedule. Afterwards, you can find it in the sidebar. We don’t want to make it too hard for you!

You will need to do four small things to get started:

  • create activities
  • categorize your services if you have multiple
  • select staff (or yourself for that matter)
  • choose the kind of notifications you want to receive and send to your clients.

That’s all – now you can begin scheduling!

Start on the schedule overview, where you will see the booked and deleted events.
If you are ready to add your availability, go ahead and click on the manage resources tab. Here you can manage both you and your staff’s availability. Go get that haircut and block the time you need!

Do you want to book a client in by yourself? Awesome! Go to the “Book a client” tab, select the category, activity, and time. Then, all that is left is to confirm, and it’ll be in your schedule.

If you are in a studio or gym with multiple trainers, you can also manage privileges. A club manager, for example, can edit the system settings; a scheduling employee can change the staff’s availability and all the other employees can book clients in.

Working from a Smartphone?

Check this guide!


Less Administration, More Free Time

We want you to profit from our work, so let’s see what you win from this update.

  • Spend less time on administrative tasks and focus on what is more important – training your clients!
  • Get a better overview of your week with more time to plan.
  • Experience new updates, it’ll make your life easier!

Ultimately, in addition to these benefits, you will be able to de-stress and focus on what you love instead of all of that administration!

Do you want to get a grip on your time, manage your business better, and be more flexible? Then, get started with the appointment schedule today! Contact our support team to find out more about this feature.

Are you new to the Virtuagym software? Read about our solutions right here!

Check out our solutions!

Expand your Hybrid Business with the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform

In Virtuagym’s most recent global COVID-19 customer survey, two things really stood out. The first was that 45% of gyms, 32% of fitness studios, and 36% of personal trainers said they had used home workout content technology. The second was that 1 in 4 of our customers are using a combination of online and offline solutions to attract new clients.

What does this show us? That the modern-day fitness user is now looking for experiences that go beyond the four walls of their physical gym or studio. They have become accustomed to the freedom and speed of digital services, and want to be able to work on their health wherever and whenever it suits them.

We always want to listen to what our brilliant customers have to say – so with all this in mind we’re excited to bring to you our newest exciting product to help monetize your digital content and grow your reach – the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform!

A Core Part of your Hybrid Fitness Business

Not so long ago, the use of video workouts was minimal. Now, they are integral to a fitness businesses’ hybrid business model. You might have heard the phrase a lot recently – so what does it actually mean?

Due to the evolving demands of modern fitness consumers, more and more fitness businesses are looking to seamlessly combine both their digital and physical services. This has become an important way for fitness clubs, personal trainers, and fitness studios to provide more personalized and meaningful experiences to existing, and potential, clients.  Online video workouts, just like the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform,  are a fantastic way to expand a club’s offering beyond physical facilities and to also appeal to those seeking different ways to achieve their individual health and fitness goals.

The Virtuagym Video Workout Platform – What Does it Do?

Have you already been using our Video On Demand content? Well, the integrated Virtuagym Video Workout Platform will take your use of online workouts to the next level as part of an engaging hybrid offering that combines in-class experiences with online classes or content.

It allows you to create your own workout libraries in the Virtuagym portal and make them available for your clients in your own customizable club mobile app. And what’s more, you can provide a full screen experience by streaming them to TVs via Chromecast and Apple TV.

Is there more? Of course!

The feature fits seamlessly into Virtuagym’s suite of products, meaning you can assign videos directly to clients at specific times and at certain difficulty and intensity levels. Also, it allows your clients to track burnt calories, which are automatically taken into account for their nutrition plans. And the innovation keeps coming because soon users will have access to an integrated heart rate tracking option, allowing them and their trainers to get a better overall performance summary in a post-training detail screen.

Increase engagement with your clients through digital content


Get the Camera (and the Benefits) Rolling!

Having your own branded video library suits modern lifestyles because it gives clients the flexibility to tailor options for their personal needs, picking and choosing the videos most suitable for them, at the best time for them and at the best level for them. This can form part of a far more enhanced training schedule, whether performed individually at home or as part of a mix with sessions in the club. This is important as today fitness customers are increasingly looking for a gym or trainer who can adapt to their lifestyle.

What’s more, the Virtuagym Video Workout Platform enables you to produce a greater variety of different and accessible fitness content, not just in the form of  pre-recorded or livestreamed workout videos but also as a way to provide knowledge sessions, Q&As or just far more personalized business updates. And, you are providing this content to a much larger and more diverse pool of clients –catering for a bigger audience with different backgrounds, motivations and preferences.

 “This has become a core demand of modern fitness consumers, who are increasingly expecting quality experiences and services beyond just the four walls of their fitness facility.”

Hugo Braam, CEO and Co-Founder of Virtuagym. 

Furthermore, our video workout library quite simply provides an amazing way for customers to continue to engage with your fitness brand. This can actively help in building a community between clients and your business itself. With both digital and physical touchpoints, you can grow your brand loyalty and awareness and improve retention – as well as appeal to potential clients!

Finally, the feature’s ability to track and measure physical activity is invaluable in providing data insights from sessions to help inform more impactful, personalized and therefore effective health and wellness plans.

How to Monetize your Digital Content

Right – so you are providing quality and accessible branded videos as part of more personalized and flexible fitness programmes. The question is – how to monetize this digital content?

Through our integrated PRO Membership feature you can upsell the  Virtuagym Video Workout Platform to clients for a small monthly fee as part of your rich PRO Member digital client experience, delivering additional revenue opportunities.

And if you’re looking for more guidance on how to monetize digital content, you can use it within a variety of differently priced subscription packages combining online and offline that you can cross and upsell. This can be positioned in your communications to existing or potential clients as a cost-effective, as well as flexible, way for them to achieve their fitness goals.

Get Ahead of the Game Today

The use of online video workouts is here to stay. Get ahead of the competition today by investing in the integrated Virtuagym Video Workout platform, so it can become an integral part of your hybrid business – now and in the future.

Are you keen to find out more? Get in touch to request a free demo

Half The Effort, Double The Impact: How To Maximize Employee Wellbeing

Wellness programs were often viewed as a challenging initiative for organizations around the world. Finally, times are changing and companies focus on how to maximize employee wellbeing.

The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for a huge change in the workplace with the utilization of technology revolutionizing how, when, and where we work.

Worldwide, an increase in remote and hybrid model working has resulted in the formation of a new normal’ that, in turn, requires companies to adapt how they deliver corporate wellness programs to their workforce. 

The rapidly changing needs of employees have been increasingly recognized by employers worldwide. Companies are understanding the bottom-line value of employee wellness in their organizations better and better. But while change is vital for corporate health and wellness, it can feel overwhelming.

Below, we discuss the crucial role of health and wellbeing programs and their relationship with workplace philosophy and values. If you’re looking to revolutionize your company’s health and wellbeing initiatives, we reveal how digital platforms are leading the way for corporate wellness and discuss some common challenges faced by HR professionals.

Find out more about our Corporate Health software!

Corporate Health and Wellbeing Programs Matter

We are living in unprecedented times. Research indicates that more than 7 out of 10 Britons are not exercising enough, with a quarter of over 55’s not exercising at all since the pandemic began.

In addition, remote working has increased the likelihood of a sedentary lifestyle by up to 28% throughout the pandemic.

Data published by Vitality from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (the UK’s largest workplace wellbeing survey) indicated that the UK economy loses almost £92 billion a year through workplace absence related to ill-health.

According to OECD Health Policy Studies, the direct costs of absenteeism and presenteeism are around £4,600 per employee per year, with obesity resulting in a 3% loss of productivity across the workforce due to illness, lower performance, and absenteeism.

And our Mental Health is Suffering Too!

Research indicates that stress is the number one cause of absenteeism in the workplace, with 50-60% of absent days linked to work-related stress. 41% of people also stated a decline in their mental state since the start of the pandemic.

Organizations are now challenged with recognizing, reflecting, and responding to changes in their workforce. Part of this challenge is learning how to adapt to the unique shift in the wants and needs of their human capital. This means providing tools for employees to nurture their health and wellbeing in a time of extreme stress and anxiety.

The 5 Biggest Challenges for HR Professionals to Maximize Employee Wellbeing

When it comes to nurturing and growing the company workforce, HR faces 5 common challenges:


A company’s health and wellbeing program can either positively or negatively impact each of the above five areas. Many companies are now giving their wellbeing initiatives a more focal position in the workplace.

Data published by Vitality found that 85% of homeworkers stated that companies who take employee health and wellbeing seriously would be an important future career consideration! However, forming an effective, successful health and wellbeing scheme isn’t a simple process.

The Overarching Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy

A wellbeing philosophy is a formalized way of creating a vision and mission statement around wellbeing support and coverage within a company. Traditionally, company culture and wellness schemes were siloed rather than informing one another; this often created miscommunication and misalignment between the two areas.

The new workplace revolution calls for a more integrated approach to culture and wellness, following the increase in remote and hybrid working. By allowing both areas to work side-by-side, the company can foster its culture and respond to the ever-evolving wellbeing needs of its employees.

For example, if a company’s culture is to cultivate community, how can they support this via their wellbeing initiatives? How can they bring people together?

How a Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy is Built

Company culture should define a health and wellbeing program. You can form and manage this philosophy according to these three aspects:

  1. Defining how resources are distributed
  2. Deciding how decisions are made
  3. Determining how things get done

Ultimately, our behavior shapes every stage of formation and management; this creates a culture within the company which can then inform its wellbeing practices.

The Best Practises for Building a Corporate Health and Wellbeing Philosophy

There are 5 best practices for building a philosophy:


By incentivizing the process, employees feel involved and invested in the company and its beliefs. But with such an overhaul in workplace practices since the start of the pandemic, how can companies adapt and execute programs to suit ‘the new normal?’

The Benefits of Healthcare Technology for any Company

According to a Workplace Wellness Programs Study Report, employee wellness programs improve long-term healthy behaviors in employees- both physically and mentally. In short, we need them! So how do we make them effective and relevant?

We live in a digital age with a vast array of digital tools at our fingertips; technology is a great enabler for improving workplace culture in this way. Simple mobile applications can allow companies to provide effective, digital wellbeing programs to both employers and employees.

Health and wellbeing content can be rich, varied, and personalized. And so it can facilitate better engagement and enhance community interaction within the workplace. Regardless of business level.

It is also an incredible opportunity to embrace the new working environment by connecting and engaging people regardless of location.

With the rise in the usage of wearable technology for employees, technology has fast become the most intelligent way to access content, whether employees are remote working or in the office.

Maximize Employee Wellbeing: The Takeaway

Well-executed health and wellbeing programs form an integral part of company culture, particularly in more recent times. Technology allows companies to offer a more personalized wellness journey to their workforce, catering to the unique needs of each individual.

By diversifying wellness content, companies can provide more choice and better support for their team with more inclusive and relevant content. After all, we don’t hire the same people, so why do we offer everyone the same wellness journey?


Our 24/7 digital platform is accessible by mobile app and features home workouts, food tracking, meditations, a digital community, and plenty of health and wellness content- all at the touch of a button and connected through HR software.

The Secret to Being the Ultimate Personal Trainer

This edition of FitNation’s Lunch & Learn webinar featured James Lorey and Aaron McCulloch from Your Personal Training UK. They shared insider tips on how to become the ultimate fitness service provider and earn up to $ 60k just by chasing your personal trainer dreams!

Watch the webinar recording by clicking on the play button and read the transcript below.

Tips for being the best personal trainer

Meet the Speakers

Aaron McCulloch, Managing Director at Your Personal Training UK and James Lorey, Operations Director at Your Personal Training UK.

Interviewer: Alex von Hagen

Alex: Welcome everybody. Thanks for taking the time to join us for another Fit Nation Lunch and Learn. Joining us this week out of the UK and from Your Personal Training is Aaron McCulloch, he’s the managing director, and James Lorey, he’s the director of operations. So these two are really leading the charge for the UK’s largest PT management company. They both started their careers as PTs themselves, and they’ve climbed the ladder to get to the leadership positions they’re in now. Today what we’re going to discuss is how to become the ultimate fitness service provider. So what that means is how to attract new and recurring PT clientele, how to earn up to but not limited to around 60K per year in revenue, as well as highlight the best practices for running a hybrid PT business with face-to-face and digital coaching, not only in 2021 but moving forward as well. So without further ado, James, Aaron, thank you guys for taking the time to join us.

Aaron McCulloch: Thanks for having us.

James Lorey: Pleasure. Yeah. Absolutely.


Alex: And guys it’s always a good starting point maybe if we can get a little bit of an intro and a background on yourselves, maybe we can start with James.

James: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Alex. So my name’s James Lorey. I’ve been in the fitness industry now for around 15 years. I know I don’t look that old, Alex, but it is true. It is true. So I studied sport and exercise science at Loughborough University over in England back in 2003 and kind of veered to the industry into the sort of a commercial sector initially. So I worked for health club chains, such as GGB Fitness back in the day and also Esporta Health Clubs. But really my big passion for the industry was personal training. So I joined Your Personal Training in 2010, myself and co-owner Aaron, we now run Your Personal Training. It’s the largest PT management company in the UK. We work across 400 plus centers. And it’s great now we’re coming up to the back end of the pandemic and really looking forward to the supercharging over the next few months.

Alex: Awesome. Thanks. And Aaron?

Aaron: Yeah. My name Aaron McCulloch, as you said. Yeah, very sort of similar to James. I think James started slightly more operational in gyms than myself. I actually qualified with Premier Training, which is now Premier NASM, did like three months in a classroom, eight until four every day, level two, level three, did all of that. And then jumped straight into being a self-employed personal trainer. So that was 14 years ago, in September that happened. So I was at Fitness First for a couple of years and then very much as James moved over to Your PT about 11 and a half years ago. And then kind of progressed through and exactly as James said to now be at the point where we’re kind of co-owning and leading Your PT and taking it in a slightly different direction than we were 12 months ago, should we say.

Alex: Yeah, definitely. Well, I think it’s super cool to know your guys’ story a little bit and understand where you came from and now I think it could also be a good model for success for PTs who are maybe just starting now and want to look to how they can make this a career as well. So I think you guys have some good insights to share, not only today but to anyone else who reaches out to you, both now and in the future. So we mentioned the three topics that we want to cover today, which are really around attracting the right clientele, earning a good salary doing this, and then best practices for a hybrid model. I would say right now in order to achieve that it seems like the order is probably to start with understanding the best practices to go hybrid, use that to attract the clientele and then leverage those first two to get that right salary in place. So we don’t want to beat the dead horse and talk about corona all episode, although that is something that is front and center in the industry right now. But I would say in your guys’ opinions, what kind of structural shifts do you think have happened specifically in the PT space as a result of the pandemic?

Structural Shifts in PT as a Result of the Pandemic

James: Yeah, it’s a great question. I think the world has turned upside down, hasn’t it, in the last 12 months. And certainly, fitness as an industry has not been unscathed from that process. So certainly personal trainers have had to become very more versatile in the last 12 months. And a lot of PTs that we’ve worked with, some have just gone into a survival mode and just done what they can to get through this pandemic. And others have really thrived and taken this as an opportunity really to try something new and try something a bit different and think outside the box. So there have been lots of side steps towards digital integration and online personal training, which we’ve seen. And it’s actually interesting because that’s been a skills development over the last 12 months.

Personal trainers were very nervous about that functionality in the initial phases. And now we go sort of circle 12 months down the line, they’re becoming very adapted and very professional in their delivery online as well. But also PTs have been moving to outdoor spaces and delivering their services on that basis as well. And we’re just finding new ways of working. We’re really getting to grips with the new society, the new demands of what our customers are demanding and really being versatile in terms of our delivery services. And it’s a great opportunity as we kind of progress now with the industry to not just think about the four walls that we operate within in a gym space, but also reach out to wider audiences. So there’s certainly been lots of learning and we’re really excited about how PTs are going to influence the health of the nation moving forward.

Alex: Yeah. I think that’s exactly it. You said that you do need to thrive in order to kind of adapt to this new environment, to these new different challenges. And as you say, like moving to the outdoors, that’s just one way that they can start to broaden their business model. I think that starts to attract a lot of new customers and consumers to fitness as well. And so along with what’s happening with the industry trends and the shifts we’re seeing there, it’s also been putting a lot of focus on this new consumer that we’re going to… It’s going to be a very holistic style member so to speak. Someone that is not just at the gym for the aesthetic but someone that’s there for real health and well-being reasons. How do you guys think a PT could cater to that new member in order to help them kind of venture into fitness?

Further reading: Online Personal Training: The Future of Client Coaching?

How Can a PT Help a New Member Into Fitness?

Aaron: I don’t think that those people are new members as such. There’s certainly a lot more of them now than there was previously. I’ve said this quite a few times. I think there’s now a sort of heightened level of consciousness of what happens or what could happen if you are overweight or if you have respiratory problems or you don’t have a great immune system and how quickly it can go quite badly, unfortunately. People in the gym I think as I said, there’s probably going to be a larger proportion like you said, are not really looking for, they don’t want to do a photoshoot in six months’ time. They don’t want to be on the front cover of men’s health or whatever. They’re not really looking for a specific goal. They just don’t want to feel like crap all day.

Like they want to be able to move, get out of bed without aching, which we’ve all been there at some point. I would say even as PTs, you’d go out and say, you don’t want to do a workout and not be able to move for three days. So it’s probably more about just wanting to feel better, feel healthier. If your friends are going out for a bike ride, like being fit enough and healthy enough to say yes and not avoid that. And it’s not just people in the gym, it’s kind of coaches who want to feel the same way too, right? Like not every personal trainer, you don’t need to have a six-pack or an eight-pack all year round. You need to know how to do it if somebody wants to come to you and that’s what they want to get to, but ultimately they just want to feel better. And all they can do to help is actually listen to what your clients say.

Like when you sit down with them and have that initial phone call consultation, whatever you want to call it and find out what they’re looking for. Kind of read between the lines a little bit of what they’re telling you and then deliver what they’re after actually using your knowledge and expertise, whether that’s like James’ background in terms of obviously his degree or just coming from a personal training background. It’s more about listening and understanding what they want and then just giving them something they’re actually asking for rather than just right, we’re going to go and do circuit training, irrespective of what your goal is. This is what’s happening. Not everybody’s the same. But yeah, listening, I would say is the big key thing for personal trainers to deliver that.

Alex: Nice. Okay. Nice to hear. And I think also along the lines of that, a lot of these new consumers coming in, the pandemic has given a lot of people kind of a chance to evaluate their lives and maybe what they want to do. And I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people are going to transition may be to become a personal trainer because that’s a passion of theirs. You know fitness has been a big part of their life and maybe they want to take this opportunity to start getting back and helping people maybe not find themselves in the same position they were at the beginning of the pandemic. So there could be a lot of new PTs joining the industry. So given your guys’ experience in this place, what would you say are some common mistakes that new PTs that are venturing into this space make, and maybe we could also address some ways that we could try and fix those or help them avoid them.

Common Mistakes of New PTs and How They Could Avoid or Fix Them

James: Yes, it’s a really good point, Alex. We’re also seeing this as a company now. There is a real uplift in applications to vacancies that we have across the UK. And lots of people, as you said, are retraining. The fitness industry is highly attractive. It’s a fantastic industry to get involved in. But what we often find that the common traits that we see are that there’s often a skills gap from what you learned on your course to what you have to deliver in the industry to be successful. And at Your Personal Training, we very much pride ourselves on the soft skills kind of education that we provide to our PTs when they start out. So you know how to communicate effectively, how to generate leads in-club, how to generate leads online, and how to deliver effective consultations as Aaron mentioned.

So I think the number one tip really for new personal trainers is to align themselves with a mentor. So someone who knows the industry inside out. Again, we have personal training managers who mentor new personal trainers coming into the industry, and they’ve all done their hard service. They’ve done their ten thousand hours. They’ve become experts in this industry and they’re very authentic in terms of their delivery, what they offer in terms of support. But I think another key consideration for new personal trainers joining the industry is to also find a warm market. So surround yourself with like-minded people who are interested in your services, what you’ve got to offer, and the gym environment is perfect for that. So that wheel is not broken. That’s going to continue to be a really successful angle for personal trainers going forward. And I think we see all too often personal trainers coming into the industry, knocking doors, giving out leaflets, and it’s a really hard gig. Even within a gym space, we look at 5% of members that engage with personal training. But now PTs have got such an incredible opportunity ahead of them because they can influence more and more members on a frequent basis.

So yeah, we often see it, the common pitfalls are PT finishes a course, they dive straight in. Some even go to the extent of setting up their own PT studios, which is a large cost but there’s certainly a stepping stone process to get to that level. So yeah, hopefully, that probably helps share some guidance for the newbies coming in.

Aaron: Yeah.

Alex: For those listening in. Yeah. Go for it, Aaron.

Aaron: I can share one more thing with that, is I think James is a hundred percent right, and we kind of tend to agree on this stuff. But I think one thing to probably add for that is before you even go in to decide where you’re going to PT and how you’re going to do it, is do your homework.

James: Yeah.

Aaron: Like there are so many people that sort of go into an interview at a gym, get offered a position, whether or not they were good at the interview or not, they will generally be given a position just because maybe the gym needs bodies on the gym floor. But I did that. I didn’t ask any questions when I joined Fitness First. I think I was PT Number 22, in a 2,000-member gym. Now, 18 months down the line if I was to do that again, I would walk out the door. As soon as I saw those profiles and got the membership numbers, I’d be out the other side. There isn’t a limited number of positions or opportunities, whether you do online, outdoors, in the gym, a combination of all three, which is generally what we promote to our PTs and is the best way to sort of getting longevity. But just kind of take a step back, do your homework, go to interviews, don’t make any rash decisions and work out what’s going to be the best route for you because there are options.

Alex: Got it. Okay. And let’s say early on in their PT career, we’ve talked about some of these pitfalls, but would there be any trigger signs that you guys see? As I said, like, they’re just getting started, or maybe they’re six months down the line, like some trigger signs or some cracks in the foundation, so to speak that maybe need addressing before they fall into some?

James: We see this often. I mean, what we endorse with personal trainers when they start out is to create a 90-day business plan. So set some common objectives for 90 days, be accountable to your PT mentor throughout that time. And we help support and navigate through that to get your optimal results. But usually, the blame game starts kicking in, Alex, is what we find. So, personal trainers have this uncanny ability to burn, I’ll refer to external variables a lot of the time. But the only variable that we often find is themselves. And if they’ve been teachable, willing to work and they’ve been consistent in their delivery, and nine times out of ten, the PT will smash their targets. They’ll work towards their common objectives and achieve great results in the industry. The issue happens when you go off pissed. But yeah, I think.

Nowadays as well, there’s lots of noise in terms of online personal training and influencers. When Aaron and I started personal training influencers was a different concept. But personal trainers are now almost working against that market as well. If they feel that they have to sort of play in that market, they feel they have to put their photos on Instagram, wearing their pants in their living room and stuff. But personal trainers shouldn’t get obsessed with followers. As I said, there’s a warm market in our communities, in our gym facilities that are seeking services of PTs on a day-to-day basis. PTs get much better results because they work on that one-to-one level and get a true understanding of what the client’s objectives are.

Alex: Awesome. Okay. Thanks for that. And you say, we talked about 90-day business plans. So maybe that leads into something that I was really curious to get your guys’ take on. Would you say there are any hidden, or maybe less obvious metrics or KPIs that a PT, let’s say outside of booked sessions, like something a PT could be tracking to make sure that they’re on track?

How Can a PT Make Sure They’re on Track?

Aaron: Yeah. So I don’t think they’re generally hidden. I think that they’re hidden from PTs potentially because they’re not perhaps looking at their business as a business. They’re just like, “I’m a personal trainer. If I’ve got people in front of me, then I know I’m successful.” Whereas, even for us, when we’re looking at how we analyze engagement and loyalty of personal trainers, we’re looking at how long they’ve been with us? Do we get referrals from them? Same with our gym operators, like how long we’ve been working with them? Do they sort of refer us to other gym operators who we ended up kind of working with? Also, I think obviously communication frequencies are generally a good marker for engagement. So I know because I have a coach for example, that I speak to on a weekly basis, we do video check-ins, texts back and forth whenever I’ve got kind of things that I need changing or updated in my programs or whatever. But he’s also got people that maybe check in once a month that probably aren’t getting the results that they want. So it’s whether or not people actually feel engaged, are you doing enough?

And this is what we kind of said, probably even more so over the last 12 months. If your clients have stayed with you, over the last 12 months, despite the gyms not being open and doing sessions on Zoom, on outdoors, that’s a pretty good indicator that you’re doing a good job. Some trainers have been really unfortunate and lost a lot of clients. But some other trainers might argue, well, actually, if you were doing a good job, they may have stayed. Now, there are other variables, they may have lost their job and they’ve had to move away and all this kind of stuff. But there’s probably like half a dozen reasons why someone wouldn’t stay with you. But the main one is they’ve not been getting results. So, if people are staying with you for a long time and they’re getting the results, they’re referring people, they still engage with you and they’re still coming in. They’re turning up to sessions on time. I think even just using those kinds of four or five, you can get a pretty good gauge of how successful you are as a PT with your clients.

Alex: Got you. I think you can see that across a lot of other industries as well. It’s like how engaged your own prospects or your own clients or members are, that’s going to be saying a lot about the service that you’re providing and then that can also provide clues. Maybe if they’re not as engaged, where you can pick up and kind of leverage some of the knowledge that you guys could be helping them with, say, for example, at Your PT to help kind of fill those gaps a little bit.

Aaron: Yeah.

Alex: Okay. So moving then and just trying to think of 2021 and moving forward, how are you guys motivating your PTs to expand their horizons or expand their business model? What kind of things are you coaching them up on?

Motivating PTs to Expand Their Horizons

Aaron: As I said, we kind of survey our PTs quite a lot. So we ask them what they would like help with and obviously, there are certain things that we also see that they might not see. Motivation-wise, we’ve never found that really difficult. James and I are hugely optimistic about anything. We’re not just looking at the gym opening next week. We’re looking at three, six, nine, 12 months down the line where, even 18 months’ gyms are back to sort of pre-COVID membership levels, more engagement. Less of the membership is sort of what they call the sleeping members that don’t ever come into the gym. There are fewer of those more active users. And obviously, we keep in contact with our managers. So obviously, they’re the team that actually looks after the PTs on a day-to-day basis.

James and I both kind of feel the attitude is generally a reflection of leadership. So if we over the last year, we were a bit kind of down in the dumps and switched off, a lot of people did, especially in the fitness industry, a lot of gyms just stopped talking to staff, stopped talking to PTs. And then when gyms reopened in July wondered why everyone had left. They’re like, “You didn’t help me. There was nothing you could support with. You didn’t even ask how I was.” So we’ve kept that kind of message throughout the last year that we obviously are optimistic. Obviously, we know that, I’ve said it before and it’s going to get quite boring.

With that higher level of consciousness around health, fitness, general wellbeing, some more people want help, and PTs are well-positioned to help those people, especially in the gyms where unfortunately there’s been some financial cutbacks for clubs. They don’t have a lot of gym instructors now on the gym floor, which means people don’t have anyone to talk to other than the PTs. So they can build that rapport and that relationship and they can deal with the demand. Gyms cannot deal with 2,000 members a week coming in for reprograms with two members of staff. Whereas four or five PTs will quite happily do that. They tend to work longer hours. They’re more flexible in their day, whether that’s face-to-face or online programming or whatever it is. They can actually expand and help more people, which is why we’ve always kind of said, you’re now more open to having a hybrid approach to your business. Which is something that we’ve kind of been probably since 2016 actually where we’ve kind of been in that jump for a while, but maybe we were slightly ahead of the curve on that one. I don’t know.

Alex: Nice. Okay. And because there’s so much talk about hybrid and being digital and moving forward in that space, let’s just say there’s a PT who maybe doesn’t feel as digitally savvy, what kind of resources or groups would you guys recommend for them to become more competent there?

Resources for PTs Who Are Not as Digitally Savvy

Aaron: So this is exactly the thing we had over the last 12 months, they didn’t know what to use, which apps were good. Don’t know how to use Dropbox or create Excel spreadsheets and put all the colors and the micro-cycles and things in there, as strength and conditioning coaches do and all the rest of it. And they just didn’t want to create word documents with exercises on there. Quite frankly, those are things anyone would have made. So yeah, the overriding response about going online last year was, I don’t know how or what’s the best way to do things. There isn’t the best way. It’s the best way that you feel your know-how. So it’s also why when we kind of came back in and James and I started to kind of look into it a little bit more, we thought, well, they’ve actually told us what they want. Like the PTs have asked. It’s not just about coaching. It’s about managing their entire business, coaching, and everything else all in one.

So that’s ultimately why we ended up creating Your Wellbeing with Virtuagym because it kind of ticked all of those boxes and we put it all into one app and gave them a step-by-step playbook. And then we assigned them an online coaching mentor, which I’m sure there is. If you go on Instagram, there are loads of online coaching gurus and mentors and things like that. They’ve never actually been PTs and never coached people in their life. Whereas actually the people that we have are experienced, successful personal trainers who have done it in the gym, they’ve done it online. They’re the people to kind of speak to and understand how it works. I don’t think you have to be that digitally savvy to kind of build your business or kind of expand your digital offering. There are just so many easy-to-use tools.

But I think that’s the problem. There are so many and we don’t really know. You might have to use two or three different apps or kind of Google sheets and things like that to run your business, which is why we thought, well, actually we’ll put it in one place, then PTs don’t have to do anything. They can easily go online, run their accounts, model their programs, do their nutrition plans. Their clients could all talk to each other. They can talk to them all. And it’s all within one space. Then it takes all of those questions out, which ultimately just makes everybody’s life easier. And if you make people’s life easier, then you’re always onto a winner in my book.

Alex: Yeah. I would agree with that. And I think when you talk about just centralizing as much as possible, and it’s also because now the business model is becoming really front and center. The message here is about, love the business, not just going to the gym. I think that’s what we see a lot of times with PTs is that they had such a passion for just working out and being in the gym. However, now that there’s actually a business model behind it that maybe can fall a little bit to the wayside. So it’s really about building that side of your business up and maybe that’s going to segue a little bit later in our conversation about how to turn this into a real career that has a good salary attached with it. I guess looking at YPT specifically, because maybe just to go a little off-script here, but you guys are giving a lot of coaching. You’re giving a lot of guidance here and I’m sure you’ve probably seen a lot of success stories. From your own personal perspectives, like have you seen, or would you guys like to share something that you’ve seen YPT help achieve for a coach?

A YPT Success Story of Training a PT

Aaron: I think we’ve been quite lucky, but I also don’t really believe in luck too much. I think it’s a combination of things that end up being sort of called luck or lucky. But we’ve had a lot of really good success stories over the last 12 months of trainers that even if they just started in the industry or they’d been in the gym for the last seven or eight years, they’ve kind of gone online temporarily. And then I think around May, last year, we were allowed to do outdoor one-to-one at some point, if I remember, right James and they were able to do that and obviously, that’s carried on. We’ve always kind of promoted that kind of hybrid approach so if you can’t train people in the gym, you can train people outdoors. You can do small group training, large group PT. You can do online coaching. You don’t have to do it all, but you can do a combination. And that’s what we kind of always meant by hybrid. And it’s worked really well.

We’ve encouraged personal trainers to keep doing that even when gyms have reopened. So yes, in the club is where their core business is going to be. It’s where a lot of their warm leads and everything is going to be in the gym with people who actually want to get fit and healthy. It’s a good place to pick up new clients. But many of our trainers kind of went back in, I think I spoke to quite a few and within three or four weeks, they were back at their pre-lockdown PT session numbers, which people weren’t really expecting. But obviously, over that time, we were talking about communication. Like even the old clients that had left, they were like, “Are you okay?” You know check in with them and just to be nice. And funnily enough, some of those came back and were like, “I need your help. I won’t mind some coaching. The gyms are closed. I don’t know what to do.” You can train outdoors. You can train online. Awesome if you’ve got those options. And even people that didn’t sign up maybe did a consultation, and then said, no, I’ll leave it for three months, were like, “I’m glad you’ve been in touch. I actually really need your help now.” So they kind of put themselves in a good position and all we did was kind of give them that kind of encouragement and that push to, do you know what? There’s actually a lot of people here that now need you to help and we kind of continued that message throughout.

But I think if it’s probably more recently, actually we kind of started working with a couple of PTs in the North who run outdoor fitness groups and boot camps. They had no digital offering. Weren’t making a huge amount of revenue. We’re kind of looking at other bits and pieces they could do to support their clients outside of their outdoor sessions. And they signed up with Your Wellbeing at the start of the year. I think at the end of January, and then by the end of February, they were generating another 1600 pounds a month from having a digital offering and creating like a sort of hybrid membership where people weren’t just turning up to the sessions, but they were now getting the support outside of it. They were able to have a community within that. So people weren’t relying on a private Facebook group, it was an app where everyone’s on their phone all the time and everyone’s kind of been to those sessions and coming in. So I guess that would be a one really good example, but we could probably give you 150 where PTs have been, some of our guys have been in the papers and Top 10 Influencers Next to Joe Wicks and things like that, which is brilliant. So it’s hard to name one, but I think that’s probably a more recent standout for us.

Alex: Awesome. Yeah and that’s super relevant to like how they’re kind of adjusting that business model on the fly. When you were talking about going back to old customers and just making sure that they were okay and just kind of keeping that communication line over, reminded me of the quote, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Where you can say like, look we’re all in it right now and everyone’s experiencing the same, but this is actually your opportunity to turn the tide a little bit and be that shining light here and then help someone out. And it sounds like for these PTs, like this actually had good business ramifications for them as well. But the end motive here was that they were helping. They were making sure that someone who they were giving guidance to in the past wanted to make sure that they were still on the right track. And I think that’s a really cool thing to hear. So yeah. Thank you for sharing that. So maybe thinking than about any future predictions that you guys have your finger on the pulse of the industry quite a bit. I think so what would you say you think the PT role is going to look like in five years or maybe even 15 years?

Further reading: Successful Personal Training in Today’s Consumer Market.

A YPT Success Story of Training a PT

James: Yeah, absolutely. No, we hope we’ve got our finger on the pulse, Alex. Absolutely. But yeah, I think essentially the principle of personal training isn’t going to change because PTs are skilled professionals who help deliver fantastic health results, and never has there been a time where health has been put in the spotlight so much over the last 12 months. So personal trainers have a key responsibility there. But we believe from an in-club perspective, personal trainers will certainly be utilized more. There’s going to be more digital integration clearly which again goes with the notion that we’ve been supporting for many, many years that personal trainers need to move away from selling time and go to more subscription-based programming. And I think that offers a lot of security for a self-employed personal trainer in particular.

So go into that concept and the digital integration just adds added value to that process from a consumer perspective. But I think the personal training COG isn’t the one that needs fixing. I think to a degree it’s probably the industry that needs looking at as a vehicle really for serving members effectively. And I guess the analogy of personal trainers is almost like having Renaldo in his soccer team and making him the physiotherapist for the squad. It’s personal trainers we believe should be the heartbeat of your fitness facility. They are your playmakers. So, I think they’ve certainly been looked at in a different light, a more positive light, and someone who can really move the service provision forward within the industry.
But what we’ve been looking at in recent years, Alex, in the UK is we focus a lot on PT penetration as a rule of thumb. And what we’ve been discussing with operators recently is to look at the bigger number, look at the PT effect. So not just the physical sessions PTs deliver, but how many people do they communicate with? How many people attend their workshops, their group exercise classes? How many have a free consultation on a weekly basis? These are all members that PTs are affecting on a day-to-day basis. But yeah, I think obviously with digital integration as well, it allows us to cast on that further, reach a wider audience. Like Aaron said about your wellbeing, we’ve strategically worked now to offer a solution to our personal trainers that cater to a hundred percent of what they look for in a PT management app. So if they have the ability to coach, manage and engage their client base, I think we’re onto a winner, or we can help members get fantastic results, stay on their health journeys for longer. And that’s going to help with the whole economy of health and wellbeing.

Alex: Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. I think you’re really onto something there too. And I would like to see that model expand more where it’s not just about selling one-time slots, it’s really that subscription service. And this is one more way that hybrid models can help them just boost the value in the service they’re offering to make that subscription. It’s not really just subscribing to multiple sessions. It’s all the services that come beyond that, that make that really appealing for the end-user as well. Cool. Okay. And yeah, on the same note of trends, you guys have hundreds of coaches around the country who are involved with a ton of different gym chains, and fitness facilities around the UK as well. Would you guys say that there are some trends that you see picking up more momentum or that you think are going to be really popular in maybe six or 12 months’ time?

Popular Trends in 6 Months or 12 Months

Aaron: I think bizarrely and rightly or wrongly personal training is still seen as a trend on a yearly basis. I think it tends to be in like the top 10 trends of the year for fitness. I think it was like…

Alex: It’s true.

Aaron: This year or something like that, which is really strange to me. But then at the same time, we have actual conversations with new gym operators that we’re starting to work with and they’ve got eight, nine gyms, 19, 20,000 members, no personal trainers, which to us that are in it all the time and work with PTs every day and we see the benefit. We’re just like, how? Where? Who gets results in your gym? Might you’ve got a couple of gym instructors at every club? You’ve got quite a good group X offering. But what about the sort of 3,000 people on a regular basis that might need a little bit of extra support? Might just want some programming from a PT and things like that. So as weird as it sounds, I think personal training is still going to be a trend over the next couple of years. It has just been one of those permanent ones. Youth activity and youth engagement and family engagement fitness over the next 18 months, I think a lot of people have spent a lot of time with their kids and are looking to kind of get active. Some of the people we know and speak to their teenagers don’t really want to train with them that much because obviously, they want to go work out with their friends and go play sport.

But certainly, where we still have an issue with childhood obesity in a lot of countries, and especially in the UK, there need to be some changes with that. And there’s a lot of programs we see coming out with sort of industry bodies and things that are kind of promoting, a bit more funding coming through. And there’s even a couple of things that we’re actually working on ourselves to look into and how we support personal trainers going into that area. I think digital is here to stay. I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. You know, I think I was listening to Hugo actually on a chat with the guys from Matrix and it might’ve actually been a Fit Nation webinar that I was on, is that it’s not going to replace the gym. Digital is kind of like an accompaniment. It is something that kind of supports the club. And I think it kind of likened it to watching movies just because you have Netflix doesn’t mean you stopped going to the cinema.

Alex: Yeah.

Aaron: Like if you enjoy them, you’ll do both. And that’s where we see digital being a really big benefit. And sadly, some gyms are probably going to switch their digital offering off. They’re not going to put things up and do Facebook lives and things like that when we go back, which would be a big disappointment. But some gyms will keep it and it’s now part of their normal membership offering where you kind of pay 30 pounds a month and you can’t make it to the gym. You can still do a stream session, which actually is going to get people fitter and healthier. And I see that as a win-win for everybody really.

Alex: Yeah. Okay. James, would you add anything to that or?

James: No, I agree with all the points really, Alex. I think certainly that digital integration is the key and it’s allowed us to sort of move into a different field. And I think realistically, we need to consider the communities, the population who aren’t engaged with fitness interventions. What are the reasons behind that? You know often it’s confidence. And I always use the analogy of Mrs. Jones. So Mrs. Jones is a 65-year-old female, lives at home is really of the notion of using a gym facility. But how can we engage Mrs. Jones, if you did send to her a fitness professional who builds the confidence and then almost creates a pathway to regular activity? I think that’s the key and it’s certainly the key features that operators need to be considering now going into this sort of new way of working in this new world. But personal trainers can be the biggest asset to that process as well. So it’s really crucial that we embrace that concept and allow the professionals to do what they’re designed to do.

Alex: Yeah. And Aaron, you had mentioned too, that there’s going to be a lot of like say family fitness initiatives and say trying to tackle like childhood obesity. Do you have any PTs doing like group PT sessions, but specifically dedicated to one family? It sounds like…

Are There Any PTs Dedicated to Working With One Family?

Aaron: It’s like something that’s actually within the sort of rules and regulations that I guess if you could call them that, that we’re allowed to do is actually training within your household.

Alex: Yeah.

Aaron: This is what personal trainers are doing. So where husbands and wives are training together or people that are living together are working out and just to get the kids out the house at the minute. I think that’s probably the thing that they can go and do. And while we’re training outdoors, I think I might be completely wrong, I don’t have kids myself, but James might be able to kind of help me with this one, but ultimately are kids going to be more engaged training with their parents outdoors or like going into a gym? I would think they would prefer the outdoors, myself.

James: They tend to show me up a bit too much now, Aaron. They’re faster than me.

Alex: [Inaudible 41:20] … sessions. Yeah.

James: Yeah, absolutely. They’re a bit quicker than me at over 60 meters. So I tend to keep them at home while I’m doing my workout.

Alex: All right. Nice. Okay. And you guys also mentioned some things that you think the industry could be doing better. So maybe we’ll keep it without going too off course here, but what kind of things do you see, like some challenges the industry is facing right now and maybe how to fix those challenges. But not necessarily challenges, but like making the industry better than it is now.

Making the Industry Better Than It Is Now

Aaron: Yeah. I think you’re right. You could completely go down the rabbit hole of this one. And if you want to really nitpick at what the industry can do better, we’d be here for two or three days. We don’t have enough time to do that. So I mean, obviously the challenges that everyone’s kind of had over the last 12 months, obviously couldn’t be predicted. I think it highlighted a lot of issues that gyms already have, not just issues. But maybe personal trainers, things that they were missing, weren’t doing. I think certainly around those kinds of sleeping memberships where I believe it was around about 22% of members that were paying, but not coming. That’s ridiculous to me that someone would do that. I mean, they’re obviously doing well enough to ignore that 20, 30 pounds a month coming out of there and only maybe going a couple of times a year. I’m a bit more frugal with my money than that. So maybe I would notice it if I wasn’t doing anything with it.

But definitely, the engagement side has been a challenge. And it’s an opportunity now for gym operators and a lot of them have been doing that over the last year. They’ve really improved what they were doing. Well, actually, we need to keep doing this. This is going to make things better. We’re going to get more engaged, get people in the gym. And I think also understanding what members want and how to use what they’ve got. So, one thing that I’ve kind of said before about making the industry better is a collaboration between absolutely everybody. So with personal trainers and gyms, they have the same goal, right and they never really worked together on that, which to us makes absolutely no sense. Like when we speak to a gym operator, they’re like, well, “What do you do when you come in?” We’re like, “Well, we don’t just take over. We’re not going to rip out the inside of your gym, change it and make it really super PT friendly. It’s a collaboration.” You know what your members want. We know what personal trainers need and what they need to kind of help their members. So we kind of bridge that gap.

But there are opportunities for gyms to do that with their members. People come to the gym to get results, ultimately. But only 10% ever get there. That means the gyms don’t do what they say they’re supposed to do, which is again, it just makes no sense. But a personal trainer’s job is to get results. The members want their results and the gyms want them to get them so they stay, which is what a personal trainer will do. If they get results when they go to group X or they do personal training, they’re going to do better than if they were training on their own. There have been several studies to prove that, and it keeps going and they will continue to be so. And they want to get fitter, stronger, healthier. Gyms want them to use their clubs. PTs want to help them and Members want to get there. Surely, that is just the easiest job in the world.

It’s everybody who wins in that scenario. The members win because they can get results. The PTs win because their clients are getting results. They’ve got a great reputation and the gym doesn’t lose members because they’re not getting results and no one’s talking to them. It just ticks all of those boxes. And I think now is an opportunity if it hasn’t been done to kind of start looking at that, whether they do it themselves or they work with us. We were very, very fortunate with the groups that we work with. That’s how they see things. And they’re like, well, we actually want to engage personal trainers more. We want more people to use them because we know they’re going to stay if they use a PT. So it’s great that we have that. But if gyms in general, that we don’t work with can take that on, it’s going to be better for everybody in the entire industry as a whole.

Alex: Okay. Nice. Thanks for that. That’s some good advice there, and I think it’s always good to get your guys’ take too, like coming into the industry. What’s some of the best advice that you guys have ever gotten when, say you were a little bit younger there, James in the industry? Yeah.

Best Advice Ever Received in the Industry

James: Yeah. So in terms of advice, I think nothing really stands out specifically really, Alex. But I think there’s a lot of talk within the PT industry now around creating a niche market. And I think that definitely has its purpose. It’s great to specialize in strength and conditioning or GP referral as an example. But aside from that, it’s important to understand what the consumer wants as well and let’s not beat around the bush. Generally, personal training clients, seek weight loss and they seek body conditioning a lot of the time. So I think certainly developing a unique selling point is important for personal trainers and especially to stand up from the crowd these days as well. I think it’s important to have some markers to show that you are the go-to person for your area of expertise and whether that be showcasing qualifications or client testimonials. I think that’s often something that personal trainers could 90% of the time do a lot better. So I think certainly having the ability to showcase and market yourself effectively is a great tactic for a new personal trainer or current PT in the industry.

Audience Questions and Answers

Alex: Okay, nice. And we’re going to start switching over to some customers, some audience questions here that have been coming in. One of them and this is one I think we like to ask a lot as well. Best book recommendations, you guys would have. Either of you. Yeah.

James: We’ve read quite a bit over the last 12 months. We’ve got quite an eclectic collection.

Aaron: [Crosstalk 47:26] … time, haven’t we?

Alex: Yeah.

James: What I’ve recommended on a few podcasts, actually, Alex’s is Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed that kind of focuses on aviation and the healthcare environment where they learn very quickly from their mistakes. They learn never to repeat the same mistakes twice, and I think that’s common in business as well. If you’re a personal trainer and you’re developing a brand and developing a business, it’s absolutely fine to make mistakes, but learn quickly and readjust and make sure that you move forward on the right foot.

Alex: Aaron, do you have anyone you want to throw in there?

Aaron: Yeah. Similar, just like James said, when we get asked this quite a bit and I’m getting further along from it. I use audiobooks because I’m not really good at reading. I left that behind when I finished going through level three. So it’s not for me. But I’m almost through David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me, which is kind of slightly, maybe a sort of different way from what James is doing, based is kind of, define the odds and sort of resilience and sort of mental toughness is kind of the key thing from that. And there’s a lot of kinds of messages and sort of lessons to be learned along the way from it’s a great life story as well, actually. So it’s very, very engaging. But it’s what he’s picked up from that and obviously how people can use that. Yeah, we’ve been flicking through those. We went through quite a lot of those books and made our way.

Alex: Yeah. Me as well. Okay. And this one, this is a question from a listener named Kevin is from a YMCA in Canada, and he says as a new personal trainer and currently full-time employed at a health and fitness facility, what advice would you give to someone looking to leverage their evening and weekend opportunities knowing that flexibility and adapting is key?

James: That’s a really good point. I think if you’re in a full-time position, you really would optimize that space of time that you dedicated. So if it’s a weekend concept, I used to run some programs called the weekend warriors and what my niche was are strength and conditioning. I attracted a lot of ex-sports performers to come and join in with the Weekend Warrior Program because they never lost that kind of desire to do better, to push themselves. They were elite sports performers previously, and they never lost that edge. So they were interesting workouts. But I think really, again, look at our 90-day business plan, have an end destination in mind and that will allow you to optimize your time to build the stepping stones in order to achieve that common objective that you’re looking for. So if it’s to influence 50 people, that’s a great target to start off with. If it’s to influence a thousand people with digital integration that’s very, very much achievable as well these days. So I think, have a clear goal and some stepping stones to get there.

Alex: Excellent. All right. And then this one is from Kristin, she’s a PT out of Australia, and she was wondering your guys’ take on client attraction with a really high price point. So what kind of differentiating services you guys would have if you are coming in at a much higher price point than say your local competition?

Aaron: Yeah. I think that’s a good question, actually. And it’s kind of, again, when I was actually a personal trainer, I had kind of my standard core offering, which was just my kind of face-to-face personal training, the support, and everything else. But I actually then had a package that started at 1,750 pounds a month, which was basically, I’m going to run your entire life. And I was like, well, actually, if I don’t have it, then people won’t buy it. So there are always those people out there. I think sometimes it’s just like well, I have something really high priced. I’m going to find it really difficult to find somebody. There’s always one around that’s going to do it. And they will always buy something or pay for something that holds really good value. So if you’re charging in Australia, I’ve got friends who work out in Brisbane as personal trainers, so if you’re charging like a thousand bucks a month for a personal training package, it has to have a perceived value of 2,000. So it’s not just the kind of face-to-face thing.

It’s the other side of the value that you’re offering. Now, I used to have dual bone devices, which now don’t even exist as Fitbit and Apple have kind of taken over that one. But it would track your calories, your sleep. There’ll be client rewards. There would be other practitioners that I would work with to offer a more rounded service. So they would come to me with PT five days a week, and then they would see a masseuse twice. But I would sort that out for them and do it all for them. Make sure if they need supplements, for example, nothing heavy. Create a team. Make sure they are having caffeine for workouts. If they weren’t getting the right vitamins from food, then I would obviously get that all for them. Generally, with the clients that I had doing it and funny enough, they knew each other because they’ll recommend you. It’s almost like I ran their entire life. I’d even take them shopping and say, right, go through what you would normally buy and change it. These are the swap-outs you want to get. It’s really easy now because back then it wasn’t online shopping that didn’t exist. So I wouldn’t even have to take them shopping now.

But the fact that you could create all of that for them. It is a lot about value and if you’re getting results, people will pay you anything. Like the coach that I have, if he said to me, right, you’re going to look like this in 12 months’ time, and it’s going to cost you 5,000 pounds. That’s done. It’s how you’re going to look in 12 months. I’m not even going to worry about how much it is. If that’s what is going to get me there, then that’s, what’s going to get me there. So I wouldn’t focus too much on the price. If you think it’s expensive, everybody else will believe it as well, because it will come across when you’re talking to them about the price. You won’t sound confident at all but if you believe in it and you believe it’s worth the value that it is, then that will come across and everyone else will believe it as well.

Alex: I think that’s super on point. Thank you for that. And then the last audience question here. So this one is from Ray Mondus, he’s coming out of Lithuania. He was curious, your guys’ take on bestselling PT packages and other revenue sources for a small studio. And it sounds like you guys had mentioned some personal training studios you were working with up North already this year. So maybe just to kind of combine some of those learnings into this answer.

James: Absolutely. Yeah, I think like in any other business, I think all of the operators that we work with always focus on yields. So client yields, how much revenue is being generated from each member, and a PT studio shouldn’t be any different. So having bolt-on options and added value services will certainly help with that process. And I think having your digital integration, so that’s the whole reason why we created Your Wellbeing is to give that additional functionality to the personal trainer and then understand their key objectives as well. I guess, is there an appetite for nutrition offerings? Is there an appetite for food preparation options in there as well? Is there an appetite for clothing? There are lots of multiple revenue streams that you can build that are of a standalone PT studio base.

So it’s kind of identifying those trigger points and then market to your audience effectively. And again with PT studios, you’ve got great ability to build communities. And I think once you go some allies and foot soldiers on the ground, they certainly bang with jungle drums and reach further societies and bring people in. They act as lead generation magnets for you. So I think, yeah, have a good understanding of what your consumers look for and just provide the services to align with it.


Alex: Awesome. Yeah. And I think in any business, you’re totally right. Like the ones who can promote your services for you, if you’re doing a good job and they want to do that word of mouth, that’s going to be the best way to grow that kind of revenue as well. Awesome. All right, guys. Well, we’re about to wrap up here. So always a classic question to end one of these podcasts or webinars, where does someone want to go to find you if they want to learn more about you guys or maybe connect with you?

James: Yeah, sure. So jumping on our website is the best point of contact, Alex. So You can see a little bit more about our company there. There’s a great video testimonial of what our personal trainers think about the company, which is the biggest point to us is what our PTs think of us and there are job opportunities there and a whole host of added value. We have released as part of our efforts to support the industry through the pandemic. We have released a business and sales training workshop, which is available free of charge to any followers of Your PT. So just pop your details on one of the comments forms on the website and we can get that webinar sent out to you.

Alex: Awesome. Yeah. And I think maybe we can move to put a link to that in some of the show notes as well. Great. Well guys, hey, it’s been a super pleasure talking to you guys once again. We want to thank you a ton for coming on the show and hopefully, I will be able to catch up soon again.

James: Pleasure. Thanks so much, Alex.

Aaron: Awesome. Thanks.

Alex: Yeah. This has been another episode of Fit Nation Lunch and Learn. Thank you everyone for tuning in and we’ll see you next week.

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7 Ways Personal Trainers Can Increase Client Motivation

A huge part of being a successful personal trainer is being able to increase client motivation. As you can already imagine, motivation is crucial for your clients to shake off inactivity, change their habits, and keep training with you.

But have you ever had trouble finding the inspiration to motivate your clients? We’ve collected some of the best ways to help you increase client motivation.

Tips to Increase Client Motivation

Here’s a list of 7 fitness motivation tips you can use right away.

1. Boost Client Motivation via Social Media

First, and arguably one of the most important ways of motivating clients, is through social media. Studies from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication confirm that social media plays a significant role in client motivation. As a professional, you are probably already present on social media platforms – so use that to its full potential!

How do personal trainers motivate their clients using social media? From sharing motivational messages, creating online support groups to encouraging clients to post their fitness accomplishments – your opportunities are endless. Because your clients already spend a lot of time on social media, this is the most time-efficient and direct way to increase client motivation.

Related: Quick Facebook Marketing Tips for Personal Trainers

2. Motivate with Fitness Challenges

Another important way of encouraging clients to reach their goals is by creating fitness challenges. Why is this a good way for personal trainers to motivate their clients?  Well, first of all, the addition of a competitive factor can make any workout fun! Second, it creates a structure for your clients to follow.

By dividing goals into small, achievable challenges, reaching a specific target won’t be hard for your clients. The instant gratification from completing a small task has a trickle-down effect by making your clients confident and happy to fulfill their larger fitness goals.

Related: How Gym Challenges Boost Member Retention

3. Use Personal Training Apps

Apps for personal trainers are simple, powerful, and effective solutions to improve client motivation. Technology makes everyday tasks easier and is crucial for personal trainers motivating clients.

An app allows you to stay on top of your clients’ needs and track their progress. Through your app’s features, you can directly communicate with your client and inspire them to achieve their fitness goals!

4. Be Positive and Patient

Another way of keeping clients motivated is by being positive. When communicating with your clients, always keep a positive attitude and a positive way of communicating. Simply having a smile on your face while talking with your clients is also a nice way to boost their self-esteem. Compliment them on the little things to keep their drive alive – it’s a fool-proof personal trainer motivation technique!

When it comes to how do personal trainers motivate their clients, maintaining a positive attitude and focusing on the progress your clients have made instead of the hurdle that still lies ahead is imperative. Make them believe in themselves – it’s cheesy, but it’s true!


How do personal trainers motivate their clients


5. Set Attainable Goals

Help your clients by setting realistic and attainable goals. Otherwise, they’ll soon lose their motivation. Before climbing a mountain, you first have to climb a hill. Helping your clients to formulate their goals is the first step to success.

Make sure their goals are realistic, attainable, and set deadlines for them to achieve said goals. Talk to them about their intentions for getting healthy or in shape, and turn their intentions into measurable milestones. Keep measuring their progress, and make sure to show it to them as often as possible, to remind them their efforts are paying off.

Personal trainers motivating clients is a two-way process and you have to meet your clients in the middle to consolidate your goals for them, with their goals for themselves.

Related Content: The Ideal Personal Trainer Intake Process

6. Set Fitness Rewards

Fitness rewards are like small presents that you can give to your clients after having reached a certain goal. Everyone likes to receive presents, right? This can be as small as a free smoothie, a small badge, or it could even be a free massage (if your club offers those kinds of services).

If your clients reach a milestone within a set deadline, give them a fitness reward. At the same time, don’t forget to reward clients that don’t reach their goals but not for a lack of trying. It can be just as frustrating to put in a lot of effort and miss the mark by an inch!

7. Offer Something New

Lastly, you should always switch up your offering. One of the reasons people are unmotivated to go to the gym is because it can be… well, boring. It isn’t what personal trainers want to hear with motivating clients but it’s the reality.

Most people aren’t in as good a shape as you, and going to the gym can be a challenge in and of itself. And, once they’re there, they may not feel the same urge you do to work out. The last thing you want is for your clients to feel bored. If you notice boredom creeping in, try mixing up their fitness routine.

If a client has been doing one-on-one training, organize some small group training or try pairing up clients and help them find a sport-soulmate who can motivate each other. Variety is one of the best antidotes for exercise boredom.

Key Takeaways

All the tips for how to motivate your personal training clients we’ve discussed above include being mindful of their goals, anticipate challenges, reward them, and maintain positive communication throughout the process.

These are cornerstones of success for any good personal trainer. Introducing these ideas to your training programs (if you haven’t already!) will make it easier to keep your clients motivated throughout their health journey.

Motivation is something your clients have to build up every time and every day they go to the gym. Some days they will succeed – and some days, they may not. There will always be ups and downs, and you might feel like for each step forward you take with them, you also take two steps back when they fall off the wagon.

But lucky for them, you’ll always be at their side, helping them overcome their challenges and celebrating each success. All things said, it’s a pretty awesome job, isn’t it?

How Much Do Personal Trainers Make in the USA?

If you’re trying to decide what to charge as a personal trainer, or you’re just about to launch your career as a personal trainer and want to know what you’re getting yourself into, well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll look at the salaries personal trainers can earn in the USA, UK, and Spain. This should give you a solid idea of what you can expect money-wise in your career.

We’ll break it down by country, experience, and gender so that you know what to expect and can work towards.

So do the salaries vary greatly between the three countries? Well, yes and no.

Personal trainers working in the UK and the USA often earn similar salaries with only slight differences.

Personal Trainer Salary in the USA

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NDSM), the average personal trainer salary in the US is $40,000 (in 2020), which is slightly above the median salary in the US. But these numbers differ depending on who you ask. ZipRecruiter, for example, says the average is $49,000, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average for fitness trainers and instructors is $42,000.

The average personal trainer salary is also dependant on what type of personal trainer you are. NASM identifies the following three types of personal trainers and their average salaries.

  • Private PT – $78,000
  • Independent PT – $62,000
  • Gym Employed PT – $34,000

According to a survey of 1,021 personal trainers from August 6th to 13th, 2019, the average respondent said they work with 23 clients a week, and charge about $60 per session for individual or group training.

And, as is expected, 51% earn more than $50,000 a year, compared to 17% of those with fewer than five years of training clients. So, the more the experience, the higher the personal trainer salary.

Read more: How Personal Trainer Management Software Avoids Bankruptcy

Personal Trainer Salary & the US Gender Wage Gap

The median income for women is about 80% of that of men. This gender wage gap becomes wider when you factor in the United States’ racial economic disparity, in which Black and African-American women earn $0.62 for every dollar their white male counterparts do.

However, these figures are even more different for female personal trainer salaries in the US. Across most other fields, the median income for women is about 80% that of men – but in the fitness industry, our research on shows that female personal trainers earn $37,300 a year, just 70% as much as their male counterparts.

Many believe this is due to women beginning their personal training career later than men and having less experience and therefore, a lesser salary than male personal trainers.

Among trainers who earn more than $50,000 a year, 27% have an NSCA certification, compared to the 13% of those who make less. That number rises to 30% for those who earn more than $75,000.

If there’s one certification that’s globally recognized within the fitness industry, it’s the NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists license (CSCS). Since the CSCS requires a Bachelor’s degree, and just 56% pass the test on their first try, those who earn a CSCS tend to be the most serious about training and coaching.

With the right education and experience, highly successful personal trainers can make over $60,000 a year

Personal Trainers Salary in the UK

Personal Trainer with Client and Tablet - Virtuagym
Personal trainers in the London area earn more than PTs elsewhere in the country


According to Glassdoor, the average personal trainer salary in the UK is £30,387 a year (in 2020). This is for full-time personal trainers in the London area with experience and certification.

PayScale notes the national average salary for personal trainers in the UK to be £19,346 per year, but this is far from a conclusive figure. Several factors affect your income and could see you earn significantly more. Typical starting salaries for personal trainers who are employed by a gym are around £16,000.

With a year or more’s experience, though, they can usually expect to earn between £20,000 and £35,000. If you really put in the legwork, highly successful personal trainers can earn over £60,000 a year. High-end personal trainers can charge over £1,000 for six weeks’ worth of work with just one client!

However, in the UK salaries depend on the geographical location as well. One-to-one sessions in the wealthier parts of London can easily cost £80 to £100 an hour. In other parts of the UK, £25-£35 an hour is the norm, whereas in more affluent areas you can earn £30-45 an hour. Depending on the area, hours worked, and the standard of service, personal trainers based in affluent areas have the potential to earn between £40,000 and £60,000 a year.

So, aspiring personal trainers in the UK should consider where they want to start their careers as it highly affects their yearly income.

An increasing number of personal trainers are digitizing in order to meet higher demand and increase their salary. Discover how you can jump on the tech bandwagon for PTs by reading our blog on 6 Reasons Why Personal Trainers Are Going Digital.

How Much Can a Personal Trainer Earn in Spain?

A personal trainer working in Spain would earn around 3,417 EUR per month. As seen in the USA – and also the UK – personal trainer salaries may differ drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location.

Personal trainer salaries in Spain range between 1,606 EUR per month (minimum salary) to 5,057 EUR per month (maximum salary). There’s a noticeably huge gap between these two numbers.

There are many reasons for this, experience levels being the most crucial determining factor in a personal trainer’s salary.

Naturally, the more years of experience, the higher your wage – as it is in the UK and USA. A personal trainer with less than two years of experience makes approximately 1,848 EUR per month. However, someone with an experience level between two and five years is expected to earn 2,538 EUR per month – 37% more than someone with less than two year’s experience.

Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 2,848 EUR per month, 12% more than a person with two to five years of experience and so on.

Unfortunately, like the US, gender affects the personal trainer salary in Spain as well; male personal trainers in Spain earn 16% higher than their female counterparts.

Education level factor into personal trainer salaries in Spain. When the education is at the certificate or diploma level, the average salary of a personal trainer is 2,331 EUR per month. Someone with a Bachelor’s degree gets a salary of 3,418 EUR per month, 47% more than someone with a certificate or diploma.

Thus, as we’ve seen across the board, the higher the education, the more appealing the salary.

A More Profitable Future

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a personal trainer, now is always the best time to start. The future for PTs is looking bright, as younger generations are increasingly focused on health, wellbeing, and mobility in old age as a factor of happiness. Complete the coursework and pass the exam, and you’ll be ready to help clients lose weight, build muscle, get healthy, and achieve their fitness goals.

Choose where you want to build your personal training career wisely as different locations yield different results.

With more success comes more clients. Find out how you can indulge your clients in the attention they deserve and keep their focus strong in this blog titled 7 Ways Personal Trainers Can Increase Client Motivation.

To make life easier, many personal trainers choose to opt for client management software such as Virtuagym, which offers less administration, more sessions, better coaching and aids your personal training experience massively overall.

You can try it out with the free version of the coaching app – no strings attached!

If you’re ready to take the next step in your personal training career, get advice from those that have made it and read Sweat Equity’s story here.

To ensure you’re competing for the best personal trainer salary out there, consider investing in coaching software for personal trainers and start giving your business its best shot at success!

Discover our personal trainer software

5 Ways Tech and Creativity Can Help You Engage With Members Through to Spring

2020 caused a paradigm shift in the fitness industry as a whole and many clubs – both big and small – suffered incredible losses. While revenue can be recovered over time, the struggle of losing members is oftentimes harder to bounce back from, as the market becomes increasingly saturated and more competitive.

Holding onto current members, attracting new ones, and creating member reactivation campaigns are going to be critical to ensuring the ongoing success of your health club or gym.

While this is normally a peak time for gym sign-ups and client onboarding, the coronavirus has thrown a wrench into our normally jam-packed season. In this article, we will discuss five ways that you can utilize technology and creativity to engage and retain members to ensure success until spring.

1. Use Content Marketing to Your Advantage

Content marketing has effectively taken the place of all other types of advertising and communication – and while this is nothing new, this year it will be more important than ever to cut through the noise and use content marketing to your advantage. Create high-quality, valuable content to attract, inform, and engage your audience, while also promoting your health club or gym.

Potential members and clients are out there searching the web for answers that your gym is uniquely positioned to offer. Add value for your audience so that you can build a strong relationship with them while driving brand awareness and reinforcing brand preference.

You should have clear goals behind the content you create – that is, a core underlying message and a clear intention behind every piece of content. Be sure to pay attention to the way in which your audience interacts with your content.

Comments on blog posts and reactions on social media are a great way to see what types of content resonate with your audience and what they want to see more of.

Tools like HubSpot blog topic generator can spark inspiration if you are stuck for ideas, for marketers can help with planning, managing, and organizing content, while apps like Pocket are essential to save inspiration for future content. Use forums and editorial calendars to stay up to date with hot topics in your community and identify upcoming trends.

2. Be Creative!

Content marketing is not just the content you post on your blog, but also social media, email campaigns, and anywhere else you post content. Content marketing with images and graphics is not only more engaging and interesting for your audience, but it also tends to be more effective.

According to BrightEdge, tweets with images receive up to five times the engagement of those without, while blogs with visuals receive 94% more views. You can use this to your advantage with some great copyright-free image sites like Unsplash, Gratisography, Pexels, DeathToTheStockPhoto, and PixaBay.

Sites like Canva (which is free to use with a paid option) can help turn your images into on-brand graphics with text, logos, and more. Thinglink is another great option to create high-quality infographics to engage your audience.

Remember content isn’t only the written word, either. You can create YouTube videos or go LIVE on social media platforms for boosted audience building and brand awareness. Get creative with your images and graphics and repurpose your content in any way you see fit.

3. Give Members an Online Platform to Find Your Workout Programs

Keep your members inspired and motivated with remote or online coaching options and classes. Offering an online platform or hybrid options allows members to continue their membership while working out remotely and simultaneously allows club-owners to reach a larger audience.

Members who are not able to attend in-person classes can benefit from the flexibility and convenience of on-demand or streaming workouts and still enjoy the intensity of an in-person class.

With Virtuagym’s remote coaching platform for personal trainers, your trainers can also continue to work remotely with their 1-1 client, offering not only coaching but also a way to seamlessly perform all of their administrative tasks as well.

Clients enjoy customized workouts that are tailored to their goals and available equipment and can choose in-person or at-home training options, while the trainer is able to track progress and effectively offer motivation and support in real-time.

4. Take Members Outside

The EU has begun drafting a new initiative to promote exercise as a preventative healthcare measure, in a document called The EU Work Plan for Sport 2021-2024. Its central aim is for ‘the promotion of participation in health-enhancing physical activity.’ Other objectives include increased participation and awareness, promoting activity and social cohesion, and improving lifestyle.

Governments are steadily becoming more aware of the importance of promoting physical activity for our health, but with many people still nervous about returning to indoor workouts, giving your members and potential members the option to train outside will be essential.

Since group workouts are one of the biggest attractions of health clubs and gyms, provide members with a similar – and safer – option by taking them outside. Ready to start an Outdoor Bootcamp? Check out our Ultimate guide for a successful outdoor boot camp workout.

5. Make a Gym Calendar with Monthly Goals to Inspire Members

Keep your members on-track, motivated, and inspired with a gym calendar with monthly goals to achieve. You can provide this through an app or platform with leaderboards and challenges. Think of goals that make the most sense for your club. Each month can have a theme; for example, January’s theme can be Start 2021 Strong!

Offer practical steps each week in the calendar to get/stay on track with meals and routines. Help your members establish a goal and create a vision for 2021 through the calendar by giving them tips and strategies each week to help them build motivation, inspiration, and momentum for the year.

While the beginning of 2021 might not be the hot start to the gym season that club owners are used to,  using these five strategies can help to motivate and retain current members, attract and engage new potential members, and even reactivate clients who canceled their memberships over the past year.

Technology and creativity go hand in hand to provide an unparalleled customer experience – which is something the pandemic cannot take away.

Getting Into the Swing of Kettlebell Training With Steve Cotter

Steve Cotter has always been fascinated by the mechanics of body movement. He started in martial arts and even went on to obtain a degree in kinesiology. His background as a martial artist helped him master kettlebells super fast and he went full swing into kettlebell training.

“My interest is always the relentless pursuit of better… My interest is in improving, and the starting point for me is myself.”

– Steven Cotter

Steve is now a world-renowned kettlebell instructor, certified strength and conditioning specialist, professional trainer, and author. He has traveled across the world providing kettlebell training and instruction in over 60 countries. He has trained elite athletes, Navy SEALs and U.S. Marine Corps, and many fitness professionals trainers across the world.

Steve is the Founder of the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF). He was also named as one of Men’s Health Magazine Top 100 Fittest of All-Time.

Watch the webinar recording on FitNation’s YouTube channel!

Here are the key takeaways from the conversation with Steve Cotter:

1. Kettlebells Are Multipurpose, Full-Body Conditioning Tools

Kettlebells are versatile tools that provide numerous benefits. They help build strength and endurance, improve balance and coordination, as well as enhance flexibility. The planes of motion and the rotation of movement help to improve mobility.

Unlike the traditional weights as barbells and dumbbells which are mostly done seated or standing in one place, kettlebells include mobility and compound movement which is very beneficial for the human body. The movements are integrated and coordinated so that it involves the whole body. It’s really about the full-body movement and how that movement is coordinated so that you use your legs, your back, your torso, and every muscle in your body to power every swing.

2. Kettlebells Connect Us With Our Primitive Human Component

Naturally, the human body is made for mobility. Our ancestors did not need to set apart time to go to the gym because their normal lives included a lot of functional mobility — lifting heavy objects, hunting, and gathering, walking over long distances, etc.

In the modern world, most people sit for long hours and move around in their cars. That’s why there are so many complaints of back pains, shoulder pains, and loss of mobility. Kettlebells are the tools that connect us to that primitive component that is naturally built into us as humans. Kettlebells “remind” our bodies of what they are already built to do — to move — while increasing strength, endurance, and coordination.

“A heavy barbell would be like running a sprint. Kettlebell would be more like a middle distance race, where you’re fast but it’s not a sprint, but you’re going for a long time.”

– Steven Cotter

3. Kettlebell Skill is Paramount for The Best Results

Most people doing kettlebells don’t have the technical skill that’s required. It’s not about merely swinging the kettlebell back and forth. If you’re using kettlebells and your form is off, it doesn’t matter how hard you work. It doesn’t matter how many reps you do — you’re just repeating failure. It’s about doing one good rep and then repeating that one good rep 10, 20, or 50 times.

“The most important thing a person can do when they’re learning kettlebells is to find a qualified coach.”

– Steven Cotter

Form is the most fundamental thing when doing kettlebell exercises. Now, kettlebells are more technical than any other type of lifting tools or methods. So you need to get a qualified trainer who will teach you the correct technique, form, and posture. This is not only essential for getting the best results, but it’s also very important to avoid injuries.


Steve Cotter is passionate about restoring functional mobility and movement to humans. And kettlebells are the perfect tools to develop and improve full-body strength, balance, and coordination. You can connect with Steve Cotter on Facebook and Twitter or visit the IKFF website to learn more about his work.

You can also visit our podcast page or FitNation’s Lunch & Learn webinar page for more insightful gym conversations.

From Will to Skill – Meet Our New Personal Training Mantra

In FitNation’s most recent insightful conversation with Kevin Darby and Ben McDonald of DTS Fitness Education, we spoke about ‘mindful fitness training’ that enables pain-free living for your clients.

Kevin Darby is the CEO and Founder of DTS Fitness Education — an award-winning fitness education provider. He has a long and outstanding career as a personal trainer, wellness coach, and leader in the fitness industry.

He is also the president and lead teacher of Stretch to Win Canada.

Ben McDonald is the Director of Education at DTS Fitness Education. He has over 30 years of experience as a boxing trainer, international presenter, lecturer, and course developer.

Ben and Kevin coach personal trainers on how to effectively implement their fitness knowledge for the holistic improvement of their clients’ lives.

Key takeaways from the webinar:

1. Personal training has evolved from just physical fitness to holistic life coaching. The fitness industry in the past has been focused on looking ripped, bulking up, or losing inches on the waist.

Most clients focus on weight loss as the only parameter to get healthy.

“A personal trainer has evolved from just doing personal training, counting reps, giving exercises, assigning programs to being a personal health coach.”

– Kevin Darby

The role of the mindful personal trainer goes beyond assigning programs, counting reps, stacking weights, and tracking body fat percentages and all the other stats.

It’s getting people out of that thought process that how they look dictates their level of fitness. It’s about molding their habits and beliefs in a way that enhances their lives both in and outside of the gym.

And that means encouraging regular movement and exercise as the goal — not how toned their body looks.

“You should take pride in that every single client you work with develops a level of movement competency that sees them able to get on and off the toilet, negotiate stairs, go for a hike, walk up a hill, walk down a hill, they can pick up their kids or grandkids.”

– Kevin Darby

2. The number one mistake personal trainers make — pre-made programs. Many personal trainers just push pre-done programs to clients without considering their level of fitness or their mental/physical capacity.

This sets clients up for failure.

It makes them dread working out, and in the worst case, it could lead to injury. A good personal trainer understands their clients’ needs and develops personalized programs that match clients’ capacity. This will improve their success and enhance their overall well-being.

3. Advanced skills are the basics mastered. Most clients have knowledge of fitness; what they lack is understanding and the skills to do well in their fitness journey. As a personal health coach, you have to teach your clients basic skills such as breathing, lifting, and movement so that they can progress in their fitness journey.

“Advanced skills are the basics mastered. Trainers should spend more time on the basics.”

– Kevin Darby

If you want to be a successful trainer and have clients who renew for years and years, then you have to know how to strip everything down to the basics so that the client learns the skill and can be able to apply it to get better.

You can learn more about Kevin and Ben’s work on the DTS Fitness Education website or on their Facebook page. Connect with Kevin Darby on LinkedIn and Instagram. Connect with Ben McDonald on LinkedIn or Twitter.

You can also listen to bi-weekly webinars about the fitness industry on our podcast channel or visit our FitNation webinar page for more insightful conversations. Last but not least, don’t forget to give us a follow on Instagram!