Hold on to your best employees by helping them deal with uncertainty at work

If we were ever living in uncertain times, it’s right now. With the recent pandemic, forced closures, and changes to the job market around the world, it’s no wonder that your employees are struggling with how to cope with change and uncertainty.

Your employees may be feeling isolated, especially if they are spending less time working with you and more working from home. Maybe your coaches don’t feel as though they can offer the best possible services to your members, or perhaps your admin staff no longer feel part of your team.

This article will unpack how to hold onto your best employees and help them to cope with uncertainty in the workplace. We’ll outline how to help your team feel heard, give them a voice, and encourage them to remain positive about the challenges and uncertainty that lies ahead.

In times of change, there is great space for innovation – by shifting the focus and implementing strategies that make your team members feel included, you won’t lose your favorite workers.

What do you say to your team during a crisis?

Your workers might be less productive right now, and perhaps they feel less useful than usual. This can have a huge impact on job performance and motivation. It often results in people leaving your company when they are in fact a huge asset.

It’s important to let your employees know that you value them, and their work. Ensure that you communicate this with them regularly, praising their successes and highlighting their achievements. Spotlight employees that have had recent successes, and have responded well to the crisis.

If you radiate negativity, your team will pick up on that, so it’s important to remain positive when communicating with your employees.

Crucially, you have to figure out the best possible solutions for encouraging employees to remain motivated and engaged. Engaged employees that enjoy what they do and feel needed, are far less likely to leave.

How do you manage uncertainty in the workplace?

The following steps are the core solutions that will help you manage uncertainty in the workplace and retain your best employees.

1. Develop a corporate wellness plan

Your employees look after the health of others but how well are they looking after their own health? Make sure that your employees are in their best health by giving them the tools to relax, keep fit, and eat well.

Encourage your employees to participate in health and fitness challenges. You could even distribute fruit or healthy food bundles as a reward.

Crucially, software is a great way to deliver holistic wellness options that will help your employees maintain their health – and happiness. Virtuagym’s software can be utilized to offer your employees in-app challenges, bespoke workouts, and live streaming workout sessions, plus an in-app virtual trainer. On top of that, the app offers meditation and relaxation sessions via audio coaching.

You could also try organizing events offline. While this is tricky if you are in lockdown, you could attempt a socially distanced outing. Make this trip active and incorporate sports and some element of competition. If your employees have fun with your business, feel part of a team, and look forward to interacting with you and your company, they are far more likely to stick around long-term. 

2. Give them a reason to feel proud of your company

Why are your employees working for you? Often it’s because their visions align with you and your brand. Consider the core values of your company and how you can communicate them.

If you are a company that prides itself on being a part of the local community, consider whether you can run a charity program and be there for your community during their time of need. Organizations such as Good Gym coordinate volunteer trips in their local communities as part of their workouts.

Give employees a reason to feel proud of your company both on and offline. Encourage them to participate in conversations about your company and the direction it is taking. You can ensure that they remain engaged with you and your company’s mission by getting them to participate in an online community. This means they are always within reach via their mobile phones.

With an app like Virtuagym, you can easily set up a community feature like this, complete with groups for specific challenges and projects.

3. Make sure your employees feel heard

Most importantly, you should ensure that your employees have a voice in your company. Invite them into the conversations surrounding big decisions and genuinely listen to what they have to say. You may be surprised where some of the best ideas for growth and development come from.

In order to work out the best way to give your employees a voice, you should survey them. Ask what they would like to see improved in your company and how they envisage it happening. Invite them into the big discussions and let them know how their thoughts and comments were received. 

Crucially, you should develop a strong feedback loop, in which you are receiving feedback and comments from your team on a regular basis. This will ensure that everything gets picked up, and you don’t hear about their grievances too late.

Most importantly, you should understand that workplace wellness is going hybrid. If you want to introduce an effective employee wellness program that ensures you hold onto your employees long-term, you need to implement solution that combine both online and offline guidance. This is essential as we move towards a more digitized world.

Tips For Returning to the Workplace After COVID-19

If you had a cent for every time you heard the words ‘unprecedented’ or ‘challenging’, we’re willing to bet you’d be a much richer business owner in 2020. It’s a year that’s been marked by huge changes to the way companies operate. From working remotely to making difficult decisions on redundancies and furloughs, it’s not been an easy year.

But eventually, the situation will begin to shift, and businesses will move back into the office. There will be many guidelines helping you understand how to return to work after the pandemic but most importantly, you should identify how you are going to keep your employees happy and healthy. If you ensure that you help them safely return to work after COVID-19, your business will be supercharging its growth in no time.

Learn how to cope with returning to work after COVID-19

If you haven’t already figured out your game plan, it’s time you began educating yourself on how to cope with returning to work after COVID-19 and how you can accommodate all of your staff. Prepare yourself by making a checklist of what you need to do to get your employees ready to return to work.

It’s not just important that you are complying with government regulations, but also that you appear as though you are genuinely concerned with the overall health of your employees. This will lead to more trust in your company and fewer employees that are left stressed, unwell and struggling with burnout.

Put simply, unhealthy employees are unproductive and cost your company money. Ensuring the good health of your workforce is more important than ever so that your company survives and thrives the anticipated economic recession.

How are companies returning to work after COVID-19?

In truth, no company, city or country is doing things the same. The most important thing? That new hygiene protocols are established early and kept to.

For you, that might mean ensuring that your office accommodates staff at a safe social distance. You need to minimize the risk to your employees so that you can keep your operations running smoothly. Some useful safety protocols that you can implement to ensure safety include:

  • Implementing a one-way system
  • Alternating days staff are allowed to visit the office
  • Frequent cleaning of objects and communal areas

Making sure that your employees are aware of your hygiene rules and fully understand them will help them trust in the decision you have made about their return to the workplace.

How to safely return to work after COVID-19

Navigating the aftermath of COVID–19 pandemic will be one of the biggest business challenges of our time. But there are a number of steps you can take to ensure you are as prepared as possible.

  • Educate yourself

The first step is to ensure that you are as educated as possible about both the virus and corporate wellness. Look for resources that will give you insights into how to optimize the health of your employees and keep them safe and happy when they return to work.

Over the coming months, Virtuagym will be posting a huge amount of articles and helpful resources on the best ways to improve the wellness of your employees. Stay tuned! Official governmental and international organisations also provide helpful resources. Check out what the WHO has to say. 

  • Leverage technology to ensure employee safety

Over the course of this year, we’ve all learned that technology will be crucial to helping us adapt to situations such as the recent pandemic. We’ve all become used to Zoom meetings and digital workouts, and now it’s time to leverage tech to keep us safe in a post-pandemic world too.

How to return employees to work after covid
Designed by master1305 / Freepik

Apps such as Virtuagym can facilitate contact tracing and enable you to easily and quickly communicate with your employees. It’s an effective way to share the latest news and safety information and reach out to employees that work both in your office and at a distance.

When communicating with employees it is important to consider issues such as the stigma COVID-19 sufferers may face, as well as the potential mental health implications of the pandemic – both due to the virus itself and the impact of working in isolation. By staying in frequent contact with your employees you can circumvent some of the more severe experiences your employees may be at risk of facing.

  • Initiate wellness challenges

When your staff are engaged in fitness activities and challenges, they’re not only motivated to look after their mental and physical health, but they’re also more engaged with your company as a whole. By encouraging your staff to work out with you and work with you, you’re helping them maintain good wellness habits and ensuring that you have a happy and healthy workforce.

It’s also great for company morale – they’re marching towards a common goal (and trying to beat each other to the finish line!) An app that incorporates wellness challenges such as Virtuagym is an effective and non-invasive way to do this. Employees can easily check in with the challenge via their phone but don’t feel obligated to respond (as they might do if it were circulated via your companies regular communication platform).

Your employees may be struggling with the fact that they can’t easily socialize with one another after work. Sadly, Friday drinks are on tentative grounds, depending week-by-week on the latest government advice. Instead, use wellness and fitness challenges as an opportunity for socializing at a safe distance.

And while we’re on the topic of fitness…

  • Provide both on and offsite access to fitness

By providing your employees with access to a gym, in-person fitness programs or a digital app for working out at home, you are helping them take care of their wellness. This is a proven way to reduce stress and burnout and ensure you have an effective and productive workforce that is ready to cope with returning to work after COVID-19.

The important thing is that you cater to your employee’s fitness both in real life and virtually. Not everyone will be able to return to the office immediately. Those working remotely may require an extra nudge to stay on track – this is where an app like Virtuagym comes in. It provides employees with a virtual personal trainer and in-app exercises so that they can stay on top of their fitness whilst working remotely. In the long-run, this will lead to a less stressed out workforce and less money spent on absenteeism.

In sum, it won’t be easy to return your workforce to normality. But with a little bit of education and some assistance from software, you’ll be all set to take on the challenges of the future.

Tips For Reducing Absenteeism in the Workplace

Stress and burnout are becoming increasingly common issues that employers and employees alike are having to learn how to deal with. Between 2012 and 2017,54 percent of adults in the US said they suffered from high stress – and it’s a number that keeps on rising year on year.

For businesses, that can have serious consequences. If we look at the issue from a purely economic standpoint, worse health means a less effective workforce who take more time off sick and cause your business more money.

As in so many areas, the global coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the problem. With so many employees operating at home rather than in the office, it’s become almost impossible to keep track of your workers’ wellbeing and health.

In this article, we’ll unpack the ways that you can reduce workplace absenteeism from a distance – plus, how you can use software to reach those goals. In particular, working with a corporate wellness program that offers a complete fitness and health solution, like Virtuagym, could transform the stress levels of your workforce.

How to reduce absenteeism in the workplace

But first, how can absenteeism affect productivity anyway? And why is absenteeism a problem for employers?

Well, not only does absenteeism cause a financial strain on your business. But it also reduces the performance of your employees in the long-run. Their morale in the workplace worsens and they lose time on projects, training, and crucial company updates.

Now you know why absenteeism and burnout are such important topics to tackle, we’ll outline the core ways any business owner can start preventing absenteeism in the workplace and reduce it long-term.

  • Implement an employee assistance program

If you haven’t done this already, initiating an employee assistance program could be the key for starting to reduce absenteeism in the workplace of your company. What is an employee assistance program?

Well, the name is on the tin! It’s a workplace initiative that helps your employees out with any stress and struggles that they are facing. The most important thing is that they are encouraged to find help with all difficulties and not just those that are directly related to their jobs.

Usually, an employee assistance program will offer free and confidential advice and support, often this will come in the form of a counsellor, follow up services, and even outside referrals.

By offering these services you may be able to intervene early and prevent burnout and absenteeism before it happens.

Employee assistance programs are often extended to assist the families of your employees as ultimately this can have a strong impact on the stress levels of your employees themselves.

The most important thing is that these services remain confidential. Your employees must be able to trust in your company’s discretion and confidence for a program like this to work.

  • Provide a safe space for employees with software

Using a software solution such as Virtuagym is one impactful way to take care of the health of your employees. If your employees are struggling with issues such as high stress and burnout, simply providing a safe, online space for them to connect with fellow employees could be the key to preventing absenteeism.

In this way your workers can discuss solutions to the issues they are facing, even while at a distance.

  • Use software to help employees unwind

If you work with a software solution such as Virtuagym, you could provide your employees with not just this community, but also easy access to workouts, plus meditations and audio tracks that assist with sleep and winding down.

The important thing is to make it as easy as possible for your employees to destress in the evenings.

  • Learn what motivates your people

Another way to reduce absenteeism in the workplace is to really understand the people who work for you. What drives them? What motivates them?

This could be something as simple as ensuring that the day-to-day projects and tasks they are involved in are suited to their enjoyment and capabilities, to surveying your employee’s satisfaction, or taking steps to improve their motivation.

Frame your company or team strategies in a way that appeals and resonates with the individual worker – and don’t be afraid to pivot on your approach if you see that it isn’t motivating enough to produce great results.

Most importantly? Ask your employees questions to reduce absenteeism. Happy employees are less likely to suffer from high stress and burnout. How do they like to work? What do they like to wear to the office? Perhaps moving around some furniture or creating an open working office space could be the key to your absenteeism issues.

  • Use digital challenges to keep employees engaged

Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress levels and keep people fit and healthy. Those who do not exercise are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health problems and burning out more quickly.

By incorporating a wellness solution that allows employees to work out with one another and become competitive, you make it easier for them to work out and stay motivated to look after their health and wellness. In turn, this will lead to a stronger, happier workforce that takes less time off sick.

  • Consider remote working

The pandemic has taught us that most businesses are able to function well, even while their workers are at a distance. Consider the benefits of working remotely for your business and figure out how you could implement remote or flexible working.

Studies have shown that employees who work remotely are on average happier and stay in their jobs much longer.

  • Check-in with them frequently

Whether you’re operating from within an office space or remotely, it’s important to check-in with your employees on a regular basis. Working remotely does make this even more crucial, however, because employees may end up feeling disconnected from the team and company without consistent contact.

Encourage managers to set up one-to-one meetings with their team members bi-weekly or monthly, to ensure that everything is going well.

You should have a well-trained HR team, ready to step in when they spot employee dissatisfaction and you could send out frequent customer satisfaction surveys. This can give you a general idea of whether or not your teams are feeling overworked, stressed, and burnt out, and could help you stave off absenteeism before it hits.

  • Use software to check-in with your people

Your wellness app can also be used to check-in with your workforce to. There is an option to poll employees via your community feature.

This is a great way to check-in with workers that are working from home and as such are a little more difficult to reach. Make your employees feel listened to and heard, and you are more likely to spot the signs of burnout early-on and reduce absenteeism in your business.

Why now it’s the perfect time to start doing yoga at home

If you are determined that you are going to learn yoga at home or teach your clients yoga at home, lucky you – you have the benefit of being able to practice in a comfortable space free of judgement. This is what yoga is all about. Usually we have to remind clients that it’s important to avoid competing with others and yourself when practicing yoga. But when we work out at home, it’s easier to focus wholly on our own experiences and our own journey

However, your clients (and you) may be tempted to compare yourself to other online right now. Beautiful yogis on Instagram getting into impressive positions might seem intimidating. But everything is difficult at first – remind your clients of this as you begin to move through your asanas

How to start yoga at home

If your clients want to start doing yoga from home, there are a number of resources they can use. The internet is choc-a-bloc full of different home yoga workout routines – especially right now when everyone has moved towards a home workout practice.

You can either direct them to existing resources like YouTube and subscription based services OR you can use this time to monetize your own offering or build up a strong follower base on social media.

You can do this by creating yoga sequences for your clients and share them on sites such as Instagram and Facebook. By using an app like Virtuagym you can book and schedule classes with your clients as usual – live streaming, integrating Zoom or YouTube links to your Virtuagym app and allowing multiple people to join in on one class.

What to tell clients that ask “But can I really learn yoga online?”. The easy answer? YES! You can definitely learn yoga online. Now there is instant access to more yoga classes than ever from streaming sites and spaces across the internet. It’s always better for beginners to have a real instructor to help them, so if you’re a yoga teacher try setting up online classes yourself.

You can try running beginner classes on your social media channel or if you work with a branded app like Virtuagym, you can live-stream classes via the Video On Demand service.

How to set up a yoga space at home

Ensure your clients that it’s okay to be a beginner and that we should try and learn yoga without making too many demands on ourselves. Eliminate thoughts like ‘I can’t’, ‘this is too difficult’, ‘I am not flexible enough’ or ‘this is not for me’.

Stay committed and you will see results in a short time. As a teacher, you should be ready with positive words of encouragement. Yoga practice is not a bootcamp, and while yogis certainly push their bodies, they do so in a way that is both gentle and understanding.

If you want to learn yoga as a beginner, you should try out online courses or online yoga videos. If you’re an instructor you could prescribe these to new clients OR make live stream session yourself.

How to do online yoga classes at home

Yoga can be an extremely relaxing and calming practice and it’s much more enjoyable to do when you have a cozy, comfortable space to practice in. If you have enough time to redecorate your house, pick shades of purple, lighter tones of pink, or any other light shade. When in doubt, always go for calming colors for a yoga room, since bright ones might cause anxiety.

Encourage your clients to find a space in their house that brings them calm. It can be hard to stay in the space all day – something we’ve all learned from living in quarantine. So see if your clients can find somewhere away from their work desks or sofas to practice. This could be in the living room, on a balcony or anywhere.

What should you put in a yoga room?

If you want to make a yoga space at home, or suggest your clients how to recreate the relaxing atmosphere of your yoga studio, you also need to make sure there are all the yoga must-haves provide them with a list of equipment to do yoga at home.

The great thing about yoga is that you can do it in any place – that could be on your kitchen floor or in your bedroom. You (and your clients) just need a space big enough to lie down full length with your hands and arms stretched above your head and that also extends as wide as your arms can stretch outwards. Here a quick checklist of essentials for a home yoga studio:

  • Mat
  • Bolsters
  • Blocks
  • Essential oil diffuser
  • Candles
  • Incense sticks
  • Blankets

4 yoga exercises for beginners

Yoga is accessible to everyone. And even more if you use a yoga studio management software. But, let’s get started. Place a yoga mat on the floor, put on comfortable clothes and you are ready to start. Now you’re ready to get going!

We have listed a number of simple exercises you can start with. One last tip: Make sure your yogi take time to do each exercise and return to the starting position. And most importantly, remember them not to force their body to avoid damage or injury. Namaste!

1. The camel pose – Ustrasana

This pose is amazing for stretching out a tight lower back. To do it, first get onto your knees and slowly bend your upper body backwards. If it’s possible, reach back and grab your heels with your hands. Push your head backwards, safely and gently as far as it may stretch. If this is too hard, simply leave your chin resting on your chest.

2. The boat pose – Paripurna Navasana

Boat pose is great for beginners and experts alike – don’t be concerned if you’re shaking, while doing this pose. It can take a strong load on your abdominal muscles (which also means it’s great for building those yogic abs). First, begin sitting on the floor with a straight back and your legs stretched out in front on you. Then put your hands behind your hips with bent elbows and lift your legs and upper body from the ground. The next step is to put your hands and feet together in the air, but just do what feels right for you – feel the burn!

3. Downward-facing Dog – Adho Muka Svanasana

Possibly the most famous of all yoga poses, get ready to spend a lot of time in this inverted position. To do this pose first go on all fours on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under. Lift your knees away from the floor, keeping the knees slightly bent. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis. The finally push your legs back until straight and push your heels down to the floor.

4. The wheel – Ardhva Dhanurasana

This pose is another great back-bending stretch – it’s a move that might take you back to childhood! To do it first lie on your back and bend your knees. Put your hands next to your shoulders and push your belly and chest up. Stretch out your arms and legs and form an arch.

What to tell clients that ask “how to stop stress eating during lockdown”

If there’s one thing fitness professionals and their members can both relate to, it’s trying to figure out how to stop stress eating during lockdown. When our fridges are located less than a few metres from our workspaces, it’s no wonder we’re more inclined to snack more throughout the day.

Not to mention the fact that when we’re stressed, nothing seems quite as soothing as that jar of Nutella in the cupboard.

This article will provide the tips that you can pass on to your client (and use yourself) for understanding how to avoid stress eating during social distancing, and what to do instead of emotional eating.

How is eating tied to emotions anyway?

It’ll come as no surprise that eating is tied to emotions – and that there’s a reason you can’t stop stress eating during lockdown. Being in any kind of mood can impact the choices we make when it comes to food.

But in particular, having negative emotions and wanting to reach for fatty, sugary treats seem to go hand-in-hand. Combine this with the boredom of being stuck inside all day and you have a recipe for eating unhealthily.

Why do I eat when I am sad?
Kamil Macniak || Shutterstock

Speaking with The Atlantic, Dr. Leigh Gibson, a psychology professor at the University of Roehampton says it’s all down to evolution. Early humans didn’t worry about eating healthily, they only had to survive into their mid-twenties and reproduce.

“We were just getting energy, protein, the basic nutrients we needed, but we didn’t have to live too long. Healthy eating is a modern, cultural thing that we now need, because we’re living so long… You could almost say the default is comfort eating.”

We often use food as a way to find short-term happiness and suppress any feelings that we don’t enjoy. There’s a reason that we call it comfort food. But the good news is that simply by bringing more awareness to the way that you eat can help you improve your lockdown habits.

How to control stress eating

It’s important to let your client know they should not feel guilty about their eating habits. Comfort eating and stress eating are normal and natural responses – especially at times like this.

But if your client’s new eating style is making them unhappy, exacerbating their stress and derailing their fitness goals then the first step is noticing that behaviour and making the effort to try and adjust it.

Some methods for helping your clients to stop stress eating and enjoy foods that reduce stress and anxiety include these three tips to stop stress eating:

1. Keeping a food diary

When we graze a lot throughout the day, we often don’t truly realise how much we’re consuming. The best way to stay on top of this is by getting your clients to write down everything they put in their mouths.

Make this easier by providing them with a nutrition app like Virtuagym’s food tracking app. It can be branded to your gym or studio and tied to your complete software plan. This will help you track macro and micronutrients and see exactly how many calories you are inputting per day.

2. Encourage them to keep working out

The more your clients are working out and paying attention to their health, the less likely they’ll be to indulge in unhealthy foods. It will keep them out of the lockdown mindset and more focused on their health goals.

Again, this is where a software provider can come in handy. You can provide your clients with a fitness app that gives them access to unlimited workouts via video streaming and a virtual trainer.

You should also try to encourage them to take time out for themselves to relax and destress. This is a stressful time for everyone and it’s more important than ever to invest in ourselves.

Ask them how they unwind – it could be by reading a book, swapping HIIT for a yoga session or even taking a day or two off their health-kick to indulge in a day of Netflix.

3. Get them to ditch the unhealthy stuff

If possible, check-in with them daily to ensure they are staying on track. Offer support and guidance, bespoke advice and links to helpful resources. The best way to avoid eating all of the sweet snacks in the cupboard? Not to have them there in the first place.

Right now we should all just be heading to the supermarket once a week – so tell them to avoid buying any fatty, sugary or over-processed food while they’re there. Encourage them to swap the high-calorie snacks for fruit or veggies, or any other stress relieving foods.

What to do instead of emotional eating

In usual times, the best advice for avoiding emotional eating would be to keep busy and keep moving. Right now, that’s a little harder – but it’s still something we should try and work towards.

Encourage your clients to keep busy. That could be by undertaking art projects, throwing themselves into their work, or setting little reminders to get up and walk around the room. In this way they can keep their minds distracted and focused on things that aren’t stress or binge eating.

What to do to stop stress eating
Pormezz || Shutterstock

If they’re really struggling, encourage them to reach out for you for help whenever they need it. If they have shared that they always tend to snack at about 3pm in the afternoon.

Send a message at 2.45, checking-in and telling them how amazing they are doing. If they’ve already started stress eating? Reassure them that this is completely fine. It happens and it’s nothing to feel shameful about.

Ultimately, when it comes to stress eating during lockdown it’s about showing ourselves a little kindness. Pay attention to your body and the way it feels – if it wants a snack, indulge it.

But really question whether you want it or if your body is screaming out for a distraction from boredom or stress. For more advice on how to cope with the coronavirus, read our FAQs.

Download our free app to track food calories and keep up with meal plans here:

Yoga for beginners: how to teach new clients

When you think of yoga your mind might spring to beautiful people on beaches bending into shapes that resemble a pretzel. While that’s certainly how the yogic elite of social media seem to like to spend their time, it doesn’t reflect the reality of the practice. Unlike other physical exercises and activities, yoga is about the journey rather than the destination – this makes it the perfect activity for beginners.

It is a discipline used to learn how to balance the body and the mind by working both in the same sequence of movements. Mindfulness practices are used in order to connect the body to your feelings through a combination of physical exercises (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) as well as meditation practice. So in each session you will work on all these aspects – whether you’re a beginner or teaching newbies.

How to start yoga classes

The easy answer? Find a space on the floor and begin. Of course you can kit yourself out with fancy clothes and a mat but really all you need is your body and a sequence to follow – that’s the beauty of it.There are a lot of online resources for yoga – many companies offer courses and lessons and classes can be found for free on social media sites like YouTube and Instagram.

If you want to start giving yoga classes for beginners you should utilize these online spaces in order to cater to newcomers. Build your personal brand online in order to showcase who you are and what you do. Your social media presence should reflect your style of teaching. You can also contact local yoga studios to see if there are any ways you can help with their beginner classes.

How to start yoga
fizkes || Shutterstock

What does your client need for their first yoga class?

Despite yoga needing much less monetary investment than many other physical activities, there are plenty of yoga tips for beginners that include kitting yourself out with the right gear.

If you are looking into how to learn yoga at home or you want to help your clients learn to do yoga at home it makes sense to invest in good equipment, which will make your practice much easier AND much more fun! So, what should you teach in a beginner yoga class?

What equipment do you need for yoga?

You don’t need to have a lot of equipment to start doing yoga. Find out a list of yoga equipment you will need to get ready:

  • A yoga mat: Although there are very cheap mats, it is better to buy a good quality one. Cheap mats are usually very thin, have little grip and slip on the floor. They also don’t last long, which could mean you spend more money in the long run.
  • A yoga block or brick: If you’re worried about trying yoga because of flexibility issues – these will be your best friends. Experienced yoga instructors may rarely use blocks but if you’re a teacher, ensure you have one on hand to help with your newbie students. Using a block will give you more space and means you can attempt deeper stretches.
What equipment do I need for yoga
MediaGroup_BestForYou || Shutterstock
  • Meditation cushion: If you want to experience all the benefits of yoga, a meditation session at the end is essential. In order not to be bothered by bad posture and to make it easy to sit comfortably for the duration of our meditation, we recommend that you buy a meditation cushion which makes this easier. This is one of the lesser-known areas of yoga that your new students may not be aware of – be sure to spend time teaching them about not only the physical but also the mental benefits of practicing yoga.
  • Towel and water bottle: These are useful when beginning yoga – especially if you’re undertaking a fast flowing Vinyasa or Ashtanga class.

Answer your clients Q: Why should I do yoga?

What is yoga for? And why is it good to do yoga? The main objective for many people is to strengthen the body less aggressively than with other sports activities. This could be because you have an injury that needs some gentle attention. But yoga can also help with weight-loss and increase muscle tone and definition. A lot of people turn towards yoga for the physical benefits.

There is nothing wrong with that, but keep in mind that beyond the physical part, yoga exercises have been proven to have a positive effect on the mental and general well-being of people who start practicing it. Yoga has been known to help reduce levels of stress and anxiety and restorative styles can help balance out your mental state.

Yoga can help you boost your concentration in your day-to-day life or you want to have a “moment with yourself” in which you can think. Encouraging clients (or yourself) to embrace the more spiritual side of yoga has the power to have a profound and life-changing impact. So if a client asks you “what is the main purpose of yoga?” you’ve got a pretty long answer to give them.

How often should a beginner do yoga

Like any physical activity, the more effort you put in, the more you get out of it. Little and often is a good way for beginners to start. 10 minutes a day is far better than simply doing two one hour classes a month. The more often you practice yoga the more flexible and strong you will become – and the more fun it will become too!

If you’re a yoga instructor, the amount of time you can spend with beginners may depend on their budget. But a few weekly sessions is a great start. If you can record videos or live stream for your new clients to do at home they will be able to develop and grow in their practice while away from your studio too.

There are many varieties of yoga – so that means beginners have plenty of styles to choose from. If you are teaching students that are new to yoga, spend some time walking them through the different styles and encourage them to discover what they love the most. You may have a specialism in which you practice, so introduce them to this but also make space in the classes to bring in other elements.

If you’re a beginner yourself, we recommend that you always consult a professional who will help you and correct you as you advance. Beware: doing yoga alone without any corrections of form can lead to injuries over time.

How to get a six pack: helping clients with their core

A quick scroll through Instagram will show you the #goals that seem to run alongside defined abs, in the shape of that holy grail of all fitness-fans – the six-pack. If you’re a keen gym goer (or personal trainer) this probably includes you AND your clients.

But if the amount of fitness challenges on Instagram were anything to go off, you’d think it was easy. As it turns out – it’s not. But to help get you on your way to achieving your six pack (or a six pack for your client – who will undoubtedly love you forever), this article will provide you with some indispensable tips for helping those solid six packs grow. 

How long will it take to get a six pack

Unlike a hangover and money from the tooth fairy, a six pack doesn’t just appear over night. No matter how many crunches you do, to make a six pack visible you have to reduce the layer of stomach fat that covers the muscles. This will take a combination of cardio, ab work and diet and could take anything from weeks to months, depending on your current body composition and how hard you are willing to train.

The best way to train your six pack is to do isolation exercises for your abdominal muscles. These will make your ab muscles bigger (and stronger). If your fat percentage is low enough, your six pack will become visible quickly. Ensure that your clients fully understand the rule for visible abs, which is:

  • Men: a fat percentage of approximately 13 to 16%.
  • Women: a fat percentage of approximately 19 to 22%
How long to build six pack abs
Friends Stock || Shutterstock

A six pack has to be symmetrical. It is therefore important that you train all abdominal muscle groups with your abdominal exercises. Abdominal muscles like the External and internal obliques on the side, Rectus Abdominis on the top and bottom must be trained evenly, otherwise some abdominal muscles will become bigger than others. This will give you an asymmetrical six pack – probably not the look you are going for (and your clients certainly won’t love you for leaving you with these either)!

Exercises that help you get a six pack

With the exercises below, you will train all abdominal muscle groups and your six pack will become bigger and stronger, making them easier to spot on the beach. As a plus, these abdominal exercises will improve your posture, balance and stability. This makes them a great addition to any workout plans that you are using with clients that spend their days hunched over desks or with anterior or posterior pelvic tilts.

Leg raises

  • Lie on your back, legs straight and together.
  • Keep your legs straight and lift them all the way up to the ceiling until your butt comes off the floor.
  • Slowly lower your legs back down till they’re just above the floor. Hold for a moment.
  • Raise your legs back up. Repeat.

Planking

  • Plant hands directly under shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width) like you’re about to do a push-up.
  • Ground toes into the floor and squeeze glutes to stabilize your body. Your legs should be working too — be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees.
  • Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising your form or breath.
How to plank
G-Stock Studio || Shutterstock

 

Bicycle crunch

  • Get down on the ground. Stretch your legs and leave your arms stretched out along the side of your body.
  • Put your hands behind your head. You can intertwine your fingers if you want. If you find it easier, you can also leave your arms along your side.
  • Pull your legs up towards you. Lift your legs so that your thighs are at an angle of 45 degrees to the ground and your calves are parallel to the ground. Keep your feet together.
  • Touch your left knee with your right elbow. Now lift your head and with your right elbow touch your left knee while lifting your knee. At the same time, stretch your right leg and hold it about ten centimeters off the floor – think of it as the same motion you would do if you were on a bicycle.
  • Now with your left elbow, touch your right knee. Stretch your left leg at the same time but don’t let your foot touch the floor. Don’t forget to tighten your abdominal muscles. You have now performed a bicycle crunch.

Hypopressive exercises to tone your abs

If you are unable to perform these traditional ab exercises due to back pain or you’re a woman that is postpartum, then hypopressive exercises are perfectly suitable for strengthening and toning your six pack. Hypopressive Exercises are a workout technique meant for activating the involuntary fibers within your pelvic floor. They also work the abdominal muscles that function as your body’s self-girdle and bra (abdominal oblique and transverse).Hypopressive exercises have many advantages, especially because of the difference in pressure you create in the abdomen whilst performing the exercise and also the absence of movements in the spine. As these exercises spear the spine, they can be performed even in cases of herniated discs, contributing to their treatment.

But we will talk about all this in another article in a few weeks. Be attentive!

 

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 PT career and want to know what you’re getting into, you’re in the right place.  In this article, we’ll look at the salaries personal trainers can achieve in the UK, USA and Spain, which should give you a solid idea of what you can expect money-wise in your own 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 differ greatly between the three countries? Well, yes and no.

Personal trainers working in the UK and the USA often earn similar salaries with slight differences. In Spain, however, personal trainers earn the least when compared with the UK and the USA.

men in gym working out together weight lifting blue shirts

Personal trainers in the USA

The average personal trainer makes $47,700, which is slightly above the median salary in the U.S. in 2019. 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. According to a survey of 1,021 personal trainers from August 6th to 13th, 2019, the average respondent said they work with twenty-three 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 salary.

The median income for women is about 80% that of men

However, these figures are different for women. In the U.S., across all fields, the median income for women is about 80% that of men. But in the fitness industry, our results show 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.

Working out women personal trainer gym

Among trainers who earn more than $50,000 a year, 27% have an NSCA certification, compared to 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 CSCS. Because it 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.

Highly successful personal trainers can make over £60,000 a year

Personal trainers in the UK

According to PayScale, the average personal trainer salary is £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. This is not a conclusive figure though – highly successful personal trainers can make over £60,000 a year. High-end personal trainers can charge over £1000 for six weeks’ work with just one client.

Woman doing yoga in london on balcony personal trainer salary

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 career as it affects the salary a ton.

In Spain, someone with an experience level of between two and five years is expected to earn 2,538 EUR per month

Personal trainers in Spain

An average personal trainer working in Spain would make around 3,417 EUR per month. As seen in the USA and the UK as well, 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). As you can see, this is a huge difference. There are many reasons for this, experience levels being the most important determining factor in a personal trainers salary.

Woman squatting with dumbell gym working out

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. While someone with 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, gender affects the personal trainer salary in Spain as well – male personal trainer employees in Spain earn 16% more than their female counterparts.

Education level also seems to affect personal trainer salaries. When the education level is Certificate or Diploma, the average salary of a Personal Trainer is 2,331 EUR per month. While 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, the higher the education, the more the salary. Unfortunately, gender affects the personal trainer salary in Spain as well. Male personal trainer employees in Spain earn 16% more than their female counterparts.

loading barbell weights in gym

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a personal trainer, now is always the best time to start. Complete the coursework and pass the exam, and you’ll be ready to help clients lose weight, build muscle, and achieve their fitness goals. Choose where you want to build your personal training career wisely as different locations yield different results.

To make life easier many personal trainers choose to opt for member 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.

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

Compare your training plans with the top 5 craziest training plans

Being a personal trainer in a gym, you see all kinds of athletes every day. Some are beginners, some are advanced and some you can definitely label as “pro-athletes”. These type of athletes, as all trainers know, love to pressurize and push themselves to their limits. Although the workouts and training plans are intense and gut-wrenching, they certainly have their benefits as well.

For instance, Usain Bolt did not become the fastest man in the world by running laps around a track once a day. On the contrary, his trainer claims he had to endure one of the hardest and craziest workouts ever to be where he is today. Bolt once posted a video on Instagram in which he had trained so hard he started to throw up at the side of the track. Other times, he was found howling on the floor with pain yet he always managed to complete his reps and training. All in all, Bolt puts in a whopping three hours at the gym every day.

This sure doesn’t sound like the day to day routine of some people you may train in the gym. Could your training plans be labelled as “crazy” as well and are you thinking of taking your training plans to the next level? Read about the top 5 craziest training plans and maybe you can add them into your client’s routines!

In this blog I will show you the top 5 craziest training plans:

  1. The Armageddon training routine
  2. Don Wildman’s circuit
  3. Spartan 500
  4. Stoked 360
  5. The Murph challenge

training program plan software virtuagym coach personal trainer coach motivation

1. The Armageddon training plan

Being a personal trainer, you’ve probably heard of this routine. Maybe you’ve already even added it into your training plans for your gym rats. As daunting as it sounds, this routine consists of a full-body workout that signifies strength and core. Although it’s meant for testing how much your muscles can really take, many athletes start small by using lighter weights or fewer sets. But to experience the full effect, heavier weights are required.

Your client should start with death-set deadlifts adding the heaviest weight they’ve ever dead-lifted with. They’ll be performing as many quality reps as possible in five minutes using this weight. The next exercises include 20 push-ups and 20 bent-over lateral raises, alternating between the two exercises five times. To finish, your client should perform one minute of chin-ups followed by a minute of lunge jumps, alternating between the two 10 times.

More information about the workout can be found here.

2. Don Wildman’s circuit

This intense exercise regimen was developed by Don Wildman, who is the world’s healthiest 75-year-old man. Thinking of an elderly man, many trainers could mistake this routine for being soft. On the contrary, it guarantees a serious workout and personal trainers in the gym shouldn’t engage in this routine with beginner clients. The circuit is designed for athletes in peak physical condition and should not be attempted by anyone new to exercise.

This training plan contains no breaks and is divided into 16 groups of exercises with each performed as supersets. To maximize efficiency, some exercises utilize machines beyond their intended use. Each group has between two and four exercises that will alternate, and you’ll have to make sure your client completes each exercise in the group three times to complete a set. This goes on for 16 whopping groups with no break in between! More information about this crazy workout circuit.

3. Spartan 500

This training routine may seem simple to your clients, but being a personal trainer at a gym, you probably know better. It consists of merely five exercises, but your clients will be doing 10 reps of each exercise 10 times for a massive total of 500 reps altogether.

These exercises include burpees, squat jacks, mountain climbers, agility dots, and jump squats.

4. Stoked 360

Kira Stokes, personal trainer and fitness expert, designed this series for serious muscle burn combined with cardio that never quits. In this routine, Stokes claims “no muscle is left untouched”. This could be a great routine to incorporate into your client’s training routines at the gym. The workout consists of four very intense circuits, each which should be completed three times before moving on to the next. There should be no rest during the circuits to keep the heart rate at maximum.

5. The Murph challenge

This workout routine is named after an American Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a heroic Navy SEAL who exposed himself to enemy fire while trying to make a call for reinforcements during an ambush in Afghanistan. Linking it to the navy, you can bet this training plan has all kinds of crazy.

If any of your clients are up for the Murph challenge, here’s how it goes. Your client should start up with a mile run. This should be followed up with 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats. Then, finish with another mile run. Did we mention many people do this challenge in a 20-pound vest or body armour as well? As a personal trainer at the gym, it’s important to advise your clients to start with smaller weights first.

Create your most heaviest workout with software

Along with all intense workout and training routines, it’s important to remind athletes and beginners alike that 70% of your training plans consist of your diet and nutrition. To build muscle mass, it’s important that your diet consists of certain foods to help you reach your goals. With your own easy-to-use nutrition coaching software, you can easily create digital food plans.

time saving training plan software for personal trainers

To help you guide your clients through their fitness journey, using software like Virtuagym can help enhance your training experience, save time and boost your professionalism. By using software, you can say goodbye to paper training plans. With Virtuagym your clients have  access to your training plans 24/7 via smartphones. You can track your clients progress and there are more than 6000+ 3D exercises available.

How do you want to create your future training programs?

5 tips to help you keep your clients going outside of the gym

When your clients are tired, their bodies are hurting, and they want nothing more to do with the gym – that’s where you have to step up and keep them going. But, helping clients outside of the gym can be really challenging.

After all, words only go so far. Your clients have their own struggles, injuries, and worries in life. So how do we keep them going through the grilling routines we set up? Challenges are a good route to go, but again – how can you tell if they are really doing the challenges you set out for them? It’s a really tricky business.

The good news is that through this article, we can help you with 5 tips to help you keep your clients going, and those results growing even while they are not training at the gym.

Ready to get into it?

Offer Incentives For Hard Work

fitness challenges medaillon - Virtuagym

 

Training is hard. Even the people that are iron addicts, and live with the weights still find themselves barely able to walk after a particularly nasty leg day with supersets. Which is something you need to remember when training someone who may not be as physically inclined as you.

Which is why it is important to find the balance between pushing them and rewarding them for what they have done. One of the biggest motivational tactics trainers use is small rewards based on performance.

After all, we all like getting free gifts, right?

It could be anything really. From a nice massage after completing their first 12-week program. To buying them a smoothie after a challenge that you know must have been hell. These small gifts are both healthy, benefit their bodies, and keep their minds away from the gym for a little bit. Motivating them to keep going.

For example, I had a client who was working on losing a lot of weight and not only was training really hard, but was also working on her diet. We took steps in fixing her diet along with her training program and she lost a significant amount she was working on to lose. One day after training, while staying in the strict diet measures, I bought her a smoothie and a protein bar to reward her for putting such great effort into her health. It helps add value to your relationship with your client if you show them how you’re noticing their hard work.

 

Make Use Of Personal Training Apps

Back in the day, being able to keep your client motivated and on the ball was almost impossible, unless you were there training with them. Thankfully, we live in the age of social media, where digital communication has never been easier.

Now thanks to Whatsapp, Facebook, Slack, and even some personal training tools like Virtuagym, educational organizations like Acefitness and more there are so many ways to keep in touch with your clients, track progress, and set up reward systems.

If you want to help your client achieve their dream body, keep them motivated by constantly staying in touch, checking up on how they are feeling, and what you can tweak to make the experience just that much better.

 

Motivate Clients With Fitness Challenges

Not all workouts have to be made in the gym. Why not spice things up for your clients? After all, their bodies getting used to the workout will stagnate growth, which will also demotivate them, as they may wonder, “what am I doing wrong?”

Here’s a tip: try fitness challenges.

Let them do a home workout once in a while. From ironman challenges to simple steps walked each day, there are tons of home workouts you can use to keep them fit but give them a bit of a break from the crazy training schedule you have them lined upon.

 

Fitness community for Facebook - Virtuagym

 

Have A Fitness Community To Help Your Clients Stay Committed

Committing to something that is hard, or painful is always a challenge. That’s why so many people have new year aspirations of “This is the year I get a 6-pack”, or “I will get my Summer body this year”, but it never happens.

Have you ever heard that saying, “you are who you surround yourself with”? Well, that could not be any truer than it is when it comes to keeping your clients dedicated to the grind. Why not set up a Facebook group where clients can share their progress, share helpful tips and keep each other motivated?

Who knows through doing this, maybe you can start some friendships along the way. This will also help with word of mouth, as you will be showing you genuinely care about how each and every one of your clients is progressing, which will help you land a few more clients.

At The End Of The Day – It’s Simple

I know what you might be thinking. Well, these tips are pretty simple, it’s nothing new or overwhelmingly powerful to keep my clients going. But, remember you don’t want to overcomplicate it.

Keep it simple, all you really need is communication, attainable goals, and a good reward system to keep your clients ready to go for that one more set, that one more rep – and you will be aces.