As the country eases out of lockdown, we finally have confirmation that indoor gyms and sports facilities can reopen from Saturday 25th July*. Just a couple of weeks away. This will be a big relief for many personal trainers who have been unable to train their clients for the past few months.
Despite gyms temporarily closing their doors, many PTs have taken their business online to keep supporting clients throughout this difficult time. While virtual training allows you to continue training clients, there’s nothing quite like an in-person one-to-one session to motivate your clients. With the UK beginning to reopen, it’s essential to navigate the new situation safely. Your clients need to feel as safe and comfortable as possible without comprising on the experience they love.
When thinking about how you will train clients in a post-COVID-19 world, it’s important to consider the new challenges you will face. That way, you can implement the right strategies and procedures while following all health and safety guidelines. The challenges you may face after lockdown are:
It’s important to keep an eye on government guidelines throughout the UK as they are subject to change. What remains essential is rigorous cleaning and hygiene procedures as well as strict social distancing. Although health and safety are at the top of the to-do list, the client experience should never feel diminished. Here are five best practices to be aware of when training clients at the gym.
If possible, try to keep two metres away from your client and other members at the gym. To follow social distancing guidelines while personal training, it’s a good idea to communicate with your gym on layout and space restrictions. Find out what space you have available that allows you to stick to safety guidelines while training your clients efficiently.
Depending on the type of training you provide, you can adjust your cleaning and disinfecting needs. For example, if you focus mainly on bodyweight exercises, you can ask your client to bring their own mat. That way, there will be no shared equipment. However, if you’re using free weights and machines, you will need to disinfect equipment before and after every use. You need to both clean and sanitise shared equipment, so think about using an antiviral spray.
You will need to decide what the process will be for clients if they have COVID-19 symptoms. This might involve postponing training sessions and having a two-week restriction period on coming into the gym. Throughout your communication with your clients, you should emphasise the need to avoid sessions if they have any symptoms associated with the coronavirus.
Encourage regular hand washing on arrival and avoid touching faces. Some gyms have implemented temperature checks as well, which may be something to consider as a trainer. You may need to have a good supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) in terms of gloves and face masks. If it’s harder to socially distance on the way into the gym, it may be a good idea to recommend using a face mask on arrival.
The gym layout is likely out of your control. However, it will play a part in delivering a safe and exciting session for your clients. You may need a larger area than usual to carry out sessions, so this is something to keep in mind.
The four nations are currently approaching the easing of lockdown in slightly different ways. For example, the current guidance for PTs in England is that they can meet up with clients and provide training outdoors. For most, the outdoors is not a replacement for the gym. As many personal trainers sit waiting for the 25th, you will need to plan and communicate your next steps carefully. To effectively train clients at the gym, you need to schedule a safe session that offers the experience expected.
One thing to take away from lockdown is that fitness is integral to well-being and mental health. Many personal trainers are dependent on one-to-one interaction for their livelihood. Although what lies ahead for personal trainers is relatively unknown, there are some definite tactics and best practices that you can implement into your planning to help ensure your training business remains secure. By sticking to social distancing guidelines and integrating stringent cleaning procedures, you can provide a safe and exciting training session to support your clients.
*This guidance is for gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports facilities in England. Those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should refer to guidance from the devolved administrations.