This year – 2020 – will be remembered for how the fitness industry quickly pivoted to work safely and effectively due to COVID-19.
Due to the mandated business closures, travel restrictions and stay-at-home directives implemented by the Canadian government because of the COVID-19 pandemic, an innovative solution was needed to host the Certified Professional Trainers Network (CPTN) annual conference, while addressing physical distancing and personal safety concerns. With conference facilities and airports closed and hotels operating with minimum staff, we needed an option that was barrier-free of travel and accommodation constraints. The best decision was to go online to serve the CPTN members and fitness community.
The transition to an online event required a new mindset. The process started with many questions, some of which included:
- Would previously scheduled presenters willing transition to an online event?
- What format to pursue: virtual (live sessions) or online (pre-recorded) sessions?
- Guidelines for the presentations to ensure quality and consistency
- What learning management system (LMS) to use – hosted, integrated, or customized?
- Proof of session completion by the registrants
- Session access – specific or general
- Continuing Education Credits (CEC) required for recertification
- Deadlines for presenter submissions, promotions and registrations
- Launch date
Once the decision was made to host an online conference, many action steps were implemented to transition an in-person event to the online format. The transition required new deadlines to realize the original launch date of May 29th. These five key action steps were taken for this online conference:
- Planning the program – The original presenters were all invited to present online. Thankfully, 95% of the presenters scheduled for the live event opted to make the transition to online, pre-recorded sessions. They have pivoted, flipped and worked diligently to prepare their recordings to be uploaded in a timely manner for the May 29th launch. Additional presenters were added to diversify the conference program.
- Announcing the change – New promotional materials were developed and circulated. Members and the fitness community were alerted to the change from a physical venue to an online format. Registrants of the original live event were individually contacted and provided with the options available to them to transfer to the online event. Most of the original registrants transferred to the online summit.
- Adopting Technology – Presenters were provided specific guidelines for how to create and submit their recordings. The guidelines included the duration of the video recordings, tips on warming up their vocal chords before recording their session info, and the format for creating the session quiz (required for each presentation to ensure that learning takes place). Videos, handouts and quizzes have been uploaded to a customized learning management system.
- Serving clients– Education about online learning is important since this format is new to many in the fitness industry. Email communication with CPTN members and email subscribers was increased, and FAQ information shared with everyone. The CPTN phone lines also remained open during the stay-at-home period and were answered during regular office hours. Many questions have been answered via phone, email and social media.
- Launching the online conference – Scheduling a specific date for the conference provides all involved – presenters, organizers, attendees and the fitness community – the excitement of a live event, with the flexibility and comfort of learning on demand.
This year, more than ever, is a time when fitness and health industry professionals need to think about, make decisions and take actions for their professional career and business success. While we have all been forced to slow down, this new pace also offers us more time to learn, reflect and apply new techniques and strategies to recover and emerge from this stay-at-home period to be better at what we do.
For some, this downtime is perfect to catch up on any needed education or to create an Independent Education Plan that maps out the next 3-5 years of learning. For others, the time is right to hone in on their business skills—a weakness that many realized needed to become a strength. And finally, for all, this is a time to truly consider how one can diversify one’s fitness portfolio; to put into play, if not already doing so, a plan that creates multiple streams of income: be they passive of active.
For the 2020 CPTN Personal Trainer Online Summit, the keynote presentation – “What About Me?” – with David Sandler, MSc, exposes the “how-to and where to” secrets of unlocking your future and your potential. There is a saying that “we don’t know what we don’t know.” As such, one goal of the 2020 CPTN Personal Trainer Online Summit is to expose some of those unknowns.
A total of 32 presentations from experts in their fields will be launched on May 29th. Sessions range from online training, business development, client coaching, exercise techniques and self-care. The conference program is designed to meet the professional development needs of personal trainers, fitness professionals, kinesiologists, strength coaches, entrepreneurs, facility managers and fitness enthusiasts. All are welcome to register for CPTN’s inaugural online conference: www.cptn.com.
Learn more about the conference with a free copy of the CPTN Spring Report with informative articles from several conference session presenters: www.cptntrainer.com.
The year 2020 will also be remembered as the one that forced the fitness industry to pivot from the normal way of doing business, to one that has embraced creativity, collaboration and technology. As fitness professionals and facility owners think ahead, short-term and long-term action plans may include both in-person and online business models to serve clients and the fitness community in innovative ways.