With the introduction of COVID-19, our industry has been devastated and will be forever impacted in ways that have yet to be revealed. Facilities large and small have been forced to close. Fitness professionals are either out of work and waiting for the pandemic storm to pass, or have re-formatted their business models to deliver services in new ways.
Despite the challenges it has historically faced, the fitness industry has always managed to stay resilient; constantly shifting and growing.
As fitness professionals, it is crucial that we can pivot in uncertain times, and continue to develop and move forward along our desired career paths.
Here are three strategies that fitness professionals can use to manage change and continue to thrive.
- Embrace a culture of “investing in yourself.” Invest in courses, trainings and read online articles. Make this a ‘lifelong’ learning process! Expose yourself to new things and set daily and weekly objectives. Ask for help when something is not understood, and observe and reach out to others within your professional network.
- Stay off auto pilot by challenging yourself to do better. Always look for ways to adapt your existing systems, polices, practices, and procedures.
- Keep up to date with fitness trends. Take the time to read trade journals, newsletters, studies, reports and magazines. Follow the Fitness Industry Council of Canada, canfitpro.com, IHRSA.org and other reputable organizations that provide information from industry experts.
- Listen to your clients and members to fine tune the direction of your services and business. Use their input to shape your future services and products, ensure their needs and wants are being met, and give you the opportunity to exceed their customer service expectations.
- Adopt knowledge with new certifications and training. Use this time to seek new skills and concepts that will build your business and career.
- Adopt new supports in your support system. Recognize who is in your support system, keep a list and lean on this important resource when in need.
- Adopt more referral sources, build on that list, and share with your peers. View your peers as part of your community, rather than your competition, to help the entire industry to succeed.
- Adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset is filled with hope, choices and a bright future, allowing you to push through barriers. Keep your outlook positive, telling yourself you can work through obstacles and overcome challenges. A growth mindset is where leadership and communication skills flourish, and now is the time when both are greatly needed.
- Adopt technology to connect with clients in new ways. Use it to measure social media efforts, motivate clients and successfully reach your target audience. Be sure to personalize your virtual and digital encounters as much as possible with your clients and class participants as we move through this pandemic. Connection and authenticity should be the focus, rather than volume and speed.
- Most importantly, adopt the attitude of being Grateful! For your family support, your client support, and for mentors who offer advice and guidance.
- Know your values and beliefs and stick to them!
- Stay aligned with your scope of practice. Follow your work ethics and lead from a place of integrity. Insurance, music licensing, liability waivers and other important documents like the PAR-Q need to be considered for your virtual classes and sessions.
- Align with your ‘champions’, cheerleaders and coaches. Your champions are the ones that sign up frequently for your classes and events, like and share your posts, provide recommendations and testimonials, and send you referrals. Be sure they know you value and appreciate them! A simple hand written thank you card or email goes a long way.
- Start a mentoring service for those considering joining the industry, or for colleagues who want to take their career to the next level.
- Collaborate with life coaches, nutritionists, wellness companies and other trainers or organizations or that share your values and vision.
Fundamental industry change is scary, and there will be many ups and downs within this ‘new normal.’ Now is the time to act proactively and seek out the opportunities that lie ahead, ensuring we can continue to shine and thrive in our careers, and inspire others in the industry to do the same.
Doris Ward is an award-winning Personal Training Specialist with canfitpro and a nationally recognized health and fitness influencer. She leads running, goal setting and body image workshops, as well as specialized yoga classes for chronic pain management and for those who have experienced trauma.