How to run a successful personal training business in 2020

Due to the gyms being closed for months, personal trainers all over the UK have had their livelihoods taken away from them.

Most personal trainers are self-employed and have struggled for cash despite government support. Then there are the limited company personal trainers who’ve had little financial help and have either had to shut down or change their business model completely.

Gyms are due to reopen in July

There’s hope that the gyms will reopen in July, but how they are going to function remains to be seen.

Packed gyms, with people fighting over weight benches and machines, are a thing of the past. Gyms are going to have to limit their numbers, potentially increase prices, and also put in place extra cleaning measures to protect members. Then there’s the social distancing aspect.

Even with all of the safety measures in place, there is a high likelihood that not all members will return at once. Many will continue to pause their memberships.

Who knows what will happen over the next six months? Perhaps January 2021 will be the first time the gyms are quieter, not for lack of demand, but due to gyms being restricted as to how many customers they can serve.

While there is lots of uncertainty, one thing is for sure, and that’s gyms will not be the same for a very long time.

Unfortunately, many personal trainers will not survive…

It has been interesting to see the reaction of personal trainers. Many trainers, especially to begin with, believed the COVID-19 pandemic would all wash over within a month and therefore took switched off and failed to adapt. Unfortunately, many personal trainers have struggled to make a living, and in many cases, have gone out of business.

Adapting through this challenging period

On a more positive note, many personal trainers have successfully adapted, and some have even thrived during this challenging time —especially those who adapted quickly within the first few weeks of going into lockdown.

What do the experts predict?

This week we spoke to one of the UK’s leading personal trainers ‘Nick Screeton‘ who is the founder of LEP Fitness. We asked him to share his thoughts, opinions, and advice on how to run a successful personal training business in 2020…

How has personal training changed since lockdown?

To survive, personal trainers have had to move the one to one coaching model online, using Zoom and Skype to do virtual personal training sessions.

Many coaches have been pleasantly surprised at how successful this method of training has been. Although most people don’t have access to a home gym, coaches have been able to adapt workouts using basic home equipment such as resistance bands, skipping rope, kettlebells, and spinlock dumbbells. There are also hundreds of bodyweight exercises you can do in your living room.

What would you say are the key areas to running a successful personal training business after lockdown?

The key to being a successful personal trainer remains the same as it was before lockdown. However, personal trainers will need to adapt during this unsettling transition period as the gyms start to reopen.

We asked LEP Fitness founder Nick Screeton for five tips:

Become A Master Marketer – Many personal trainers know all about the body, but when it comes to marketing and the business side, they struggle. You need to have a good understanding of online marketing so you can reach potential clients and have a stream of enquiries all the time. I would recommend checking out Gary Vaynerchuk and Seth Godin’s work to boost your marketing skills.

Provide A 5 Star Service – the fitness industry is saturated with thousands of average trainers. To succeed, you need to stand out from the crowd. You have got to go above and beyond all of the other coaches in your area. Make sure that you provide a five-star service. You can do this by being a highly skilled coach, a clear communicator, and by supporting your clients both inside and outside of sessions. You can also add extras to your services (which most personal trainers don’t do), such as providing towels and bottled water.

Know Your Niche – honing in on your niche, and knowing who you serve is crucial. You need to be able to understand your customer inside out. Too many coaches spread themselves too thin and try to be the Jack of all trades, but end up being the master of none. Instead, become a specialist in one area and master your craft.

Work On Personal Development – when you qualify as a personal trainer, the learning has only just begun. The real knowledge comes through hands-on experience. To become an expert, you require 10,000 hours of quality practice. For most PT’s, it will take them at least ten years to become a master personal trainer. One of the fastest ways to speed up this mastery process is to invest in yourself continually. You can do this by attending training courses throughout the year, reading books, listening to podcasts, and hiring a private mentor to help you grow your business.

Be Adaptable – who knows what will happen for the remainder of the year? We may go into another lockdown, or this could all blow over, and it becomes a distant memory (although unlikely). You have to be adaptable during this time and prepare for the worst. My advice to fellow personal trainers is to prepare for another lockdown. By this, I mean, be prepared to move your business online. That means doing virtual personal training and being able to attract customers online. You will have to be resourceful and go outside of your comfort zone. Those who can adapt will make it. Those who don’t…won’t.

What do you think the future holds for personal trainers?

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens over the next six months. I believe that we are going to see many personal trainers setting up private facilities, where it’s easier to follow the COVID-19 health and safety measures.

We will also see more personal trainers move to outdoor parks, especially during the summer months. Unfortunately, there will be plenty of personal trainers that don’t make it, but there is hope and lots of opportunities for those who are savvy and determined enough to succeed.