Update 20/3/20: Increased safe distance between clients to 2m (6 feet).
With all of the news and craziness going on around the Coronavirus, I wanted to put together an article for trainers that just stated the facts relevant to training clients through this time.
I’ll split the article into two parts:
- The first part contains protective measures that you should be using in your classes starting now.
- The second part contains some simple ways you can continue to train clients remotely if you’ve shut down your sessions.
At the end of the article I’ll also include a bunch of suitable, no-equipment bodyweight workouts for those of you that are still training clients.
Good practices for training sessions
If you’re still training your clients, that’s okay, it’s up to you whether you stop or continue. Being smart about the policies you implement should make it no more dangerous for your clients than being in public (at the time of writing this).
Most of this advice is adapted from the World Health Organisation general advice.
You should wash your hands before and after your sessions. Ask your clients to do the same.
If hand washing facilities aren’t available, have an alcohol-based hand rub available. If all the shops around you are sold out, ask your clients if they have some they can bring and share.
Avoid touching clients:
If you’re like me, you like to hug people ‘hello’ and you use your hands to help position people when cueing their exercise technique. This needs to stop (for now). Think of it as a challenge to improve your coaching skills by only being able to correct your clients form with verbal cues.
They should avoid touching each other too. No high fives, no tag games, no partner exercises, etc.
It’s exercise, people are going to get sweaty, so make sure you and your clients are keeping the recommended of at least 2 metres (6 feet) between each other.
You can still do partner drills, just make sure no equipment is being shared (see below for more) and that they are keeping the recommended distance apart.
If you’re feeling unwell, stay at home:
Make this the new rule for you and your clients. If you or they are feeling under the weather or coughing or have a runny nose, err on the side of caution and have them stay home (or if it’s you, cancel the session, even if it’s last minute).
Disinfect equipment between use:
Or better yet, just don’t use any equipment during this time. Again, think of only running bodyweight workouts as a challenge to help you develop your coaching skills.
Equipment must be disinfected between use by different clients. If you train indoors make sure you are cleaning your floors between sessions.
If the shops near you are sold out of cleaning products, you might have some bleach at home that you can use to make your own. Cleaning products with 70% ethyl alcohol are also recommended.
Cancel sessions with at-risk groups:
If you run sessions specifically for groups of people who are at risk of developing serious symptoms from COVID-19, cancel them immediately. If you have clients who fit this category who attend your regular classes, call them and ask them kindly to stay home.
Move your sessions outdoors:
One way to avoid having to clean equipment and to make sure that there is plenty of room between clients is to move your sessions outdoors.
Have clients bring their own mat (most people will have an old yoga mat lying around) and go from there.
Communicate with clients:
Once you’ve put your policies in place, the next step is to share them with your clients. Be really clear about what’s changing and what is expected of them. Everyone is keen on getting through this together so the response will be positive.
Put it out across all platforms that you’re on: send out the info via email, share it on your social media and take the time to explain it before each class.
Be prepared to stop your sessions:
If things do change and another level of social distancing or quarantining is recommended, be ready for it.
Check out the section below where I share how you can keep training your clients even if you cancel your face-to-face sessions.
Temporarily shut down?
How to keep both your income and keep on helping your clients
If you do need to stop running sessions, all is not lost!
People will still be craving connection and moving their bodies.
Below I’ve put together 3 sets of tools you can use to run virtual workouts for your clients. Most of these use free or low-cost tools.
It may seem daunting to use new technology, but look at this as an opportunity to learn some new skills. Plus, your clients will be so appreciative that you’ve put something together just for them.
Option 1 – Facebook Group with Live workouts for a monthly fee
This is the simplest option. For a small monthly or weekly fee give your clients access to a private Facebook group where you’ll run several workouts a week. Thanks to the Live feature, they can either do the workout with you or watch the recording later.
To charge money, PayPal have a simple way to set up recurring subscriptions and most of your clients will have a PayPal account already. Another option is to use a free Wave Apps account to send a recurring invoice to your client that they can pay manually. After all this may only last a few weeks.
Finally, you could also use PTminder or Mind Body Online or similar booking software if you’ve already got that set up. Just create a special plan for your group.
- A Facebook group (free)
- To take payments (you just need one of the following):
Option 2 – Charge per session and use Zoom
Also quite simple to get set up is live streaming your workouts via Zoom. Zoom is free for meetings under 40 minutes and you can stream from your phone, tablet or webcam.
One big benefit of Zoom is that it’s video chat software, so you can see your clients as well as them seeing you. This is an awesome way for you and them to still feel a part of a group and also so you can correct technique throughout the workout.
Simply set up a meeting time on Zoom, tell your clients about it with a way for them to pay and then send them the link to join the meeting.
- Zoom (free plan gives you 40 minute group meetings)
- To take payments (you just need one of the following):
Option 3 – Use a virtual PT app
The last option, and maybe the one to pick if you do mainly one-on-one sessions, is to use an app that’s built for virtually training clients.
These apps usually have a way that you can assign workouts to each client and receive videos of them doing the workout so you can give feedback. Payment can usually be made through the app by your client too.
10 Zero Equipment Workouts and Drills
Here are some great bodyweight workout ideas that are suitable for use in your group training sessions this week.
There are more drills on BootCraft and we are working to set up a special section on there to showcase bodyweight group fitness and also remote group fitness workout ideas.
- As Many As Possible
- Take 10 (you’ll need some stairs or to change the stair runs to something else)
- Burpee Add On*
- 10 to 2 to 10
- Count Down Count Up*
- Up Top (you’ll need a hill)
- Complex Sprints #2
- The EMOM Pyramid
- Core Countdown*
* Good for virtual group fitness sessions too
Please stay safe during the next few weeks and look after your community. Not just your clients but your neighbours and friends too.
For your classes, at a minimum put into place safe practices in your sessions and then beyond that do what feels right for you and your clients whether that’s capping the size of your classes or cancelling them altogether.
Please share this around with your trainer friends.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.