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How are you keeping your client community alive while conducting your sessions with limited numbers in person and online? We speak to four FitPro national trainers to find out their tips and tricks for keeping clients engaged during lockdown.

We’re living in strange times. We’ve seen the move to digital accelerate in the space of a week or two and, as a result, it’s left many of us feeling more than a little discombobulated. We’re inviting clients into our homes in a virtual way and training them from our living rooms, home gyms or garages – even the garden! So, how have we been keeping the magic alive through a video screen?

Rachael Watson Freelance fitness instructor/PT  and director of Yoga Heaven offers a weekly timetable of four classes a day, six days a week, and gets between 10 and 20 people online for the majority of her classes. “I reach out to everyone via email or directly on social media, offering free sessions as well, including meditation, which saw 45 people take part,” she says. “And I did a free ‘pet’s yoga class’, which was hilarious! Escapism, mindfulness and fun are all things people can benefit from at this uncertain time. I’ve generated quite a lot of new clients from doing this.”

Holly Lynch, Fitness Coordinator and lecturer is also offering much more than an online session. She tells us, “We are using the Facebook group platform for daily challenges (sometimes fitness-related, sometimes not) and a quiz night every Friday. We share recipes and cooking tips, create tiktok challenges for those who use it and are encouraging people to chat in general and share the experience together.”

She adds, “I think it has to be more than fitness to keep people engaged. They need to feel they are part of something fun and supportive they can check into numerous times a day – not just once for their workout.”

Lynn Wilson, health and fitness manager, Volair Leisure, tells us that, within her leisure trust, they hadn’t yet needed the presence of an online workout platform, although it was being worked on, so the lockdown meant they needed to have options for members quickly. She says, “We decided to offer MOSSA Move online workouts to our members. They are already familiar with this on our group exercise timetables and are even able to try some new programmes. This has been well received and we hope this keeps them engaged (and therefore excited to return) and that they don’t feel they have lost most of their fitness aims/results.”

She credits the fitness team as key to member engagement. The team has been filming at home and releasing these on social media each week. She adds, “We wanted this to be more personal. I’m a firm believer that members will return not for a product, piece of kit or facility but for the people – therefore, showcasing the team is essential!”

Rachel Fortnum, Group Exercise Instructor has decided to maintain a routine for her clients, delivering all the usual classes in their correct timetabled slots but via Zoom. She says, “I managed to deliver all my fitness equipment to my regular clients the day before lockdown. I’m also adding new classes to the timetable, so they are getting more fresh new content. I’ve dropped my pay-as-you-go price a little and I’m offering weekly or monthly cost-friendly packages.”

Finally, Rachael Watson has these tips to make the online coaching experience a good one. She says, “Make sure your whole body is in shot and people can hear you. Make sure your device and the participants’ devices are plugged in or have enough battery. Remove any pets from the room (unless it’s a pet yoga class). I had an embarrassing experience with one of my cats getting involved with my yoga class! Mute all participants during the session, so their background noise doesn’t distract everyone else.”

How are you optimising your clients’ experience during lockdown and keeping the motivation going? Drop us a message in the comments below and share your successes!