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How Zoom Transformed my Personal Trainer Experience During Covid

Before the pandemic really kicked off and the first lockdown came in, my client and friend Alan suggested that I start offering Zoom sessions. This had been at the back of my mind though it did strike a chord of fear in me. I'm the sort of person who didn't like or feel comfortable speaking on the phone, let alone making this video calling into my days work.

I swiftly rejected Alan's suggestion, and told him it wouldn't be necessary. I thought to myself that even if it was necessary I wouldn't do it. I'd find a way around.

Lockdown number 1 emerged and I was forced to offer park training or zoom /online training to my clients.

I was very concerned that clients may even feel a fraction of the anxiety I felt over these two new training styles and if they did there would be no way anyone would join me in the online world.

As always there were the quick adopters. A small number of my clients were raring to go and didn't want a change to their weekly fitness routine - so there we were - figuring out Zoom and looking to reset my Skype password as it had been long forgotten . Many of us had not heard of Zoom before this time and within weeks it was a household name.

We were all having to adapt, in more ways than one.

One of my clients and friends was on a house-boat and we had the tiniest space to work in, considerably less than a square metre! Not to mention he couldn't lift his hands above his head due to ceiling height! But it worked. We had great fun and a good training session to rival any we had in person. Just had to be a little bit creative which is great for the brain.

There was also the issue of some clients being very slow and unwilling to initially explore online training, until it became quite clear that the state of affairs was not going to change very fast.

By the end of lockdown number 1, most clients were either meeting me for park sessions or working with me online - even the clients that were dragging their feet - understandably.

The best thing about this is we were getting great results! Clients seemed more committed because their freedoms were taken away and whereas they've always enjoyed our sessions (I believe so anyway) the sessions were particularly an even more important part of their day and mine.

As much, if not more than my clients, I was benefitting and appreciating the contact. I was lucky to have a number of people each day to share our experiences and feelings as events unfolded. Definitely our PT sessions were more than simply about the exercise. They were about connection (if not about keeping sane).

Clients online and in the park continued to lose weight if that was their goal, and continued to stay energised and kept their well-being positive. Of course I should not gloss over the real struggles. Mental health was strained as city worker and office worker clients alike were being exploited by management as people working from home were made to feel the pressure of losing their jobs, and in turn pressured to work extra hours. Clients were frizzled and burnout! Some days people were too busy to even leave the house for a walk.

I must say I believe this pressure was generated on purpose by employees and management. An old fashioned management style to scare people about potential job losses to get everything out of them, manipulating them by using Covid as an excuse to fear for their livelihood. Of course businesses were suffering but the truth is in the case of the jobs my clients did, their businesses were not suffering but thriving in Covid times. I can only hope employees remember the way they've been treated and take appropriate action in better days - whatever that may be.

Anyway! Back to the subject, PT online worked and it was a saving grace for myself and others. Here we are back in lockdown, this is number 3 or 4 and health and fitness has again moved predominantly online. Thankfully we are all used to it now. In fact I only video call friends and family now and I ask to Zoom friends - unthinkable 10 months ago.

Going forward, there are some clients I haven't seen in person since March and I don't think i'll see them for a long time. They simply don't have a need to come in to the anymore, whether we're in lockdown or not. Online training is super convenient. On average clients were travelling for 50 minutes each way to get to me, that seems pretty crazy now. I think in future many clients will simply pop in as a novelty and that suits me fine. The kettle will be working much less but I did miss the routine of having a coffee with my clients while we trained.

Preference wise, after all this, I do prefer studio training. Even if slightly more than online training but maybe 12 years of face to face training is hard to override in less than a year. Therefore I definitely won't be closing the door to face to face training in the future - hopefully Covid free future..

As a closing note, I ask everyone to not give up on their health goals during lockdown. There are so many options open to you. One of them is online training, even Joe Wix on Youtube if you're a fan, or some amazing Yoga with Adriene - she's fantastic. Call a friend and go for a local walk, stick some music on and dance in your living room or grab some dumbbells (at extortionate prices unfortunately) and do a home workout. Nutrition wise, take the time to research healthy eating - particularly a Vegan diet - eating animals is very unnecessary and shouldn't be on anyone's plate. There's so much you can do. Take the New Year motivation to give you an extra push.

Thanks for your time, catch you on Zoom next time.



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