With a new year mere weeks away, people are starting to consider fitness resolutions. Fitness bookings may drop off with holiday revelry and travel in December, but they surge come January 1.
The first quarter of a new year holds infinite opportunity for a trainer who’s ready to hustle. Whether it’s in a group fitness setting or one-on-one training sessions, January is the best time to build a robust, consistent client base. That means that trainers should be making a few of their own resolutions now to help clients meet their goals in the new year.
When it comes to setting yourself apart from a crowd of fitness professionals, there’s no substitute for know-how. This is a perfect time to look into additional education or a specialty certification. If you’re certified through a group like the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), or the American Council on Exercise, your certifying organization will offer a variety of continuing education courses on topics ranging from how to run your fitness business to catering to clients with special needs.
Beyond the trainer-certifying organizations, you could also try specialized training in a new modality. For example, a trainer who needs to brush up on her indoor cycling coach skills could take a refresher course with Schwinn or Stages. Looking to expand your coaching menu to include kettlebells? Try the SFG Kettlebell Certification. Want to tap into the growing popularity of Suspension Training? Enroll in the TRX Suspension Training Course or Group Training Course.
The best trainers look for ways to support their clients both in and out of the gym. Ten years ago, you might have been limited to phone calls and email check-ins, but apps and social networks make it easy to provide encouragement with minimal effort.
To start, consider creating a Facebook group for your clients. The group could be open (viewable by anyone) or closed (viewable by invitation only). Within your group, you can post photos, instructional videos, healthy recipes, articles about fitness, and tracking documents. Want to run a push-up or tricep dip challenge within your group? Members can track their progress in a shared Google Sheet.
Another way to help your clients to meet their fitness goals is through apps. With an app like My Fitness Pal, your clients can track their diet and exercise. Similarly, clients who are interested in wearables can track their progress through a tool like the FitBit or Apple Watch.
You can also use apps to help your clients exercise, especially when they’re traveling or too busy at work to make it to the gym. For example, with TRX App, users have access to more than 80 workouts across a range of modalities, including Suspension Training, cycling, running, yoga and high intensity-interval training (HIIT). The app works with most major wearables to access users’ biometric data and utilizes that data, audio coaching, and cueing to adapt and interact with the user.
Regardless of how you choose to interact with your clients beyond the gym, continued support is critical for ensuring client loyalty.
Love it or hate it, social media is important for trainers—especially those looking to reach the growing millennial and Gen Z fitness audiences. It’s also a relatively cheap (or free) marketing tool. Instagram is one of the best platforms for trainers, and it’s easy to cross-post Instagram posts onto your Facebook page with a single tap.
So what makes Instagram so great? You can build a following or engage your current clientele with elements as simple as an exercise of the day, prove your value by highlighting client success stories, and open passive revenue streams with sponsored post partnerships and affiliate linking. If you’re new to the platform, there are lots of trainer Instagram tutorials to help you build a following.)
From a revenue-first standpoint, you could also use Pinterest to aggregate fitness articles, recipes, product recommendations, and motivational quotes. Pinterest doesn’t offer the same branding and promotional opportunities as Facebook and Instagram, but it can help drive passive income. If you decide to go the Pinterest route, be sure to sign up for an affiliate linking service like Amazon Associates, ShopStyle Collective, Clickbank, rewardStyle.
As your clients are exploring new and better ways to stay fit, this is the time for you to explore new and better ways to help them meet their goals. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of expanding your fitness repertoire. Maybe you built a following on strength band exercises; let this be the year you add medicine balls into the mix. Clients and trainers can both plateau with too much repetition, so think about new modalities and tools to keep your sessions fresh.
The countdown is on for the busiest fitness season of the year. Use this opportunity to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make it the most successful year yet.