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Coronavirus drives trainers to get creative with online fitness opportunities

Coronavirus drives trainers to get creative with online fitness opportunities

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The closure of gyms and fitness centres across Australia has taken a massive toll on the industry, but trainers are utilising new apps and running classes online to connect with clients to try to remain viable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fitness Australia, the national not-for-profit industry association for fitness professionals, estimated more than 20,000 people involved in the exercise industry had lost their jobs.

Technology could help alleviate some of the pressure businesses were currently dealing with.

New apps, which work much the same way as dating apps, connect people with the type of personal trainer they are looking for in their area.

Personal trainer Mark Gordon said it helped him connect with clients in Australia and overseas.

“It’s just a brilliant way I’ve found for people to actually find me,” he said.

“Especially when things did hit the fan, people were looking for ways to move at home.

“I’m currently training people in Singapore and training people in New Zealand by the wanna-train app.

“Everybody needs support right now — times are so uncertain.”

Personal trainer Mark Gordon uses an app on his mobile phone to connect with clients.
PHOTO: Personal trainer Mark Gordon uses an app to connect with clients in Australia and overseas. (Supplied)

‘We can have a giggle about things’

Online classes were another way different sections of the fitness industry were dealing with the shutdown.

April King, who runs a pilates studio, said it had been a great way of interacting with clients.

“I can un-mute them and we can have conversations on there … we can have a giggle about things,” she said.

“A lot of the clients I’ve been speaking to this week have been saying to me they can’t wait to get online properly and be able to look forward to something every day that’s a distraction from what they’re doing.”

Pilates instructor April King sits on the floor in front of a screen while speaking and working with a client online.
PHOTO: Pilates instructor April King says online classes are a great way of interacting with clients. (ABC News: Michael Rennie)

Trainers ‘struggle to keep an income’

John McNaughton is another personal trainer about to venture into the online world.

He was running small group classes in the park to keep his business going.

But changes to social-distancing restrictions meant he could now only train one person at a time outdoors.

“It’s going to be tough on the industry and I think a bunch of trainers are going to struggle to keep an income,” he said.

Personal trainer John McNaughton with client Jasmin Lee exercise about two metres from each other in a Brisbane park.
PHOTO: John McNaughton is about to venture into the online world as a trainer. (ABC News: Michael Rennie)

“We’re certainly not the only people in a tough time, but the industry is struggling to keep up with the lack of opportunity.

“For the people that are interested, we’re going to try to move those online — a chance for people to still get guidance from a trainer and a social connection.”

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