The coronavirus outbreak has many personal trainers concerned on a personal and professional level. Working in close contact with clients may put PTs at increased risk of contracting and inadvertently spreading the virus. Gym closures, session cancellations, and government lockdowns mean that livelihoods may be significantly impacted.


There’s no question that slowing the spread through social distancing measures should be a top priority. So, how can personal trainers and PT businesses respond to protect the health of themselves, their clients, and wider communities?


In this article – we share best practices that PTs can follow in response to the coronavirus threat.


Here’s an overview of the 5 key steps you should consider taking…


  1. Follow government advice closely
  2. Communicate quickly and clearly
  3. Increase hygiene precautions
  4. Offer alternative options
  5. Maintain goodwill with clients


Now let’s look at these steps in a little more depth…


Follow government advice closely

The first step is to following government advice very closely. There may be restrictions relating to personal contact or social distancing that affect you. Be sure to read the guidance on protecting your health closely.


If you run a PT studio, then you may be required to help people maintain a 1m distance between each other. You can do this by…


  • Rethinking class programming e.g. changing the format of circuits so that clients only use one piece of equipment instead of rotating.
  • Encouraging greater personal space by arranging workout areas further apart or hanging ‘not in use’ signs on every second machine.
  • Introducing time limits to ensure that capacity is maintained when fewer resources (like equipment) are available.


Communicate quickly and clearly

Your clients probably have a LOT of questions on their mind so keep them updated with the latest information. Are you still operating as usual? Are small group PT classes on hold? What’s the situation with cancellations fees if they miss sessions due to sickness?


  • Update your database via email, social media, or SMS text message.
  • Pin the most recent social media update to the top of your profile so everyone sees it.
  • Communicate any changes asap so that clients always know the latest info.


IHRSA devised this comms guide for gyms which is equally useful for personal trainers…




Increase hygiene precautions

You’ve probably already done this but it’s important to communicate your actions to clients too. Increase hygiene precautions such as cleaning and handwashing to prevent viral spread among your customer base.


If you run a studio, clean it more often and pay special attention to areas that are touched most often. This means equipment grips, buttons, door handles, and sink taps.


Stepping up your cleaning will minimise COVID19 spread, reassure members that you’re doing everything you can to protect them, and keep you healthy too.


Top tip – create your own custom handwashing poster to your favourite song…




Offer alternative options

What alternative options can you offer your members? When China declared a lockdown in some cities, people started doing online fitness classes instead. Since they weren’t able to venture outdoors, they had to find alternative options – what solutions can you offer?


Coronavirus will challenge us all to think and act differently. Could you live-stream PT sessions via Facebook or Instagram Live? Do you have existing resources like workout videos or exercise instructions that you could post online? Get creative with your offering.


Maintain goodwill with clients

ClassPass offers an excellent example of best practice when it comes to maintaining goodwill during an exceptional situation. They have announced that class credits will be rolled over to future months so that members aren’t disadvantaged by not using them. It’s a smart proactive move that will reduce membership cancellations and maintain positive customer relations.


The company has also said that they’ll waive their usual ‘no show’ fees for people feeling ill. This will help limit the spread and further aids goodwill during tough times. What steps can you take to maintain the same positive approach with your client base?


We can all play a part in slowing the spread of coronavirus and helping things to return to normal. You can help by following these 5 simple steps – follow government advice, communicate quickly, increase hygiene precautions, offer alternative options, and maintain goodwill.