When gyms were shut, days before the lockdown, it seemed like the fitness industry was hit hard. But within weeks, trainers moved the action online. They experimented with a few months of free online training, to allow people to warm up to the idea, before moving to coach online. Virtual group classes and live sessions – the new Normal.
Ashwyn Barreto, a fitness coach has been uploading videos on fitness on his social media platforms for a while now. “Before, most of us preferred going to the gym and working out, because you get motivated to work out by seeing others. But the fear of the virus will stay,” he says. He conducts one-on-one personal training (online and in-person) and online group classes, is also doing live sessions.
A lot of online group fitness classes sees trainers conducting classes on apps like Zoom, Google Duo or Instagram Live. The ones on Instagram live sees a fitness coach train a subject, and the participants follow. These are priced at Rs1,500 a month and attarct the youngsters. “Before the virus, most of my work was in person, now it has moved online. Though people still prefer a trainer being present, as a matter of safety, many are willing to sign up for online coaching,” says Ashwyn.
More clients since location and timing is no bound Abhijit Naik also started his online live sessions in March, is focusing on online group classes now. and has over 150 people enrolled. “A lot of these people are new clients since people from anywhere can join and can do these workouts at any time, and wear anything. Also, the ones who feel conscious to go to a gym can join. I add a mix of exercises including cardio, Tabata and so on.”
People of different age groups sign up for these. Siddhant Gadekar who conducts online Zumba classes and Instagram live sessions six days a week for an hour says, “I am into Zumba and Aerobics, and I’d train at my studio in Margao. But now due to the pandemic, we decided to move online! I have around 40 people, of different age groups. With gyms shut, many people are actually enrolling. Times have been tough for us since gyms and studios have been shut for a while. But online training is helping us keep going for a while.”
Personal training and online classes may continue to be huge in the post COVID world
Though gyms may open, trainers predict that people may still be uncomfortable hitting the gym. Nelson Paes, a professional MMA fighter and trainer says, “I have shut down my gym and moved my training online. Everything is uncertain, and this may continue for a while. It’s more expensive now to maintain a gym! I have adapted myself to online training and taking clients for personal training! This will stay, and this is the thing people will prefer, moving forward. People are getting used to it – you don’t have to drive all the way, or dress up well! They can just join the class.” Nelson conducts group classes and one-on-one coaching for clients as well.
Artical by Flexcia D’Souza