In some ways, the opportunity might be viewed as a double-edged sword.
“With many club doors still closed, streaming provides many trainers with the opportunity to remain connected to their valued members and clients, while also giving them much-desired work,” says Brynne Elliot, senior director of training at TRX Training. “For trainers, although streaming workouts may be out of their comfort zones—and certainly out of the norm—they need to adapt their skillsets to take advantage of the trend.”
In this case, she adds, trainers and other fitness professionals need to adapt the skills of engagement, connection, and motivation through the lens of the camera. They have to learn to balance exercise demonstration with equal amounts of time coming up into the camera lens and making eye contact and connecting, while harnessing a variety of coaching personalities and styles.
Especially important is “cueing,” or setting up the progression of the class or exercise through both voice and anticipatory imaging (i.e., cueing up what’s coming up next).
“At TRX, we refer to these as ‘swing thoughts to correct common faults,’ and our cueing formula for those is Name of the Exercise, Adjustment, Position, Start, Movement, Return, or NAPSMR,” Elliot explains. “When you adopt a formula in your cueing, your clients and members will get used to this order, follow your cadence, and more easily meet the objectives of the class or exercise.”
Now more than ever, keeping strong connections to members is a critical skill. One key tool trainers can leverage to do that is social media.
“Social Media is now an indirect, mandated extension of the fitness experience,” says Angela Leigh, head of content, talent, and fitness programming at TRX Training. “The live pre- and post-class banter has now been replaced with Instagram story tags and responses, DMs, and posts about how fun, hard, and exciting class was with the trainer. This is low-hanging fruit for trainers to build a community with their subscribers, clients, and members outside their fitness session.”
Clearly, virtual programming is not going away. So how can trainers balance the in-person and virtual aspects that ongoing hybrid programming presents?
“This is a fun problem to solve as a trainer,” Leigh says. “Digital content curation provides a different framework for the trainer to showcase their programming prowess, especially if their sessions and classes will live on a platform. Each class a trainer creates tells a story and, more often than not, stories are what users connect with. Stories are the most powerful form of connection.”
The immediacy of the digital world can provide an insider’s look into trainers’ stories beyond their science-backed skills, she continues. The balance of one-to-one, group training, and digital coaching will be an ongoing scheduling exercise that trainers will need to constantly edit and refine as they assess their focus in each arena. Some may realize virtual coaching aligns with their values and newly adopted lifestyle, where others will continue to work the balance.
“This is not necessarily a new problem, it’s just different circumstances,” she says.
Technology and Equipment Considerations