With the proliferation of fitness apps that provide exercise demonstration, program creation and motivational content, personal trainers may find it hard to compete. Notice when you are working out how many people these days have apps open on their phone that they are basing their workouts on.
Apps like Nike Run Club, Map My Run and Aaptiv provide music, coaching and motivation for cardio sessions. There are apps that provide weight lifting programs with exercise videos and audio coaching. Strictly based on cost, how can a trainer charge anywhere north of $60 per session when apps like Sweat charge $20 a month?
Trainers need three things to compete with these apps:
As trainers, we all do continuing education to maintain our credentials. But how often do you share that with clients? The next time you do a course, do a debrief for your clients about what you learned and how they can apply it. Doing this immediately sets you up as the fitness resource that they go to when they have questions and not a fitness app.
Be a student of what’s out there in media regarding fitness. Read what your clients are reading from sources they access. It’s easy as trainers to only read journals or educational material in our industry. But most times our clients don’t see that. They find info on their news feed on their phone or something that pops up on Facebook or Twitter. Reading from these sources allows you to know what they’re reading and directing them on how to interpret that data.
Go the extra mile for your clients. Write exercise programs for them when they travel. Plan out their cardio program for a month. Help analyze their diet from pictures they take of their food. Find an app you can use and stay in touch with your clients that way (if you can’t beat them, join them).
Fitness apps are not going away and eventually will become commonplace in the fitness world. But, trainers need to realize that the personal connection and experience they provide is worth more than gold.
At least that’s how I see it from the trenches.
Vic Spatola is a NASM master trainer, fitness business consultant and educator at Club Greenwood in Denver, Colorado. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.