Preparing Your HIT Business for Coronavirus

Luke Carlson and Mike Petrella
Luke Carlson and Mike Petrella

Listen to my podcast with Luke Carlson (Founder and CEO, Discover Strength) and Mike Petrella (Owner, STG Strength and Power) on how to prepare for Coronavirus, improve your mindset, and build a robust business for the future:

Listen on Apple Podcasts

I’ve been talking to HIT business owners and observing what our colleagues have been doing to mitigate the impact on business and keep people safe.

Below are just my thoughts about how we can improve the situation, but please follow directives from WHO, CDC and your local health agencies. Then, based on these directives, formulate your own policies/procedures for your studios.

What to do:

  1. HIT is the most potent exercise we can do to improve our health and build a robust immune system (along side a healthy diet and good sleep). Highlight this key fact in your client messaging to describe why they should continue to train during this challenging time (unless they have the virus or are sick, obviously).
  2. HIT is generally 1-on-1 private or small group training. By training with you, clients are avoiding big groups in big box gyms. A small private environment is going to reduce the risk of infection and make it possible and much easier to keep equipment and surfaces clean. This unfortunate event could be a powerful endorsement for the value of boutique studios.
  3. Keep your trainers focused on providing high quality workouts and great customer service. A well known HIT studio owner described to me how distracted their trainers were when they introduced a new training app. The app was a big change and distracted the trainers from providing a great experience. As a consequence, said HIT business had a poor quarter for retention, and withdrew the app until further notice. This business owner thinks that COVID-19 could have the same impact, and has made an effort to instil confidence in the trainers and keep them focused on the task at hand. Since that is what clients need during this time.
  4. Have your trainers clearly state to every client that they are going to wash their own hands, and return to train the client.
  5. Wipe down every machine after EVERY use (communicate this policy to clients). Consider investing in a highly visible wipe disposal unit at every location.
  6. Consider installing a hand sanitiser machine at the entrance of your studio and insist clients and staff sanitise their hands when entering and leaving the facility.
  7. If you find you have less sessions over the next few weeks or months, use this time to reflect, plan, and work ON your business. Perhaps do what Traction calls a Clarity break and focus on one area of your business that you want to improve. In this podcast, Luke Carlson (CEO, Discover Strength) describes how he often uses his clarity break to run through a delegation matrix to learn how he can scale and grow his business.

I thought this video was from London Real’s, Brian Rose, was very inspiring and helpful for getting us in the right mindset:

Here’s some great blogs posts and client comms from our colleagues:

Lots of our colleagues in HIT are already taking plenty of action to communicate these kinds of messages and much more in creative ways, so please just take a look at what others are doing.

In the event of a total shutdown, you may wish to provide your clients with remote coaching via Skype and/or with workout videos. The following podcasts describe the best tools to use and how to build an effective online coaching program:

If you’re struggling with your business and session/client churn, email me to lawrence @ I’m going to make myself more available to try help you during this testing time.

HIT Business owners and personal trainers, please post your links below to posts, client comms, that will help our colleagues keep people safe and protect their business.

Comments 7

  • Thank you Lawrence, appreciate your help.

  • Hygiëne should Always be top. But that isn’t the case , never. And that is something surely NOT limited to a “gym”. Anyway, if one wants to protect their clients one should not allow them to visit the facility and that also is the only way to protect oneself and the employee’s. You never know if a client has the virus. Breathing is needed Always and intenser so during exerise, very dangerous nowadays!! I understand to use rational behaviour, but really this snowbal effect of closing actually “living ” gets insane. Stress accompanied with the virus seems to me more dangerous.I thought the dutch kept things more relaxed but the media used by our government got them nuts too. They ask to not act in panic yet they keep giving advice or rules to strangle life. I myself just act the same as with a flu seems rational to me, nothing special. Being hyper concerned one should stay at home…………..wearing mouthcaps,, afraid to take money etc is just pseudo security. Desinfecting might help a bit, but one never can be sure.
    Just something I need to get of my chest .
    Stay healthy and enjoy life.

  • Seems I’m on the same page as Brian. He even said in another video he wanted to catch the virus now ( since he is strong and healthy enough to comabat it ) so he will be prepared for it when the virus will hit us (probably) even harder.
    I don’t agree necessary with his comment that this “crisis” will just be a test to see what we are made of. If he means with “we “each and every person I see that as a politicians comment that “we all” will earn more or profit from government decissions etc. Businesses are closing and have no income, people that work for contractors etc must stay home with way if any income, they can’t spent money any time soon to revive the economy. I see a lot of people telling my really devastating stories. And all because of hysteria fed by government. How will these people get out of this stronger or why, if they don’t, should we say they are not made of the right stuff?? I like motivational talks but most often they neglect facts.Our system of rules,laws and the like constrict us in a way that make heroic acting impossible for a lot of people………… this context that is the problem.
    Regarding closing borders and the like I see this as a hit to freedom. Test each person and then act. Not every person from Europe has the virus just as not every person from the middle east is a terrorist. Impossible?? No one said it is easy.
    Anyway , I go to work too (working on the train) and so does my son (delivery DHL) and my wife (working in a butcher shop). We go out for eating, etc. Never forget to relax instead of stressing over what might happen.
    What really pisses me of is that the people with for a great deal hlifestyle related diseases are to most vulnurable and because of them we pay the price of being shut down. And I know for sure these winers (ok, not all but many) will not change a bit of that in the future. And WE PAY THE PRICE. and THAT came from the US to Europe.

  • I feel for anyone who needs to make a living offering services of a discretionary nature in a situation like this. For myself, I am retired and don’t own or operate a fitness business. I just have to decide whether or not I want to go out in public to train.

    Now I do not belong to a private one-on-one HIT facility. I get my workouts done at a large public access gym. The membership is large, and no one is taking a close look at the health of the folks that come through the door. There are a fair number of younger healthy folks who are quite committed to the gym, and who seem like the sort to “just train” even if they don’t feel quite up to par. It is that crowd that I worry about the most, because if there was community spread of the disease, they are the most likely to be asymptomatic carriers.

    The second aspect is hygiene. The gym has numerous paper towel stands around the facility with bottles of some kind of cleaning liquid. People, including myself, use it to wipe down benches and seats before and after use. How effective the liquid is for disinfecting purposes, I do not know. The last time I trained, I became acutely aware of just how many things I touched during the course of a workout that probably don’t get cleaned all that often: barbell and dumbbell handles, machine handles, adjusting pins and levers, the edges of plates. Hand sanitizer? There is usually one bottle at the front desk. So it is not exactly a germ free environment.

    As I pondered all the things I was touching, I also thought about the first winter I trained at that facility. I had 4 back to back lingering colds which made that a pretty miserable winter. At the time, I attributed it to my getting greater exposure to bugs and contagion than when I trained at home. In fact, I gave serious thought to going back to training at home. Now, over time, I must have developed better immunity, because in subsequent winters, the number of colds dropped off, and I actually got through this winter with nothing at all. But now there is a new virus in town, and it might be a little bit worse, or possibly a lot worse, than the garden variety flu. It is unlikely that I have any immunity to this bad boy. So I am inclined to be cautious.

    I am also 67, which means I am officially old. The CDC reminds me that people my age are at higher risk of having serious complications from the coronavirus. And my wife has a chronic medical condition that requires medications which suppress her immune system. No one knows how that disease and that medication affect her risk of having more serious complications. So I have to make decisions based not only on what I perceive my risk to be, but on the risk that I bring something home that makes her very ill. In the absence of solid information, I am exercising an abundance of caution, and have stopped going to that gym. I consider it a significant disruption of my life, but a necessary one. I will instead train at home using dumbbells, a weighted vest, and a pullup bar. As the Marines say: improvise, adapt, overcome. Beats whining about the circumstances….

    I will add that even if someone is young and confident about the robustness of their own immune system, they need to decide if they want to be the guy that kills Grandma or Grandpa by passing something bad on to them.

    As for the piece by Brian Rose: I thought it had a lot of platitudes, without many specifics. What exactly is leadership? Is running around town, behaving normally a display of leadership or selfishness? Contagious diseases do not care how fearless you are.

  • PT Barnum said it best….and they already shut down the 3 Ring Circus several years ago.

  • All,
    Whatever my personal opinion about the hysteria concerning a FLU virus, I hope you all do well and will survive financial too.
    I’m glad I own my private gym and can workout as used to. Not cleaned a tad more the equipment, just the usual stuff. Like beauty, health comes from the inside………….atleast that should be the base……..we live with germs lke it or not,
    As said……..stay strong and keep the good spirit………..worldwide ofcourse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.