I have been in the health, fitness, and training profession for the better part of 12 years now and have never seen such a quick and drastic change to the industry. In March 2020, when the world suddenly changed, so to did the way people access health and fitness. To say the training world turned upside down on its head is putting it mildly – fortunately, it is very good at handstand push-ups!

The people, trainers, and businesses in the fitness industry are very adaptable. How training is delivered and accessed may have changed slightly over the past few months, but the commitment to finding a way to stay healthy remains strong and innovative.


New Look, New Accessibility, Same Product


1. Virtual Personal Training 


While this type of training did exist prior to COVID, it definitely was not as popular as it is now. Prior to March 2020, I had personally never completed a virtual fitness session. Suddenly, when our facility had to close, we found ourselves with no way of training our clients the way we had done for the past 10 years. Enter the virtual personal training session. This brought a new meaning to the term ‘personal fitness’ as suddenly both client and trainer were sharing each other’s in home space, on video. 

In the beginning, this type of training was new for everyone! As a coach it was a challenge to try and maintain the same quality of service as you would during an in-person session. Our staff of coaches, personal trainers, and physiotherapists experienced how effective these sessions were for clients. It became a great way for clients to learn how to fully utilize their training space and equipment available by getting real-time coaching and expertise specific to their needs and environment. 

This is the biggest benefit of virtual personal training; using your professional knowledge and experience to help guide clients to maximize their training space and tools in the most effective way possible. Regardless of what equipments you have at home, having a professional guide you through the right exercises to navigate the space properly provides a great deal of value helping clients reach their goals faster!


2. Virtual Group Exercise Classes


Keeping the same theme above, fitness at home was not exclusive to the 1 on 1 setting. In fact, in our experience there was a lot of positivity when getting a group of people together on a Zoom call to sweat at home together. This provided some social interaction, teamwork, and extra motivation for people while allowing them to get their workout in without having to leave their home. 

This tool was used for our adult fitness classes, athletes, and minor sport teams to help them stay engaged in their training while the gym was shutdown.

There is something to be said for convenience and being able to fit your training in where you can. I think more people now have better tools to do this in 2020 than they did prior which is a positive.


3. Exercise on your phone – Workout App


This was another virtual fitness tool we had in our toolbox prior to 2020, but it was not utilized to it’s full potential. We now have many of our clients getting personal home workouts right to their phone to provide more planning, programming, and structure for superior workouts specific to their equipment and goals. 

The demand for these types of services looks to only increase over the next year and the Workout App is a great way to take the guesswork out of training for our clients.  

In fact, during the shutdown we had 150+ athletes training remotely while at home using this tool. Many of them still access this app on a daily basis to supplement their time on-site at our facility with additional home workouts. 


4. The meaning of ‘home gym’


Prior to 2020, a lot of people may have had a small workout space, but there is a good chance it was rarely used or at least lacked a bit of creativity when it came to the style of workouts completed at home. Since the start of 2020, I think what has changed for a lot of people is not only how often they now use this training space, but their knowledge and quality of what can be done in that space. A home gym does not need a lot of tools to be effective, it just requires some creativity.

In my experience, people (and trainers) became very resourceful in maximizing their environment to get better workouts. Some examples of this include:

  • Using chairs, ottoman’s or couches as a bench for exercises
  • Using tools around the house like towels, water jugs, backpacks, homemade sandbags for resistance exercise
  • Creating home TRX systems out of towels/doorways
  • Getting outside and using the landscape/environment around them to add creativity to their training
  • Maximizing workouts and results with minimal fitness equipment; for example we created 12 weeks of programming for our athletes using a single DB and mini-band which resulted in a lot of our athletes returning to the facility when we re-opened with fantastic fitness levels

When you add in any of these virtual fitness tools, you can quickly improve your knowledge and understanding of how to maximize your home training environment!


What’s Next?


While it is uncertain exactly what the future looks like for the training world, the one thing we are seeing is our clients are continuing to make use of this increased knowledge of their home training environment while returning to their gym or fitness studios. In person training and coaching will ALWAYS be a superior product to the virtual world, but now we are better equipped to provide additional guidance and resources for clients at home. This is a major asset for coaches, trainers, and clients who have always been limited by time spent together, financial resources, and schedules to get the amount of training required for real results. 

It is now the norm for clients to exercise at home. They likely have an improved training space and more experience exercising at home which brings with it a greater willingness to commit to more home workouts. This greatly improves what a trainer/coach can accomplish with a client!

It also gives clients more options to navigate around a busy schedule by removing the need to always have to find time to get to the gym as you can bring your coach to your gym at the click of a button!

People are adaptable and find ways to keep making progress even when circumstances are less than ideal.  We have seen this in the training world during 2020 and I am truly inspired at how our clients have continued to dedicate themselves to their health, fitness, and training goals using new, innovative, and effective methods.  I believe there is a lot to look forward to in 2021 as we continue our journey at Depth Training to live our mission of helping clients realize their potential and achieve personal excellence.

Have a question about our virtual training services or workout app at Depth? Email [email protected].

Written by: Justin Brooks, Director of Athletic Development, Registered Physiotherapist