You cannot put the genie back in the bottle … digital is not going away. But the idea that as a fitness pro you must focus your efforts on a digital strategy is becoming less prevalent or urgent. Sure, diversifying your products and services to include an option for online consumption is wise. Consumers will certainly not quickly abandon this uber accessible, convenient, and anonymous way to get their sweat on. But, with the world opening up at an accelerated pace, there are other ways you can flex your fitness muscles to get people moving.
Before we explore where you might choose to focus if digital is not your thing, I want to make sure we’re on the same page. I support instructors that decide digital is not part of their professional journey. However, I do not believe it is in anyone’s best interest to dismiss digital because you assume in-person classes are a superior option or because you are scared of trying something new. Check out this blog I wrote about the questions you should ponder when deciding to go digital or no.
OK … now that we’ve got that out of the way.
If you are best suited for the in-person experience and looking for ways to get back to it, here are three things to consider:
Widen your search
Perhaps you were one of the many thousands that were let go by your fitness facility home after many, many years of showing up and teaching classes. Understandably, you may feel a bit stuck if you never explored new places to teach before the pandemic (or it has been a while). But, these days, clubs and studios are opening back up without enough instructors to cover classes due to several instructors opting for digital solopreneurship and others deciding it was time to hang up the spandex.
New facilities (primarily franchised fitness clubs and studios) are opening up all over. Many rock climbing gyms, gymnastics and dance schools, and corporations have added fitness to their desired offerings. Start here, explore the different categories, and then hit the pavement (or the Google search) to see what’s happening in your area. You might be surprised how many in-person options exist!
Consider doing your own thing
While most talk still centers on becoming independent by creating an online offering, there are still other ways you could be self-employed as a fitness instructor and bypass the traditional gym.
Outdoor fitness options are certainly popular right now, whether you set up your own class schedule or look into becoming a franchise owner or licensed instructor for an outdoor format.
Be sure to investigate shared-use regulations in your area before setting up shop! With more conversation centered around the benefits of exercise, unique places and spaces are looking for independent contractors to fill the need for an onsite health and wellness program. Check out gymnastics and dance schools, local businesses, municipalities, apartment complexes, and active aging centers.
Explore other ways to get people moving
Perhaps the pause has left you at a crossroads. You know you love the fitness industry and helping people. But, perhaps, teaching group fitness the way you always have doesn’t quite fit anymore.
Consider walking, hiking, running, or biking groups as a new opportunity. What about small group training? Or, many opportunities exist in the health coaching side of our business.
Group fitness can provide a jumping-off point for several offshoot paths in this industry. Take a look and see if there’s something else you could do in your next chapter that builds on what you’ve done in the past.
Whatever you choose, know that the world needs you now more than ever.
While you may feel a bit displaced if digital isn’t for you with all the excitement and coverage of this ‘new’ option, in-person is alive and while. It just needs a few good men and women to pour their hearts and souls into reinventing how that might look! Best of luck.