Monday, 8th March 2021
Last week was the Virtual Careers Week at Brooklands – a chance for us to deepen our knowledge of potential employment after college. There were guest speakers, tasks, live streamed talks from industry experts, and much more.
One of the guest speakers we had was Claire Desroches of Movement Fix – a company focused on helping people move their bodies more often and more effectively through the use of specific training sessions and therapies. Claire set the learners from our level 3 BTEC in Sport, Fitness & Personal Training the task of developing a video library of exercises that could be given to prospective clients who need some help after online training sessions or injury consultations.
She also very kindly wrote this blog article for us, giving her insight into how the fitness industry (and those working in it) could be poised to have a big impact on everyone’s life after Covid-19.
I hope you enjoy the insights from someone who is highly successful in industry. (Ben – Sport & Public Services department).
– Ben, Sport & Public Services Lecturer
Why a Sport & Fitness course might be the right thing to do – especially after lockdown!
After a year of thoroughly depressing news, I am grateful to be in a position to say things have possibly never looked better for those of you in training to work in the fitness industry!
I feel bad bragging, as so many people and businesses have struggled since the start of the pandemic, and many have not survived, arguably through no fault of their own. My own personal training and massage business has never been as busy as it has since March 2020, and as great as that is on a personal level, I’m particularly excited about what it might mean for society.
I could just be very lucky, but beyond the increased number of sessions I’ve taken, I’ve seen a real evolution in my clients that suggests a longer-lasting view not just of our industry but of the benefits of physical activity in general.
Very early on, I noticed that people’s relationship to exercise had changed. Before the lockdown in March 2020, there was always a sense that exercise was a chore. I used to joke that “you can never win” when you’re a PT: either you give someone a ‘hard’ session, and they’re upset with you because it was challenging, or you give them an ‘easy’ session and they feel like they didn’t get their money’s worth. I haven’t felt that since the first lockdown; people have been looking forward to their sessions, and telling me how much better they feel after them. Crucially, existing clients have bought sessions for their loved ones, and increased the number of sessions they do each week. Simply put, whereas exercise used to be a chore that took time away from the fun things in life like meeting friends at the pub or curling up on the couch, it has now become the exciting thing to break up the day, an activity people turn to for a hit of energy.
It has also become so much more obvious to many people that they feel better when they move. One of my clients pointed out that they used to think they disliked exercise, but knew they had to do it for their health. What they did feel they needed though, was to leave the house every day. Since the first lockdown, they realised it’s the other way around: leaving the house was the way they got some exercise, even if it was just commuting, and if they exercise at home they don’t actually need to get out of the house for days! Incidentally, that client has never looked stronger: that reframing of the role of exercise in their lives has allowed them to do more of it, and to push themselves harder.
The lockdown experience taught me something as a personal trainer, too. Well, it taught me many things, but the one I may never have learnt without a pandemic is simply that my clients choose to work with me because I am a human. If it was just for the training, they could use YouTube videos or any other online platform that would allow them unlimited access for significantly less than they pay me for an hour or two a week. The pandemic forced us all to be a little more vulnerable – a little more human – it would have clearly been a lie to say I felt great every day. It would have been a disservice to tell my clients to stop talking and do some burpees when they were in the middle of getting something off their chest. They needed a human at the other end of the Zoom call, not a drill sergeant. I hope that’s something that other personal trainers have learnt too – because “mind over matter” doesn’t mean “push through any pain at all cost”; it means “if your mind isn’t in the right place, it doesn’t matter what your body is physically capable of”.
There is a lot of pressure on fitness professionals to be good at everything, all the time, and to compete with all other offerings. I hope this shared experience teaches us that what makes us unique are our individual personalities, our ability to listen and empathise. I believe that the new-and-improved popularity of physical activity and fitness professionals is here to stay, but only if we remember what makes us important in people’s lives.
– Article by Claire Desroches, Movement Fix