As lightning from a clear sky – a pandemic has hit the World, closed off the gyms and left our clients at home to bench press with a roll of toilet paper on each side of a broom. So how should you go about your trainer business in this time of extreme uncertainty?

Trainers all tackle this situation differently: as you have probably already seen, Instagram and Facebook are overflooded with paid ads from trainers trying to sell home workout programs to earn some extra pennies. Some influencers are even taking it to the next level trying to take advantage of this pandemic to capitalize on “immune boosting” diets (don’t be that person, PLEASE!) 🤯

In the following post, I will give you my take on how you can actually use this period to your advantage. This is what I’ve done. I am not even coaching anyone anymore, but as an experiment I got 4 new clients in less than 24 hours WITHOUT any paid ads or salesy posts! 

So before you panic and click the big red “Eject” button on your personal trainer business, do yourself a favor and read this post to the end and I will explain how you can actually use this situation to your advantage, and have your business come out stronger on the other side.

How To Ride Out The Corona-Storm…

There are two ways you can see this situation: either you can see it as a huge disaster for your trainer business, or you can choose to see it as a great opportunity.
I recommend the latter. You see, even though gyms are closed and clients are quarantined in their homes, one fundamental thing has not changed:

People still want to get in shape.

So do what you do best, help them achieve that goal! No doubt, things are radically different to what they were just a couple of weeks ago. But if you read this entire post, I will try to convey to you how you can actually turn it into your advantage.

But first… Here are my 3 tips on riding out the Corona-storm as a personal trainer

  1. My first recommendation goes out to all the personal trainers out there who still train their clients 1-to-1: take them online – now is the time.
    Now is the time to move your PT clients to online coaching. Give them a discount and coach them online until all of this is over. It’s either that, or you risk losing them.
  2. My second recommendation is: focus on retaining clients instead of acquiring new ones. I have said this before, but it bears repeating – it is much cheaper and easier to upsell / retain an existing client, than it is to acquire a new one. Some say up to 7x cheaper. And given the complex situation right now, this applies more than ever. So if some of your clients are due to finish soon, try to extend them by giving them a great deal to continue a bit longer.
  3. My third and last recommendation: now is the time to experiment with your sales / marketing channels. I see a lot of trainers having more time on their hands, now that all the gyms are closed – so how about using this extra time to try out some new content for your followers?
    Given the crazy circumstances, I thought I would experiment with reviving my online coaching business for a bit and try to come up with some novel ways of getting in online clients. I thought it could help nurture some ideas for you guys to do the same.

    Within 24 hours I had already got 4 online clients!

    So it’s not all bad news with pandemics and your trainer business 😉 Let me explain how I did it…

Will Ferrell got toilet paper in the Corona epidemic

So, How Did I Get 4 New Online Clients In Less Than 24 Hours In The Midst of All This Craziness…?!

It was all about taking advantage of the situation. It’s no question that there has been a surge in social media use in this chaotic time, and I took advantage of that. I thought to myself, what could I do right now that would make me stand out from the crowd?

What would my audience really like to see on their feed in a time like this? Obviously, it had to be something that was outdoor / available at home, but it also had to be fun.

Back in the days, I always had great success getting online clients by just doing stupid and funny things on my IG and FB. But while all the other trainers were offering free home workouts, I decided to take another approach. 


I created a competition where one of my followers could win a strawberry cake if they could guess how many walking lunges it would take me to walk the distance between two subway stations. 


I added the “question” feature on an IG story, and told people I wanted to spread some love and positivity in these times, while everyone else was complaining. I recorded the full walking from subway A to subway B and edited it straight on my phone in less than 30 minutes. 

I knew this would create a lot of engagement, but the level of engagement blew me away – within 24 hours I had got 4 new online clients. No sales promotions. No paid ads. Just spreading love and having fun. 

I have said this before: getting online clients from IG / Facebook, is so much more than just posting booty-pics and promoting CBD gums. When I was at the top I had +80 online clients while still studying and building Zenfit. How? I did ridiculous challenges like this, which created lots of engagement and in the end: clients.

So if there is one thing you should take-away from this post: do challenges like this, and record funny videos showcasing your personality – it works, I promise you.

IG LIVE: Another Lethal Weapon in The Arsenal of The Ambitious PT

Another thing that I have wanted to try for a while was Instagram LIVE.

On the Zenfit Instagram page we have recently started doing it every Wednesday to help trainers with their business and share tips & tricks to getting more clients etc. It works great!

And I know online coaches who do this regularly, also see great results with this. There is just something truly unique about being live and being there to answer questions in real time.

I know, it can feel nerve wracking to go live the first couple of times you do it.

Man sweating because he is going on Instagram LIVE

I was drenched in sweat and my head was spinning the first time I pressed that “Go live” button on IG LIVE. But hey, I didn’t die, and there was a constant flow of people watching me talk non-stop for 1 hour.

I remember the first live stream I did for Zenfit, I only had 5-6 viewers constantly watching, and a total of 40 visits. The second live stream I had 10-12 viewers, and 99 total visits, plus people asked me questions during the live stream (pretty epic feeling). IG LIVE and Facebook LIVE are a great way to show your true, unedited YOU. And it is greatly prioritized by IG and FB, so they will highlight your live stream to your followers.

If I were still a PT / online coach I would definitely look into doing weekly live-streams. I have seen loads of other trainers have great success with this. The key is to be consistent with it. It’s much better to do it the same time every week and promote it consistently during the week, instead of just sporadically going live.

At Zenfit we go LIVE every Wednesday at 4 pm GMT +1 – find your own time slot that fits yours and your audience’s schedule.

See this pandemic as an opportunity to experiment with some of these alternative ways of doing marketing & sales. 

Which leads me to my next point…

Stay Calm, Stay Inside & Spread Some Love Instead

At Zenfit we see two types of trainers during this pandemic: 

  • the ones ready to kick a** and boost their business
  • and the ones giving up in advance 

We choose to focus on those who want to kick some a**. You should too! It might go a little slower right now, but there are still dedicated people who can’t sit in their couch all day and binge-watch Netflix – talk to these people in your posts.

Remember, this will all be over soon. Don’t let this minor issue set you back. At Zenfit, we currently see a large amount of both new and experienced trainers currently signing up for our services. They realize they need to think long-term, and realize that now is the time to reflect on their business.

Now they have time to get a bird’s eye view of their business and start streamlining it. Some also see this as the perfect time to transition into online coaching. We could not agree more!

Final words… This is NOT the end of the World

How to be a personal trainer in the this Corona crisis

  • Just because your gym is closed, there are still millions of people who want to get in shape.
  • Just because your gym is closed, there are still millions of people working from home, earning $$$, and willing to invest in themselves (have you seen the lines to home improvement retailers? Lots of people are using this extra time at home to renovate their gardens and their homes in general. So there are definitely people willing to spend money.)
  • Just because your gym is closed, there are still millions of people where home workouts are more than enough to give them results (I called a fitness equipment retailer to buy a bench press, he told me they currently got 10x more orders).
  • Just because your gym is closed, you can spend this extra time to improve your customer service and content game. Now you have the time to experiment with alternative ways of doing marketing etc. When the lockdown is over, people will be hungry to invest in your services!

See this situation as an opportunity to experiment with new ways of doing content and marketing channels. Personally, I got 4 new online clients in just 24 hours by taking advantage of the situation. You can do the same! Take the opportunity to record some funny video content, where you take up a ridiculous challenge like I did.

Or try out IG LIVE, where you educate your followers on what they should do to stay in shape in these times. Lastly, for the PTs out there who train their clients 1-to-1 in the gym: now is the time to take your clients online. Now is the time to start streamlining your business and take it to the next level.

Want to scale your online business? 💪

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Hope you enjoyed this post, and that your trainer business will come out stronger on the other side.

Stay safe out there!

Lasse Stokholm

Zenfit CEO