Personal trainers having to adjust to social distancing

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 24, 2020

Personal trainers are used to having hands on contact with their clients, but with the closure of gyms and the implementation of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders they have to adapt.

Brynn Al-Jabi had been working at gyms giving Zumba classes and helping with boot camps before she got her certification to be a personal trainer two months ago.

Now she’s helping the Fitness Depot in Picayune keep its clients engaged with videos on proper workout techniques and exercise ideas.

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“Just recently I was contacted by Fitness Depot gyms. I’ve been working with them and keeping their members engaged on social media. We’re also doing Zoom workouts where members get a Zoom ID and work out with us,” Al-Jabi said.

The virtual group workouts are beneficial because it keeps clients active, but they come with a drawback.

Al-Jabi said personal training involves a lot of contact so that trainers can correct their client’s position or form.

However, now with sessions being held online, the trainers lose that ability to make sure those working out are doing it correctly and safely.

“It’s harder to correct form, especially if you’re doing stuff through a computer and you can’t put your hands on them,” Al-Jabi said.

Not only do the communal workouts serve a purpose physically, but they can also boost metal health as well.

Al-Jabi said working out together gives people a sense of community, and while the virtual workouts help, it’s not the same as doing them in person.

“You get to know people on a deeper level (in person) than you do when you’re on a computer or phone. That’s the biggest challenge of doing online coaching, but it’s still very rewarding to still see people reaching goals, doing workouts and having a good time,” Al-Jabi said.

Business models have to adapt and change their routines due to the COVID-19 pandemic and personal trainers are one of the many groups wondering how to progress.

Al-Jabi said post-pandemic there will still be plenty of online tutorials going out from trainers, but she thinks the face to face workouts will still be the main source of exercise for trainers and their clients.

“The majority of trainers have been forced to do the online coaching thing. It just depends on how it goes, but with me it’ll stick. I do think people miss personal connection they get (in person),” Al-Jabi said.

Al-Jabi got into the business to help people reach their goals. The financial aspect doesn’t drive her.

Her inspiration is more about assisting others on their journey to weight loss and acceptance with themselves.

“I know what it feels like to go through the ups and downs of trying to figure out the best way to get fit and lose weight. It’s frustrating. (I do it) for personal connection and the need I feel to help people get to their goals,” Al-Jabi said.