The Virtual Training Experience

Personal Trainers Must Adapt to Changing Industry

I have enjoyed training in gyms as a profession for 27 years. This year, all New York gyms were forced to close by order of the State of New York. While it was damaging to the fitness industry all over the country, New York’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was particularly devastating to businesses, especially gyms, which are still ordered to remain closed since mid-March. Personal trainers such as myself had to pivot quickly to find another direction in which to train our clients.

My wife and I call it a Blockbuster Video moment for gyms. It has become evident that this is a moment of transition for the entire fitness Industry. If we don’t apply the necessary changes with crucially swift decisiveness, parts of our industry may end up with the same fate that Blockbuster Video experienced at the hands of a changing and growing streaming industry.

With our backs against the wall, we decided to alert and persuade our clients to a new path of one-on-one, virtual training. For Apple iPhone users we use FaceTime; for Android users we use the Zoom app to connect with our clients and guide them through their workouts. Many were fortunate enough to own some fitness equipment, but for those who didn’t have any, we have been improvising with athletic bags or back packs filled with books or other heavy objects, as well as water gallons, calisthenic motions, bands, and anything that can provide resistance for the muscles. Surprisingly, the “personal” element of personal training is not detracted from the lack of physical presence. We can see our clients, and they can see us instructing them. The virtual training experience creates even more of a one-on-one experience because there are less distractions, with the exception of some very friendly pets.

So far, it has been a positive working experience, and in conjunction with my online nutrition program, we were able to continue our business despite being closed. Sadly, we will be permanently closing our gym, Remedy Fitness due to the current environment in New York. Personally and professionally, I project that only 10 to 25 percent of gym members will return to gyms when gyms are able to reopen. This percentage was the deciding factor for my family. It was 15 years of effort and hard work that made Remedy Fitness a unique fitness establishment with some of the best personal trainers, class instructors, massage therapists, physical therapists, and of course nutrition, with the guidance of the Remedy Recipes format and system for individualized meal plans. Our members were wonderful people, and together with the design of its interior and exterior, it was the best atmosphere for the promotion of fitness and wellness. I called it Remedy because I was seeking a remedy to all of the poisons of the industry, and it truly became a place that fit the name. Although we are parting with something that we created and established, we are excited to be launching our new website, remedyresults.com

This new journey is the culmination of many years of experience, fueled by a S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. mindset that became necessary in our present situation. (See U.S. Army RANGER Handbook.)

We’re looking at it as an exciting new adventure rather than a frightening uncertainty. I often reflect on the words of Hannibal: “We will find a way, or we will make a way.”

Those are now words to live by. So, if you’re a colleague of ours in the fitness industry, don’t lose hope. We will navigate these uncharted waters and we will make maps for others to follow.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!!! God bless America!!!

John M. DiFazio II

John M. Di Fazio II is a nutrition consultant, a personal trainer, and a massage therapist and has over 25 of experience working in the fitness industry. He was employed by Gold's Gym for 13 years and in 2005 co-founded Remedy Fitness, a unique fitness establishment located in East Setauket, New York. While in the employ of Gold’s Gym, he was recruited into Nutritionalysis, a nutrition company based in Venice Beach, California that specialized in individualized nutrition programs, and received his certification. Excelling in the field, his clientele grew by thousands. While establishing such a full clientele in nutrition and personal training, John also graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and also graduated from the New School for Holistic Health & Research in Long Island, New York with a degree and a New York State license for massage therapy. For more information, visit remedyrecipes.net

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