For the vast majority of 2020, personal trainers and gyms have been some of the worst hit due to restrictions and limitations surrounding COVID-19. As the industry adjusts to the “new normal” personal trainers are having to adapt to new health and safety concerns with innovative means. Understanding the strengths and limits of your personal trainer liability insurance is a smart starting point towards developing your own best practices. As you tell your clients, small, obtainable goals build on each other until you find yourself thriving in the post-COVID fitness landscape. Ways COVID Has Changed the Fitness Industry Forever In many locations across the country, in-person activities are still severely limited, if not banned altogether. Mandatory shut-downs and stay-at-home-orders have put a significant pressure on small businesses like personal trainers. COVID-19 has caused many traditional brick and mortar operations to fail including seeing Gold’s Gym filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amidst the pandemic. Examples of stalwarts in fitness like these and the countless trainers that are still struggling to make ends meet are what has punctuated a year of incredible upheaval. In-person service providers like fitness professionals were disproportionately affected by the collateral damage caused by the pandemic. The health and safety of clients being paramount, new safety protocols were rolled out across the board - at tremendous cost of both time and money. In some locations, fines were even put in place for businesses that didn’t comply with local mandates. For many, this process has also necessitated being able to pivot to a more digitally-focused service offering. Charging for access to livestream personal training sessions has allowed many trainers to continue to stay connected with clients and still help them achieve goals. The age of COVID-19, perhaps more than at any other time, has made the benefits for mind and body that accompany exercise so vital for our overall well-being. Importance of Personal Trainer Insurance Changes in the industry like what has been experienced over the past year show just how vital having safety nets in place are. Life is full of unpredictable events. If we were to tell ourselves this time last year that in 2020 the entire world’s population would be hampered by a global pandemic, not too many of us would have believed it. The point is, personal trainer insurance is for the what-ifs that come from operating in the business of fitness. For example, coverages like general liability protect you from the unexpected like a slip and fall injury at your place of business. Professional liability coverage is crucial for fitness professionals since this covers you when someone gets hurt while following your instructions. Other protections like product liability, rental damage coverage, and an identity protection plan just make sense for anyone wanting to be able to do personal training long-term. While COVID-19 coverage is excluded from most personal trainer liability insurance programs, the protections provided are engineered to protect professionals from the most common forms of risks faced today. With a solid insurance plan in place and by taking precautions seriously, personal trainers can help decrease the amount of risks they’re facing in today’s health climate. Protecting Your Personal Training Business During a Pandemic Following the recommended guidelines set forth by entities like the CDC and your local and state leaders is the best place to start. While these can vary based on location, safety principles include maintaining a distance of 6 feet between people, wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and cleaning and disinfecting common areas and surfaces. Limiting the number of people inside your facility is also a good idea and may already be a mandate in your area. While vaccines continue to be developed, the best course of action is to have safety protocols in place. If no in-person training is allowed in your location, you may consider switching your services to an online format. Just make sure you’re still protecting your career by having a personal trainer liability insurance plan in place that covers virtual fitness sessions with clients. Going Virtual with Live, Online Personal Training There are a lot of benefits to redeveloping the traditional in-person training model and moving your services to a more online-centered format. It also doesn’t take very much to get started. As we just mentioned, the most important step to offering online personal training is to make sure your insurance covers live sessions in the digital space. Benefits of Online Personal Training Little Overhead Required to Get Started Today’s streaming methods can be accomplished with very little in the way of an initial capital outlay. Most people already have most of what they need in a smartphone with a good camera. Accessories that make your production a little more professional are relatively inexpensive and widely available. Lights, additional cameras, camera mounts, and other production tools can contribute towards a better viewer experience. Live Sessions Let You Set Your Schedule Offering your sessions via a livestream like Skype helps you decide when and how you offer services and to whom. Livestreams also provide a chance to connect with your clients wherever they may happen to be which can decrease the odds of no-shows and cancellations. There are various methods out there for managing and distributing your sessions such as with subscription-based models. Content Can be Reused The key to digital marketing today is to add as much content as possible around a specific segment. If you produce a killer abdominal workout video, you can reuse and spin off the content in so many ways. Take a soundbite from the video and turn it into a quick podcast, write a few blogs with tips from the video and post them on your free IFG website, or if you produce a workout video that’s really popular, create a “text only” document for the program and distribute it across channels. The possibilities for “upcycling” content is endless. Distribute to a Wider Audience By shifting your focus to online personal training, you aren't as restricted to any one geographic location like you were with in-person training. This opens you up for establishing credibility in new markets, garnering new visitors to your offering and converting them into paying users of your personal training services. Hone in on a Specific Fitness Segment Being online also helps personal trainers narrow their focus with more chances for volume within that specific segment. For example, a personal trainer may really favor working with developing athletes and so focuses their service offering on attracting more from this segment. Being able to offer training to audiences beyond your limited geographic scope opens up more possibilities for catering to a specific demographic. With Insure Fitness, our programs are designed to cover professionals across their careers and include coverage for personal training virtual classes. We believe trainer insurance should move with you, which is why we build portability right into our policies. Move gyms, change how you offer service, or even move across the country and your policy follows you every step of the way. Ways to Improve Your Training Service Offering During Downtime For many personal trainers, either the number of sessions they were able to provide were drastically reduced, or they were not able to offer services altogether. Switching to an online format has helped many still be able to provide sessions even when in-person workouts are not possible. But when facing a downturn in activity, professionals can still take time to invest in an incredibly important aspect of their business - themselves. Taking the downtime to increase your knowledge, seek additional certifications, read, research, and truly grow as a fitness professional is an investment you’ll never regret. Small investments in your own training pays huge dividends over the life of your career. New expertise means new clients which means new opportunities. Also, take advantage of free resources available at your disposal. NASM, for example, has a number of different free fitness content resources available during this time to help fitness professionals continue to develop even if they aren’t able to provide the same level of services. As a member of Insure Fitness, members receive access to an entire fitness content library for personal trainers to cultivate and grow their knowledge. Discounts on top gear can open up new and better ways to push clients through specific workouts. We even offer free workout playlists to members so the perfect pump-up tune is always on deck. Signing up for Personal Trainer Liability Insurance in Minutes Having personal trainer insurance at your side is an incredible asset, especially during uncertain times. Our program is tailored for personal trainers, offering safeguards and additional benefits that add value to all that insurance does for the modern fitness professional. We don’t make you fill out a bunch of long questions to get quoted. You’ll know what you’ll pay and what you’re getting long before filling out our quick online application. After checkout, you’re all done; enjoy full access to your insurance coverage and benefits. Accessibility is just one reason our program is rated so highly among personal trainers today.

Online Personal Trainer Insurance: Do I Need It?

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In recent years there has been a meteoric rise in personal training that is conducted with clients completely online. Since these sessions aren’t in person, many trainers may decide to forego purchasing personal trainer liability insurance. But just as with in-person sessions, there are many risks that can present themselves to even online personal trainers.

Read on as we cover the necessity of online personal trainer insurance and how the landscape has evolved to providing vital coverage for those professionals now offering their personal training services online.

Do I Need Insurance to be an Online Personal Trainer?

When considering opening up new opportunities for you and your career by offering personal training online, you should hash out at least a basic business strategy. Considering important decisions like segmenting your ideal target market, the different types of services you can offer, and how you market your services should all be weighed. Check out our personal trainer business basics page for more on this. A less attractive but extremely vital consideration for ensuring your online personal training service can thrive is personal trainer insurance.

Even with online personal training, liabilities exist in many forms for personal trainers. You are offering clients fitness and wellness advice and creating a custom program to help clients achieve their fitness goals. When offering online personal training, you shouldn’t limit the conversations you have with clients while developing their program that helps you build the appropriate regimen. Ensure that you are covering the client’s health history, any injuries, their health goals, and take into account their biometrics. Doing this type of due diligence before beginning the program is something any competent personal trainer does but these activities can be overlooked with the instant access that online personal training affords.

So after doing your homework and creating a great program that fits the client as well as your skill level, why do you still need online personal trainer insurance? Personal trainer insurance affords you with the ability to pour your energy into building your brand and not whether a potential claim could sideline your career. Since you are not operating out of a physical space where a client might come to, your risk may be somewhat diminished; however it is not gone entirely. Very realistically, a claim might arise from a client asserting that your specific training regimen left them with an injury or damage of some kind. A client with a heart condition that passes out during their session with you could very well file a liability suit against you for their hospital bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Worse is when a past client decides to file a groundless suit. Without personal trainer insurance, you will be paying your legal defense fees out-of-pocket.

Online personal trainer insurance from Insure Fitness Group kicks it up a notch with a host of additional protections today’s professionals need in order to effectively mitigate the many risks facing them. With our personal trainer insurance, for $189 per year professionals get:

  • General and Professional liability insurance; $3 million annually, $1 million per occurrence 
  • Product liability coverage; $1 million
  • IFG-exclusive Insurance Marketplace, including access to :
    • Telehealth (with $10 co-pay)
    •  Vision and  Dental add-on plans from MetLife
    • ACA-qualified Health Insurance

Not only that but our programs also include a free professional website to promote your new online personal trainer services, discounts from leading names in fitness, and expertly curated content from prominent fitness pros from around the country. You also get the benefit of full portability, meaning no matter where you offer services – in a gym, online, or even in the client’s home – you still have full insurance coverage under our program.

NOTE: As with most coverage options, IFG’s policy covers online trainers and fitness instructors in the United States only. If you have questions as to whether or not your practice would be covered, please call our licensed agents at 800-379-7799.

Lastly, make sure you do a quick comparison of different personal trainer insurance programs. Be sure to look specifically at coverage limits, affordability, and even ratings and reviews for the company. Remember, not all personal trainer insurance programs are created equal.

How to Become an Online Personal Trainer

Jumping right into a whole new way of offering services without doing some basic research and planning is not the best long term business plan to becoming an online personal trainer. By following a steady, systematic approach to becoming an online personal trainer, you can increase your chances for continued success.

1. Get Your Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) designation

For existing CPTs, you already have a great head start towards offering services online. Students studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), and even those just considering whether online personal training is right, the first step is get certified. There are many different accrediting services out there offering various levels of certification. Make sure you understand the requirements to get certified. For example, to get CPT certification through NASM you need a high school diploma or GED, as well as CPR and AED certification.

2. Identify Your Ideal Clientele

Decide what services you are really good at and then start matching those services to the types of clients the services most apply to. Doing just a little market research can really help you focus your efforts on the right crowd. The “shotgun” approach rarely works and it can be extremely wasteful. Make the investment count and look at your existing client base and your ideal client base – do you do your best work with athletes? Seniors? Once you identify your niche, you can start targeting this unique group.

3. Start Marketing Your Services

Now that you have identified who you want to target it’s time to start marketing your online personal training services. Email newsletters, ads on social media, targeted web content, and other tactics can help put your unique services in front of the people already searching for your unique offering. Don’t forget to leverage your existing network as well. Make sure your current clients know you are offering this new service and consider offering some form of incentive to get more referrals.

4. Industry Growth Trends in Online Personal Training

Personal training can be an extremely rewarding and also lucrative career. The average salary for a personal trainer is $42,900 to about $73,000. Compared to other jobs out there, that’s a fairly decent average – the opportune word being ‘average’. The sky really is the limit with online personal training. You have the ability to leverage your unique skill set far beyond the physical confines of a fixed location and you can target specific clients across the country and even around the world.

Online personal training is growing rapidly and is expected to continue expanding. IBISWorld, a global economy statistics company, estimates a growth rate of 2.8% per year for personal training. Let’s look at some key aspects in the economy and in society that are driving the increase in demand for online personal training.

  • Increased Income/Lower Unemployment Rates: a boom in the economy means more people are working and are generally being paid more to do so. Having greater discretionary income means a greater availability of clients willing/able to pay for your online personal training services.
  • Greater connectivity: according to Pew Research some 8 out of 10 Americans now own a smartphone. Having more people online means you have more potential clients seeking the unique services you offer. With Insure Fitness Group, our personal trainer insurance program includes a free professional website so you can capture more of this online traffic.
  • Increase in ‘health focus’: while obesity rates in the U.S. have not declined much in the past few years, and in some states has even increased, there has been a significant increase in health and wellness spending. As a society, we are becoming more conscious of what we eat and where it comes from. Greater emphasis on “eating clean” and balancing meals has helped Americans overall make better choices when it comes to their diets. All of this focus on health and wellness means more opportunities to capture the clients that want to add personal training to their overall healthy-living regimen.

With the industry growth we have seen in personal training and the explosion in online personal training specifically, now is a tremendous opportunity to start a great new career or add an entirely new way to offer your training services to clients.

5 New Online Personal Training Tools to Use Right Now

  1. Get Up with Fitness Trackers/Wearable Tech: Fitbit®, Apple Watch®, Garmin®, and a host of imitators now pervades the wearable fitness tracker market. Use this hype to build up your sessions. A great way to do this is to develop a group and then make it a competition to see who can beat a certain amount of steps, distance, etc. Wearable tech can also help build an online community, which can help your clients’ overall success. Since you don’t have a physical location everything you can do to bring people together is a positive push for your business.
  1. Offer High Intensity/Short Duration Workouts: HIIT is nothing new but capitalize on its popularity to offer shorter sessions of intense activity. Attention spans today are shorter than ever, HIIT training allows you to develop a quick program to achieve maximum results. Results make people want to show off their new physique, which in turn makes your clients some of your best marketers.
  1. Be an Online Information Source: we have already covered the vitality of having an online presence in today’s competitive landscape. By delivering fresh, relevant, and insightful posts to social media and your website, you can build a following as an educator. This helps build your reputation and in turn helps attract clients already familiar with your brand of training services.
  1. Connect with a Gym: while online personal training may be increasing in popularity, the traditional brick and mortar workout facility still holds the majority of the market share for personal training. However, there are many current gym goers that might still want to take an online class from time to time or who are considering switching altogether. Connect with a gym that sees viability in being able to showcase a new form of service and capitalize on their existing client base. 
  1. Attend at Least One Tradeshow Event Per Year: there are so many opportunities at top trade shows to network, learn new techniques, test new products, and meet vendors that can be partners in your success. Set aside a budget each year to attend at least one tradeshow that gives you the best bang for your buck. We’ve made it easy by compiling a list of theTop Fitness Trade Shows to Attend in 2020.

Getting Covered with Online Personal Trainer Insurance

Personal trainer insurance through Insure Fitness is your one-stop-shop to peace of mind while offering great physical training services to clients. Whether you offer services in-person or online, personal training will still carry liabilities. With our plan developed both for traditional personal training, as well as for the online personal trainer, you can be assured you have great coverage through every step of your career.

Our licensed agents are available to help answer all your questions and walk you through the process. Contact us now.

Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR. At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.