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The impact of the coronavirus lockdown on personal trainers

It has been a confusing year for everyone, with the UK in and out of national lockdowns and a fluctuating tier system caused by the coronavirus.

For many self-employed people, these national lockdowns have created an issue around where their next pay cheque will come from.

The restrictions surrounding gyms and coaching have been difficult to understand at times, often leaving gym users frustrated at what they can and can’t do.

That has been the case even more so for personal trainers.

During the first lockdown gyms were closed and people were only allowed one hour of isolated exercise a day, leaving it unclear where they could operate legally and safely.

When the country started to open back up again, sessions could take place in parks, meaning that personal trainers and coaches could find an income again.

To understand how lockdown affected those in the personal trainer industry, SWL spoke to coach Erik Bertheussen of 5ESC from Chessington.

Bertheussen has built his own brand, which now consists of personal training, 1-2-1 football, coaching and sports massage sessions.

He said: “I think we are all in different boats when it comes to personal training.

“Most of us work for ourselves but there a few who work for a company. However, we were all going to struggle during lockdown because the gyms where we usually train were closed.

“The first lockdown I was in a good state because the weather was really nice. However, I wasn’t getting too much of an increase in clients at the gym I was working at, so I was already planning my next step, and the lockdown helped me push myself along.

“I had some other personal trainer friends who do their business at the gym and when the gym closed then everything was taken away from them. You are working as your own boss, so you do not get any furlough.”

Bertheussen has been a personal trainer for two years, so he has already built up a list of clients.

However some, who are much newer to the industry, did not have the luxury of a list of clients, meaning that it hit them a lot harder as they had to not only find people to train, but find ways to do so.

During the lockdown, Bertheussen was looking for ways in which he could further his trade, and he has now built his own home gym.

He said: “I was paying £600 a month to the gym just to be allowed to train there with my clients, I decided that I really didn’t want to go back to the gym, and I was going to build my own private gym at home.

“After looking at the numbers, the home gym cost the same as the price of using the gym I was using before lockdown for only 18 months.”

It has not been easy however, and Bertheussen has taken many precautions to make sure that his gym is clean and safe for everyone of all ages.

He added: “I clean absolutely everything between each client, from the floors to the walls and every piece of gym equipment, I wear a face mask and have anti-bacterial gel available for all of my clients.”

You can find Erik on Instagram and on his website.

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