Physical trainers were thrown for a loop when gyms closed down in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suddenly, people that were always there for others to help them improve their health were being told they couldn’t come near clients for the benefit of everyone’s health.
Sitting at home for a few weeks, unsure of when gyms would reopen, Alex Ramirez finally decided to take things into his own hands.
“The pandemic really forced my hand to try to figure out a way to keep my clients healthy and in shape and active and it made me contemplate trying to do this online,” Mr. Ramirez told the News-Press.
The 38-year-old physical trainer did just that, launching Fit for Life 805 in April as an online health and fitness dumbbell training program.
“There was a lot of doubt in the beginning because there was so much uncertainty at first, but once we started seeing things would be closed things aligned for me to try to take this forward,” Mr. Ramirez said, adding that he also started the business in part because his clients were antsy to workout and were unsure of wanting to go into a gym anyway.
Since launching, Mr. Ramirez has seen his clientele base double in the past five months, providing both Zoom workouts and socially distance workouts twice a week.
Depending on the needs of the client, Mr. Ramirez will adapt his schedule and offer one on one Zoom sessions along with the regular training classes with all of his clients.
“Luckily for me, everything is online and I’m my own boss with this Fit for Life program. I get to run it how I want to see how it develops and kind of work with the demand of my clients and what they need,” he said.
In fact, fulfilling the clients’ needs is his whole business model. Mr. Ramirez said the majority of his day is spent on his phone, texting or calling clients to see how they are doing.
“My job is to help them figure out a plan so that they can get just one extra workout in or perhaps meal prep on a day that works best for them so that they can eat healthier… It’s all about constant communication through text and email. And then from there, a lot of follow up if needed,” he said.
While gyms are still closed, working out is still very much a necessity during the pandemic. Mr. Ramirez said it is one of the most vital things someone can do during a time where there isn’t a lot to do.
“It’s a necessity. You need to have health and fitness in your life” he said.
“And it’s not just working out, it is eating right as well. They go hand in hand, nutrition is part of being healthy and strong… I’m not saying being fit and in shape is going to prevent you from catching COVID, but if you have a stronger immunity and a stronger respiratory system and may give you an improved fighting chance, so it is a necessity, now more than ever.”
Inspiring his clients has been one of the tougher things to do during the pandemic, but Mr. Ramirez said he is up for the challenge.
“It can be very challenging. At times you have people that are very internally highly motivated and some that aren’t but I just try to encourage them. Life is all about peaks and valleys. I can’t tell them to go around people, but I tell them, go outside, get some sunshine and just try to help them mentally. That is just as important as physical health, especially right now, so I am just there for them,” Mr. Ramirez said.
Recently the county has made strides in trying to curb the novel coronavirus. This past Tuesday, the county moved into the red tier, meaning that gyms are allowed to reopen at 10% capacity.
While he is happy for the gyms, Mr. Ramirez said he is sticking through with his business model for the time being. He said being able to build up his own business has been a dream come true for him during this time.
“I am committed to my decision of just doing what I’m doing online with the Zoom workouts and with outdoor training. Quite honestly, I don’t want to go back into a gym. I’m liking what I’m doing, I’m really enjoying this and I feel reinvigorated,” he said.
Mr. Ramirez added that he believes online training is a viable option even after the pandemic is over. The reason being is that people are realizing that they can get stronger and healthier from their own home, no gym is required.
For him, success for Fit for Life 805 also does not include money. While it’s a factor, Mr. Ramirez said the growth of the business only reinforced he is doing the right thing, both for himself and the health of others.
“I made the right choice. The fear was losing everyone but luckily everyone has been happy,” Mr. Ramirez said.
“I’ve been able to do and create home workouts that are engaging, creative, fun, and that makes my clients healthier and I know I have even better relationships with them now than I did when we were training out of the gym, and that means a lot.”