NASM CPT Podcast

The NASM-CPT Podcast: How to Virtually Train Clients in a COVID-19 World

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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With the state of our world and industry in flux with the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the NASM-CPT Podcast and host Rick Richey wanted to help in the way we know how - by talking about it and offering advice.  

During this time, an NASM Certified Personal Trainer out of Houston named Keridon McMahon offered free counsel on how trainers can start to move toward online and virtual training. When we heard about this, we asked her to share with us all how we can begin to transition to online training with our clients stuck at home. 

Please check out the first NASM episode that has a guest! We're happy to say she’s an excellent trainer, small business owner, and entrepreneur, plus a good friend of the pod's and Rick's. We hope you find her guidance helpful and actionable.

For more information, advice, and tips on personal training during the COVID-19 pandemic, please follow the link!

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Transcript:

You are listening to the NASM-CPT Podcast with Rick Richey, the official podcast of the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Rick Richey:

Welcome to the NASM-CPT podcast. My name is Rick Richey and today will be the first time that I have a guest on the show, and I think it's a valuable reason that I'm having a guest on the show today. And it's valuable because we're going through a lot of changes right now in the world. But just to maintain our focus on the fitness industry and what the fitness industry looks like right now, it is concerning about gyms closing. As a matter of fact, I have three gym locations in New York City, all of which have been completely shut down. And there's concern for everyone. There's concern for me and my business there are concerns for the trainers who make their life and their living training out of my facilities. And I am one business out of multiple businesses that are being hit hard like this.

Rick Richey:

So this is a life changing situation. And during the process of doing this, there's a friend of mine named Keridon McMahonMahon and Keridon is a dear friend of mine and we've known each other for a long time and she put a post out on Instagram that said for any of the trainers who aren't familiar with online training, if you are interested in doing so, then please reach out to me because I want to help you and I want to help your clients support their business. So what we decided to do at NASM is to reach out to her and instead of just having 10 minute conversations, one-on-one with people that are interested, to actually have a conversation through the NASM-CPT podcast and see if she could help any and everybody that's listening to this podcast have the opportunity to actually learn a little bit of taking your business online. So Keridon, hey, good to see you.

Keridon McMahon:

Hi. Thanks for having me.

Rick Richey:

I am excited that you're on the show and we've spent a lot of time together at events like Optima where it's a place where we go to learn and to gather. And the fact that you're doing what you're doing and put that offer out to people to help them figure out how to do their online business is incredibly special. Tell me a little bit about why you did it and then I want to get into immediately how it is that you can help the people on the other side of this.

Keridon McMahon:

Absolutely. So I was actually with a client, a few clients this last week. I was still training one-on-one with their equipment spaced apart and we both heard the notices go off that in our area, all the Lifetime Fitness’s were closing and soon after the LA Fitness’s were closing and I literally felt my heart just sink because I thought about all of those trainers who, of course I think of the trainers first, and I think their income is just wiped. Then I think of the client who rely on these trainers and they rely on them for accountability, for their education and knowledge to help them with their programming. And I just said my client, like I wish I could do something. I wish there was something I could do and I said, I'm going to think on this. And with her, we had just discussed this should be our last in home session, which by the way, we didn't even touch each other. But we said let's go online.

Keridon McMahon:

Let's go ahead and go online starting, she's every Monday, starting next Monday until we figure all this out. Right? So on my way home, I'm like, that's it. I need to tell other trainers how to do this online. Now will it work for everyone's clients and everyone? No. Will it help some though? Absolutely. So that's what I did. So I kind of felt like, you know what, as many trainers that I can help, I want to. And then those trainers will take this and hopefully help other trainers, for sure help their clients, and it's just going to make the splash even bigger. Because quite frankly, that's why we're in this industry is to help people.

Rick Richey:

Well, paying it forward is incredibly valuable. And when you said you had this conversation with your client, it wasn't something that you said and said, I'm just going to start training online. That's something you've been doing for a long time, is that right?

Keridon McMahon:

Correct. So with this client in particular, I've trained her online when she's gone on vacations. Also, when hurricane Harvey happened, I live in Houston, a lot of my clients had to go online because we couldn't get to each other. I've had a few clients move, and that's actually how I originally started training online because you build this relationship and they just really wanted to keep me as their trainer. So yes. So I have trained clients online for several years now. Thank you technology. Because that was not around and I started.

Rick Richey:

Not at all. So when-

Keridon McMahon:

We would have had to send a fax.

Rick Richey:

When somebody reaches out to you, because you've offered these free time slots for people to come and work with you, when somebody reaches out to you, what questions did they ask and what answers do you give? How are you helping people?

Keridon McMahon:

Okay. So first of all, I didn't realize this would go as widespread as it did, so I'm glad, hopefully I can send them the link to this podcast. I have had trainers from the range of working at a very luxury style fitness studio, charging $140 a session and not sure how to go online at all down to, I just started my fitness business, these clients are paying less than $50 a session and I'm still trying to figure out how to design a program. So I've had that range contact me and I've helped all of them. So the biggest question people have asked is honestly, how does the client pay, people that asked me that, and what to charge. So do you charge something different than you charge in person and then also how exactly is it that you're training them? Like what do they need? How do you do it?

Rick Richey:

Right. So I guess the question is, are you training them like this? Are you doing FaceTime or Skype or Zoom sessions or are you providing programs to them?

Keridon McMahon:

Correct. And honestly the answer to that is both.

Rick Richey:

Okay.

Keridon McMahon:

So let me go through those questions and answer those.

Rick Richey:

Perfect.

Keridon McMahon:

So if it's a financial decision, because things are tough right now, then absolutely pre-write them a program, come to an agreement on that price and send it over. They can do the workouts on their own at home. Right? And another thing I did before my trainer announcement, I actually was giving away my best selling home work out program to anyone affected that needed it. And I know a lot of trainers have done that, so there's a lot of free out there. But if you're wanting a workout designed for you from your trainer, absolutely a pre-written one is something that would be a great option.

Keridon McMahon:

Next step if you want that one on one interaction, just like this, this is how I personally do it. I started doing this before apps were around for this kind of thing. So I utilize things that were free and that's FaceTime. If they don't have an Apple product, Google Hangouts, Zoom call works and it's free if you keep your time 45 minutes or less.

Rick Richey:

Okay.

Keridon McMahon:

And those are the methods I use. And then from there, equipment wise, technically you don't need anything. It is more ideal, especially longterm if they have some. So I do recommend at least dumbbells, like I would say minimum two sets of weights, light and heavy. Right? But in these times you use what you can use. I actually had someone the other day holding a really big pickle jar and doing presses with them. I mean it is what it is right now.

Rick Richey:

Yeah. So my business partner and I, who also teaches for NASM, his name is Aaron Drogasesky. We have a program. Now, it's a program that we did online called the daily move challenge and it's foam rolling and stretching for five minutes. And then it's workouts for five minutes without using anything except a towel. Right?

Keridon McMahon:

There you go.

Rick Richey:

And just like you said, we're offering ours for free right now, but people want to know how can I actually start to transition some of my business over to online. So you're giving us the how to right now, and I'm really interested in following through with this. If they can't get anything else because all the essentials are shut down. Like Amazon's not delivering anything that's not essential. We can't get our hands on anything so, so let's assume nothing except what you've got in the house already. So I can't grab dumbbells. What are you programming, how are you delivering it, how are they paying all of those questions? Just like soup to nuts.

Keridon McMahon:

Right. Okay. So towels are great. Paper plates are great to slide around. If you can find canned goods those are good to use this kind of hand weights and then the way I do it if we're live is just like this. I have it set up, I skew back, I demonstrate. Let's just say for example a squat with arm curls. I would be right here. I would explain the body positioning. I would demonstrate it, maybe show it twice. Then I come back down, I sit. On my second device, my computer, I have Google documents pulled up and that is where I type in their work. I've already had their workout written. I type in the reps we did, any notes I might need and the client has access to that and so that way in real time they have access to their workout log just like they would if I was handwriting it in person.

Rick Richey:

I gotcha. So instead of using an app because they weren't around when you started doing these things, you've already developed your system and your system is pre-loading a program, designing a program, individualizing a program and then potentially even doing a FaceTime or Skype or something like that where you are monitoring them and queuing them and watching them while they do this workout. So you are as close as we can get, being virtual face-to-face.

Keridon McMahon:

It is literally just as if I was there and what, what I tell people is the difference is I can't give you an actual high five but I will air high five the heck out of it. I can't hand you your weights, which I would if we were in person and I couldn't help you partner stretch, but I can watch you and really with clients, if I can't see their form, I'll have them turn to the side, I'll have them re angle their device. It is literally 100% doable.

Rick Richey:

Okay. Now when it comes to accepting payment, which was one of the questions that you had, I'm assuming we're talking setting up Venmo accounts, a Zelle account, a Stripe or a Square or PayPal, how do you go about it?

Keridon McMahon:

So what's funny, again, I started doing this before all those apps existed, so the way, but PayPal has been around as long as the dinosaurs. So what I did and still tend to do is I actually create an invoice which is free through PayPal and I send that to the client. And that way they literally can see on the invoice, however, three virtual training sessions or whatever it might be at this rate per session, they have an invoice, they can pay that by credit card if they don't have a PayPal account. And it keeps everyone honest. Now I do accept Venmo and all the other things now, but if that's not something you already have set up and your client's like, "Hey, can I just pay you by credit card?" Then the free way to do that is to go through PayPal. Now you will pay 3% fees on accepting any business things, but the actual invoicing process will not cost you anything.

Rick Richey:

Yeah, in the world of business we say that's, that's the cost of money, 3%.

Keridon McMahon:

It really is. And if you think about it, you're not having to pay extra overhead right now. You can do this from your home. I'd even train clients when I'm the one on vacation. They're at home and I'm in this lake house I'm saying that, but I can still work and they can still get their workout.

Rick Richey:

Now, right now for me, I've got a very compliant family because this doesn't happen very often that I'm doing podcasts from the living room and they are holed up in one of the bedrooms right now trying to be quiet. I don't know if you heard my little man crying a little bit just a moment ago. Do you have a system also within your home that says, "Hey guys, mama's training right now." So this is the system, this is how you know that she's working and this is, you know when to be quiet.

Keridon McMahon:

Right. I actually do. So it used to just be, "Hey guys, mom's getting on with a client. Don't be loud. Don't interrupt." That was the system at first and I'll still do that. But we actually, we installed curtains on my office and so now I shut the curtains. That means I am either with a client, on an interview, on a call, it means I'm working and can't be interrupted. If the curtains are open then I'm in here either working or working out. But you can come in if you need to.

Rick Richey:

Okay. All right. Got it. And so what we're doing now is we're offering really the information that you are going to, you have offered your service complimentary to all of these people who have hit you up. Like I know you didn't know it was going to go as wild as it did and you've been jumping on 10 minute phone calls that you've been having with people and I'm sure that they really appreciate what you've done. I thank you for taking the time to talk with us about it. I want to spend a few more minutes talking about it, and just running through in summary, just kind of going through the way that you set it up. And one of the questions that's probably asked a lot is do you charge a different amount for one-on-one training versus virtual training?

Keridon McMahon:

Right. And my answer to that is yes, but not a substantial amount less. So I would say 20 to 25% less than what your standard rates are. Whatever the rate the client is used to paying for your service, take about 20 to 25% off of that. And that should be the rate. It should not go lower than that. So do not feel like this is a disservice that you're going online. This is still your business. This is still your time, your knowledge has not changed and so you are still going to design them a workout that is specifically for them. You are giving of your time and so you need to realize the value that is still behind that.

Rick Richey:

Yeah. And this is important for you because you're a small business owner as well and you have other trainers that work for you, all NASM certified, if I'm not mistaken.

Keridon McMahon:

Duh, it's a requirement.

Rick Richey:

How has this affected you in Houston yet? In New York City we're completely shut down. Has it affected you yet?

Keridon McMahon:

Well, so the gyms are closed here as of a few days ago, but a lot of businesses are still open. Like I mean hair salons, restaurants are down now, so it's affecting us. I think we're a little bit more behind because we don't have as much public transport. But I will say-

Rick Richey:

And then your people train people in their homes too. Is that correct?

Keridon McMahon:

All in homes. So my business is all in home training, and now we have a lot of clients that have their own gyms at home. You know, we have a wide range of that. Especially some of mine. But yeah, so we're all in home trainers. So that said, anyone that's over the age of 55 is choosing to go online right now or they're not training. And that is something that is just the reality of right now. And so we're taking a big hit. In fact, I have a group of three people that I train Monday, Wednesday, Friday, all together. They're all in their sixties and because there's three people at once, I get paid pretty well for that session and they don't want to train online. They don't want to train at all. They just, and that's okay, that's their choice 100%, but financially, I'm now taking a big hit from three times a week for, I don't even know how long.

Rick Richey:

Well, that's the other scary thing. We just don't know what's happening.

Keridon McMahon:

And we don't know. And so as an industry, we all just need to come together and support each other and just know you guys are not alone. Even myself as a very successful, thriving business online and in home in Houston and we're taking huge hits right now. You are not alone in this and it's okay to get upset. It's okay to be mad and be frustrated, but then you know what, have your pity party get up and let's figure out how we can do something.

Rick Richey:

Okay, thank you. And then here's kind of the last thing and then I want to do a recap. The last thing is you've got people who've never done online training. They now have kind of an idea, a simple idea of what it is and I think simple is the best way to deliver it. And if perhaps they want to work with you on how to build that business, I will direct them to your contact and your social media in just a moment. But when they say, I've never done this before, how do I bring it up to my clients that we're going to train online? And is that a jagged pill for the client to swallow because they're like, no, I do one-on-one, this is not going to be the same. So what is your answer to how do I as a personal trainer bring it up to my clients and then how do I have a conversation with that client who's like, I don't really know if this is actually valuable.

Keridon McMahon:

Right. So I would say especially if you've talked to me and this is what I've told the other trainers, tell them that you spoke with a consultant that does this, because I actually do business consulting for trainers. So you tell them that, and I've learned how to do it, or I've listened to this podcast or here's one thing you can say, I've looked into it, I've done my homework on how we can make this work because this is an unforeseen time right now and I would like to offer you an option, a few options for replacing the personal training we were doing either in your home or at your gym.

Keridon McMahon:

Now someone that you were training at their home is probably going to be more open to online training because they're still working out at home, you're just not physically there. Someone at the gym, I will tell you, is going to have a harder mindset. So the options there, show them once, right? I would never give a session away for free. That's where I'm at. I would maybe offer a first session at say half off, let me show you that it can work and then let's figure it out. Or you can design them a workout program they can do on their own with whatever equipment they might have. Some people have garage gym type setups and I would present it with those options, show them I'm still going to bring as much value to it, there will be X amount of dollars discounted, but I really would like to give this adventure ago.

Rick Richey:

Okay. All right. Well I think that's all a fair way to bring up. And so when you're looking at two options here, one of the options is the face-to-face and digital face-to-face. This virtual training that you and I are doing right now, we're having a FaceTime conversation.

Keridon McMahon:

Yes.

Rick Richey:

The other thing is designing a program and then do you commit to it? Do you say like let's design this program, I'm going to give you several for like a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then that will last for two weeks and then another one comes out and then you pay for a certain amount in advanced, you pay every two weeks, every week. How do you set that up?

Keridon McMahon:

So I personally set it up where it's pre-written and it is purchased as a one price, here's the amount of workouts and generally, and not the current situation, I would do one month at a time on that. With what we have going right now, I would say maybe a week or even however long your school districts are closed, like ours are closed until at least Easter. Okay, so we know until at least Easter, it could maybe get worse than it even is now, how about this? How about I create a program for you that has three workouts a week because that's what you were used to coming into the gym for and it will be for this next month and I'm going to do that for you for $83 or whatever you decide on.

Rick Richey:

Yes. That sounded pretty random to be honest.

Keridon McMahon:

I just threw some numbers together, but because this is an unforeseen time right now, right? This is all uncharted territory. So I already have some pre-written programs that can be downloaded from my website. They range from $47 to $297. So there's a wide range there. If you have the time to create programs like that, I would recommend doing that.

Rick Richey:

I think we've got time. I think we have time right now.

Keridon McMahon:

I mean most people have a lot of time. It's still your knowledge, but if someone's wanting it personally programmed, then I would just try to make it as close to what they are used to as possible. So this person only goes to the gym twice a week. Don't give them a program of six days a week.

Rick Richey:

Okay.

Keridon McMahon:

Because it's uncomfortable, right? We're already all uncomfortable. Now in my opinion, we all should be working out much more than twice a week. But I'm going to leave that between you and your client.

Rick Richey:

Right. Hey, I got another question. You've mentioned your website and you also sell consulting sessions on your website. Can you give us what that website is and your Instagram handle and all your other social?

Keridon McMahon:

Yes, so my website is www.keridonfitness, K-E-R-I-D-O-N F-I-T-N-E-S-S.com and my Instagram handle is the same, KeridonFitness. And then on Facebook you can just type in Keridon and you'll see me. There's not a lot of us.

Rick Richey:

K-E-R-I-D-O-N, Keridon, thank you so much for being a part of this. I really appreciate it. I've got a client that I'm doing some stuff with the NASM Edge app that I'm delivering programs, I'm doing it complimentary and now I'm going to withdraw that and charge him. I'm just kidding on that. Listen, thank you so much for everything. I appreciate you sharing your wealth of knowledge and your experience, because you've been doing this for a long time and it's paid off in your business. And it's helping us out tremendously. So I want to say thank you very much-

Keridon McMahon:

It was my pleasure.

Rick Richey:

And thank you for everyone for listening. This is the NASM-CPT podcast.

 

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National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

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