It’s difficult to look ahead to 2021 when the present is still so uncertain, but one thing fitness professionals should take pride in is how many more people have come to discover and appreciate the critical importance of mindful movement and other forms of exercise to their overall health and wellbeing this year.
An online survey of 12,913 participants worldwide found that people who used to exercise one to two times per week before the pandemic increased their exercise frequency by 88% on average during the pandemic, evidently realizing the many perks of endorphins.
At Merrithew®, we believe that mindful movement can be transformative. Now, thanks to the many mind-body professionals who were able to quickly adapt to teaching virtually, new clients around the world are experiencing those tangible benefits for the first time.
While shifting fitness classes and education online has caused some challenges and disruptions, the fitness industry has much to be proud of for continuing to deliver meaningful ways for people to connect, de-stress and move mindfully during the pandemic.
Looking ahead to 2021, there’s no doubt that virtual fitness is here to stay and those who can remain innovative, creative and dynamic will be highly sought-after.
Here’s what we think will shape fitness in 2021 and how fitness professionals can prepare for another year of embracing change, confronting challenges and paving a new trail.
1. Integrate mindfulness practices into all forms of exercise
If mindfulness practices, such as being present in the moment through breath work, mindful movement, mindful eating and meditation, can help physicians keep burnout at bay, as this study suggests, that speaks volumes to what it can do for the rest of us.
Mindful movement emphasizes awareness of breath to create a greater connection between mind and body, reducing distractions and multiplying the benefits of exercise.
All of Merrithew’s education programs, from STOTT PILATES® and Total Barre® to Halo® Training and CORE™ Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training™, our athletic conditioning programs, are based around this concept. By teaching and giving people the knowledge to move mindfully, they will perform better, combat stress and anxiety, and become more resilient.
Merrithew’s continuing education workshops (many of which are now available online through local Training Centers) are designed to teach you how to incorporate mindful movement practices into your sessions, helping your clients leverage these coping strategies in their everyday lives.
Read more: Find out why personal trainers should add mindful movement to their clients’ workout programs >
2. Showcase your qualifications and certifications loud and proud
There’s a plethora of online workouts and fitness coaches online— and that’s only boomed as a result of COVID-19— but they are not all created equal.
Make sure your audience knows that you are a certified fitness professional who’s been accredited by a reputable organization like Merrithew, with more than three decades in the business.
Talk about the continuing education you’re doing and how you’re incorporating it into your clients’ workouts; elevate your classes and sessions by sharing your knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics.
Clients are looking to gain an education and take ownership of their wellness journey— deliver more than just a challenging workout; empower them with information.
3. Focus on education, variety and convenience in virtual training
COVID-19 has accelerated the fitness industry’s shift to a digital-first model, opening up new business and learning opportunities for fitness professionals and providers, while also increasing the level of competition.
When teaching virtually, ensure you provide variety, convenience and new information to your clients.
Read more: 7 ways to better connect with your clients virtually >
Our educational streaming platform, Merrithew Connect™, is geared towards Pilates, yoga, group instructors, personal trainers and rehab and health care practitioners who want to complement their existing education and training and keep their skills sharp while at home.
Try out our latest Pilates and mind-body workouts taught by our Master and Lead Instructor Trainers to gain new teaching skills and insights, cueing techniques and programming ideas that you can take back to your clients, whether you’re teaching them virtually or in-person.
On the platform, you’ll find a variety of workouts from Merrithew’s leading education programs, including STOTT PILATES, ZEN•GA®, Halo Training and Merrithew Fascial Movement, all of which incorporate the latest research in exercise science with newer fitness practices and knowledge of fascial movement, mindfulness, functional fitness and core-integrated bodyweight training.
4. Cultivate belonging and community through fitness
We spoke to some of the top Pilates Instagram influencers and Merrithew Instructor Trainers about how they’ve built successful businesses online.
They talked about the importance of being genuine, creative and proactive, and of connecting with their fellow instructors around the world to exchange ideas and troubleshoot common challenges.
“Making movement accessible and affordable for people is key,” says Karen Copeland, an Instagram influencer, STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor and owner of Pilates Place in Calgary, Canada, who provides her followers with Matwork routines to do at home.
Keep fit and carry on
While there’s no doubt there will be other challenges and changes to come— we should take this time to celebrate the fitness professionals and studio owners who’ve emerged as leaders and champions this year, offering people respite in movement, and the coaching and community they needed in isolation.
There’s much to be inspired by as we look towards a bright and active New Year.