Personal trainers hit as clients fall off pace

  • Chair care: personal trainer Frances Smith (Photograph supplied)

    Chair care: personal trainer Frances Smith (Photograph supplied)

  • Frances Smith, a personal trainer and the found of Actively Ageing. (Photograph supplied)

    Frances Smith, a personal trainer and the found of Actively Ageing. (Photograph supplied)

  • Frances Smith, a personal trainer and the founder of seniors’ fitness programme, Actively Ageing (Photograph supplied)

    Frances Smith, a personal trainer and the founder of seniors’ fitness programme, Actively Ageing (Photograph supplied)


A drop in motivation to exercise has hit personal trainers who shifted classes online during the Covid-19 restrictions.

Freelance trainers are struggling to keep their businesses afloat after weeks of pandemic protection rules.

Frances Smith, 25, said: “When we first went into lockdown, all of my clients were into it — my seniors were saying ‘yes, let’s work out over video’ and my other clients wanted to do personal training.

“But I’m finding that it’s slowly dying down — my seniors aren’t responding as much and they said that they’re trying to keep moving, but they’re just getting a bit fed up.”

Ms Smith, who runs the seniors’ fitness programme Actively Ageing and also holds personal training classes, said clients had halved since Covid-19 state-of-emergency regulations were imposed.

She moved classes online to adjust to the shelter-in-place regulations, but many clients have struggled to stay in her classes.

Ms Smith said that many of her clients were not moving as much as they used to, which led to a loss of energy.

She added: “When you don’t have as much energy, you can find it hard to get into a workout because you’re tired before you even start.”

Ms Smith warned that people could struggle to get back to their normal lives after restrictions were lifted, because their bodies may not be used to exertion.

She said that people should try to stay motivated and continue to exercise through an activity they enjoyed.

Ms Smith added: “If you don’t like doing certain things then you’re not going to want to do it.”

Jessica Frith, who holds online fitness classes for Exhale Gym at the Fairmont Southampton, admitted she was in “survival mode” because of the downturn in business.

She has managed to stay afloat by reconnecting with former clients she met when she worked in New York.

Ms Frith, 36, said: “I’m really grateful that I have people showing up to the three classes that I teach every week and the few personal training clients that I am seeing online. It’s not ideal, but I’m so grateful for it.”

Ms Frith said that schedule disruption caused by the pandemic made it difficult for people to find time for exercise.

She explained: “People’s schedules are all over the place — they’re managing their children and trying to work from home, so scheduling, I think, becomes a problem.”

Ms Frith said that people’s mental health could also be affected by a lack of exercise.

She added: “I think the thing that is really tough too is that people start to miss workouts and then they start to feel bad about themselves.”

But she said: “There’s really no shame in dropping a workout schedule during this time if you can’t keep up, because the more you beat yourself up about it, the less good you’re going to feel when it’s time to move again.”

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Published Jun 4, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 4, 2020 at 7:38 am)

Personal trainers hit as clients fall off pace

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