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Personal trainers stay in business thanks to online gym classes

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 8:20 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Personal trainers are back in action thanks to online gym classes.

For those not comfortable stepping back into a gym, like Snap Fitness in Burlington, finding the motivation to work out from home can be tough, so having someone holding you accountable through a virtual setting can make all the difference.

“No, I didn’t think I would ever have to do it. How’s it going? I think it’s going... I think it’s a lot of fun,” said Caleb Vallencourt, the club manager at Snap Fitness in Burlington.

Vallencourt has been a personal trainer for more than 18 years, but always in person, so COVID-19 has tested his skill set.

“To all of a sudden do it virtually, is something new and for me, it’s actually been exciting,” said Vallencourt.

Vallencourt creates everything from workouts people can simply follow on their own, to training sessions using sandbags or gallon water jugs over platforms like Zoom or FaceTime.

But on top of being good practice, it comes with challenges, especially if someone gets injured. He says it’s tough not being able to be a safety net for clients if something goes wrong.

“One of the biggest challenges, when you are away from a client, is if something happens. You are like, what, and trying to figure out what it is,” said Vallencourt.

But despite no perfect session, the clients appreciate it.

“I think it’s really important to work out, but I would blow it off in a heartbeat if I didn’t have the appointment,” said Cindy Phelan, a client.

After doing nothing when gyms shut down, Cindy Phelan just needed the accountability.

“It’s just really being in partnership with someone who will hold you accountable which is what I need,” said Phelan.

Vallencourt doesn’t see the end of the need for virtual training on the horizon, so for now, he will adapt.

“It’s low-hanging fruit. As far as what any gym needs to do to stay relevant and alive these days is you have to go virtual,” said Vallencourt.

However, he says they expect virtual training to stick around, so practicing and capitalizing on the opportunity is big.

“Personal training has forever been high fives and you’re doing great and now all of a sudden you don’t have that, you don’t have the high fives, you can’t even be six feet in front of somebody. I think it just helps you stay more in tune with the people and what their needs really are and how are you going to help them from a desktop computer while they’re in their house,” said Vallencourt.

Phelan says she loves the virtual setting as an option.

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