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GYMGUYZ Franchisee Aaron Behrens Remains Positive

It’s easy for business owners to become discouraged during COVID-19. Here’s how one fitness franchisee is staying positive during the pandemic.

By Paige HoneggerAuthor
9:09AM 04/17/20

When COVID-19 forced the shut down of countless companies across the globe,  it made business owners quickly rethink how they could provide services to customers. Aaron Behrens, a multi-unit franchise with GYMGUYZ, did not skip a beat. His business could have easily shut down since the business model is built on trainers going directly to their clients’ homes for sessions. But with trainers no longer physically able to go into homes to see their clients, Behrens had to pivot. He said, “Coronavirus forced us to explore other avenues for our business. I had to think about where the potential opportunity is and how I could change the business model to fit these new opportunities.” 

Behrens and his team worked together to find a way to keep their business going with virtual training. His team of trainers are still providing their services when it’s most convenient for their clients, but the trainer is now connecting via  Facetime, Skype, or Zoom instead of in-person. This ability to connect virtually isn’t just beneficial for Behrens’ business — it’s also good for clients who are stuck at home and in need of physical activity. Workouts are also proven to help people eliminate stress, which is why more and more people are signing up for virtual sessions.

Said Behrens,  “At first, some clients just wanted to wait until they could resume normal training, but as we are now seeing this as a long term thing, more people are joining virtual training.” 

In addition to getting clients on board with virtual training sessions, Behrens and his team also faced another challenge: coaching workouts without the equipment trainers would normally bring with them. Behrens and his team had to think outside and box and put themselves in their clients’ shoes. They did this by asking themselves questions like “what would I have in my home that I could use as workout equipment?” Some of those answers included coup cans for weights and chairs for shoulder dips and pushups. There are even fun ideas clients enjoy like wine bottles or packs of beer that act as weights and after workout rewards. Daily household items can be transformed into workout equipment with some imagination.

Even though he was forced to change his business quickly, Behrens is keeping a positive attitude. “I’ve been involved in this business for 20 years, and when there is a crisis, the only thing to do is remain calm. It’s to the benefit of the organization, employees and clients,” he said.

Positive mindsets are essential in these tough times. Positive people get more done, are more creative, can solve problems faster, and are typically more alert, according to Psychology Today. When we have negative thoughts, our body's flight system makes us want to give up and get out, but when we can’t it leads to stress and panic attacks. In a study from the Journal of Psychology, it was discovered that subjects who were worried or stressed took significantly longer to sort things into the two categories due to their lack of focus 

 To overcome those challenges and remain positive, Behrens suggests waking up and writing down three things you want to accomplish for the day. “When people rely on you, the most important thing you can do is stay optimistic, and accomplish something. That keeps me going, keeps me moving forward and makes me feel happy,” noted Behrens.