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Work-outs to improve your business fitness


“That’s what I’m appreciating at the moment – those little things. Little, but big things” – Shel Evasco, Personal Trainer and ANZ small business customer



When gyms closed, Shel had to take her PT business outdoors.

COVID-19 has changed our lives have in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.  We’ve all needed to adapt the way we live, work and play – on the run. Our small business customers in the fitness sector might be used to running but they’re no exception to the need to change. Particularly given gyms are one of the businesses social distancing has forced to close.


Remaining nimble


Shel Evasco, an ANZ small business customer, has learnt the importance of staying positive and being nimble and innovative in response to a rapidly changing environment.


Shel has worked for Assassin PT as a Personal Trainer at a large well-known gym in Melbourne for the past five years. But when Government directions were handed down advising “non-essential” services - including gyms - would have to close, Shel turned her mind to other options to ensure she could continue to support her clients.

Shel and her fellow trainers in the gym

Shel leading a group training session


“[The government measures mean] we can’t train our clients in the gym and we also can’t use the equipment,” Shel says.


While a number of her colleagues resigned the day the gym closed, Shel was determined to find a way to save her business. She brainstormed ideas and reached out to friends and family for moral support. 


“When the gym closed, I was packing up my things and was just about ready to go. Once I loaded everything in my car, I realised I had everything I needed apart from barbells and weights,” she recalls.


“The way I train is very adaptive. Thankfully over the years with experience and ongoing education I have the ability to train my clients without using any equipment and still focus on their goals.”


Reflecting on the impact COVID-19 has had on her business, Shel says she saw a significant drop in business as people were trying to come to terms with the uncertainty.


“I experienced a 60 per cent drop in one week,” she says. “That’s based on 30 sessions per week. The Personal Training business is based on clients and sessions so if we don’t have any sessions, we don’t make any money.”

A changing business model

Early morning boxing session

Getting a good workout without gym equipment


Adapting the service proposition


“With less people coming into the gym, we weren’t able to sign up any new clients,” says Shel. “Thankfully, I had built enough trust with my existing clients over the years. I’ve educated them about how important health and fitness is – and that’s been a big saviour for me because they still believe in that [philosophy].”


The need to maintain physical wellness has also been consistently emphasised by medical experts as lockdowns have grown. Indeed exercise is one activity explicitly endorsed as permissible.


Shel’s clients have been keen to train outside instead of in the gym: “They know exactly how I train. We don’t need all the gym equipment - we can still get a good workout using just our bodies.”


With Melbourne’s winter on the way Shel is adapting her business to online virtual personal training although it’s a leap of faith for some of her clients. “People feel uncomfortable when there’s an unknown factor. I think it’s about me educating them, showing them a different way of training and making them feel comfortable - even though it may be out of their comfort zone,” she says.


Virtual PT: a different way of training


Shel is not alone. Many of ANZ’s customers in the fitness and lifestyle sector have had to radically change their businesses models. Some have moved online, whether by streaming sessions or tailoring personal programs, others have adapted their outdoor sessions. But all have focused on what their clients really are looking for – and what their anxieties are.


Silver linings


Shel maintains practicing gratitude daily is vital for mental health and wellbeing in these challenging times. “The positive thing for me is our family is able to spend more quality time together” she says. “Chris, my partner is home more often which allows him to read to our daughter and tuck her in to bed every night – and that’s so special to all of us.”


“That’s what I’m appreciating at the moment – those little things. Little, but big things,” she says. “We have to see the positives in all of this”


You can find Shel on:


Instagram at @assassinpt or @shelevasco

Facebook at Assassin PT or Shel Evasco


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