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Personal trainer believes more people will turn to smaller fitness businesses after lockdown

PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:00 26 June 2020

Imogen Clarke, from Drayton, who set up Inspire Personal Training Studio in Norwich. Picture: Inspire Personal Training Studio

Imogen Clarke, from Drayton, who set up Inspire Personal Training Studio in Norwich. Picture: Inspire Personal Training Studio

Inspire Personal Training Studio

A personal trainer believes smaller fitness studios could experience a boom in business as lockdown eases.

Imogen Clarke, 28, from Drayton, who runs Inspire Personal Training Studio, on Page Road, Norwich, believed more people appreciated the benefits of exercise after an uptake of walking, cycling and running during the coronavirus pandemic.

A client training in the car park of Inspire Personal Training Studio in Norwich. Picture: Inspire Personal Training StudioA client training in the car park of Inspire Personal Training Studio in Norwich. Picture: Inspire Personal Training Studio

Speaking about the impact of the virus on smaller personal training studios, compared to larger commercial gyms, Miss Clarke said: “Long term I think it will work in our favour. Some people do not feel comfortable going to a commercial gym.”

She added: “I didn’t think the government would allow gyms to open on July 4. I had psyched myself up for that to happen. It was a bit disappointing but what we are doing at the moment is working.”

She understood why gyms and personal training studios were remaining shut but added: “A one-to-one studio has less risk than going out to a bar on a Saturday night.

“Everything in my studio is cleaned within a inch of its life. We have got a big space and we can keep a distance.”

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The personal trainer, who set up the business on Sweet Briar Road Industrial Estate in March 2019, said her income was half what it usually is but the lockdown had made her appreciate the loyalty of her clients and enquiries had increased over the past week.

Despite not being able to open her studio during the restrictions she has carried out online boot camps and one-to-one personal training sessions via video conferencing website Zoom and has recently started outdoor sessions in the car park outside her studio and parks.

That will continue while government restrictions against gyms remaining closed are in place.

The fitness enthusiast is allowed to teach up to five people outside as long as they are two metres apart and she limits equipment.

Clients also cannot use the studio’s shower or toilet and she has to describe exercises rather than moving people into certain positions.

She added: “The idea is to keep it ticking over for the rest of the year - that is most important to us. Things are better than we thought they would be. You have to be proactive. It has made me appreciate that people want to help smaller businesses.”

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