Managing Director and Founder of FITREC, Dennis Hosking, shares his thoughts on the effects of the second lockdown on Victoria’s fitness professionals and fitness businesses.

The current statewide lockdown is truly heartbreaking. Many fitness professionals and businesses in Victoria are having to cope with a loss of, in many cases, 100% of income. Beyond the financial strain, the lockdown is taking a toll on the mental health of us all.

Based in Victoria, I and the FITREC team are acutely aware of the impact these restrictions are having on both our local communities and the state’s fitness industry. Indeed, the impact of the current restriction is testing the resilience of industries across the board.

Last week we received a call suggesting that we campaign for an exemption for fitness professionals. The ability to visit their studio for the purpose of filming.

While we remain strong advocates for the industry and for the rights of fitness professionals, the reality is that any short term gain that concessions for our industry might provide puts us at risk of further and repeated lockdowns.

Following are key considerations when considering any challenge to the existing lockdown in Victoria; Victoria is officially in ‘State of Disaster’.

Without question, the single goal of everyone in Victoria is to stop this secondary infection. The ease with which COVID-19 spreads means that any exemption could become a window of opportunity for transmission. Until this virus is under control, we are not going to see any return to normal in our industry.

Clients and members take their lead from fitness professionals.

Not just in relation to diet and exercise. They observe how we conduct ourselves in our daily lives. We have a duty to exemplify best practice. In the current environment, this means showing that we understand the importance of social isolation. Filming workout sessions, for example, in the confines of your home/yard not only demonstrates best practice, it shows empathy for the situation your clients and members are currently in.

If we want more respect as an industry, we need to show we are team players. 

The fitness industry has always desired a closer connection to allied health and medical services. Under normal circumstances, we are a key part of preventative health and rehabilitation. At this time, the greatest thing we can offer is solidarity. With many in our healthcare system giving so much of themselves, at great personal risk, now is not the time to be inadvertently adding to their load. Now is the time for us to say to the wider health community, ‘We’ve got your back’.

There is no fitness business until this is under control.

On the 3rd August, the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, stated “…if [the current restrictions] don’t work, we’ll need a much longer list of complete shutdowns.” Again, now is not the time for any industry to be pushing for exceptions. We need to work together to get this under control. The longer we’re in lockdown, the more fitness businesses and professionals are going to suffer.

For these reasons, FITREC will continue to support the government’s strict short term lockdown in the hope of avoiding any further extension of these restrictions.

During this time, we will continue to support all members as much as possible. Beyond our usual support, additional initiatives include…

Extending all Victorian registrations by four months. The initial extension provided for all Australian registered professionals ends in September. The four-month extension is obviously longer than we are expecting to be in lockdown, but we wanted to be sure that no Victorian professional had the added expense of a renewal that coincided with Christmas.

Panel Q&A Sessions and income generation ideas. Beginning soon, FITREC will host a panel of presenters with the skills and experience to answer any questions as well as provide examples of how others have broadened their earning potential during this time. Details will be posted to your FITREC home page.

In addition to the above, we’ve been actively working on and investing in projects to benefit our members in the years to come. We’ll provide more on these projects in the near future.

I hope that you and all those in your community remain in good health and please, stay safe.

Dennis Hosking