As COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in March of this year, changing the way businesses operated across the country, many small businesses adopted out of the box techniques to keep their businesses moving despite the many challenges and roadblocks thrown their way.

Local Toowoomba small business owners, Tash and Jake from Gett Fitness were just one of many small businesses who felt the effect of COVID-19. We caught up with them to find out how these changes affected their business and what techniques they used to adapt their business. Read their story below.

Our small family business took a huge hit as COVID-19 restrictions rolled out, so our options were to either close down or adapt. We had rolling progressions of changes in an attempt to keep our dedicated members training and our business afloat during these crazy times.

As the restrictions came in very quickly, we initially had to cancel our Indoor Pilates and Group Fitness sessions, which were held at our small private studio and gym space in Rangeville. We were, however, fortunate that we had run outdoor fitness classes at Lake Annand over the past six years, so we already had the experience, equipment and insurances to do so. We were able to reschedule some of these classes at the park, although these were also restricted to nine participants, with strict social distancing and no shared equipment. These restrictions were a huge hit against our business, as we have always prided ourselves on running fun, social and very interactive classes with loads of buddy and teamwork. Additionally, we also use an array of equipment that really adds challenge for our members. So, these new requirements meant re-programming the way we run all of our classes and lots more time cleaning.

With these restrictions, the most affected was our “Mum’s & Bub’s Pilates” and “Functional Fitness Classes”. These were also run at our studio and gym. One of the best features of these classes was that mum’s could bring their babies and other siblings with them to all classes. Due to only being able to have a maximum participants of nine, this was no longer possible as babies and kids were included in the total of nine in a group.

With the next level of restrictions kicking in less than a week later, we were no longer able to train in a group outdoors at the park either. So, we had to adapt again and decided to take some of our classes live online via Zoom. Being a small family business, we didn’t have the backing like many of the big franchises, so we had to figure it all out for ourselves, which meant we had to close temporarily until we had the equipment, technology, systems and processes up and running.

Then we were online, running live “Group Fitness Classes” via Zoom within one week!! We opted for live classes so we would still have the ability to modify exercises for our members where required, and were able to correct form and technique to decrease the possibility of injuries, and also ensure our clients were still being challenged and reaching their goals.  Whilst some of our members adapted easily, some had no interest in online training and others found it quite hard due to having babies, toddlers and others kids at home as well.

As restrictions are easing, we are now returning to some of our much-loved outdoor sessions at Lake Annand, where we can easily keep our members 1.5m or more apart. Due to small class sizes, we have had to provide more class times to accommodate for our members wanting face-to-face training. With many people still a bit hesitant to venture out much, we are also continuing some of our live online classes as well. So, we’ve got something for everyone.

Moving forward, we will continue to adapt where required and keep our wonderful members exercising safely. We are so very grateful for the amazing support our wonderful members and the community have offered during these crazy times. Without this, we would not have made it through.