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/ May 2020
Charina Lumley, Co-Founder, Movemeant Foundation

A Grant Program for the Fitness Community Changes the Game

The Founding Partner of the Movemeant Foundation provides tips for fitness professionals to stand out

Our mission at Movemeant Foundation is designed to teach women and girls that fitness is essential to unlocking such values as self-confidence and body positivity, but our work is deeply rooted in enabling the success of our fitness instructor community. That's because fitness instructors serve as powerful voices who champion our mission each and every day on yoga mats, spin bikes, and gym floors across the country.
With the onset of the current crisis as not just a public health dilemma but an economic one, we were quick to recognize that fitness instructors—who were already just barely staying afloat prior to the pandemic—were now facing an incredible financial fallout with the closures of their studios and gyms. But those affected were not receiving anywhere near the attention that their counterparts in retail, restaurant, and food and beverage sectors were seeing.
While we were aware that many instructors would be eligible for unemployment and stimulus checks for rent and living necessities, Movemeant Foundation decided to take a different approach: to provide financial resources of up to $1,000 to fitness instructors looking to transform from an in-person, in-studio model to a virtual fitness platform.
With our financial assistance program now in its fourth week, we have so far financially-seeded 10 new virtual fitness entrepreneurs. As part of that, we have witnessed everything from brick-and-mortar trainers transform into creative digital entrepreneurs to self-proclaimed computer-illiterates morph into technological savants.
Though cities and states are starting to reopen, it may still be some time before we go back to normal. So for those still looking to build or enhance their virtual fitness businesses, here are a few key themes we have recognized from our grant recipients:
Define what makes you different: Ask yourself, what makes you and your training approach unique? Can you create a concrete set of distinguishing characteristics that makes you stand apart? For example, instructor Beau Campbell was a professional ballerina who turned to yoga once she turned in her pointe shoes. Now, she's well underway in building a truly unique dance-inspired yoga flow that fuses her two passions.
Understand who you are competing against: It's not so much that you're competing against other trainers, but you're also competing against other life factors: family commitments, time restraints, physical space, or lack of fitness equipment. The 7-minute workout, for example, took all this into consideration when the idea (and now app) started to take mindshare.
Know your audience: It's common to think that we should be universally-appealing, but identifying a target market who share common identifiers is a smart approach when starting out. Jasmine Nesi, another one of our grant recipients, is building her business RUNGRL, which is dedicated to building a community for black women long-distance runners.
Be specific: Though they were all in varying stages of creating their business, all our grant recipients were enormously detailed in the how, why, when, and how much of building their businesses. This allows them to stay organized, and to set goals and milestones that are strategic and long term.
If you're looking to start your own virtual fitness business, Reebok has generously committed to supporting trainers through Movemeant Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund program. Apply for a grant today!
/ May 2020
Charina Lumley, Co-Founder, Movemeant Foundation