From the gym to home workouts: e-Fitness in Brunei

How e-Fitness kept fitness trainers afloat during lockdown, and what the possibilities are moving forward.

  • A forced shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The rough start of Zoom workout classes.

  • A new and innovative strategy for successful e-Fitness classes.

Before, it would have been almost impossible to reach your #health #fitness #body #goals through daily home workouts. Going to the gym was at least enough motivation to work out regularly, and there’s also the choice to have a personal trainer or join classes with other people!

Adapting to a New Norm

But the pandemic took plenty of things away, including the gym. Even though the Phase 3 de-escalation measures on 6th July, 2020 have allowed gyms to open up again, the period where gyms had to close down forced both fitness trainers and gym-goers to join the online workout community. We talked to a local fitness professional to find out their experience during this unique time — especially the opportunities moving forward.

We spoke to Helmi Abdullah, of @HelmiAbdullahFitness (HAF) and an Under Armour Brunei ambassador, who was the founder of Bootcamp Brunei, where high intensity whole body workout classes are performed in a circuit from his Sweatbox gym, and gave personal training (PT) to private clients. While business had been slowing down earlier this year, COVID-19 eventually pushed him to close down Sweatbox on March 22nd, 2020. Since then, he carried out a new strategy that involved doing home visits with his own equipment in tow for PT clients, and organised paid online workouts via Zoom for his regular Bootcampers.



Working Out Through Zoom

BahDigital (BD): Your IG page announced that you were doing daily Zoom workout classes from March to June. How many joined them compared to in real life?

Helmi: After deciding to cut losses and close down, HAF immediately tried to adapt to the new norm and moved the business online. Honestly, for the first few weeks the online classes turned out not as good compared to real life. Average daily turnout was around 9 pax per day during this time.

People, it seemed, took time to re-learn and adapt to our new situation.


BD: Home workouts have a reputation for being difficult. Did people commit and join regularly or were the dropouts high and unsustainable for business?

Helmi: At first, I agreed that home workouts were not easily done, especially when our whole group was used to working out together previously. My daily Zoom online classes didn’t last long! It ran for around 3 weeks and I personally thought this wouldn’t be going anywhere!

HAF had to re-learn and reflect on the situation, and then we came out with a 30-day online program during Ramadhan. And BOOM! We got around 70 participants registered for it. This online program is still ongoing up until today.

Gaining A Bigger Audience

BD: Social distancing is more relaxed now and you have started doing outdoor Bootcamps. But did your online workouts gain you any extra clients or open you up to a bigger audience online?

Helmi: During the tough times, HAF re-learned and re-strategised everything while doing our business online.

When social distancing became more relaxed, HAF made a comeback with stronger teams in line! Now, we are providing both an online program and offline classes. And yes, our online program succeeded in opening us up to a bigger audience online and at the same time, our offline audience is slowly going back to normal!



BD: Based on your experience, can you see the general public adopting online workouts as a viable option after COVID-19?

Helmi: Yes, they are slowly trying to get used to it and in fact, some of them now prefer online classes and are actually making great progress by doing home workouts only.



BD: Are online workouts something you intend to continue, and what do you think are the conditions for an aspiring fitness trainer to make money online?

Helmi: Yes, we will continue with our online workout program because we need to adapt to the new norm and we will continue trying to give fitting solutions to those who want to workout at home.

HAF is here to provide the platform and to guide anyone and everyone on their fitness journey!


Enhancing Different Health Journeys

Even as we continue to relax measures with social distancing and de-escalation, this only proves that there is a great chance for gyms, fitness centres and personal trainers to explore online platforms for their businesses. HAF is proof that e-Fitness classes can exist with traditional gym workouts to meet everyone’s health needs!