EPISODE 81: Brent Parkhill, From In Studio Personal Trainer to Virtual Fitness Trainer Overnight

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Well, friends I never thought I’d see the day, but here we are!

My husband, Brent Parkhill, is a Certified Personal Trainer and was my very first guest on this show because years ago he made a transition from working a soul-sucking corporate sales job to living his dream making people work hard and get amazing results in the gym. He is a gifted personal trainer and absolutely LOVES his work.

But then… what feels like months ago, yet it’s only been a few weeks, the entire world as we know it here in this country and in our part of East Tennessee changed. The governor of our state sent out a mandate: ALL fitness centers, gyms, and personal training studios must be closed to prevent the spread of the virus none of us knew about 3 months ago.

Because most of his clients in Tellico Village are retired and in the age category of the more highly vulnerable, Brent had already made the choice minutes before the governor to temporarily close his doors to keep his clients safe. Of course, that left us with a financial conundrum. As a family we still have bills to pay, and my business, professional speaking and training, also had taken a massive hit in the week or so prior to that.

Brent Parkhill training a client in his virtual training studio in our garage. Missing from this photo: heavy bag that hangs from the ceiling.

We’ve all heard lots of sad stories of businesses closing and many others “pivoting” to make changes to stay in business during this time. Today’s story is one of those about pivoting, very close to home (as in – in my garage!).

The day I never thought would happen… the day he insisted pigs would fly first… actually came. Within hours of making the announcement to temporarily shut down, Brent & I quickly formulated a plan for him to train his clients virtually – as in over the computer, not in the same place.

You see, until now, Brent held the strong belief (to the point of vehemently and LOUDLY defending his position) that a good personal trainer NEEDS to be hands-on, in the same place, for clients to get the best experience and results. For years this was an area of contention for us because I know with video, and the technical tools available to us today, it is not only possible, but many (many) personal fitness trainers around the world are making an amazing living and positively impacting the lives of people they train virtually.

Yet, unprecedented times call for a willingness to get creative and try something new in order to grow and succeed. And so for the past three weeks, Brent and his willing clients always up for an adventure have embraced the concept of personal training via the tools on the internet, and they all LOVE it!

Brent Parkhill closely watching a client on camera in his virtual personal training studio, aka my garage.

Brent has made several trips to the studio to bring some of his vital equipment home, he’s developed training programs for his clients to use what they have around their houses during their sessions with him, and each day I watch him more fully embracing this “momentary normal” (I refuse to call it a “new normal” because we aren’t going to be quarantined forever!). He’s even gone so far as to create a daily 7:30 AM fitness class with dozens of people from around the country joining him each weekday morning. Brent is living his best life, happier than I think I’ve ever seen him at work.

In today’s show we’re going to have an honest conversation about why he changed his mind and decided to embrace technology, what his experience has been, and also how YOU can stay fit and healthy right now when you can’t get to the gym.

If you’d like to follow what he’s up to, you can link his Flexx Fitness Personal Training Solutions Facebook page here. We keep that page updated with the latest information and more. Maybe you want to join in Brent’s morning classes? He’s got a few spots left. Send a private message through that page to talk to Brent about joining.