Creating a USP
PE teacher turned PT Lynsey Goodyear explains how – in spite of COVID lockdown – Physical Company helped put her fledgling business on the path to success
You recently became a personal trainer – why?
I was a secondary school PE teacher for 17 years: teaching was what I always wanted to do and sport was a real passion of mine. Most of all, I loved seeing what the students went on to do afterwards. They had to do PE at school, even if they hated it, but my mission was to help them find an activity they liked; I really do believe there’s a sport for everyone. I brought in lots of options, not just traditional sports, to help every student find something they enjoyed enough to continue after school.
So, I loved teaching. Over recent years, though, teaching wasn’t just about the kids any more. I was head of PE as well as head of years 7, 8, 9 and 10, and by this time last year I had become very ill with stress. I knew I needed a change, both for my sake and my family’s: I have two boys, aged nine and 12, and I wanted more time to be a mum to them.
So, I started thinking about what else I could do. I still wanted to teach sport, but I wanted to find a different way to do it. Meanwhile, the gym had always felt like a safe space for me, even in my toughest times. I started to realise there was an opportunity there to use my experience, not to mention my Sports Science degree, to work with willing adults – rather than reluctant teens! – getting them fit, active and well. I made the decision in December 2019 to become a personal trainer.
What happened next?
Keen to be my own boss, I jumped straight in to running my own PT business. I launched it on 1 February 2020, offering 1-to-1 PT, evening and weekend bootcamps, and sports massage. Training took place either in clients’ homes or at the gym I’m a member of: they don’t have any in-house PTs there and the owners are so nice. I help them with their social media and a few hours’ work here and there; they let me use the gym to train my clients.
I started out with four regular clients, plus a couple of others just about to start with me, and then along came COVID-19 and everything stopped.
I immediately switched my services to online, offering free content – technique videos and free workouts of the day – that anyone could do, hoping to get people to my page. But it didn’t give me the impact I’d hoped for. I’d have maybe four or five participants per class, most of whom were friends.
Six weeks in I nearly gave up, but that simply isn’t my style, so instead I decided to start charging to at least make some money. Fortunately, this coincided with lockdown lifting enough for 1-to-1 outdoor PT to be allowed. All of a sudden, even though I was charging, I was busier. Word-of-mouth started to kick in.
I now have 12 regular 1-to-1 clients each week. Additionally, I run three bootcamps each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening, plus two on Friday and two on Sunday. That’s 13 a week in total, which is a lot, but while social distancing is in force each bootcamp is limited to five people and I want to keep up with demand.
Interestingly, 60 per cent of my bootcamps are private: people book the whole thing for them and their friends. I’ll probably keep doing smaller private bootcamps moving forward, as well as larger ones when social distancing allows.
Meanwhile, although I’ve now dropped my evening Zoom classes, my morning ones are now up to around nine people per session, and again I think I’ll carry these on. Mornings seem to be a good time for Zoom: a lot of people are juggling getting kids ready for school and themselves ready for work and can’t make it to the gym.
So, I’m now really busy – busier than I planned actually! But who knows what will happen when gyms re-open. I want to expose as many as people as I can to my style of training now, in the hope they’ll continue with me even once things return to some sort of normal.
What is your style of training?
I have three mottos which sum up my ethos: Never Give Up, Believe in Yourself, and Change is Good.
Having taught kids PE for 17 years, even those who hate it, I know it’s all about engagement, thinking out of the box, helping people have a laugh while they train, making every session as personal as possible.
What it isn’t about, at least for me, is aesthetics. It’s about physical health and the mental feelgood factor: that buzz you get two minutes after you finish a workout. I try to change people’s perspective on exercise, helping them realise it can be enjoyable and encouraging them to focus on how it makes them feel.
Most of my clients are people who used to train, but who have lost their mojo along the way. I mix things up for them, including strength and conditioning and MetCon workouts including AMRAPs. I work them hard, but I make it fun for them too, and they can all go at their own pace.
What equipment do you use?
I wanted to invest in good equipment that would last, and I was recommended to speak to Physical Company.
It was a great recommendation. From the word go, I genuinely felt Physical had my interests at heart rather than simply trying to make a sale. They listened to what I wanted to achieve, offered very genuine and personal advice and helped me invest in the right things. They even encouraged me to take a few things off my list when they didn’t think I needed them yet!
I now have a wide range of Physical equipment, from dumbbells, barbells, slam-balls and Olympic weights to Reax Kettlebells and Fluiballs, Wreckbags, Surge Riptides and battle ropes.
In fact, some pieces of kit I have a number of: at the moment, as we come out of COVID lockdown, everyone in a bootcamp class has to have all their own equipment. I see it as an investment though: I could potentially hire it out in the long run, when normal circuits are possible again and I don’t need it all myself. But in the meantime, every piece of equipment is so versatile that you can do a great workout with just a few pieces of kit.
It’s all high quality too, and I’ve found it’s given me a great USP compared to other local trainers: it allows for so much variety in the workouts I deliver, while the more unusual pieces of equipment – those filled with sand or water, for example – bring something new and different to my clients. Most of it is also waterproof, which is great for outdoor training.
I genuinely believe I wouldn’t have been as successful without Physical Company’s help, advice and excellent equipment. It’s put me ahead of the game and has been a great investment.
And you have a clothing range too?
Yes! I was chatting to the founders of clothing range Ruby and Bean at a fitness industry convention in January. Our whole ethos was so similar, we decided to collaborate.
I’ve had my three mottos designed in the style of my company logo and they appear on selected items of Ruby and Bean active wear. Whenever anyone buys a GOOD220 item of clothing, we ask them to post a photo of them wearing it and explain why they chose the motto they did. I love hearing people’s stories.
Yes – that’s my brand. I didn’t want to just be Lynsey Goodyear Personal Training. I’m almost 40 now, so I won’t be PT-ing myself forever. I want to build up a company and a brand so, in the future, I can employ other personal trainers and continue to run my business.
Obviously GOOD is from my surname, Goodyear, and then 220 is about maximum heart rate: the equation I used to teach in GCSE PE, to calculate HR max, was 220 minus your age. It makes sense for my business, because I use heart rate training thresholds and zones to help people achieve their goals. It’s a name that resonates with people and with what I do.