How Personal Trainers Can Help Gen Z Clients with Mental Health

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the death, devastation, and isolation it has brought, mental health has come to the forefront of public conversation. Even before the pandemic, mental health was becoming a larger part of global conversation. One of the driving forces behind the increase of attention on this topic has been the rising generation — Gen Z.

Gen Z is quickly becoming one of the most important consumer groups for brands to cater to, especially in the fitness industry. To grow your personal training business, you’ll need to harness their power by appealing to their values and priorities, mental health included.

Let’s take some time to better get to know this burgeoning generation, their mental health needs, and how your fitness services can fulfill them.

First Thing’s First: Getting to Know Gen Z

Who is Gen Z?

Generation Z is the generation of individuals born between 1997-2012, following millennials. As of 2020, Gen Z made up 20.35% of the total population in the United States.

Many people lump millennials and Gen Z together, but the latter group has distinctive characteristics all its own. Gen Z is the most diverse generation, for instance. They are expected to be the last predominately white generation and are generally less concerned with differences in race, gender, sexuality, and religion.

Another fundamental trait of Gen Z is their relationship with technology. Whereas millennials were born on the cusp of the technological revolution and experienced the advent of advances such as wireless internet, smartphones, and social media. Most of Generation Z has never known life without these innovations. As a result of this constant connectivity and instant access to information, Gen Z is more proactive in their own learning and awareness of the world.

What challenges is Gen Z facing?

Every generation comes up against its own set of obstacles, and Generation Z is no different. Here are some of the most prevalent challenges this age group is currently or anticipates facing:

  • Financial uncertainty
  • Social injustice
  • Corrupt politics
  • Climate change
  • Inadequate healthcare
  • Mental health issues
  • Burnout

What goals does Gen Z have?

As society changes and evolves, so do the values and ambitions of its populations. Many of the goals of Gen Z are reflective of the aforementioned challenges they’re facing and their pursuit of good mental health. According to a survey in 2019, here are the top life ambitions of Gen Z members:

  • Having a successful career
  • Making money
  • Having time to pursue hobbies
  • Having a family and close friends

Gen Z also prioritizes establishing and expressing an individual identity. Many of the goals above, like having a career and hobbies, are highly valued because they are what primarily shapes this identity.

How Fitness Can Help Gen Z with Mental Health Struggles

woman and man in a gym smiling

Considering everything this generation has gone through thus far — e.g., the Great Recession, the coronavirus pandemic, endemic gun violence, a war in the Middle East — it comes as no surprise that Gen Z mental health has not fared too well. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues are on the rise among this age group, which has fueled public conversation about mental health and potential solutions.

One of the outlets Gen Zers have turned to for improving their mental well-being is fitness. Exercise has been proven to have an array of benefits for mental health. Here are some of the benefits that draw the most mental health-conscious generation to the fitness industry:

  1. Exercise decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression. Regular physical activity boosts endorphins (the body’s “feel-good” chemicals) and lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  2. Working out builds confidence. Through exercise, you can lose weight, build muscle, hit goals, and learn to love your body. This increased confidence then translates to other areas of life.
  3. Being active during the day helps you sleep at night. Exercise helps regulate your circadian rhythms, increase body temperature, and reduce stress and racing thoughts. All these factors contribute to improved quality and quantity of sleep.
  4. The fitness industry offers a supportive community. The social aspect of going to a gym or club is just as important to most members, including Gen Z, as the health component. With a community of club members, group classes, accountability groups, and other team activities, you can find plenty of support, motivation, and friends through exercise.

5 Tips for Getting More Gen Z Personal Training Clients

According to the 2021 IHRSA Media Report, Generation Z has achieved the most growth in fitness over the last 10 years at a 69.8% membership increase. For personal trainers like you, this means Gen Z is on its way to becoming your biggest potential client base.

Translation? The future of your fitness business is going to depend on your ability to bring in more clients from this age group. Don’t worry though; we’ve got some tips to help you do it!

1. Build holistic training programs.

Gen Zers look at fitness holistically. They’re not just looking for a workout, but also guidance for a healthy diet and nourishment for mental well-being. To attract these clients, your personal training programs should include wellness services in addition to traditional workouts.

Offerings such as nutritional guidance, healthy habit tracking, and mindfulness practices will help you stand out among the competition.

2. Put your brand values front and center.

Clients from Gen Z are more likely to trust and support brands that stand for something. This goes back to their goal of establishing who they are through the things they do. With all the social, cultural, and political unrest they’ve seen, they want to make meaningful choices when it comes to where they spend their money.

To communicate your brand values to Generation Z, devise a clear mission statement, declare your goals, and share your story on your website, social media, and in other marketing efforts.

3. Get on social media.

As a generation that was born into a world where an internet community is at their fingertips, Gen Z has come to rely on social media for a lot of their service choices. Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook: This is where they are, where they get much of their information, and where they can get to know you.

Your social media presence should be constant and consistent. Engage the Gen Z audience with photos, videos, and frequent posts that highlight your personal training business and the value it can offer them.

4. Use technology to connect.

Generation Z clients expect to be able to do pretty much anything they need to online — and more specifically with their phones. You need to meet them where they are and use technology to promote your business and engage.

First and foremost, you need to have a branded app, where clients can sign up for services, book sessions, make payments, track their progress, and talk to you directly. Another way to leverage technology is with virtual training services such as live streaming, on-demand workouts, and virtual sessions.

5. Incorporate fun exercises.

Another way Gen Z uses fitness to improve their mental health is by gravitating toward types of workouts that promote joyful movement and fun. Along with traditional workouts like cardio and strength training, implement Gen Z fitness trends into your programs.

Younger generations are currently loving activities like

  • Boxing
  • HIIT
  • CrossFit
  • Yoga
  • Spinning
  • Pilates
  • Dance-inspired movements

Single-minded fitness services don’t cut it for the new generation of personal training clients. Today’s consumers want programs that encompass all aspects of health and wellness from mental health to diet to stress management and beyond.

On the My PT Hub blog, you’ll find expert tips and insight to help you expand your services, optimize your business, and promote your brand. Check out our latest articles today to read more about building your personal training business!