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At TextNow, we believe that when opportunity calls – you need to have the right number to answer it. That’s why we support small business owners and side hustlers with a second phone line, a dedicated business number, and the ability to create a professional voicemail message – all for free. This month, we’re speaking to some of our amazing customers who are working hard to make their dreams a reality. 

“My clients still needed help.” 

Gyms were among the businesses hardest hit by pandemic lockdowns. But Chicago-based personal trainer Chrystalle Reace’s clients still needed help achieving their fitness goals. Enter Ripped to Shreds, a full-service personal training service offering virtual workout classes and one-on-one sessions. We spoke to Chrystalle about pivoting during the pandemic and where her fitness business is headed next.

Small Business
Personal Trainer Chrystalle Reace

Tell us about Ripped to Shreds.

I’ve been a personal trainer at a national fitness chain for a few years. I built a reputation as a great trainer with a lot of clients, and I love being there.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been offering virtual fitness classes and individual personal training sessions. I’ve also been offering one-on-one in-person sessions when possible. It’s been really great so far – it’s cheaper for my clients than at the gym, they get more time and personal attention A lot of people also love exercising in the privacy of their homes, especially now. Nobody wants to wear a mask while working out.

We don’t need a lot of equipment, or any equipment if my clients don’t own any. I get creative and come up with routines using bodyweight exercises. Most of my new clients come from referrals or word of mouth, which is really rewarding, and I can train people from anywhere – they don’t need to be in Chicago.

Why did you decide to start your own business?

When the pandemic hit, gyms were hit hard by the lockdowns. Everything instantly crashed.

Financially, I was ok because of unemployment benefits. But I was worried about my clients, I didn’t want to have to cut them off. They signed up for personal training because they needed help, they needed someone to guide them on their fitness journey. It was important to me to stay connected to them.

I wanted to figure out a way to continue to help them through the pandemic and doing personal training through Zoom was a natural fit.

What have been some of the biggest challenges of running your own business?

This has been a difficult time for a lot of people. Some have lost their jobs or are working reduced hours, so they don’t necessarily have money for personal training.

But the biggest challenge has been connectivity and communication. When I’m training someone, I’m instructing them and guiding them through different exercises and helping them with their form. When you’re on Zoom, you have to communicate really well. It’s even harder if I can’t see what they’re doing. I’ve developed a whole new vocabulary to talk people through their workouts.

I’ve also really enjoyed the challenge of finding new and innovative ways to train people and keep them engaged with their workouts when we’re working online and not in person. 

How does TextNow help you with your business?

When I get a text on my personal phone, I normally don’t check it right away. I’m busy and it’s not my top priority.

But if I hear my TextNow alert go off, I have to check it immediately because I know it’s something related to my business. It’s a client scheduling or rescheduling a session, maybe it’s a new client. With a separate business line, I know that I need to be on top of it and get back to them right away.

What’s the future of Ripped to Shreds?

Once things get back to normal, I’m looking to open my own gym with a partner. We’ll also continue doing Zoom classes because it’s an approach that people are really responding to.

How can people reach you online?

For information about starting personal training, I can be reached by email at [email protected], or on Instagram and Facebook.

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