Markowitz employs the use of a steel mace, kettlebells and other unique equipment. Photo courtesy Charlie Markowitz
Markowitz employs the use of a steel mace, kettlebells and other unique equipment.

West Bloomfield-based personal trainer Charlie Markowitz has had to adjust during COVID. He offers his tips for fitness entrepreneurs during tough times.

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich.—The coronavirus crisis has been difficult for many businesses, but it’s been especially hard on small businesses, including those run by individuals.

Since the virus hit Michigan in March, the fitness industry is among those that have been most impacted.

Charlie Markowitz, a fitness trainer from West Bloomfield, is one local business owner who’s had to make radical adjustments in the midst of hardship.

“It was pretty rough at first because every gym shut down, so I was out of work for four or five months,” Markowitz said. “Once I decided I was going to go on my own and open my own private training studio and do in-home training, I found that people wanted to work out still.

“Once I started doing my own thing and just did one-on-one training, it got really busy.”

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Markowitz added that some of his clients still don’t feel comfortable being in a large-scale gym setting, giving him the opportunity to help them one-on-one. 

His business, Markowitz Training Systems, offers clients personalized functional training, meal planning, exercises including kettlebell and mace-based training methods, boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lessons.

He’s also begun adding online Zoom sessions, maximizing his ability to help more clients.

Markowitz said that exercise is especially important during this time because of the way it changes the entire body.

“It helps to boost your immune system, helps keep you from obesity, and you stress levels down, so if you can do all of those things you’re going to help keep yourself healthier overall even if you get sick,” he said.

“You’ll just have a quick recovery. People are so focused on not getting sick that they’re neglecting all the other aspects of health.”

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Of course, not everyone can afford or attend personal training nowadays.

For those who need to train on a budget, Markowitz has a recommendation.

“I would say YouTube is your best friend, you can find a lot of workouts on YouTube to get you started; be careful and take it slow, especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve done anything, just go at a slow pace.

“Or, just go for a walk.”

He answers questions on his Facebook page for those who are having trouble deciding which workouts to utilize. 

As for others interested in pursuing a career as a personal trainer during the pandemic, Markowitz said that mindset and following your individual path in life is everything.

Markowitz was an overweight kid in high school who “pretty much ate whatever I wanted and exercised very little.” He began training in martial arts and working out, and his friends soon began asking him for workout tips. He got certified, and hit the ground running.

“I decided my best way to serve the community was to help people be healthier and to have fun doing it,” he said.

For aspiring fitness entrepreneurs, utilizing social media to find clients is his number one recommended tip. The business is going through changes, but flexibility and patience are key.

“I would say it’s going to be tough but if it’s really what they set their mind on, social media is probably the easiest way,” he said.

“Start posting videos of your workouts, pictures, start offering people free workouts, get anybody in the door that you can and be willing to meet over Zoom,” he added. 

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Gathering testimonials and sharing them, as Markowitz does on his website, is also recommended. 

“Be flexible.”

Avoiding complacency at all costs is also important, especially when life gets difficult, as it is now for so many.

“Just keep doing when you’re doing even when times get tough,” he said. “If you want to do it, you have to go for it.

“Don’t be afraid of taking risks.”