How Wisconsin Athletic Club Expanded into Digital Fitness with Trainerize

In 2020, every business in the fitness industry has had to adapt to keep their doors—literal or figurative!—open. At Trainerize, we’ve been working to support fitpros in their efforts and have been so inspired by what trainers and clubs have done!

One incredible story comes from Wisconsin Athletic Club, AKA WAC, the largest privately-owned gym in Wisconsin. We’re proud to play a part in their journey to adopt online training.

Meet Nikki Wille, the club’s Director of Fitness, and Amanda Tikalsky, one of WAC’s personal trainers and group fitness instructors. With over 30 years of experience in the fitness industry between them, these pros know the fitness consumer—both have dedicated their careers to helping clients—and knew they needed to support their customer base when COVID-19 hit.
With Trainerize, WAC has been able to offer flexible options to members, regardless of public health requirements and personal comfort levels. Here’s how it all went down.

Adopting digital fitness with Trainerize

When Wille decided to pivot Wisconsin Athletic Club’s fitness services online, she knew exactly what she wanted. “I was looking for the right way to add technology into our department. I needed a way to help our business grow and advance in the market, while maintaining the personal touch of our business,” she says. “Our mission is to make a difference in people’s lives… and it was an easy yes [to go online] when the pandemic hit. We had to tackle it in a creative way—but that didn’t mean we couldn’t continue to provide exceptional service and offerings to our members.”

When she started to implement Trainerize, Wille immediately called on Tikalsky to pilot the online services—and she got on board right away, completing 34 hours of virtual training in the first month.

WAC Case Study Trainerize

Tikalsky chats with a client from WAC’s Downtown location.

“I was really impressed with how intuitive it is to do my workouts and track them,” says Tikalsky. “Once I was able to experience the trainer side of the Trainerize, I was impressed by the volume of exercises available and how easily workouts could be customized.” For her, it’s the convenience and accessibility of the online offering. “It’s a win-win for the gym, for trainers, and for members.”

With the launch of their Virtual Live Training program (training via video) in the early months of the pandemic, and then announcing their online training program PIVOT (Personalized InteractiVe Online Training) in September, WAC is confidently and comprehensively leading their clients into the digital fitness space.

“Using Trainerize allowed me to continue to train my clients, safely. Many of them are fairly reluctant to come into the gym during the pandemic,” says Tikalsky. “Shifting to online training means they can stay connected to WAC and continue to work toward their goals.”

Keeping members engaged and motivated is just the start—here are a few more outcomes from WAC moving online in 2020:


Maintaining session numbers

The great part about virtual training is that you don’t have to struggle to keep your client numbers up because of social distancing—and clients don’t have to worry about lost workouts! Tikalsky says the app has kept her near her pre-pandemic session numbers—and she expects that number to grow as more clients adopt the online training model.

Work-life balance for trainers

Let’s face it, everyone deserves a break every now and then. When your work is more organized, you’re bound to unlock some valuable time. “I am more flexible with my time which has been incredible for my family life!” Tikalsky shares. She runs around two-thirds of her sessions online through Trainerize, and as a result, she can work at full hours while enjoying a more flexible lifestyle.

WAC Case Study Trainerize

Training from home (with an awesome tech-y phone stand!) is an added convenience for Tikalsky.

Convenience for clients

In addition to engagement and work-life balance, Tikalsky found she is also able to keep up with her clients schedules, like when they go to their vacation homes or travel out of state, with no communication issues. “I see our gym using Trainerize as a way to make fitness more convenient for clients,” says Tikalsky. To turn fitness into a lifestyle, you need to fit it into people’s lives. The more accessible your services are, the more people will want to work with you!

Taking client engagement beyond the gym

Since implementing Trainerize at WAC, both Wille and Tikalsky have noticed the difference in engagement—for clients, but also for trainers! “I enjoy working with our personal trainers and providing them additional resources for client relationships,” says Wille, adding that client engagement and value-add were her top priorities when choosing Trainerize.

Accountability has also increased on both sides of the relationships, says Wille. And for Tikalsky, her clients are remaining connected and engaged with their fitness goals, even when they’re unable to come into the gym.

Online workouts are a major win for WAC clientele. Plenty of other aspects of Trainerize are making a difference for WAC’s training team, too. Here are are a few of Tikalsky’s favorite Trainerize features:

Video sessions offer face-to-face engagement

Prior to the pandemic, Tikalsky was training all of her clients in person. Now, they meet online.

“Secure video coaching definitely tops my list. It’s very convenient for clients and trainers alike,”   Tikalsky says. Nothing beats those motivating 1-1 coaching sessions where you help clients stay on track towards their workout goals! Amanda agrees that video coaching is the best way to get that personal, face-to-face experience when in-person sessions aren’t an option.

This feature also makes training more interactive! Tikalsky loves that video calls provide a motivating training buddy, even if it is a virtual one!

In-app messaging makes for quick communication

“No longer do I have to rely on email for client messaging!” says Tikalsky. She notes that privacy is an additional benefit of communicating in Trainerize. “I prefer not to give out my personal number, and Trainerize messaging is just as quick as texting.”

Tikalsky can enjoy real-time responses from clients, but in-app messaging does even more than that! “The ability to assign exercises, tasks, or goals to a client on a calendar really improves the client’s adherence,” says Tikalsky.

Trainers stay on point with client files and tracking

Keeping track of all your clients is no longer a challenge for Tikalsky. “Within the app I can design and log workouts, set habits, keep clients accountable, track nutrition, and easily stay in touch with your entire client base.”

Updating manual records of client progress and remembering to follow up at the right time? “That feels archaic after using Trainerize!” Tikalsky laughs. Organized, structured plans saves trainers time and energy, and keep trainers and clients on the same page.

Continuing the digital expansion of Wisconsin Athletic Club

Both Virtual Live Training and PIVOT are now available to members! At the moment, WAC is busy promoting the programs and engaging members—to major success so far! WAC had over 100 Virtual Live Training sessions in August. Plus, the gym gained four PIVOT clients within hours of launching the online training program!

With a robust online service offering and programs to fit every client’s lifestyle and budget being offered from all eight of their gym locations, Wille anticipates a significant increase in WAC’s personal training revenue. As more clients adopt online programs, and as online training provides an entryway into virtual sessions and eventually in-person training, WAC can continue to share their passion for fitness with their clientele.

Wisconsin Athletic Club has the tools to be a major digital fitness provider, says Tikalsky. “Now it’s up to us trainers to follow through and use these amazing features to positively impact clients’ lives!”