The COVID-19 pandemic turned the fitness industry on its head, thrusting gym owners and instructors into live-stream workouts.
Teaching fitness virtually is obviously very different from teaching in person.
And live-stream workouts don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
“Due to [the] COVID-19 outbreak, [online fitness] is expected to witness [its] highest growth rate … mainly due to the shutdown of gyms and fitness studios around the globe and leading people to stay indoors,” according to Allied Market Research.
Specifically, the global online fitness market was estimated at $6.04 billion in 2019 and is expected to hit $59.23 billion by 2027.
Successful fitness classes can make or break your bottom line moving forward. And they depend on the experience being delivered by the instructor. That experience will make your live-stream workouts engaging and successful.
The following are seven tips to offer addictive live-stream workouts that will engage your clientele and boost your bottom line.
Get comfortable with the equipment, process
Practice makes perfect. You’ve likely heard this before, but it’s especially true for live-stream workouts.
A great online fitness class doesn’t require the most expensive equipment. Truly, you could use a laptop computer and/or smartphone to host your class with great results. But anything more, such as a tripod, will only improve the overall quality.
The key is that you are familiar and comfortable with the setup and use of the equipment for your workout.
Plan to practice before your first live class. You can create a to-do checklist to reference so that you never miss a step. Also, anticipate what might go wrong and how to troubleshoot that on the fly. Such issues include (but are not limited to):
- The audio failing (or is hard to hear)
- WiFi connectivity problems
- Camera failure
Easy solutions won’t always be available, but the more you can practice, the better you can prepare for such issues should they arise.
More practice also will help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera, understand where the best shot is (and where you should always be standing within it), even test different lighting so that everyone can clearly see you and so on.
As far as the best platform to use for streaming, this might depend on your fitness studio, but great options to explore include (but are not limited to):
Set yourself up for success
Your lighting and audio are the two most important factors of successful live-stream workouts.
It’s critical that you are well-lit and that there are no echoes or significant background noise while you’re teaching. In fact, acquiring a ring light and Bluetooth earbuds (such as Apple Air Pods) will dramatically improve both your lighting and your audio.
In addition, you’ll want to stream your music playlist for your attendees for an optimal experience. Zoom and other streaming platforms offer this capability. Keep in mind that your music is your co-instructor. It’s there to help drive energy and set the atmosphere for your live-stream workouts. Simply playing music in the background likely won’t get picked up consistently by your mic (especially when using Bluetooth earbuds), so take the extra step to ensure that both your voice and music are balanced with each other.
Be sure to pay attention to music rights and what you have the legal ability to stream online in your live-stream workouts. Check out:
You’ll even want to be mindful of the clothing that you’re wearing (basic colors that aren’t too bright and contrast with your background). Speaking of background, the cleaner the better. Avoid having any clutter behind you that can serve as more of a distraction for your clients.
Test different spaces that are available to you. What looks the most professional? Refer to these additional tips for professional-looking live-stream videos.
Consistency matters in your live-stream workouts
Once you dial in the perfect lighting, audio, camera placement and even clothing, do your best to set up the same way every time.
Doing so provides an air of continuity that your clients will appreciate. This reliability indirectly boosts the professionality of your live-stream workouts.
Be mindful of equipment, modifications, progressions
Always consider your client first. He or she could have a lot of workout equipment available to use or none at all.
When designing your workout, keep that in mind.
For example, if you’re directing clients to use their dumbbells for bicep curls without offering any options for those who don’t have dumbbells, that can lead to some frustration for those attendees.
Also, remember that modifications may be needed by various clients who could have any number of old (or newer) injuries. Offering modifications up-front shows your attention to detail and will be of value to attendees. On the flip side, you’ll also want to automatically offer progressions for any advanced clientele to increase the intensity of an exercise.
You’ll need to talk more throughout live-stream workouts than you would in person. Focus on those form, modification and progression cues so that what you’re saying is diverse and not too repetitive.
In addition, your clients could be working out in a small, cluttered space with a number of distractions around them. Be understanding and think ahead to deliver the best virtual experience possible.
Keep community top of mind
Just because you’re not in the same room as your clients, that doesn’t mean that your live-stream workouts have to feel disconnected.
Now more than ever, people are seeking connection.
Provide time before and after your live-stream workouts to chat with your attendees and/or answer any questions they might have in real-time. (Giving enough time before the class also offers the benefit of non-panicked troubleshooting should there be any issues.)
During the workout itself, be sure to cheer on your clients. Perhaps someone’s form in an exercise is particularly good. Maybe you spotted someone using a heavier weight or pushing extra hard. Whatever it is, be specific and use names. Also be mindful of calling out something positive about every single attendee (as best as you can, depending on class size).
Request feedback and send follow-ups
Just like with in-person fitness classes, you’ll always want to encourage feedback from your clients and send follow-ups afterward.
Not only will you continue to improve as you teach more and more online, but your follow-ups afterward show that you value your clients and are open to continuing your engagement with them (and support of them) outside of your live-stream workouts.
One such tool that can help with follow-ups is FitGrid.
Be you! Show off your personality
Despite all the equipment and planning required for successful live-stream workouts, you are the most important asset.
The more you can show off your personality, connect with your attendees and more, the better. It’s definitely a big transition to go from in-person to live-stream workouts but embrace the opportunity to connect with people beyond whom you might see in your fitness studio locally. Online workouts make it possible to reach and help people across the country and even the world.
Plus, the better you get at teaching virtually, the better you’ll be in-person moving forward.
While you’re upping your live-stream workout game, consider DailyStory. Our digital marketing platform integrates with Mindbody and Rhinofit to better serve fitness studios and gyms and offers such features as SMS text message marketing, email marketing, automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.