If you’re a fitness studio owner or instructor who is new to streaming classes, you’re probably still getting comfortable with the shift. We’ve put together some tips to help you get the best results possible. Keep in mind that perfection is not the goal or the expectation. What matters is that your team is showing up for your clients and giving them a way to stay healthy and connected while they're stuck at home—no fancy equipment necessary.
Here are our tips to help your live-stream fitness sessions go as smoothly as possible…
1. We need community now more than ever
Clients look up to your studio team to guide them through their fitness regimen and inspire them to follow through with their goals. Yet without the typical social interactions and friendly competition they’d get during a face-to-face session at the studio, they may feel alone in their fitness journey. Just because you’re WOFH—“working out from home”—doesn’t mean you can’t continue to support them! Cheer your clients on and make them aware that you are there for them during this unusual time. Let them know you are here for them, and back them up with support from you and the studio.
2. Encourage clients to invite friends to class
We’re all looking for ways to do virtual activities with friends and family in order to help support each other. So encourage clients to invite someone to the next class—and that someone can be anywhere in the world. Now that you’re live-streaming, start tapping into your clients’ broader social networks while giving them ways to stay connected, too. This creates new leads for your classes once the studio is able to reopen as well as strengthens your community.
3. Get comfortable with the process
Any mobile phone, laptop, or desktop computer with video capabilities can work for live-stream content, but make sure you are familiar with it ahead of time. Charge your phone or computer as well as any headset or earbuds you might be using. Set up a tripod, or create a makeshift tripod out of stacked books or boxes. You may want to film a few test shots to make sure you are fully in the frame but close enough to the camera so that clients can clearly see you. If you are using FitGrid and Zoom to live-stream, make sure you download the Zoom streaming app (see our FitGrid LIVE User Guide for more information on how to do so). Then you will receive a link to access your “virtual classroom.” Once you Zoom-enable the class, email notifications will go out to clients one hour before class starts, and instructors will receive the class link 30 minutes before class.
4. Give yourself (and everyone else) ample time
Allow a 15 minute period to prep for your class and ensure all your audio and visual settings are correct. A few minutes before class you can allow clients to virtually check-in, get settled, and welcome everyone. And after class, if time allows, set aside 15 minutes for instructors to address any questions or concerns clients may have. This is a confusing time for all of us, and having their favorite instructors’ insights can ease any worries clients may have about maintaining their fitness routine.
5. Send follow-ups after class and ask for feedback
This is going to be a new experience for most of your clients, and admittedly we’re all figuring it out along the way. That’s why it’s crucial that you take the time to reach out to clients after class—ask them how they liked it, what they’d like to see more or less of, and just generally let them know that you’re still available even if you aren’t seeing them in person. FitGrid has built these tools into its platform with the instructor app, which makes it easy to keep track of clients’ needs and send followup messages after class, as well as the Client Feedback tool, which automatically sends surveys out after each class.
6. Be mindful of lighting
Most fluorescent and overhead lighting does not work well with video. It creates a flickering effect that can distract the viewer and interfere with the quality of your video. Film your workouts with natural light if you can. Be sure that your body faces the light source to prevent being backlit and therefore difficult to see. Outdoor filming can offer great results as well. But make sure before filming that you have a steady WiFi connection and there is minimal background noise, such as birds or street sounds. Also, direct sunlight is not ideal either indoors or out.
7. Keep it easy on the eyes
Avoid wearing clothing with bright colors or patterns because they can distract from the workout on camera. Try to wear clothing that contrasts with your surroundings; for example, if your background is bright, wear dark colors, and if your background is on the darker side, wear bright colors. Pick a simple environment if you can, too, such as a clean, bright room with limited furniture and clutter. Clients will have a much easier time focusing on your instruction without these distractions in the background.
8. Consider your audio quality
It can take some work to perfect the audio quality of a streaming class. Make sure you speak clearly and slowly and project your voice. Avoid rooms with echoes or noise drifting in from nearby family or friends, if you are quarantining together. You can also use a wireless microphone or Bluetooth earbuds, such as AirPods, to achieve higher quality audio—just be sure to fully charge it in advance! For more tips on obtaining the best audio quality for your live-stream, we’ve put some info together here: FitGrid LIVE Optimal Audio/Video Guide.
9. Stay consistent, when possible
Try to record your fitness classes in the same location each time without changing the physical lighting or furniture in order to create a sense of continuity in your videos, both for your own convenience and the comfort of your viewers. This includes your clothing, too—stick to a similar color palette. These simple choices can create a reliable atmosphere for your clients that they will appreciate.
10. Use Zoom filters to touch up
This trending article from The Cut reveals a “beauty filter” that you can activate through Zoom webcam conference services to freshen up your appearance after days spent inside (and possibly without skincare or makeup products to help out). Click on the bottom left button on the Zoom screen, “video settings,” and click “touch up my appearance.” This will slightly alter the image in the webcam to make it a bit more forgiving on the details.
11. Host Q&A sessions for clients who need extra attention
Consider creating a live-stream schedule to help clients who may be experiencing technical difficulties or need extra modifications or support for their workouts. They’ll appreciate knowing that you’re there for them—and this is something that no on-demand platform can offer.
Your clients will be so grateful that you’re adapting to new circumstances and needs in order to help them stay active from home. Ultimately, we believe streaming is probably here to stay, and using it now will also be preparation for the future in which it’s part of most studios offerings.
BONUS: Here is a helpful guide with tips for teaching virtual fitness classes from home that you can keep on hand or share with your instructors. << Download the Guide >>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marketing Intern at FitGrid, Strategic Communication & Marketing student at Rowan University.
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level