Success Stories

Why This Studio Owner Went All-In on Hybrid Classes

Lindsay Mcclelland | September 16, 2020

Studio Spotlight: Project Body

Hybrid classes are on the rise, and for good reason.

They keep your community together, bring in additional revenue, and provide members with options that fit their comfort level. While the concept might sound simple, the hybrid class model requires planning and the right set of tools for execution.

We sat down with Claudia Fitzwater, owner of Project: Body in Atlanta, GA, to give us the run-down of how she launched her hybrid classes and what she’s learned along the way.

FitGrid: Why did you decide to adopt a hybrid class model?
Claudia Fitzwater: We knew hybrid classes made sense, but after polling our community, the decision was clear. Atlanta was one of the first cities to reopen, but many of our members didn’t feel comfortable coming back. Hybrid classes allowed us to stay connected with as many clients as possible while bringing the in-studio experience to our virtual Zoom room. 

FG: How did you make the experience consistent for students in class and a home?
CF: We teach both sets of clients equally.  We give the same directions, encouragement, modifications, and progressions for each exercise. We also created branded equipment kits that can deliver the same in-studio burn, results, and gains at home.

Related: Check out our Guide to Reopening Your Studio With Outdoor Classes

FG: That’s so cool! What’s in the kits?
CF: We created a few different kits that match the same type of equipment that we have in-studio including resistance bands, gliders, and pilates circles. This has been really important for our hybrid classes because it allows both sets of clients to do the same exercises, with the same equipment.

FG: Did you create a new membership for your hybrid classes?
CF:  We created a new membership option that gives our members the flexibility to take virtual or in-person classes. The hybrid membership also gives them access to the recordings of our live-streamed classes for 30 days. 

FG: How did you price your new hybrid membership?
CF: Our hybrid membership is a little more expensive than our class packs and drop-ins. With this membership, our clients get the best of both worlds and can go back and forth between live-streaming at home or working out in the studio. Members with hybrid memberships can also buy our branded equipment at a 10 percent discount.

FG: What’s the most important element of a hybrid class?
CF:  Community is by far the most important thing for us. We love being able to see family and friends in different time zones all working out together.  We always start the Zoom early so we can encourage dialogue before and after class. These conversations help us personalize our classes and get to know our members better. 

FG: How do you market your classes?
CF: We are very active on social media and our community follows us and communicates with us there. We post videos with sneak peeks of our classes and tag our members so they can get excited about class. We also send out a regular newsletter, run Google ads, and just launched a free Instagram class once a week to attract new members.

FG: How has FitGrid helped your business?
CF: FitGrid made our live-streaming classes possible and allowed us to transition quickly when the shutdown first happened. The communication tools and data have also been extremely valuable. The data has helped me make important decisions and the communication tools, especially the follow-up messages, have helped us retain our members.

FG: What’s inspiring you to keep going during these challenging times?
CF: It’s definitely not an easy time to be a black-owned business. The way I see it, I could allow this reality to overwhelm me and stop me, or use it to explore new paths with my business. I know COVID-19 will hit Black-owned businesses harder, but I refuse to be a business that fails. I will continue to strive as a business owner and citizen to support initiatives that help black communities and give back. 

To start hybrid classes and keep your community connected online and in the studio, sign up for a free 30-day trial of FitGrid LIVE.


Lindsay McClelland is a digital marketing professional and content creator with a passion for fitness. As a self-proclaimed "people person" who loves group fitness classes for the social aspect, she was drawn to FitGrid for its innovation in keeping fitness communities together during a crisis. Her passion for fitness and wellness brands stems from her personal interests as a yoga teacher, competitive marathon runner, and former collegiate swimmer.

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