Virtual classes have been a fixture for many fitness and wellness businesses for some time.
But with isolation rules being imposed across the world, many health and fitness professionals are exploring virtual and online classes for the first time.
The food news is that demand for online exercise classes is absolutely enormous!
For some fitness businesses, virtual classes will provide a practical stop-gap to continue to provide fitness classes through the challenges of social distancing when studios have to close.
For other studios and professionals Coronavirus will mark a watershed and virtual yoga, Pilates, dance and other exercises will become a fixture in fitness business’s schedule. We predict that while virtual training will never replace in-person sessions, for certain disciplines, the convenience of being able to join sessions means that demand online health and fitness will be here to stay. For exercise businesses, this is a fantastic opportunity.
The great news is that most of what you need to deliver online exercise classes are free or very inexpensive, and it can all be done using equipment you’ve already got.
How Virtual Fitness Classes Work
Broadly speaking there are two options:
- You can deliver pre-recorded online sessions
- You can deliver live-streamed virtual classes
Pre-recorded Virtual Fitness Classes
Pre-recorded virtual sessions are perfect when you’re delivering one-way content. You can’t react to your clients but what a pre-recorded online class does mean is that you can be really precise. You can record your content and use simple editing software to edit and refine your content so that when it’s made available to your clients it is perfect. So if you teaching something that requires real precision this might be the way to go.
There is also the time and efficiency benefit of creating a pre-recorded session. Once you’ve done it you can make it available and it can be used (and sold) multiple times. So if you are teaching a course and you want clients to be able to consume the content in their own time, this might be the way to go.
Suggested video technology:
Suggested editing suites:
Live Streaming Workouts
In other scenarios, there is no replacement for that live experience. Whether it’s virtual personal training or tuition or online group exercise classes or boot camps there is simple, inexpensive technology to stream virtual fitness.
This solution means that you deliver your classes in real-time over the internet to an invited audience who can join in from wherever they are.
These virtual classes can be one way: whereby you get on with delivering the exercise and your clients follow your instructions. You can also set up two-way online sessions where your client or clients turn on their cameras and you can provide real-time feedback.
Suggested technology for live virtual classes:
Online Bookings and Payments
You’ll need a booking system for virtual fitness classes. Because you can’t run the register or take payment in person, online payments are going to be necessary. For some exercise businesses, this might mean using a fitness booking system for the first time.
Make sure your system has specialist tools for virtual fitness classes. This means that only clients that have booked will get access to the log in details for the online fitness class. This will keep your classes secure and protect your revenue and also save you a huge amount of time because you don’t need to contact each client individually to give them the log in details.
Taking online payments though a booking system for your fitness business is simple, safe and secure for you and your clients.
Give some consideration to any safety issues that might arise if you are giving virtual exercise. Do you need to alter and collect variants of your normal waivers and consents? Are there any practical instructions that you should be asking your clients to take before they join one of your online fitness classes? If you need to collect new waivers, your online fitness booking system should have the facility to help you collect this in the booking process.
Whether it’s a short-term fix or a long-term strategy, virtual classes online are a fantastic opportunity for yoga, pilates, group exercise and personal trainers to show resilience through this challenging time.
If it is possible for your fitness or exercise business to deliver virtual or online classes this will not only help your business through a difficult time but it will also make a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of the population when people need your expertise, energy and support so acutely.
If you have any questions on how you can take your classes online our team here at Gymcatch will be very happy to help. Just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out how our online fitness services.
Ollie founded Gymcatch in 2015 with the aim of making participation in fitness easier for all. As founder, Ollie served as CEO since Gymcatch’s inception. He’s currently focused on growing the platform through strategic partnerships, corporate development and growing the team. Prior to founding Gymcatch, Ollie spent 10 years at Barclays, latterly as a Director covering the TMT sector. He gained an MBA with Honours from the University of Chicago in 2013 and higher class honours in Philosophy and International Relations from the University of Bristol. Outside of the office, Ollie enjoys travelling, playing and watching cricket and spending time with his young family. He supports a number of charities focused on increasing physical participation.