The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the world to embrace a new way of living. Millions of people across the globe are currently self-isolating and spending the majority of their time at home.
This new way of life has significantly impacted the fitness industry, with many gyms and studios forced to close their doors temporarily. But while it’s an uncertain time, one thing remains the same: members still want their studio experience, and the fitness industry has been quick to improvise, adapt, and deliver with live stream workouts.
Live streaming group workouts is an opportunity to give your members something to look forward to in the same way that they would a class. By mirroring your regular timetable, you’re providing routine at a time where people’s lives are lacking their usual structure. It’s a great way to deliver the consistency of an in-studio experience and bring your members together. Considering most members will be taking part alone and in their homes, the live element is a motivating workout option, as it makes everyone accountable for their efforts.
The world is changing quickly in the current climate, and we know that live streaming is a new concept for many fitness business owners. So in this article, we’ll run through the essentials to get you live stream ready. Skip ahead to:
- Keep Your Setup Simple
- Curate a Soundtrack
- Test Your Internet Connection
- Get in the Zone
- Encourage Members to Motivate Eachother
- Engage More Than You Would in a Regular Class
- Personalize the Experience
- Offer Value
- Be Consistent
- Record Your Live Streams
- Choose a Relevant Name for Your Live Streams
1. Keep Your Setup Simple
Your essential equipment list will include a camera, microphone, and perhaps lighting depending on your circumstances. The first challenge is navigating your way through different equipment options. To give you a better idea of what camera to choose, take a look at the list we put together on the best cameras for filming workouts.
Once you’ve chosen your essential kit items, keep in mind that each piece of equipment you add to your setup also increases complexity. If a piece of non-essential kit fails, the quality of your live stream is at risk. Keeping your setup simple will lower the odds of any technical problems – and generally make your life easier.
2. Curate a Soundtrack
Music can take your online workout to a new level, but live streaming with music can be tricky, mainly because the last thing you want on your hands is a lawsuit. Platforms such as Facebook are known to remove the audio from a video if it thinks that the sound breaches copyright laws.
We recommend two options to avoid this issue:
- Encourage members to mute their microphones (if you’re using a 2-way stream) and crank up their own motivating music.
- Create a public playlist using a platform like Spotify. You can then share the playlist with members to tune into during the workout. This option can bring a great pace to the session, as it allows you to choose tracks with the right beat, and everyone will be listening to the same songs.
3. Test Your Internet Connection
Test your network speed to make sure your bandwidth upload is consistent – you don’t want any glitches or delays while people are trying to follow along with you in real-time. It’s good practice to test your stream through a private account before going live to members. You can do this by creating a ‘test’ Facebook account with an email address that you’re not already using on the platform. Set your publishing notifications to private and then use Facebook Live to broadcast. You can log in through a separate window to your primary Facebook account and view your live stream as if you were watching as an audience.
4. Get in the Zone
Getting ready for a live stream requires more prep time than you may think. With your filming setup ready and your internet up to speed, it’s time to get your mind into trainer mode. If you don’t feel confident and prepared, it’ll show on camera, and your live stream won’t look professional. Give yourself time to get in the zone to make sure you’re ready to deliver a high-energy, motivating workout.
5. Encourage Members to Motivate Eachother
Your setup is rock solid, and you’ve got your game face on. Next, it’s time to go live and look like a streaming pro in the process. Just like giving a regular class – there will be a lot going on during your session, and you can’t take your eye off the ball.
Interaction with members will vary depending on the platform you choose to broadcast on. If you’re using a two-way platform like Zoom, for example, members can have their cameras and microphones turned on. We recommend asking members to keep their microphones on mute during the workout, but cameras on as it’s motivating to see that they’re all in it together.
When the workout is finished, encourage members to turn their mics on and share feedback – use it as an opportunity to answer any questions they may have.
6. Engage More Than You Would in a Regular Class
The energy, pace, and overall feel of the class all comes down to you – and how you convey it virtually. Keep your eye on members during class and make a point of calling people out when they’re doing a great job and motivating them to push harder where they can. Peloton is entirely digital, and it’s well-known that the instructors shout out different members, especially if they’re a regular. Talking more than you usually would is essential if you’re broadcasting one-way live streams on a platform such as Instagram Live.
People tuning in to the workout can comment in real-time, but if you’re leading a class – you might not be able to read them until it’s finished, so your words of encouragement and voice need work a little harder than they usually would. This might feel strange initially – but the more live streams you do, the more natural it will become.
7. Personalize the Experience
It’s important to understand that at this time, many fitness businesses are taking their workouts online. So just like when you’re operating business as usual – there’s competition to stand out. You’re outside the comfort of your studio, and remaining professional is key to delivering a great workout.
But we know from the way that people are interacting with today’s fitness influencers that consumers value authenticity online. You have a unique opportunity you let your personality shine through. Try something simple, like starting your live stream 10 minutes early and talk to members about your morning. It’s subtle, but it shows a human side to your brand and can be relatable to your audience – especially at a time like this.
8. Offer Value
The sense of community in the group fitness space is unrivaled, and maintaining that community culture is critical for fitness businesses. At the studio, the member experience is about more than exercise. The same goes for live streams: your members are here for a workout, but they’ll keep coming back for a great experience and to feel a part of something.
So killer workout aside – what else can you give to your members? Think along the lines of a post-workout Q&A, online nutrition plans, a dedicated private Facebook group for members to join, or recommending some practices to help keep them healthy while they’re self-isolating in self-isolation.
9. Be Consistent
Imagine having no class time table at your studio – how would members be able to set aside time to come in without the consistency of a schedule and knowing what to expect? Inconsistency will only be frustrating for your audience. From the get-go you should map out a 7-day timetable for your streams. It’ll make it easier for you to plan your classes as well as market and promote them.
10. Record Your Live Streams
Your live streams are essentially free marketing collateral for your fitness business. Just like you might photograph and record classes at your studio, the content from your live workout can be used to promote your online classes.
There’s a host of free online tools that can help you create professional marketing content. Animoto is free and easy to use tool for creating video clips, and Canva is an excellent option for creating infographics. Make sure you get into the habit of recording all of your classes from the get-go – you might not use all of them, but it’ll give you a broad selection of highlights to work with.
11. Choose a Relevant Name for Your Live Streams
Coming up with a catchy title is sometimes easier said than done. But when it comes to your live workouts, it’s extremely valuable, especially for attracting potential new members. Plus, depending on where you stream your workouts, the right title is crucial for SEO and driving traffic to your content – especially if you’re using YouTube. Remember that Google can’t read your video, so it’s essential to use keywords in your videos title, tags, and description.
Live streaming is a great way to keep your community together, retention rates up and appeal to a broader audience than ever before. If streaming live workouts is new to your fitness business, know that you’re not alone. Covid-19 has flipped the world on its head, but with the same passion and strategy you’ve always put into making your physical studio a success, your live streaming can offer the same great member experience.