Around the middle of March last year, the 96 billion dollar fitness industry was forced to make a quick pivot to delivering online fitness. Gyms across the globe closed their doors, and members opened their laptops to join the classes they could no longer attend in person.
Already a growing industry, the global digital fitness market is now expected to reach an estimated $27.4 billion by 2022 and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32.6% from 2017 to 2022. A hybrid offering of on-demand workouts and live streams alongside onsite services will be the norm for the gyms and studios of the future.
Live streaming, in particular, has redefined the gym as we know it, paving a way for fitness businesses to deliver the energy and community spirit of an in-class experience directly to members at home. For many parts of the world, live stream classes on Facebook, Instagram live, and Zoom have replaced the normal four walls of a studio, and in the next 5 years, live stream fitness is predicted to grow by 35%.
Here, we take a look at the brands using live streams successfully, the benefits of live streaming workouts, and 5 ways to create an exceptional live streaming experience for your members.
Skip ahead to:
- 4 Fitness Studios Excelling With Live Streams
- Why Live Streams Are Excellent for Fitness Businesses
- 6 Ways to Create a Great Live Stream Experience for Members
4 Fitness Studios Excelling With Live Streams
While some big-name fitness brands were already well-established in the digital fitness space, the majority of fitness businesses had to adapt suddenly and develop a totally new kind of fitness program. Here are 4 fitness brands offering live streaming and how they set up their digital fitness content.
1. Fhitting Room
Fhitting Room is one of New York’s leading HIIT studios. The studio has two digital options. You can subscribe to Fhitting Room On Demand, which currently has 30 days free. The other option they provide customers is Fhitting Room LIVE. Classes cost $20 each and are as close to an in-person class as possible. The trainer interacts with you throughout the class. They also offer private Group LIVE classes for friends and families to work out together from their own homes.
2. BASE Bangkok
Winner of Asia’s Gym of the year 2018, BASE Bangkok is owned by Jack Thomas, who has appeared as a guest on The Fitness Founders Podcast. During our chat with him, he told us about the challenges he faced moving his business totally online. For him, thinking carefully about their next steps, positive communication with customers, and not sacrificing the quality of the brand was front of mind. The result is BASE Anywhere, a fitness streaming platform that allows members to access a range of high-quality workouts, live-streamed sessions, nutrition coaching, and much more.
Check out the episode below for some excellent insights on pricing and packaging your online offering:
3. LadyStrong Fitness
Illinois based studio LadyStrong Fitness is a community of like-minded members empowering women, founded and operated by Brittany Welk and Marciea Allen. Brittany also has joined us on the podcast a few times, and she was one of the first people we talked to as the pandemic began affecting gyms. She explained how after some initial worry, she was able to pivot her studio online and managed to retain 100% of her members with positive communication and placing importance on providing a great member experience in an online setting:
1Rebel is a London-based fitness boutique with seven locations in the capital. They’ve now launched Rebel LiveStream, which broadcasts full 45-minute sessions every day. This is alongside their on-demand platform Rebel TV, which has over 200 workouts. The platform is updated daily with content from its 40 trainers. It features everything from HIIT workouts to yoga and meditation. The service is available on a monthly subscription basis.
We’ve covered some excellent examples of brands succeeding with live streams, but why are they so popular?
Why Live Streams Are Excellent for Fitness Businesses
Now fitness businesses have gone online they have two real options to delivering a fitness video; live streaming and on-demand. While recorded videos provide flexibility among other benefits, live streaming brings even more to the table.
One thing which may benefit a lot of people right now, as well as your own sanity, is sticking to a schedule. Live streaming allows you to maintain your normal class schedule and follow your workout routine. Members can rely on you delivering classes at a time they like and are used to.
2. Real-Time Support
The social interaction that comes from live streaming fitness classes is a huge bonus for both you and your clients. This gives you the ability to motivate and support your clients throughout the workout, the same way you would in an in-person class. Social interaction with like-minded members can go a long way in boosting motivation.
There isn’t a chance to edit, rewind, or cut what you say with live streaming. Your audience gets the real and authentic version of your personality. This can be very helpful in building your brand and creating genuine connections with your audience. All of this helps to build trust, which is essential for engaging your audience and increasing brand loyalty.
4. No Editing Needed
With live streaming, you don’t have to deal with hours of editing. It takes the same amount of time as your class schedule, and you have much more flexibility. Your on-damand content is where you can create a more polished final product and these workout videos can compliment your livestreams and give members with additional flexibility if they’re unable to attend a live session.
5 Ways to Create a Great Live Stream Experience for Members
If you’re new to live streaming workouts and want to get to know the basics, check out our detailed guide here. Read on for 5 ways to make sure you’re creating an exceptional live stream experience for your members.
The Customer Engagement Playbook for Your Fitness Business
1. Don’t Overload Your Live Classes With Too Many Members
January is in full-swing and people’s wellness resolutions and intentions for the new year will still be fresh for a good few weeks, meaning a higher interest and commitment to fitness than the rest of the year. But while there are no limits to how many people can participate in an online fitness class, you don’t necessarily want hundreds of people joining for one session, as it could hurt the quality and experience for your members and put more pressure on the instructor.
Use your social and email channels to gauge your current members’ interest for the coming weeks. You’ll be able to plan for capacity and tailor your offers to drive members to the classes available, or you can make sure you have enough trainers and plan how a larger class will run smoothly.
2. Make Your Live Stream Options Flexible and Convenient
Fitness businesses have adapted to changing circumstances and will need to continue to do so. Live streaming fitness provides members with a convenience that they’ve never had before: It’s no longer finishing work at 6pm and getting home at 8pm because you’ve squeezed in a gym class on your way home. It’s having effortless access to a great workout; whenever and wherever you want it.
Now more than ever, gym members want flexibility and convenience and an online class is the solution. Different types of exercise will appeal to different members at different times; do your research and tailor an offering that appeals to specific groups.
3. Focus on Personalization
The unrivalved convenience of a live streaming class means that even in a post-pandemic world, you’ll have members who want to work out digitally. Some might favor the routine they’ve developed through lockdown and prefer to keep working out with you online as opposed to at the studio. Others will rush back to the gym the moment you open your doors and a few may want the flexibility to do both.
On-demand workouts are a great service to offer in terms of flexibility because members can dip in and out as they choose. But a live streaming fitness class adds personalization where on-demand content can not, as well as providing a motivating and energetic experience for members. Everyone in the class is in it together, just like they would be at the studio, and the experience builds a sense of community among members.
4. Create Accountability
While on-demand content gives members the flexibility to work out whenever suits them, live streams creates a sense of accountability. It’s an appeal for members who struggle with sticking to a routine while they’re stuck at home – a live session means making a commitment to show up and includes a fitness trainer calling them out and keeping them motivated. Check out this episode of The Fitness Founders Podcast for some great insights on accountability from Alex Hormozi:
5. Set Up Automatic Reminders for Members to Create Excitement
If someone is booked onto one of your live streams, you have their contact details, including their email address. Depending on the email provider you use, setting up automations is a simple process and it’s an effective way to get your members excited about upcoming classes. Check out our example below:
_ _ _
You’re booked in for [CLASS] with [TRAINER] this Friday!
If you want to get familiar with the moves before class, check out the itinerary below, [TRAINER] will also be offering modifications on the day.
Your invite link will be sent out 30 minutes before class, and you can get yourself in the zone with our shared playlist here.
See you Friday!
6. Motivate Members With Support Groups
Support groups are an excellent way to keep members accountable together. Make the most of platforms like Facebook or Whatsapp, where you can create a private group for members who attend your live classes.
Seeing messages from other members saying they’re excited about your next class will remind others in the group that they’re in this together and keep motivation high. Sometimes, seeing a simple motivating post like this will be the difference between a member showing up to class or skipping it altogether.
Have trainers share a quick message after class telling everyone they did a great job and calling out the members who gave it their everything. They could also share share a screenshot from the virtual class to add a personal touch. With any messages you send, include a reminder of anything else that might be coming up and let everyone know you’re there to answer any questions they might have, and always be as personalized as you can:
_ _ _
Great job today everyone, and shoutout to Laura for smashing through those squats! Get some food, get some rest, and I’ll see you on Monday for HIIT Live! We still have a couple of spaces for Thursday’s strength training session, so if you’re ready for another challenge – join us!
While gym and studio owners are waiting for the go-ahead to reopen their premises and get their business rolling, many brands are turning to live streaming as a way to generate income during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although businesses like Peloton have been streaming for years, more traditional gyms are coming in starting from scratch.
Without advancements in technology that allow businesses to create digital offerings almost overnight, the fitness industry could be looking very different right now. Live streaming has allowed fitness brands to continue to innovate, connect, and support their community.