Experience

How the Fitness Industry Has Adopted Live Streaming

Jenny20Weller
Jenny Weller
18 May 20
10 min read
woman working out at tv

The health and fitness landscape is rapidly changing before our eyes. Around the middle of March 2020, the $100 billion fitness industry pivoted online overnight. Streaming platforms like Facebook and Instagram Live and Zoom, have replaced the normal four walls of a studio. Zoom in particular has seen its user base and value skyrocket since the start of the pandemic. According to Business Insider, the platform has seen users increase by 2,900% from 10 million at the beginning of the year. 

Previous to this, online fitness businesses were seen as direct rivals to the brick and mortar industry in the market. However now studios and gyms around the have had to adopt the online business model to survive. And, as fitness facilities begin to reopen, they may still have to offer an online service in a new hybrid business model. 

Companies like Peloton, Fightcamp, and Tonal, along with a number of high profile influencers offering at home programs were the main players in the market before COVID-19. With big franchise players like Barrys Bootcamp, Soulcycle, and F45 entering the market, there will be increased competition felt on both sides.

Streaming could redefine the gym and is a sign that traditional gyms may integrate more digital offerings into their services. Live streaming has stepped in and allowed fitness brands to connect with their members and stay afloat during a very tough time. In this article, we will look at the advantages of live streaming, studios who use it successfully and some tips to live stream successfully

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The Advantages of Live Streaming

With live streaming seeing an increase in popularity as more and more people workout from home, it’s no surprise fitness brands are adapting. Through on-demand workout videos and live streaming fitness, you can create a platform to keep your members engaged and bring in a new audience. 

Convenient 

Streaming live workouts is really convenient. It allows users to do their favorite workout with a trainer they love  in a setting that suits them. You can work out from home or in the park. Convenience is very important, especially at the moment when gyms are closed. Saving time will always be attractive to users who want to fit in a workout but are pushed for time. 

Connect More Deeply

Live streaming offers more benefits than convenience. Workouts can be personalized and help provide a support network. It allows participants to connect more deeply with both the workout and the trainer. This is so crucial in helping members to feel supported and connected right now. A side effect of social distancing can be that some people feel more lonely. Live streaming allows users to connect with themselves and provide a group setting to bounce off of. 

Hold Members Accountable 

When you don’t see your fitness instructor and haven’t stepped foot in the gym in months, it’s hard to hold yourself accountable. When members aren’t held accountable, they are much more likely to stop working out. Live streaming gives your audience a date and time to be there and workout with you. You are on their screen live and this helps hold them accountable. A digital motivational kick can really help users stick to their workout schedule and support their overall health.  

4 Fitness Studios Who Have Pivoted Online Successfully

While some fitness brands were already well-established in the digital fitness space, others have had to deliver online classes in a short period of time. Here are 3 fitness brands  offering live streaming and how they set up their digital fitness content. 

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.  

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 our podcast 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 which allows members to access a range of high-quality workouts, live-streamed sessions, nutrition coaching, and much more.

LadyStrong Fitness 

Illinois based studio LadyStrong Fitness is a community of like-minded empowering women founded and operated by Brittany Welk and Marciea Allen. Brittany also has joined us on our 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 on an online setting

1Rebel

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.

Why Fitness Studios Now Use Live Streaming

Now fitness businesses have gone online, they have two real options to deliver virtual class; live streaming and on demand. While on-demand content does have some good points, live streaming has a few different benefits over it. 

Scheduling is kept consistent with before

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. 

Interact with Clients in Real-Time 

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 and group mentality can go a long way in sticking to healthy lifestyle choices. 

Keep it Real and Authentic 

With live streaming, there isn’t a chance to edit, rewind, or cut what you say. Your audience gets the real and authentic version of your personality. This can be very helpful in building your brand and creating authentic connections with your audience. All of this helps to build trust which is essential for engaging your audience and increasing brand loyalty. 

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. The lack of editing can be both a bonus and a disadvantage. If you prefer a more polished finish, then consider combining live streaming with pre-recorded video content for the on-demand fitness crowd. 

5 Tips For Live Video Streaming 

If you’re looking to start live streaming your workouts and create a live schedule for your audience, here are five tips to get you started.  

1. Make a Plan 

The first step to live video streaming is to make a plan. Do you want to provide short workout tips and quick workouts? Or, would you prefer to stream 45-minute long full-body workout classes? You also need to think about how often you want to stream. Will it be daily or weekly? Plan out what type of workout you want to stream and make a schedule. 

2. Set Up Your Streaming Equipment 

When live streaming, you need to set up your streaming equipment. The minimum you will need is a camera, a microphone, and good internet. Depending on where you’re streaming, you may need additional lighting. Try to keep your setup simple and focus on delivering consistent and high-quality streams. We’ve pulled together a guide on live streaming your workouts to help you nail your set up and engage with your audience. 

3. Choose a Streaming Platform 

You have a few different options when it comes to choosing your streaming platform. There are lots of great platforms to use such as:

  • Zoom 
  • Facebook Live
  • Twitch 
  • Instagram Live 
  • YouTube 

One way to help you manage live stream is through fitness management software. You can now easily manage your live streams through Glofox’s booking system. This saves you time with having to track down payments for live classes. All clients will be sent an email containing the class details and a link to the live class. 

4. Make Sure You Have a Good Internet Connection 

You need to have a good internet connection to host a live stream. The last thing you want is the screen freezing and the audio dipping in and out. Make sure to test your streaming set up before going live with your class. As well as a good internet connection, it’s important to check your upload speed. Your upload speed, also known as your upload bandwidth should be decent. Anything around 4-5 Mbps upload bandwidth should be fine.  

5. Let Your Audience Know When You Will be Live 

You’ve created a class schedule and you’re putting the work into hosting live classes throughout the week. Make sure your audience knows what you are doing and when you will be live. Update your website and pin your live schedule to your social media channels. If you’re just starting out, send out an update to your email list and create an event on Facebook. If you have an app, use push notifications to get your message in front of your audience. 

In Summary 

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 given fitness brands the opportunity to continue to innovate, connect, and support their community.