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22 Tips To A Better Virtual Fitness Experience

Mike Arce

Mike Arce

The boutique fitness studio space was flipped upside down on March 15th as Coronavirus spread throughout the country and many businesses were forced to close to help stop the spread…. 

HUGE PROBLEM: HOW DO I SAVE MY BUSINESS DURING THIS??

Many fitness studios hoped to wait it out, while many others pivoted into an online, at-home, virtual fitness option for their members and, with marketing and sales work, NEW members.

IT WORKED!

Virtual, at-home fitness options are a huge success HOWEVER, like anything else, they need to grow, improve, and evolve if they’re going to remain successful. Luckily, here are 22 tips to do exactly that!

Tip #1 – Host Your Virtual Workouts From Your Actual Studio

This will help you maintain that professional look with a dual benefit of branding your fitness studio when this crisis is over. You want people to remember you and for people in your area to think, “I can’t wait to actually workout in there.”

 

 

You’ll have more space to do your workout videos, better lighting, and no distractions like you would in your living room where you watch Tiger King.

Tip #2 – Create Fitness Videos With The Right Space And Lighting

We covered this a little bit in Tip #1 BUT, if you’re not able to utilize your physical fitness studio space, make sure you have enough space and lighting for people on your Zoom to see what’s going on, what they need to be doing, etc.

You want this to be an incredible experience that members want to keep coming back to do and, more importantly, paying for the privilege of attending.

Tip #3 – For Virtual Fitness, Upgrade Your Internet Speed

Call your internet provider and upgrade your speed. Because you’re doing this for your job, your business, your LIVELIHOOD, many internet providers will be willing to work with you to get you a great deal during this pandemic.

This will dramatically enhance your experience. The last thing you want is for your members to be in the middle of a workout and you freeze or lag. So, ask your provider how they can help you get to at least 30-40 megabytes per second.

Another thing you can do is have your provider help you directly connect your ethernet cable to your device for faster speeds.

Tip #4 – Have Two Trainers Host Your At-Home Workouts

Why does this make for a great experience? This allows members to see how the workouts are done with one trainer while the other trainer is keeping an eye on everyone in the class and calling them out by name to improve their form.

BY THE WAY: MEMBER’S LOVE THIS!

They’re not embarrassed, they’re grateful. PLUS, someone else in class might realize they’re making the same mistake and fix their form as well. WIN-WIN.

Tip #5 – Demonstrate Exercise Form, Then Coach At-Home Members

Don’t have more than one trainer to do the workouts like we mentioned in Tip #4? No worries. Remember, we want the experience to be fantastic, to be the focus. So, the spirit of Tip #4 remains the same…

If it’s just you, or just one of your trainers, simply demonstrate the exercise so your at-home members see how to do it, then jump stop and watch everyone on the Zoom call to make sure they’re using proper form and call them out if they’re not.

Again, they’ll LOVE you for doing this. It makes for a better experience and people will feel engaged in your virtual workout classes. Keep in mind, they’re paying for that live, interactive coach. Something they CAN’T get from YouTube videos.

Tip #6 – Continuously Encourage Virtual Fitness Members

Piggybacking off of Tip #5, members WANT you to interact with them, want you to call them out by name and help them with their form or tell them they’re doing a good job or push them to get two more reps. That’s why they love physical fitness studios and why they love and pay for at-home, virtual fitness studios.

Many of the online workouts I did, the trainers mentioned my name at least 9X… same with my wife. We naturally found those to be our favorite workouts because we were engaged and interacted with the entire way through. No other virtual fitness program can deliver that!

This socialization aspect was the 2nd highest reason people said they love at-home workouts. They’ve been forced into quarantine. They’re bored. They miss people. But, there are only so many happy hours you can do before you want to be ACTIVE and socialize. You give them that!

Tip #7 – Don’t Forget To Actively Coach At-Home Fitness Members

  • How would you treat a member if they were in your physical fitness studio and they were slacking off?
  • How would you treat a member if they were in your physical fitness studio and they were doing a great job?
  • How would you treat a member if they were in your physical fitness studio and they were using improper form?

Great. DO THAT.

Seriously. Treat this as if they’re physically in front of you and continuously coach, motivate, encourage, teach, train them over and over just like you would if they were in-person.

Tip #8 – Give Special Care To The First 5 Minutes And The Last 5 Minutes Of Your Virtual Workout

Remember, socialization is part of what makes your LIVE, virtual fitness option worth the price of membership and something other fitness options can’t deliver. So, spend the first and last 5 minutes of every class socializing with members.

Say hi, talk to them about the last class if you can, ask about their lives, BE SOCIAL! Tell them how happy you are that they joined the workout. After the workout, tell them how proud you are of them making it through the workout.

Tip #9 – Get Into Your Virtual Fitness Class Early

You have to be in that Zoom call before any members are. So, if your class starts at 8:00 AM, be sure you’re on the call by 7:50 AM. There are 2 important reasons for this:

  1. Early bird members will probably join the call 5 minutes before the workout time. If they’re just on there by themselves, it’ll make them feel weird.
  2. Being there before the early birds jump on is a great way to engage them in conversation and create that socialization and human interaction we all desperately need right now.

Conversations like those have the ability to capture a member for life.

Tip #10 – Have Your Virtual Fitness Members Sign Waivers

Since members are now training online, they’ll need to sign a few new waivers. The ones they signed when you had a physical fitness studio no longer apply.

You can no longer control the environment they’re in or what they’re doing. Who knows why Lucy had a coffee table so close to her when she lost her balance doing Tree Pose or Reverse Lunges, but you want to make sure you’re not liable for that.

Waiverking is a great way for members to sign digitally and here’s a good list of waivers you’ll want your members to sign.

Tip #11 – Send Virtual Fitness Class Confirmation Texts

You want to make sure people show up and experience your at-home workout. Plus, you want them to know that you’re constantly communicating with them and care about their results. So…

Send them a class confirmation text the day before class and 15-30 minutes before the class starts. Again, it’s all about engagement and accountability, something they can’t get with any other online, or at-home workout option.

Tip #12 – Always Shoutout New And Trial At-Home Fitness Class Attendees

“New” can make people naturally feel uncomfortable. So, when it comes to creating a great at-home, virtual workout experience, it’s your job to make them feel comfortable by welcoming them, having everyone else in the class welcome them, and create that sense of community.

This is one of the best ways to get them excited about the workout and excited to come back for more.

Tip #13 – Make Your At-Home Fitness Classes FUN!

Bring the energy! Be humorous and lighthearted. Make it an environment people enjoy and are excited to participate in over and over.

You’re a motivator, people are expecting you to pump them up and get them excited about this. Working out isn’t a chore, it’s not something you mark off a checklist, it’s an experience that has incredible health benefits.

One of which is increasing endorphins! So, make your classes fun and energetic! They’re at home doing a workout. Which means, the ONLY place fun and energy is going to come from is YOU.

Tip #14 – Do A Warmup Routine To Start The Workout

This is crucial, especially if your classes are first thing in the morning. You want people to loosen up, warm up their muscles, and you want to help them prevent injury.

And hey, make this fun too! Get that heart rate up, do some dynamic stretching, and again, bring that energy. This is also a great time to call people out by name. “Mike, are you ready for this? You look a little tired, it’s time to get fired up!”

Tip #15 – Do A Cooldown Routine To End The Workout

Also crucial for preventing injury and, you really want their heart rates to slow down before they go off and do things around the house, or work, or whatever else they have planned that day.

BONUS: Cooldowns are a great way to make announcements and chat with people in class. Maybe promote an upcoming class that’s different, a members-only happy hour event, referral programs (they’re online so they can invite family members who live in a different state and it’s something fun they can do together), a brand-new nutritional class, whatever! 

They just got done with a fun, fat-blasting workout. Their endorphins are high, it’s the perfect time to get them excited about the other things your virtual fitness studio has going on and has to offer.

Tip #16 – The Power Of The Backpack For At-Home Workouts

Backpacks offer so many benefits to add some resistance training to your at-home workouts. Everyone has a backpack or bag of some sort. Capitalize on that. 

There are so many things in someone’s home that can be used for resistance training. Throw a gallon of water in that backpack, a tub of laundry detergent, or swing your baby around like a kettlebell (OK, maybe not, but the key is to be creative with household items that are safe)!

Tip #17 – Don’t Play Music During Your Live Virtual Workouts

I know it sounds weird, but that fact is, it won’t sound good on their end and it will distract from the member’s workout experience.

Instead, send them a Spotify playlist and have them play that on their device so the quality is perfect. This allows them to be in charge of it, too.

If they want, they can play the music louder, softer, or not have it all. They can even choose different music to get them pumped up. All of this makes for a better at-home workout experience.

Tip #18 – Give At-Home Fitness Modifications For Individuals

Not everyone is at the same performance level and others might be dealing with some nagging injuries. Not that going into it and give modifications like doing push-ups on your knees or, “Hey, Mike. We know you’ve got a bad shoulder, here’s a great way to do this exercise.”

These things go such a long way with your members and will help you retain them long after this Coronavirus pandemic is over.

Tip #19 – Be Good At Verbal Cues During Your Virtual Workouts

Members will need to rely on sounds instead of sight when something changes in the workout or it’s time to do a new move. With that, you’ll want to choose your words wisely…

Instead of, “Alright, 10 seconds left…” (which, for someone doing burpees and exhausted, might hear “alright” and think the set is over and stop) just say, “10 seconds!”

Project and be deliberate in your speech. Members will appreciate it!

Tip #20 – Be Your Member’s At-Home Workout Inspiration

You’re the one they’re watching which makes you their inspiration, their motivation. Push yourself like you’re pushing them. People want to feel like you’re in this WITH them.

If a trainer stops 5 seconds short, the members will probably stop 5 seconds short. On the other hand, if the trainer says something like “5 more reps but let’s shoot for 7!” That can light a fire under the member’s butt to push past their limitations and get better and stronger!

Tip #21 – Get Close To That Laptop To Talk To Virtual Fitness Members

You want your audio to be crisp. Like we said in Tip #19, you want your speech to be as clear as possible and that includes audio quality.

If you have two trainers, have one watching form and coaching as close to the laptop as possible. If it’s just one trainer, same thing applies, get as close to that laptop as possible to critique, coach, and motivate!

Tip #22 – Record Each At-Home, Virtual Fitness Class

Each session has a ton of replay value. For members who weren’t able to join the live workout, they’ll appreciate being able to do the workout on their own time!

This is also good for your prospective members doing a free trial. They’ll get a great taste of what you’re all about.

BONUS: You and your team can go back to watch recorded workouts to see what you could’ve done better and what your members either loved or responded to well.

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