A Fitness Instructor's Checklist for Live Streaming
Live streaming classes is the new norm for many fitness businesses, and if you’re an instructor, you’ve had to find your new normal getting creative with minimal equipment and, of course, teaching in front of a camera.
The good news is the expectation for live streaming isn’t perfection. In fact, your community much prefers authenticity any day.
That said, there are some best practices you should follow to make sure your live, virtual classes go off without a hitch. That way, in the case of a faux pas, you know exactly how to keep the show (or in this case, class) going. Use this checklist as a guide:
Get camera-ready. Before you jump on camera, make sure your hair is out of your face, you’re in your studio’s branded swag (or at least not in stripes, distracting patterns, or in clothes with other logos), and you look ready to work out— not go back to bed.
Prep your workout. This is not the time to “wing it.” Make sure you’ve written your workout down, ran through it yourself, and placed it near the camera in case you forget what comes next. Consider what equipment clients have at home and prepare modifications for each movement.
Set up your space. Especially if you’re live streaming from home, make sure your space is open, well-lit, and clutter-free. Avoid rooms that are echo-y and/or noisy, which can impact the audio quality and be distracting to clients.
Prep your camera. You don’t need a professional camera to live stream, although you can if you have one! Otherwise, use your phone, computer, or tablet to record yourself. Make sure you clean off your lens and have plenty of battery life. Film yourself horizontally and make sure your equipment is stable and at an appropriate height. Position the camera so viewers can see your entire body. Mark with tape where your frame ends so you don’t accidentally cut yourself off mid-workout.
Test your internet. This is crucial. Make sure no one else is making heavy use of bandwidth while you’re streaming to avoid lags or audio cut-outs. Turn off Wi-Fi on any other devices you aren’t using to stream, too.
Test your audio. Sign into your live streaming software and test your audio. Again, you don’t have to have a microphone, but it will improve your audio quality if you do.
Ask someone else to jump on the stream. Before you start your live stream, confirm that both your visual and audio look and sound good to a friend, family member, or fellow instructor.
Send your clients the live stream link. If they haven’t received it already, email or text the live stream link to clients who’ve signed up for your live class through Mindbody.
Turn off your phone(s). Before you start, make sure to turn off or silence your home and/or mobile phone (especially if you’re using it to record). Otherwise, an incoming phone call could disrupt your live stream and the flow of class.
Put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign. Especially if you’re at home, lock the door and put up a sign to let roommates or family members know what you’re up to. If you have a pet at home that likes to make noise, this might be a good time to ask a friend or family member to take them outside for a walk. But again, don’t stress about being perfect.
Press start. Lights, camera, action. Remember: big smiles and even bigger energy are key. It can be tough for clients to stay motivated at home so do your best to make it feel as much like the classes taught at your studio or gym.
Greet each client. As clients jump on, greet each person by name. Ask how they’re doing and if they’re experiencing any pain, tightness, or soreness (just like in a regular class). Remind them to listen to their bodies and adjust when necessary. Reiterate what equipment they might need for the workout, too
Be wary of music. It’s harder to get good sound quality when live streaming with music—plus it requires a special “syncing” license. That said, if you’re determined to have tunes, the best route is to go with royalty-free music.
Mute all the participants right before you start. Make sure there aren’t any interruptions in your class and that everyone can hear you. At the end of class, you can unmute your clients to celebrate a class well done.
Cue clients as you normally would. To keep clients as safe as possible, cue each exercise as you normally would. Explain each movement thoroughly upfront, provide modifications, and ask questions to keep clients moving properly throughout. Remember: you don’t have to continue to perform each movement yourself. Once you’ve demonstrated, take time to watch each client on-screen and provide feedback and adjustments as needed.
Have fun. For many clients, your class is the best part of their day. Smile, have fun, and be grateful for the gift of movement you’re giving others—and yourself.
Thank your clients. At the end of class, thank everyone for joining you and encourage them to keep showing up on screen.