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How Functional Fitness Gyms Are Keeping Virtual Exciting

By Lauren McAlister

May 2, 2022

When gyms were first forced to close due to COVID-19, virtual was the best–and for many, the only way–to stay connected and keep clients moving from home. And, at first, those clients flocked to their screens to participate in on-demand and live stream workouts.  

Since then, you’ve been faced with questions about the future of your business—affiliation, workout delivery, and even your gym’s branding could have all changed. And now, as more facilities reopen, your members are faced with options of how to workout: in-facility (with reduced capacity), virtual, and for some, outdoor workouts, too.

And while virtual is still the safest option–and likely has the most revenue-earning potential for your business–working out from home may not have the same shiny appeal it did at first for your fitness community. Blame it on “screen fatigue”, family responsibilities, or lack of motivation–whatever it is, now might be the time to get creative and freshen up your virtual workouts.

Here are a few ideas from functional gyms like yours.

Offer shorter classes

The perfect anecdote to “screen fatigue” and motivation woes? Shorter workouts. These days, dedicating 45-minutes or an hour to an at-home workout just isn’t going to happen for a lot of people. But who says who can’t get a great workout in 15 or 20 minutes? Add short, high-energy WODs to your schedule in place of, or in addition to, your regular class offerings. Have coaches design these classes to be cardio-intense AMRAPs, ensuring your athletes get a great workout in a limited amount of time while still keeping them connected to your fitness community, too.

Get targeted

If your athletes have lost conditioning or strength in the shelter-at-home months, there’s a good chance they need an opportunity to work on specific skills like HSPUs or double-unders. If they don’t already, have your coaches program with these skills in mind. Again, offer short, 20-minute workshops designed to get your athletes to dig deep into the skills they want to master, even if it’s scaled or basic movements that are safe to practice at home. They’ll begin to see their progress, and these workshops will beat boredom, prevent overtraining, and build targeted strength from home.

Bring back equipment

Beat bodyweight-boredom by adding more equipment to your at-home offerings. Worried clients don’t have similar set-ups? Lend or rent out equipment from your facility. Or, sell your own branded, equipment bundles with items like resistance bands, foam rollers, PVC pipes, and dumbbells or kettlebells.

That said, keep at least a few bodyweight workouts on your schedule for those who might not be able to invest in equipment right now. (Please remember to program Flower responsibly.)

Host guest trainers

Partner with another business or trainer to host a workout or workout series for your virtual community. Whether it’s a famous face (Games athlete or Level 3 trainer), or a change in routine (yoga, anyone?), sometimes all it takes is someone, or something, new to liven things up on screen.

Add a theme

Depending on your clientele, a themed workout can be a fun way to encourage engagement, virtually. Don’t worry, “themed” doesn’t mean sweating in a costume—although it certainly can include that. A simple, themed playlist will do the trick for an All-Out-80's WOD or a Cardi B and Nicki Minaj themed Fight Gone Bad. Make sure you get the word out with your class descriptions, social media, and email marketing (it’s easy with Marketing Suite).

By continuing with virtual classes, you'll be better positioned to ride the ups and downs of this pandemic. Regardless of the status of your business (open or closed) or the weather outside, you can lean on virtual offerings during this uncertain time. So, have fun, get creative, and don’t be afraid to try something new on screen to keep your clients engaged.

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About the author:

Lauren McAlister

Lauren McAlister

Senior Marketing Content Specialist


Lauren is the co-owner of a fitness studio and a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP). Born and raised in California, Lauren has a heart for fitness, travel, and baking. She's also passionate about crafting meaningful content for others in the wellness space, which makes her role at Mindbody a perfect fit.


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