Tips for Live Streaming Fitness Classes
Are you a fitness instructor who's interested in taking your workouts virtual? Live streaming fitness classes is a great way to keep your current clients active when they can't make it to the studio or gym. It's also an opportunity to reach a new audience and grow your business.
While you're a pro at teaching in person, live streaming requires a different skill set, such as communication, adaptability and technical proficiency. Don't fret; we've got you covered if you don't know how to live stream a class. Keep reading to learn what you can do before, during, and after online fitness classes to deliver a positive experience that will keep people tuning in for more.
How to prepare for live streaming fitness classes
If you want to build a successful virtual workout experience, you'll need to do your best beforehand to ensure you have what you need to create an atmosphere that viewers will enjoy.
Perfect your live streaming setup
Choose a streaming platform. Take time to decide which platform would be best for you to live stream your workouts. Are most of your following on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or TikTok? Whichever platform makes the most sense for your business, then that's where you should live stream.
Another option is Mindbody’s Virtual Wellness Platform, which allows you to host live streams and share on demand video content. By keeping this content within Mindbody, your clients don’t have to log in or download another app, and your employees don’t require lengthy training for another platform.
Make sure you have a stable internet connection. This is essential for a good virtual fitness class experience for instructors and clients alike. Ensure no one else is using up bandwidth during your stream to avoid lags or audio cut-outs. Consider turning off WiFi on other devices you aren't using.
Prioritize good lighting. Lighting has the biggest impact on the quality of your live stream's look. You might have a great workout planned, but it's no good if your audience can't see you. Natural light is the easiest (and cheapest). Make sure that you're facing your primary source of light—this will ensure you're not backlit. Check for any harsh shadows, too. If lighting in your studio or gym isn't the best, you can buy a ring light to brighten your space.
Think about the acoustics and sound quality. You want to avoid rooms that are too noisy or have an echo. If you're recording at your studio, make sure any landlines are muted (at least while recording) and silence any personal cell phones. If using a Bluetooth microphone, make sure it's charged and properly paired and connected to your recording device beforehand.
Keep it clutter-free and simple. Especially if you're not in your usual space, rid the area of clutter. You don't want anything in the background distracting from the workout.
Make a recording sign. If you're recording in a space with other people, it's important to let them know when you're recording. If you can, close the door and post a sign, letting them know you can't be disturbed.
Prep your audio and visual equipment
Microphones can help with voice amplification. If you're filming in your studio and usually use a mic, experiment with how your voice sounds on video. Here's more on the audio equipment we recommend when live streaming with Mindbody. Also, check the audio quality before streaming if you plan on playing music through speakers.
Have the right filming equipment. You can easily shoot on a phone or computer webcam. It's important to have a clean lens and you'll want to make sure you have plenty of battery life, too. Make sure you shoot horizontally regardless of the type of camera you opt for.
Make sure the camera is stable and at an appropriate height. Either use a tripod (optimal) or have the camera rest on something sturdy (a pile of books can work in a pinch). The best live stream practice is to leave the camera stationary for the entire recording. Make sure you position the camera so it can see all of your movements throughout the class—make it easy by marking (with tape, stickers, etc.) where your frame ends so you don't accidentally get cut off.
Gather your fitness equipment
Stick to what your clients can access at home—and prep them accordingly. Whatever equipment you use, prepare attendees upfront. Even if you're using a seemingly common household item, like a couch or chair, let them know so they can be ready for class. Tell them how much space they'll need, too. There's a big difference between the length of a yoga mat and a room big enough to do walking lunges or bear crawls.
Wear clothing that has your studio brand on it. Stay away from anything with a visible logo that's not your own. Consider wearing clothing that makes it easier for clients to see your form. Avoid stripes and anything that's going to blend into the background.
Schedule and promote your live stream
Let your clients and followers know you're going live beforehand. Share the information throughout the studio or gym, in your email newsletter and social media channels. Encourage everyone to tune in. Remember, live streaming classes isn't just an excellent way to keep your members connected; it's also an opportunity to attract new clients.
Do a test a run
Before your live stream starts, test everything! Do a trial run with other staff members at your business. Doing a test can help you feel more comfortable and ensure the audio and video are in good shape before you go live.
What to do during your live stream classes
Start (and end) on time. More than ever, timeliness is expected and appreciated by clients. If your class is scheduled for 5 PM, start at 5 PM. If your class is promoted as 30 minutes, keep it to that length.
Be careful about music rights. You must have a sync license to legally use a song in a workout video that you're posting. It's difficult to get good sound quality if you are live streaming with music, so you'll need to be sure you have a plan for integrating the music into your audio. If you're determined to use music, the best route might be to subscribe to Epidemic Sound, a collection of 30,000+ songs for you to use in your classes.
Don't worry about modeling the entire class. If you don't have a model client with you, it's important to strike a balance between showing proper form and giving good verbal cues—just like it is in the studio or gym. If you're using a streaming platform that allows you to see your students, take time to correct their form and give words of support and encouragement.
Prioritize client safety. Just as you would in an in-person class, educate clients on the muscle groups they're using and show ample modifications and progressions. Remind clients to stop and alert you within the stream’s comments or your messages immediately if something doesn't feel right or is painful. Creating a welcoming, online atmosphere means encouraging clients to listen to their bodies and make adjustments as needed.
Lead a proper cooldown. You wouldn't skip the stretch or cooldown sesh in your studio or gym, right? Right. Prevent client injury by leaving ample time to lead a proper cooldown at the end of class. While stretching, remember to thank clients for attending and offer details for their opportunity to work out with you virtually or in person.
Have fun. Your clients want an authentic experience—just like if they were at your studio—so if you make a mistake or have a technical difficulty, don't stress and keep going.
After your live stream
Upload a video of your live stream. Let your viewers access previously recorded live streams whenever they want. Take some time to review your stream and take notes on what you did well and what you can improve on in the future.
Now that you know the ins and outs of how to live stream classes, it's time to put what you've learned to the test!