Tips for Live Streaming Fitness Classes
By Katherine Wernet
LIVE from anywhere, it’s a whole new way to teach classes. You’re a pro at teaching in the studio or gym, but live streaming is a different skill set.
Here are some tips to get you feeling cool, calm, and collected in front of the camera.
What to wear when you live stream
Wear clothing that has your brand on it. Stay away from anything with a visible logo that’s not your own. Avoid stripes. Think about wearing clothing that makes it easier for clients to see your form. Don’t wear anything that’s just going to blend into the background.
You want to look clean and fresh. There’s no need to call in a professional hair and makeup team, but you don’t want to look like you just woke up either.
Where to film your live stream
Prioritise good lighting. Lighting has the biggest impact on the quality of your live stream’s look. You might share a killer workout, but if your audience can’t really see you, it’s no good. Natural light is the easiest (and cheapest). Make sure that you’re facing your primary source of light—this will help ensure you’re not backlit. Check for any harsh shadows, too.
Think about the acoustics. You don’t want to be in a room that’s too echo-y and isn’t too noisy. It can be a bit distracting to hear a barking dog or a lot of outside sound. If you’re recording at your studio, make sure any landlines are muted (at least while you’re recording) and silence any personal cell phones, too.
Keep it clutter-free and simple. Especially if you’re not in your usual space, make sure you clean the area of any 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 new co-workers (like your family, roommates, or pets), it’s important to let them know when you’re recording. If you can, close the door and post the sign letting them know you can’t be disturbed.
What fitness equipment to include in your live stream
Stick to what your clients have access to at home. You might want to get right back to the barre or use that new rower that you just brought in, but it’s better to wait to use these when your members are back with you in person. If you’re renting out your studio or gym’s equipment, remind your viewers that they can borrow this equipment from you to up their workout game. If they can buy equipment from you and have it shipped to their home, let them know. Small weights are probably accessible for most but offer suggestions (like wine bottles or cans) for those who might not have any at home.
What equipment should you film your live stream with
You can shoot on a phone or computer webcam easily—but a professional camera is ideal. It’s important to have a clean lens and you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of battery life, too. No matter what type of camera you opt for, make sure you shoot horizontally. If you’re shooting with a phone, lock the focus and exposure by holding down on the screen.
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 practice in live streaming is to leave the camera stationary 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.
Microphones can help with voice amplification if need be. If you’re filming in your studio and usually use a mic, experiment with how your voice sounds on video.
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 hit the big time.
Send your clients the link to the live stream. For more on how to do this easily with Mindbody, check out this post.
Make sure you have a stable internet connection. This is absolutely essential for a good live streaming experience for instructor and client alike. Make sure no one else is making heavy use of bandwidth while you’re streaming to avoid lags or audio cut-outs. You can turn off WiFi on any other devices you aren’t using to stream.
As clients join the live stream, greet them just as you would in a regular class. Some students may not be comfortable sharing video (we’re all new to this at-home live stream thing), let them know they’re welcome to turn video on or off as needed. Some studios are asking clients to indicate if they’d like to be featured or called out during the video as well.
Mute all the participants right before you begin. You can have the group do a celebratory chant together to get the energy up just before this, but you want to make sure there aren’t any interruptions in your class and that everyone can hear you.
During your live stream
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 go with a subscription 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, you can take time to see their form and give words of support and encouragement.
Prioritise 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 that if something doesn't feel right or is painful, to stop and alert you immediately. 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 at the end of class to lead a proper cooldown. While stretching, be sure to thank clients for attending and offer details for their opportunity to work out with you virtually. That's a win-win-win.
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. Your community’s tuning in because they love YOU and what you offer—not because they want perfection. The show must go on, right?
After your live stream
Upload a video of your live stream. Let your members access previously recorded live streams whenever they want.
Now, you're well on your way to feeling like a live stream pro. You’re learning something new, helping clients work out in a different way, and creating a valuable library of content.