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Zoom has helped us all navigate working from home, access virtual classrooms, remotely connect with our doctors, and even share cocktails with friends and family during happy hours. Fitness instructors are also using Zoom to stay connected to their students and help them maintain an “at home” work-life balance.
Exercise is critically important to our mental and physical health more than ever, and Zoom is an amazing platform for anyone seeking virtual fitness classes or for instructors looking to continue teaching. Here are some best practices for hosting your Zoom workouts, including tips from virtual fitness pros!
There’s a lot of technology out there to enable fitness instructors to teach remotely. These general recommendations will help you create the best experience for your clients, but you can certainly use what you’ve got:
Jabra has a special limited-time offer for Zoom users on its Jabra Elite Active 65t wireless earbuds, which are great for workouts and other activities.
Not every instructor will have a designated space to teach virtual workouts, but make the most of what you have:
You’ll also want to limit as much network traffic as possible so the broadcast is clear. Ask your other household members to limit Netflix or YouTube streaming during your classes.
“I’ve learned that angle and lighting are truly EVERYTHING when it comes to virtual workouts. I have a light I bought from Lowe’s to make sure that we are super visible and bright on the recording. I make sure the computer is higher up, so everyone gets a good view and none of the movements are cut off. I also make sure all the windows are open so we have a ton of light. (The more light, the better!) In addition, since I teach with another instructor, I make sure whoever is leading the class is in front and the other person is behind so it is easy to see who to follow along with.” — Jourdan Baldwin, owner of Denver-based Jourdan Baldwin Fitness and creator of the Gym Quickies app
“Everyone is at home, and there is nothing wrong with having a comfortable, homey feel to your class. One awesome thing about teaching remotely is that we can all set up wherever we feel comfortable and whenever we want! Our yoga teacher teaches from her porch, with a beautiful background. We open the shades for the natural light and set up the computer or camera facing away so that the lighting is perfect. If we teach later classes we use a stage light we purchased. Having quality lighting is super important when teaching over Zoom!” — Jordan Cook, owner of Paragon Body in San Jose, California
Once you’re set up, we recommend logging on a few minutes early to check your connection, sound, and visuals. Create a simple, “Welcome, here are a few tips” slide to share as your students join the class with what they should have on hand and what to do if they have a question.
Introduce the class just like you would introduce it live: “Hi, my name is Lindsey …” and give them an overview of the equipment, and run through the protocol. After all, we’re all pretty new to this.
“I’ve learned to engage with everyone as they are coming on,” Baldwin said. “Get on about 10 minutes early to chat with people as they are coming in, as it builds community. Saying hello to each person is a big deal and makes everyone feel welcome!”
“It’s also helpful to consider simplifying the workout you might deliver in a gym or studio,” said Erin Zielenski, Zoom solution engineer and group fitness instructor. “Virtual workouts can be challenging to follow, since your participants may be watching or listening on a smaller device, like a tablet or laptop. Keep cues clear and concise, and check on participants to ensure everyone is following the flow.”
We recommend our meeting solutions (vs. webinars) for a two-way interactive experience, which is necessary to safely instruct the class. Here are some tips for using Zoom Meetings like a pro for your fitness classes:
It’s also cool to periodically unmute class participants to check on them and encourage interaction. Or you can simply ask for a simple thumbs-up if all is going well.
It’s also important to be mindful that you aren’t infringing upon someone else’s material:
Three common ways we’ve seen instructors deliver fitness services to clients using Zoom:
Do what works best for you and your clients’ needs.
The social aspect of fitness is also just as critical to maintaining motivation, momentum, and community as the workout itself.
“We always take a second after each class to get some feedback from our attendees,” Cook said. “We ask how they enjoyed the class, and if there is anything we can do to improve the class quality for the next meeting. Communicate with your people, because after all, you do this for them!”
Some other tips:
Another Great Zoom Workout with the MyFitBody Online crew 💪😎
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— FitBody Milton Keynes (@mkfitbody) May 11, 2020
We’re all trying to make the best of the current situation, and exercise is critical for keeping up our mental and physical health. Zoom helps ensure studios and clubs can continue delivering services remotely, and Zoom workouts are a great way to continue classes, keep your revenue streams open, and even expand your reach.
Long term, virtual fitness classes will be key to business continuity plans and even a core service offering for members who might be traveling, inclement weather days, or those days when you just can’t make it to the gym.