2020 has certainly been a testing year for many industries and the fitness industry is no outlier to this.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions of people across the globe, with country lockdowns and self isolation, it’s safe to presume that the majority of the worlds population have been spending the majority of their time at home. This alone has presented new challenges for individual households and businesses alike, forcing everyone to embrace a new way of living.
Your members will still be looking for their studio experience when your gym is temporarily closed, so being quick to improvise, adapt and deliver live stream workouts will help keep your members on board. By livestreaming your classes, it gives your members something to look forward to as well as providing them with some structure normality and motivation.
But it’s important to make sure you get your livestream right and of a high quality to provide your members with a valuable experience.
YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD OUR EQUIPMENT GUIDE
If you don’t have time to read the blog, then you can always download our equipment guide right now, and discover the equipment you need in your own time.
IT’S BEST TO KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
It’s easy to get carried away when thinking about almost anything and everything you could potentially need in order to conduct your class livestream, but it’s important to keep level headed. Simple, is nearly always better.
When introducing additional equipment, which may be unnecessary, you also increase your setups complexity. And if any of these pieces of equipment fail, the quality and strength of your livestream are at risk, so you are better off keeping your setup simple in order to lower the odds of any technical problems.
Besides, who would say no to making their life a bit easier?
The essential equipment you should look to invest in to get started with your livestreams will include a camera, microphone and perhaps lighting – depending on your circumstances. And the first hurdle you will need to overcome is selecting the equipment option which is best suited to your class needs.
FIND THE BEST CAMERA
Selecting which camera to record your live workouts with is the most important decision you need to make in order to get started. With so many options on the market, all competing for your attention, it is easy to get overwhelmed. The two most common types that you will come across are DLSR and an action-specific camera.
DLSR cameras are incredibly versatile, they can take beautiful photos as well as being used for filming. These are great for filming a wide variety of different sports and activities, with interchangeable lenses available so you can achieve different options in terms of image variation.
Action cameras on the other hand are perfect if you’re looking to record something from your point of view. They are small in size and offer incredible performance while filming point-of view videos for various sports.
See below for some of our top picks:
- GoPro Hero 8 Black Action Camera
- 4 different lenses (SuperView, Wide Angle, Linear & Arrow)
- Full HD with horizon levelling
- 3 mics & reduced wind noise
- Dedicated app
- 14 voice commands
- Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera
- Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof & crushproof
- Ultra HD 4K shooting
- Action track sensors
- Integrated Wi-Fi
- Nikon COOLPIX W300 Waterproof Camera
- 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens
- 4K Ultra HD or 1080p full HD videos
- 16MP low-light sensor
- Features Nikons Hybrid Vibration Reduction image stabilisation
- Canon VIXIA HF R700
- 57x advanced zoom
- SuperRange optical image stabilisation
- Zoom framing assist
- 1080/60p recording in MP4
- Five Cinema-Look filter
UPGRADE YOUR WEBCAM
Of course splashing the cash on a camera can work out to be quite expensive, particularly if you are only looking to utilise it whilst your gym or fitness studio remain temporarily closed. So it might be more appropriate to look at upgrading your webcam – if your laptop is a bit worse for wear!
You want to make sure that even on a budget, you are providing the highest visual quality so its definitely worth the smaller investment!
When it comes to basic yet quality webcams, you are really spoilt for choice. With many containing built-in microphones it also means you might be able to tick two of your equipment must haves off in one.
Some of the best value webcams we have discovered are:
- LOGITUBO Webcam 1080P Live Streaming Camera (with Microphone)
- Razer Kiyo HD Desktop Streaming Webcam (with built-in ring light)
- Logitech C920 Webcam 15MP (built-in microphone)
- Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam (Two built-in microphones)
FIND THE BEST MICROPHONE
Although microphones are often a great feature included in many cameras and your laptop, the audio quality is often overlooked when it comes to livestreaming and many of the included microphones might only just suffice.
Clear, crisp audio is vital to your livestream, after all how can your members enjoy your workout if they are struggling to hear your instructions?
So it might be time to invest in a microphone.
There are plenty of mics available on the market which plug directly into your computer via USB, these are often your best bet. Although you have the alternate option of wearing a lapel microphone, be cautious. These often pick up sounds of the room and may rub on your clothing or hair, disrupting the experience for your members.
Some plug & play mics to consider which won’t break the bank are:
- Fifine USB Microphone
- Blue Microphones Snowball ICE
- Blue Yeti USB Mic
- HyperX Quadcast Condenser Microphone
- Logitech Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone
YES, YOU NEED LIGHTING
Good lighting is so often overlooked when it comes to the livestreaming of fitness classes, but let us tell you – it is a key element!
Your members need to be able to see you clearly, of course this doesn’t always mean you need to invest in additional equipment.
Consider your location for the livestream and also the time of day. Based on these individual elements you might be able to avoid the need to purchase lighting altogether. Of course classes taking place during the middle of the day (providing it is a clear and bright day) in a room with plenty of natural light might lead you into a false sense of security. Bear in mind, the sun can easily slip behind a cloud during the middle of your stream and you could be left in darkness.
Strategically place lamps and other lighting throughout your workout area to ensure you are as well lit as possible, making sure there is no overpowering light behind you as this will quickly turn you in to a dark silhouette.
If you wish to purchase additional lighting to feel confident that your livestream set up is the best it can be there are a few points to bare in mind:
- LED lights are preferable as they don’t get as hot as conventional halogen bulbs
- Make sure your light is easily manoeuvrable
- Adjustable brightness
- Mains powered
- Provide good coverage (i.e. ring lights would be unsuitable for a class workout as they tend to be better suited when the live stream subject is closer to the screen.)
CHOOSE RELIABLE SOFTWARE
Hosting an online class might sound easy, but there is certainly a great deal to consider in order to make sure you are providing your members with a valuable, quality experience. And although your customer experience is at the forefront of your mind, you as a business owner, must also ensure you consider your business needs and choose a streaming platform that is not only reliable, but also cost effective.
There are plenty of streaming services available, each with their own individual benefits so it is important that you choose the one which
compliments your livestream needs the best.
Our top picks are:
- Facebook Live
For an in depth review on each of these streaming platforms in order to help you make a decision for business needs, please read our
‘The Best Platforms To Host Your Online Gym Class On A Budget’ blog post.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES!
Now you’ve got your essential equipment and have taken it for a test drive, it’s time to consider all the other smaller elements that may have an impact on the success of your online classes.
You want to make your members feel the same consistency of an in-studio experience and bring them together, so there are a few other planning points you will want to consider.
TEST YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION
This might sound obvious, but be sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle. Test your network speed to make sure your bandwidth upload is
consistent. You don’t want any glitches or delays when your members are trying to follow your class in real time.
CURATE A PLAYLIST
Great music selection can take your workout to a whole new level, but in the world of livestreaming, it can be a legal battle waiting to happen! Facebook are known to remove audio from a video if it thinks that the sound breaches copyright laws, so plan ahead!
Create a public playlist using a platform like Spotify that you can share with your members and they can then listen to it at home whilst
partaking in your exercise class. This allows you choose specific music with the right beat which will add great pace to the session and means that all your attendees with be listening to the same songs.
DO THE PREP WORK
Getting ready for a livestream requires more prep time than you might assume. Not only do you have to plan the class itself, you then have to take a step back from ‘trainer mode’ in order prepare your filming set up and check your internet connection is up to speed.
By allowing yourself adequate time to get your preparation work done, you will feel more confident by the time your class rolls around and your livestream will not only look professional, but you’ll be ready to deliver a high-energy, motivating workout.
AND FINALLY… REMEMBER TO RECORD!
Now you are fully prepared to start hosting your online fitness classes! All the careful preparation is in place and it’s time to start engaging with your members online.
Livestreaming is a great way to keep your community together, drive retention rates up and appeal to a broader audience than ever before.
But we need you to remember one more thing before you go.
Record your livestreams.
Your recorded online classes are the perfect free marketing collateral for your gym or fitness studio. We hope this is the last of the lockdowns we will have to face as a nation, but even so, you may still decide to continue offering online classes long after your gym has reopened as it allowed your gym to be accessible to an audience it may not have attracted before.
So get in to the habit of recording all your classes from the get-go, the content from these live workouts will be perfect to promote your future online classes and provide your members (current & new) the opportunity to see your online classes first hand.
ASHBOURNE CAN HELP YOU WITH EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR CLUB
Unlike most club management services which just give you some basic software and collect your direct debits, the team at Ashbourne knows that there’s a lot more to managing a successful club than simply collecting payments.
From debt collection, to web design, marketing ideas and more – the entire team at Ashbourne Membership Management is at your disposal to help you succeed and master every single element of being a successful gym.
If you want to chat about what we offer, or simply run through how we can help your particular health club, then get in touch with us and our sales manager Grant will be back in touch to talk through everything.