How to run virtual training classes?
Virtual training classes aren’t a novel idea. Fitness professionals have been delivering at home workouts to the public for generations through VHS tapes, DVD’s and now on-demand and streaming. The Information Age, or the Digital Age, has changed the accessibility and delivery methods available, allowing trainers to tap into a much wider audience and grow their business in ways that were previously unattainable.
At its core, virtual fitness training utilizes technology to deliver workouts in a virtual reality environment. Virtual training can provide clients the sense of being in a class with their trainer without having to leave their home. Just like with at home workouts, virtual training can eliminate barriers that prevent clients from exercising in public settings – such as costly gym memberships, lack of time, and personal insecurities. Virtual training classes can be offered numerous ways: live streaming or on-demand and one-on-one or group classes.
How to run virtual training consultations?
Before diving into the vast world of virtual classes with new clients, it’s important to set up a time to get to know your clients one-on-one. As a trainer this helps you to understand their needs and establish expectations just as you would with an in-person client. Treat your client as a respected customer, build a rapport and start to build the foundation of a trusting relationship. Keep in mind that exercise can be a vulnerable place for some individuals.
You’ll want to make a good impression with your client with these first couple of meetings so make sure to come prepared with a roadmap of conversation topics to cover and that your equipment is in order. There’s nothing worse when trying to hold a virtual meeting than dark lighting, video that is blurry and audio that cuts in and out. Here’s a sample of topics to consider covering:
- What does success look like to you?
- What are you currently doing for physical activity, and how often?
- Are there any physical activities that you enjoy doing specifically?
- What type of equipment is available?
- What do your eating habits look like?
- What type of commitment are you looking to make?
Virtual Fitness training best practices
To instruct and lead virtual training classes, there’s a few best practices personal trainers should keep in mind. We’ve already covered some of the basics like investing in professional technology (mic, camera, and lighting) and setting expectations during your consultations. Here are some additional best practices to follow:
- Engage continuously and seek responses. Virtual training doesn’t have to lead clients feeling like they are isolated. Make sure you are staying in contact with clients to check on their progress and ensure you are providing the support system your clients need to be successful.
- Be conversational and relatable. If you are active on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, chances are you may have come across a couple of Peloton’s more engaging and comedic trainers (we’re looking at you, Cody Rigsby). There’s something to be said about being charismatic and entertaining. Share stories, tell jokes, and bring personality. Trainers have the power to create the virtual environment - make working out enjoyable for your clients!
- Dress the stage. Be mindful of what the camera has visibility of and make sure you have a clean backdrop for your video.
- Test drive sessions and do a couple of trial runs. Ensure the audio and video quality are clear. Memorize the program if you are offering an exercise routine and make sure all exercises are visible. If not, you may want to consider setting up additional cameras and finding quick solutions to changing the angles.
- Always have a back-up plan. Technology is convenient until it doesn’t cooperate. What happens if your internet goes out, or you lose access to your delivery software/video files?
- Follow-up and ask for feedback. Allow yourself to be open to improvement and consider sending out surveys to clients asking them to rate the sessions.
Just like other forms of personal training, the key to long-term client success is creating a consistent exercise schedule paired with healthy eating patterns. In addition to offering virtual training classes, consider providing custom meal plans to fuel your clients’ workouts. Whether you are creating plans for one client or more than a hundred, Evolution Nutrition makes eating right simple by providing trainers access to 4,200+ meal plans covering 21 dietary category types. With a few clicks and some basic client information, Evolution Nutrition generates meal plans based on your client’s stats or allows you to tailor it to their specific dietary tastes.
Virtual Training FAQ
What is virtual training?
Virtual training and exercise classes are instructional workouts offered through livestreaming services or prerecorded on-demand sessions that allow clients to watch and follow along with at home. These can range from bodyweight and weight training to cycling and cardio, or specialized programs like yoga, Pilates, and barre.
What are the benefits of virtual training?
The benefits of offering virtual training for personal trainers are:
- Reduced monthly overhead – no need to rent out gym space.
- Time efficient – livestreamed classes can be delivered to multiple clients at the same time and on-demand classes are prerecorded, allowing trainers more control of their schedule.
- Reach more clients – with virtual classes, trainers are no longer restricted by location.
- Spaced learning – allow clients to work out when and where they want with on-demand sessions.
- Multiple formats – create different class lengths, feature specialized routines, or spotlight guest trainers to shake things up.
Are there cons to virtual training?
As with any method of fitness training, there are some drawbacks to overcome.
- No real client interaction – virtual classes place more emphasis on the trainer to establish positive relationships to retain clients.
- Unable to correct a client’s form or technique – leading to an increased risk of injury.
- Dependent on technology – trainers will need to become tech-savvy to avoid unwarranted hiccups and problems.
- Clients can be easily distracted or lose motivation – without a trainer present, clients can be more likely to lose focus.
- Content can become repetitive – this is especially true if trainers rely on on-demand content. Trainers will be challenged to change up routines to keep things interesting.
What skills do virtual trainers need to be successful?
Trainers looking to breakthrough into virtual exercise classes should be:
- A multitasker
- Conversational and approachable
- Have an energetic personality
- Be a planner
- Willing to try new things and take risks
How to create a virtual training course?
Here’s a few items to think through to get you started on your way to creating virtual fitness classes:
- Finalize your offerings – what type of classes are you offering? What is the class size or capacity? Will you provide additional services such as meal planning?
- Price your services – will you charge a flat monthly rate or use more of a class pass system that charges per session?
- Determine the format – what length of sessions are you providing? Will the classes be livestreaming or delivered on-demand? What platform will you use to deliver the classes?
- List out equipment needs
- Set up booking process and establish your delivery method
- Establish a digital marketing strategy to source clients