Virtual Gym 101: Your Guide for Running an Online Gym
In 2020, gyms and fitness studios everywhere pivoted online. According to an 84-page ClubIntel report based on responses from operators who represent 7,300 health and fitness facilities around the world, 72% of fitness business owners are now offering on-demand and livestream classes to their members. Moving your business online is much more than streaming your classes on Zoom. Your virtual gym needs to provide additional value to your members to stand apart from other at-home workouts.
Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about running a high-end online gym. Let’s get started…
Rent out equipment
If it’s too hard to participate in your classes, people will give up, and you definitely don’t want that. While your clients are working out with you remotely, help them get set up for success. Equipment rental is a great way to stay in touch with your community. Also, make sure they have everything they need to stick with your fitness programs. Here’s what you should keep in mind when you rent out gym equipment.
- Type of equipment: Offer the basic equipment your clients need. Think hand weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, indoor exercise bikes, exercise mats, skipping ropes, resistance bands, benches, and yoga equipment (mats, blocks, straps, and bolsters).
- Add value: Renting out your equipment can add value to clients who don’t have the right equipment in their home. You can also use it as a contest prize, loyalty reward, or as an online gym membership perk to grow your numbers.
- Protect your business: Keep your business safe by confirming that your insurance covers transporting equipment to someone’s home and any issues like damaged or stolen equipment or improper set-up. Limit your liability by being prepared.
- Simplify the process: Make it easy for you and your community to access your equipment with WellnessLiving’s BOOK-A-SPOT™ Simply list and manage your inventory so you can focus on your online gym classes and creating the best content you can.
Give clients virtual options
A virtual gym naturally offers more flexibility and convenience—two things your clients value. In fact, research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AI fitness and lifestyle app Freeletics, found that 72% of people surveyed feel that it’s easier than ever to maintain their fitness routines by working out from home. Variety in your virtual gym is a value-add for clients and it’s also an opportunity to gauge what your clients love most. Here are the must-have components for your online gym.
- Livestreaming: Clients get to attend their favorite classes from instructors they know, without leaving the house. With a busy schedule, they can jump on a quick class before work, during their lunch break or between meetings, and still carry on with their scheduled day. (WellnessLiving’s Zoom Integration makes livestreaming stress-free).
- On-demand videos: With FitVID on Demand, you’ll up your content game. It’s easy to record livestreams and create a video library that people can access on their own time. You can also arrange your content based on class type or length for quick access. And build your brand by eliminating the need for third-party video on-demand platforms. Clients will love how easy it is to view a class on their phone via the Achieve Client App—it’s an all-access pass to your online gym.
- One-to-one coaching: Offer special attention with personal training or coaching online. Add customized workouts, accountability, and nutrition advice as part of your virtual gym membership.
Create the best online gym experience
It doesn’t just happen; great content takes some work. Here are a few of the things to consider to get your online gym to the next level.
- Streaming platform: Some gyms started off using Facebook or YouTube, but quickly decided on Zoom as the best platform to deliver their content. Our Zoom integration simplifies the streaming process for you and your community.
- Virtual class schedule and on-demand library: Give your clients an on-demand option with FitVID on Demand. And our on-demand services allow you to analyze customer behavior so you can offer the most popular classes and times on your class schedule.
- Virtual class checklist: You need the right resources to produce pro content—evaluate your camera, Internet connection, space, lighting, and audio recording equipment.
- Impress your audience: Use apps like TikTok, Filmora Go, Canva, or Adobe Premiere Rush for simple editing and a better video production.
Provide additional value to your members
It’s a competitive space so keep your members motivated and remind them why they should stick with you. The more they see value in your business, the longer they’ll stay loyal. Research predicts that by 2027, fitness apps will reach a value of 14.64 billion. You’re going to need to stand out in that crowd, so show you’re worth the investment with added value. Here are ways you can add value to get ahead of the competition:
- Fitness challenges: Get clients in the competitive spirit with a fitness challenge. With your loyalty program and WellnessLiving’s leaderboard, you’ll keep the momentum going, stay on top of clients’ progress, and reward them for all their hard work.
- Host virtual events: Get your community together—even if it’s only online. Host clinics, do demonstrations, and remind members that you’re there for them.
- Blogs: Use your blog to offer valuable information your community. Consider content like tips to stay motivated at home, meditation for better sleep, stretches to combat computer fatigue, and more.
- Stay in touch: Just because you’re not seeing them in-person doesn’t mean you can’t build relationships. Reach out to celebrate fitness milestones, birthdays, holidays, or just to say hi. Staying on your clients’ minds and showing you care means they’ll keep coming back.
Make sure your members know you’re open
When lockdowns happen, you don’t want members to become disengaged. Be there to coach them, build a community, and help them reach their fitness goals from home. Take immediate action, notifying your community about your virtual options by:
- Calling them. Strengthen that connection with a personal phone call to let them know your community is just as strong while it’s a virtual gym.
- Promoting on social. Grow your audience and keep members engaged with details about any changes and your online gym options.
- Automate your communication. Reach clients faster and reach out to people you haven’t seen in a while with automated messages. Use email, SMS, and push notifications to contact your community and keep them in the loop.
Time to run your virtual gym like a pro
Even if running an online business wassn’t part of your vision when you opened your gym, it’s become necessary for you to succeed. Achieve that success by renting out equipment and growing revenues, offering variety, improving your client experience, and adding value for your clients. Once you get the word out, you’ll see your regulars—and a new client base—flocking through your virtual doors.