I know for some of you, you never thought the day would come that you would choose, or need to, deliver Personal Training or your fitness classes on Zoom. But, here we are.
For many of us in the fitness industry, it was the difference between no income and being able to pay your bills until we were allowed back out in the world (if you made it back!). Since the dust started to settle though, some have chosen to continue to offer sessions online as it’s just so damn flexible.
Although there are plenty of platforms out there you can use to deliver live fitness classes, it seems that Zoom is the one coming out on top right now. Using my experience of Zoom, along with that of Carly (@projecthb) and some nuggets from the Facebook group I run, I’ve put together what you need to know to get yourself set up and ready to deliver your fitness classes on Zoom.
If you have any more specific questions, please feel to leave a comment at the bottom of the post.
What is Zoom?
Put simply, Zoom is a video communication platform. It’s like Skype / FB messenger / Whats App… but on another level. A more professional level to start with.
Although you do not need an account with Zoom to attend meetings, you do need an account to schedule and host meetings.
You can download the Zoom app / software onto a laptop or mobile device (iOS and android).
Getting Yourself Set Up On Zoom
Setting up an account on Zoom is pretty easy. You just need an email address (prob best to use a business one) and a decent picture.
Once you’ve registered you can find your Personal Meeting ID under the Profile tab. This is a link you can use for on-demand or ad-hoc “meetings”.
Zoom Basic vs Zoom Pro
I know for many of us, paying out for another service is something we’re trying not to do, in order to reduce our outgoings but there are some benefits to upgrading to the Zoom Pro account.
|Zoom Basic (free)||Zoom Pro (£11.99/mth/host)|
|up to 100 participants||up to 100 participants|
|40 mins limit on group meetings||Meeting duration limit is 24 hrs|
|Unlimited number of meetings||Unlimited number of meetings|
The Zoom Pro account comes with added features including (and not limited to):
- Personalised meeting ID
- Additional admin controls (i.e on chat etc)
The main benefit for Fitness Professionals in upgrading is the meeting duration (unless you want to run just 30 minute classes with minimal buffer of time on each side).
A pro account is on a rolling monthly contract so it can be cancelled if/when you decide it is no longer required leaving you with access to the basic features. Zoom seem to email out quite often with a discount if you pay upfront for 12 months too.
Other things to consider:
- Have participants completed a PARQ before attending?
- Is your music licence free?
Get Participants Set Up On Zoom
As mentioned, participants do not need to have an account on Zoom to be able to attend your sessions. They do however, need to have downloaded the app to their laptop or phone in advance of the session.
Make sure you educate everyone as soon as you can to download the software; consider running a set-up session so everyone can test it out and you can show them around and explain how the fitness sessions will run.
Taking Payment For Your Sessions
If you’re not already set up on a booking system like TeamUp, Fitune or BookWhen then the easiest way is probably to use PayPal. This does come with its own pros and cons in regards to fees payable and disputes that can be raised.
Another option is to have your participants deposit directly into your (business) bank account.
Practice, Test Run, Practice, Test Run
If you’re new to Zoom and to teaching online then there would be no harm whatsoever in scheduling a test run with friends / family to get some practice and iron out any technical kinks.
This is also a good opportunity to test out your equipment, your space and sound.
At the very least, you will need:
- music source (i.e phone)
- a Zoom account
- an external mic (would be really, really handy)
- Carly uses the Blue Snowball microphone
FAQ & Sorting Your Sound
This partly comes down to personal preference and partly to what you are covered for on your insurance. Many of the insurance companies (but not all) are stipulating you must be able to see your participants while delivering the session.
Carly has been capping her dance fitness classes at 40 attendees, Mum and Baby classes at 15 whilst other fitness sessions (e.g HIIT) are between 20-30. Having 100 people in your session with the need to see them is likely to make your computer crash.
Well, yes, yes you can. But it doesn’t mean you should. Based on feedback, a laptop is recommended; the screen is bigger, and the camera is better. A laptop will also give you more control over the set up.
Carly shared with us that she connects a microphone to her laptop and plays music through a speaker which is connected to her phone [phone + speaker > mic into laptop].
This set up has worked well for her dance classes. For more technical classes she uses a head mic through a speaker [headset & phone through speaker > mic into laptop].
The sound set up that I recommend and now use is with a mini USB mixer, a head mic and phone for music. I’ve had lots of great feedback since upgrading.
Carly suggested having a fiddle with these settings: mute and stop video > audio settings > advanced > suppress persistent / intermittent background [disable these].
If you are using computer sound only, make sure you select the volume of music (on your device / music software) you want before you share the meeting invite as once you’ve shared it doesn’t register whether you turn the volume up or down. (tip from @aedancefitness)
Yup. There’s this one Carly shared to make sound coming out of your laptop (so running in the background on Spotify) come out sounding good quality via the zoom meeting, to participants: [share screen > basic > share computer sound > advanced > music or computer sound only]
Don’t bother. But if you don’t use a password you have to use the waiting room facility which I actually like for added security and when you let everyone it, it reminds me of opening the doors to the studio!
Mute them. Put everyone on mute in the meeting and have this set up as the standard in your settings. You can also choose to allow whether they can unmute themselves or not. That’s your choice.
Try using your phone to launch the meeting then signing in via your laptop and muting the sound or don’t join the audio on the computer. Let me know if you have a better solution!
This is your own choice, but you should consider the fact you need an income, the costs of upgrading to a pro account on Zoom, value for money of participants and the fact some people are completely without income right now. I’ve seen fitness professionals charging from £3 up to £10.
Again this is your own choice, but really, no-one should be working for free. There is lots of free fitness content out there but there is no one out there who is quite like you! If you’ve already built up an audience and community before all this, they will likely want to keep supporting you.
Yup, sure is. Sign in. Go to Account management > Reports > Active Hosts: choose date range, scroll to the right till you see Participants and click the number for the meeting you are looking for.
Time To Deliver Your Class!
Class is scheduled for 6pm. Are you excited?!
First of all, you need to ensure that all your participants have access to the Zoom session by sharing the link with them. You can either use your Personal meeting ID or you can create a unique meeting ID for each class.
To generate a unique meeting ID, start a new Zoom meeting around 30 minutes before the start of class (with video off, music on) then email the link to participants. Let them know during the sign up process when you will be sending out the link so they look out for it.
My set up using Gymcatch now creates a meeting ID when I create the class in my schedule. The link is accessible via the booking made and I can also choose when they get access and for how long.
Once participants have all joined the meeting, all that’s left is to do is a quick intro and then jump straight into your session. I like to turn off the waiting room once I’ve started class so I don’t have to keep running up to the laptop to let latecomers in.
Keep an eye out on your channels before the session incase anyone has any questions or trouble joining the meeting. Zoom also has a chat function; I imagine everyone will be too busy sweating to use this but you could potentially utilise it for a few minutes at the end if anyone has any questions.
A recent Zoom update added some emojis which I’ve found handy to check in on everyone, especially those whose cameras may not be working. A quick thumbs up lets me know they’re doing okay and keeping up!
If you have another camera (like a GoPro) or even another human being hanging around, set it (them) up to take a few snaps during your session so you can use them later for promotion. Or you can set up a webcam in addition to your inbuilt camera to allow for different angles.
Encourage participants to take snaps of their own to share on social media which they can tag you in too! User generated content is always handy to have and use at a later date.
TL;DR – How to Host a Fitness Session on Zoom
Host a meeting with video on > open application > join with computer audio (sound through computer ) > invite participants > copy invitation > send email with the link
Optional Recommended Equipment List:
- Ring light with phone holder
- Wireless microphone system
- Set of 2 soft boxes
- Anker bluetooth speaker
- Blue Snowball microphone
- Logitech Brio webcam
I couldn’t end this post without using the word unprecedented… so there it is. If there is one thing that has kept us going through the last however many months, it’s the willingness and ability to innovate. It doesn’t have to be forever and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune… but…
You’ve got nothing to lose by jumping in and giving it a go, right?!
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