6 Live Streaming Platforms for Gyms and Fitness Studios
The fitness industry has changed overnight as Covid-19 forces gyms across the country to close their doors. While gym owners wait for the go-ahead to reopen their businesses to the public, many are moving their classes online as a way to generate revenue during the pandemic.
Although companies like Peloton, Beachbody, and Obé have been streaming classes for years, most local gyms are starting with a blank slate. One of the first decisions gym owners have to make is which platform they’ll use to deliver live streaming and on-demand content to their clients. Video conferencing tools like Zoom are easy to navigate, but they don’t necessarily offer all the features that fitness studios need to integrate online classes into their schedules or upload on-demand content to member apps. The same goes for social media channels like Instagram Live and Facebook Live.
Local fitness studios seem to be having the most success utilizing online platforms designed specifically for their needs. Technology companies offering fitness management software and live streaming tools have stepped up to the plate with tailored offerings for fitness studios and gyms, and some are even finding ways to work together with Zoom, YouTube Live, and other popular video services.
Here are six options that are worth checking out.
Mindbody is making its video and live streaming tools free for a limited time. Fitness studios that use Mindbody’s platform can offer virtual workouts to their clients using nothing more than a smartphone. Virtual classes are integrated with Mindbody’s software, so clients can login to their accounts and book virtual classes just like they would book traditional in-person sessions. Gyms can also create online libraries of pre-recorded workout content with limited client-only access. Mindbody’s system supports most common video formats. Live streaming is being provided free of charge to businesses through June 30th.
An online training and coaching solution, gymGO was around long before Covid-19 became a threat to local gyms. The platform gives fitness professionals a way to sell live streaming virtual training and on-demand training sessions. ith live one-to-one or small group private trainings, trainers can see and instruct up to 12 clients at a time. Clients can see and follow the trainer, but they cannot see or hear each other. With live group broadcasts, trainers can instruct up to 100 clients at a time. Communication still takes place via in-session instant messaging, even though trainers don’t see the clients they’re instructing. In addition to hosting classes and sessions, trainers can use gymGO to manage most business tasks, like scheduling, billing, and client memberships.
Zype is a video distribution and management hub with tools for distributing professional-quality content across multiple platforms. Fitness studios can distribute and monetize their content through Zype’s unified CMS dashboard. They can also sell live and on-demand workouts directly to clients via subscriptions, class passes, pay-per-view events, and single transactions. Live event broadcasts are viewable on any device, and they can be automatically archived, so a studio’s members can watch on-demand at a later time. Zype’s live streams are high quality, and they work across a variety of devices.
ClassPass offers studio owners a way to live stream classes, training sessions, and appointments for members. ClassPass integrates with popular video conferencing platforms like Zoom, YouTube Live, and Vimeo. Studios just need to add the streaming URL to their ClassPass class descriptions before the beginning of each class, and members can join in. As a best practice, ClassPass recommends that gyms include information about user privacy settings in their class descriptions and notify attendees that they cannot record classes. Until May 31st, studios can list live streaming workouts on ClassPass without paying ClassPass any commission fees.
No article about live streaming solutions would be complete without Zoom. The virtual meetings app is one of the most popular tools for gyms streaming content online, primarily because of how simple it is to use. With Zoom, trainers can video chat with many clients at once. The service works best when it’s used together with gym management software that can automate the process of sending links and login information to clients once they’ve signed up for a class. A basic plan on Zoom is free, but most gyms will want to sign up for a Pro or Business account before hosting live sessions online.
The gym management software company Glofox recently announced a new platform that gives gyms and fitness studios a way to deliver live streaming and premium on-demand content to their paying clients. Setting up live stream classes through the Glofox booking system makes it easier to give access to paying clients. When members book their classes, they’re sent an automated email that contains the class details and a link to the live-streaming class. The system works best with Zoom and YouTube Live. Studios can also add on-demand content to member apps using Glofox’s tools.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.