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Business Management

Fitness Business During COVID: Small Classes Could Save You

Indoor group fitness classes are risky during COVID. Private and small group training sessions may become the new normal for gyms, yoga and dance studios.

May 27, 2020

As communities begin to slowly re-open from coronavirus stay-at-home orders, fitness studio owners are getting creative with how to serve their clients and maintain safe, contagion-free environments.

Let’s face it: we’re nowhere near being able to go back to pre-COVID 19 class sizes right now. Health experts caution that indoor, in-person group exercise is risky, and contact tracing indicates that group classes can contribute to widespread viral infection.

One-on-one and very small group training sessions may become the new normal for gyms, yoga and dance studios.

Private and small group sessions allow for proper social distancing and safety measures. Punchpass studio management software allows instructors to limit the number of bookings to fewer than ten, or make the session a private lesson by offering a single registration only.

Instructors can further increase safety by opting to host training sessions in outdoor spaces, wearing masks (both the instructor and the student) and using hand sanitizer before and after the class.

Of course, the safest way to deliver classes is still online. You can easily designate any of your private or small group training sessions as a live online class through Punchpass’ Zoom integration. Giving specialized attention to your most loyal clients through interactive, live coaching and training sessions is a great way to maintain your community and bring in needed revenue.

Typically, private sessions are five times the price of a single group class. Punchpass makes it quick and easy to set up pricing options for private or semi-private classes and link them to your online class schedule.

How to Create a Private or Semi-Private Class Schedule

The first step in creating you and your instructors’ private or semi-private class schedule is to designate the times of day and days of the week that you will be available to teach. Once you have this calendar created, simply open your Punchpass studio management software, create  a new class type, for example “Private Training Session – 60 Min,” and schedule the class for the hours you or your staff are available.

Next, limit the number of students who can register for the class to one, or for a semi-private two or three. You can also opt to send all registrants a reminder email prior to the class.

Finally, make sure to require a pass for registration. You’ll set up a special “private lesson” pricing option separately to link to the class.

You may want to encourage your students to book in advance as much as possible, as these sessions will likely fill up fast. Simply check attendance to see which session times your students have booked into. 

Give Students the Option for Online or In-Person

Right now some students may not feel comfortable doing an in-person session. We recommend letting them know that you care about their health and wellbeing and respect the different comfort levels among your membership. You can easily give customers who book private sessions the option to take the class online through your Punchpass+Zoom feature.

Another option, especially if you are leading small group classes, is to designate some classes on your public schedule as “online” and others as “in-person.” 

An Opportunity for Instructors to Build a Business

If you’re a fitness or yoga instructor who’s currently out of work, and struggling to monetize your online classes, or even figure out how to get started offering classes, private sessions offer a great opportunity. Who knows, as you build bookings, you’ll be capitalizing on your existing following, and may have the foundation for your own fitness business in the future.

In addition to allowing for private and semi-private class bookings, Punchpass also allows you to host live and store recorded training sessions, classes, coaching and nutritional advice and other video programs and sell them online.

With a little creativity, motivation and some outreach on social media, you can start your business. You don’t even need a website. Punchpass allows you to publish your class and training schedule on your Facebook page

ProTip: Setting Up Your Film Studio

If you are conducting private training sessions online, there are a few basics to consider. These days you can film your training sessions with as little as a smartphone or tablet, or you can invest in a high-quality camera with DSLR capabilities. Either way, the key to setting up your virtual classroom is to have enough space so that you can place your camera far enough away that your full body is seen for demonstrating postures and moves, and you have adequate lighting, and good sound.

Try to avoid filming in front of windows because you’ll be in shadow. If possible have a light in front of you, off camera that illuminates your face and body.

Make sure that your space is clean and clear of clutter. Have all the equipment you need off to the side, or ready to go when your session starts. Be sure to let your client or clients know in advance what props they will need.

Have a tablet or good old fashioned pen and paper ready to take any notes on your client that you’ll need to track their progress and give them coaching tips at the end of their session.

Empathy is Your Greatest Asset

Though COVID-19 poses many challenges for fitness instruction, you can still meet the moment if you can arm yourself with the right tools & a sense of empathy. This isn’t easy for you or your clients, but cultivating the relationship you have with them right now is going to help you get through it. 💛