Are you a creator or fitness business owner considering using your expertise to start an online fitness business? It’s a great idea! Virtual fitness is a booming global sector valued at $16.4 billion in 2022 and expected to continue growing rapidly.
There will always be demand for fitness education because exercise is key to overall well being: We need to engage in physical activity regularly to maintain health. However, the percentage of adults who meet recommended guidelines for physical activity is relatively low.
There are plenty of factors that can influence how often someone is exercising. How close is the nearest gym? How busy is their schedule? What’s their current fitness level? Are they even comfortable working out around other people? (Nearly 20% of Americans feel too intimidated to go to an in-person gym!)
For a fitness business owner, these are all barriers to reaching potential clients, but there’s a simple solution: Take your fitness business online with video.
Online fitness is gaining popularity
Take a look at the current state of the fitness industry and you’ll see that even the biggest fitness companies are incorporating an online fitness video program into their business models.
Two prime examples are Apple Fitness+ and Peloton. Both offer paid classes that can be accessed from the comfort of your living room, while still incorporating the camaraderie and motivation of an in-person workout class. For the customer, it’s fun and effective — and for the fitness company, it’s lucrative.
That’s all fine and dandy, but what about you? What about the local gym or fitness brand owner asking “How do I grow my online fitness business?” You may not be a massive company like Apple, but you already have a base of loyal customers and a pool of potential local customers. And believe it or not, you have access to all the tools you need to build the same at-home experience as Peloton and Apple Fitness+.
Success story: Meet online personal trainer, Terri Walsh
Terri is an ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and nutrition specialist with over 35 years of experience in the fitness industry. (You may recognize Terri from her role as the first Creative Director of Programming at Crunch Fitness, where she headlined 5 different shows on ESPN2’s Crunch Fitness segments!) Terri is also the creator of the Active Resistance Training® (A.R.T) Method, which has been featured in publications like Self, Shape, and Women’s Health.
Though Terri owned her own brick and mortar studio and taught fitness classes for decades in New York City, she’s been teaching and training exclusively online since relocating to Costa Rica in 2014.
It’s safe to say that Terri is a pro at fitness video content and online fitness classes, and she’s also a longtime Switcher user. With Terri’s unique insight into what works for fitness creators, let’s talk through how to build an online fitness business using Switcher Studio’s video hosting tools.
How to take your fitness business online
For creators who teach exclusively online, like Terri, video is obviously an essential part of a successful business strategy. But these days, video is everywhere (and on every device) so it should be part of your strategy even if you rely heavily on a physical location and in-person classes or trainings.
1. Capture your fitness video content
Thankfully, adding a video component to your business doesn’t have to be a lot of extra work. Every time you host a group fitness class, consider that potential video content to add to your online fitness video program. Capturing that content shouldn't take a ton of extra time or effort.
“I’ve been using Switcher since 2020 to capture and stream online fitness classes," Terri says. "It’s easy to add multiple camera angles so my students around the world can see exactly what I’m doing, and can practice safely and confidently."
"I also love that I can add my own branding, explanatory graphics, timers, and more. Plus, I can use Switcher as a Webcam to enhance classes or personal training sessions that I host on Zoom.”
With Switcher, it’s easy to capture multicamera, multisource fitness content in real time, whether you’re streaming live or recording.
2. Hosting video content
Once you have that video content, you need somewhere to host it. Many online fitness creators turn to social media platforms to host their video content, but there are definite drawbacks to that approach.
"Social media platforms have an allure," Terri says. "It seems like by sharing your videos on social media you’ll easily be able to reach millions, right? I’ve been there. But I’ve also felt like a hamster on a wheel.”
"Trying to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms, not seeing the return I deserve, with no real ownership of my content or clientele. After years of investing in social media ... I was tired of being at the mercy of these platforms."
We think content creators should be able to focus on creating content, not managing it. And online fitness content creators should be able to host their content on a simple-to-manage platform, easily accessible to their viewers: their own website!
Switcher’s website video hosting solution, the Switcher Player, allows you to easily embed livestreams and prerecorded video content directly on your website. You can control the look and feel of your video player, gather viewer information, and compile playlists of content to build your online fitness video programs.
Even create multiple Switcher Players to place on different webpages. It’s a simple, customizable experience that blends seamlessly into your existing website.
“I’ve always counted hours in client sessions and group classes — in other words, I value my time immensely," Terri says. "I'd rather spend it crafting impactful workouts for the clients who really value my expertise than struggling with third-party platforms."
"Integrating Switcher with my website was a breeze: no tech headaches, just smooth transitions.”
3. Monetize your fitness videos on your website
You might be saying, "that sounds great, but how do I make money off embedded website videos?"
Great question, and the answer is simple: The way you make money off embedded website videos is by gating that video content behind a paywall. With the Switcher Player, you can charge for access to prerecorded videos, livestreams, and video playlists — right on your website.
Monetizing fitness content with Switcher
Once you embed your video with the Switcher Player, there are two monetization options: Gated Content and Subscriptions. Switcher’s Gated Content feature makes your videos pay-to-view, while Subscriptions allows you to earn regular, recurring revenue from your content.
Both of these features give you the flexibility to decide on your content package and the price. Sell individual videos or bundle video collections together. Upload full playlists of prerecorded content, or livestream regular classes.
Embedding fitness content on her website is part of why Terri calls Switcher a "game-changer" for her online fitness business.
Here's why Terri loves using Switcher to monetize:
Owning my content: My website, my brand, my rules. I love that my website is the go-to place for everything related to my business.
Embedded livestreaming: I livestream classes all the time. Now I can say "goodbye" to third-party platforms and stream directly to my website.
Audience insights: For me, a thriving business model depends on offering unparalleled value. With Switcher, I’m empowered to roll out premium content directly to my audience, and my audience is empowered to choose the content they find most valuable. By understanding my audience better, I can cater to them more effectively.
Integrated subscription management: Managing my audience on my website ensures they get the best experience — and ensures that I get the highest return on my investment. Plus, monetizing my content is easy and straightforward.
Tips: Planning your online fitness business
Ready to get started? Let’s go over a few business planning ideas on how to build an online fitness business with gated video content using a few different types of fitness studios and gyms.
Example #1: The small gym bundled package
Let’s say you own a gym in your community. Your space is small, but your fitness equipment and environment are top-notch. You’re working hard not to lose customers to the new big-name facility across town.
To stay competitive and retain members, you can add what they don’t have: an online fitness video program with personable, dedicated virtual training videos.
To get started, download Switcher Studio on your iPhone or iPad. Then, plan out your video and the type of workout you’re going to lead. If you have more than one iOS device, you can connect it to Switcher and capture your class from multiple angles.
In Switcher, it’s easy to create and add graphics to help the viewer follow along. Just hit Record and run through the workout. You can learn more about the basics of producing a fitness video or livestream in our blog post about fitness classes.
Next, head to your Switcher Studio dashboard, which you can access by clicking Login at SwitcherStudio.com. This is where you’ll set up your Switcher Player and create gated content. (This is also where you’ll find tools to help you schedule live videos, set up integrated links in website livestreams, include products you want to sell live, and so on.)
Creating a Switcher video player allows you to embed your videos on your webpage. Once you’ve created a player, you can create a playlist associated with that player, or you can create gated video content.
To create gated content with Switcher, start by creating a pass. You decide the name of the pass and the price. Then, you can apply your pass to any videos you want to include in the collection (you can even include new livestreams!).
Once you publish your Switcher content, any customer can purchase the pass. And just like that, you’ve created an outstanding retention offering and a passive nonlinear income for your business.
Example #2: The à la carte yoga studio
Now let’s say you run a studio that regularly teaches classes, like a yoga studio. Your whole business model is based on actively instructing during regular class times, which transfers perfectly to creating an on-demand fitness business. Every time you instruct a class, that’s an at-home personal training session opportunity and a new piece of gated video content that you can monetize.
As we mentioned, you can create entire playlists of online fitness video content for customers to access, but you can take this a step further by offering multiple playlists of distinct gated video content based on different themes, seasonalities, and levels of expertise.
Jumping into a group fitness program can be intimidating for a new member, so an on-demand fitness business model can act as a bridge for them to get adjusted to your instructional environment at their speed, turning a potential customer into a loyal member of your fitness community.
This time, you’ll be creating multiple passes for multiple dedicated Switcher Players. For example, if you have a beginner playlist, just create a “Beginner” pass and apply it to all the videos in that playlist. (Or, leave the first video free, so potential users can get a preview of your content before purchasing the pass.)
You can do this for as many players and playlists as you want, and then embed them wherever you like. Put all your players on just one page, or have a separate page for each experience level. It’s an effective marketing strategy limited only by your creativity and time.
Example #3: The at-home cycle instructor
Say you don’t have an in-person space, but you’re a pro when it comes to this particular kind of workout, and you want to share that knowledge with others through virtual fitness coaching, e.g., an at home cycle instructor.
For at-home instructors, your entire fitness business model is based around gated video content on your website, and creating a community through engaging workout videos.
When planning your on-demand fitness business, you could create daily, weekly, or monthly gated video content at various price points, basing virtual training playlists around fitness levels or different themes.
Another idea is creating seasonal passes, i.e., packaging access to a Switcher Player where you’ll regularly be going live. We see the model of the season pass all the time in industries like gaming, but that same model works perfectly when applied to online fitness video programs.
Promote the season pass with some social media marketing to your community, including the price, time, and what’s included in the offer. For example, you could create a season pass with a combination of live classes and recorded content:
You can see how many opportunities there are for creating gated fitness video content on your website, and how versatile it is! Plus, you read that right in the last bullet: shoppable videos. If you have a Shopify account, you can link it to Switcher and seamlessly sell merchandise directly in a video or livestream.
Create your online fitness business today
You can monetize your videos in lots of ways, and Switcher Studio offers you a range of monetization tools. Whether you have a large gym, a small studio, or you’re starting from scratch, there’s nothing stopping you from turning your fitness into your business.
“After years of struggling against the social media platforms I relied on, I chose to shift the power dynamics and move my content to my space — my website. For my business, Switcher isn't just another tool; it's a game-changer."
You can reach new customers and build a loyal, lucrative community by taking your expertise to an online fitness video program, and the best way to do that is through gated video content with Switcher.
Switcher is a flexible experience that’s simple to learn but grows with you. See what you can do today with our free 2-week trial!
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About the Author
Dan is an Emmy Award-winning video producer who’s worked in journalism, TV news, commercial production, and brand marketing. Dan sees nearly limitless potential in Switcher Studio’s video tools and is excited to share his experience, expertise, and (sometimes "out there") ideas.All posts by Dan Klapheke