pexels-photo-157540.jpgIf you're of a certain age, you probably remember a time when workout videos were “all the rage.” People who worked out along to well-worn VHS copies of Sweating to the Oldies with Richard Simmons or Tae Bo, and eventually turned to the P90X series of workout DVDs. Whether you believe the results or not, that delivery method is slowly making itself relevant today with larger gym brands. Virtual Fitness is the term brands are using to refer to their recorded fitness programming that their members use. Like fitness videos evolved, these recorded classes are new and intuitive ways to make virtual sessions work in a physical fitness setting.

In their 2016 whitepaper on this subject, ClubIntel notes that these virtual fitness classes are the natural outgrowth from the fitness videos of years past, allowing brands to best reach the busy fitness enthusiast, as well as would-be consumers who may be intimidated by the gym atmosphere. Particularly, some brands offer onboarding for more involved cycling or rowing classes that can help newcomers work up their endurance to participate in the regular classes. What’s more, these classes are all on demand too, almost as a proactive counter to the Netflix void that has a grasp on many users.

pexels-photo-685534.jpgAt the same time, these more corporate videos are shot in a way that doesn’t accurately mimic the often eclectic atmosphere of some fitness classes. ClubIntel notes that some brands specialize in capturing the class atmosphere, making viewers feel like they are there in the room for classes that run the gamut of HIIT, rowing, yoga and cycling. They keep an eye on the more interesting settings of the classes and the personalities of the instructors so customers have a better 

At the same time there are also drawbacks to virtual fitness programs. As stated above, they can often lack the personality that some customers are looking for out of classes or instructors. These exercises also lack the personal interaction with an instructor who can correct improper form or technique that could result in injuries. Plus, depending how the class goes, the content may end up feeling repetitive. What it really comes down to is the fitness experience you are looking to provide your customers. Though it may not fit every fitness business either, it may be an option to consider if you have a popular class with a varied repertoire.