How Fitness Businesses Can Create Awesome Online Programs for Free during COVID-19

Times are tough for gym owners, personal trainers, and other fitness instructors. Most, if not all locations are being forced to temporarily shut down as a COVID-19 precaution. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop offering your services to your members – or even slow down your growth!

Many gyms and fitness businesses are finding new ways to offer training services online so people can still stay active – even under home quarantine. And thankfully, taking your services online is easier and less expensive than you may think. There are even ways to do this at absolutely no cost!

Here’s how to do it.

Inform Your Students and Members

You have probably received lots of emails from businesses regarding their COVID-19 procedures. These likely include the changes they are instituting to keep their employees and customers safe. As a gym, you should be doing the same to your email list, too. 

But, keep the focus on what you are offering to your customers and encourage them to stay digitally connected with your business. 

First, let them know how you will be changing during this time. Alert your students and members of any online services you may be offering, such as online classes or one-on-one calls with personal trainers to create at-home fitness plans.

Second, position your company as a source of support and information that is relevant to your members. Perhaps you can share healthy recipes or some basic no-equipment exercise moves that can be done in the living room. 

Move Classes Online

Next, you will need to set up systems to stream online classes. 

Facebook and Instagram both offer livestream services that can be used to connect to your social media following. You can even have them sign up for a reminder so they can log-in on time! Zoom is another popular streaming platform that is great for online fitness classes. Quickly create a free account and start video conferencing other members. You can also charge customers a fee to view these online streams through Zoom. Once they pay, they will receive a special link giving them access to these virtual classes.

You may even consider advertising these online classes with Google Ads!

Do note that there are time limits for these services. 

  • Instagram has a cap of 60 minutes
  • Facebook allows for up to eight hours! 
  • Zoom’s free plan allows for video streams of 40 minutes with up to 100 viewers. If you need to extend the class to more people or have longer videos, then you will need to upgrade to a pro, business, or enterprise plan.

Create a Timetable

You will need to get organized and create a schedule for when these classes can be offered.

It is best to simplify your class offerings to workouts that require little to no equipment, such as yoga flows, Zumba, aerobics, or other body weight classes. 

Create a schedule that works well for your customers and students, as well as your instructors. People may still be working (or working from home), so it is usually best to offer morning and evening classes outside of the normal 9-to-5 schedule. It is also a good idea to offer some weekend classes!Make sure that your schedule is easy to read and has a call-to-action so customers can easily find your classes, like this one from Gracie Barra Chelmsford.

This schedule is well organized and customers can instantly register for the classes. You might consider consulting a website designer/developer to ensure this feature is super easy for users. 

You can also create a customized schedule list directly through Zoom if you are using this platform for streaming. Here’s a great video showing you how to do this:

Create a Landing Page to Build Lists

You will want to create landing pages explaining what online services you are offering – and also to collect important member information. This is especially crucial if you are offering classes to people who are not currently members at your gym or clients for your personal training programs. 

To improve signups, you might consider focusing your budget on SEO and Pay-Per-Click to promote your landing page(s) and help grow your online customer base.

A big upside here is you get detailed reports as to how many people you are reaching every day/week/month/year. You can see how many people are seeing your pages versus how many are clicking on the link/signing up. With this data, you can continuously fine-tune your landing pages to get more members.

Create Free Taster Videos

You will probably need to entice people to sign up to your online services by providing a teaser to the content they can expect. Social media is a great platform for this. You can simply share a couple minutes of a recorded online class to your Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube channel – along with a link to sign up for more live classes. 

For example, Pure Barre included a short Instagram video showing how their instructors teach online classes while explaining proper form for a particular exercise.

This gives viewers a nice preview of how your online classes work!

Promote the Classes Online

Finally, you will want to promote your classes and services as much as possible to grow your viewership. Again, social media can be a primary platform for this – as you can create content and post it for no cost. Plus, your followers can share your posts to their own followers, helping you gain more visibility!

Online tools like Canva are great for creating social media-friendly posts with information on your classes and services. Be sure that you are also encouraging people to sign-up for memberships or join Facebook groups so they see all of your content!

Gracie Barra Chelmsford gym is using their Facebook and Instagram pages to share class schedules, reminders for streaming times, and even screenshots from these classes.

This does a lot to keep members engaged and entice new customers to give it a shot!

In the post-COVID-19 era – whenever that might be – we can likely expect more fitness classes to be taken online. Learning how to properly promote them is going to be an invaluable skill in the future!


Gym owners and personal trainers are certainly facing unusual circumstances. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways fitness business owners can still offer training services and stay in touch with clients. 

As many are quickly learning, teaching fitness classes online is actually pretty easy once you get in a rhythm!

If you need any assistance with digital marketing, website design, or SEO for your fitness business, please reach out to us at Fitclub Agency!

We would love to help your gym, personal training business, or fitness center grow during these trying times!

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Rob Simpson

Rob started Judo at just 7 years old and, after years competing at national and regional championships, he discovered Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The rest, as they say, is history! He turned his hobby into a business when he opened a martial arts gym. This lead to consulting and developing leads and marketing systems for major businesses, franchise brands, fitness entrepreneurs and gym owners.

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