How To Create An On-Demand Fitness Library
It’s been quite a few months now since many of us moved our fitness offering online to Zoom and now, those of us who kept this offering are looking for options to share recordings with clients who can’t attend live classes. There are some cheap and easy options available like YouTube or directly on Zoom, […]

How To Create An On-Demand Fitness Library

It’s been quite a few months now since many of us moved our fitness offering online to Zoom and now, those of us who kept this offering are looking for options to share recordings with clients who can’t attend live classes.

There are some cheap and easy options available like YouTube or directly on Zoom, but they come with limitations. For example, YouTube takes forever and a day to upload and videos are either accessible to everyone and their dog or can be made private.

As for saving recordings on Zoom directly (via the cloud), the recoding quality isn’t very good so it’s hard to feel comfortable charging a lot for those videos. You also won’t be able to embed the videos, have very little storage and can’t edit or brand the videos.

Anyway, in the Summer of 2020, Carly of Project HB, ran a workshop for Fitness Professionals to share her experience of creating an on-demand fitness library. Carly is streets ahead of me on this so she kindly shared her video with me which I used to write this guide sprinkled with my own experience too.

Let’s jump right in….

Things to consider about your offering

Before you start setting things up, there are a few things you should consider and think about first. Carly suggested to ask yourself:

  • Will you offer permanent or time sensitive access?
  • Will you provide memberships or deliver videos straight to their inbox?
  • Programme based workouts or free-for-all choice?
  • Single / stand alone workouts, categories or a full library?
  • Monthly, weekly, or course format?
  • How will you add value?
  • Price points?
  • Subscription?

Once you’ve had a think about these various options, you’ll have the basics of a plan for creating your on-demand fitness offering.

Setting Up On Your Own Website

Ideally, for your on-demand offering, you will need, or want a “membership portal” – somewhere to signpost your clients to where they can get all the information about your classes and / or to access classes too.

Carly uses her own website – Project HB – whilst I use a mixture of my website, via the Train With Elle page, and my Ko-fi page which we will discuss later on.

Project HB TV – for Carly, some of her non negotiable’s were that she wanted to offer lots of variety, have a subscription based offering in order to generate continual income, possibilities to add value, and all with minimal admin.

On this page, and along with your workouts, it’s smart and probably a requirement of your insurance to add a disclaimer. Here is the disclaimer I have been using on all exercise related posts on my site:

p.s Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP. 

You absolutely don’t have to have your own website to have an on-demand offering either. Platforms like Gymcatch – which I use for my live classes – now also allow you to sell on-demand access. This can negate the need for your own website – but if you do have your own site – you might as well have everything under one roof.

screenshot of Carly's - Project HB TV - website for on demand fitness offering

Carly currently embeds her videos onto her website, which need a password to be accessed. If you chose this option too, she suggested that you categorise, number and add descriptions underneath each video to improve user experience.

Your clients will want to know what they will watch, how long it will be and what equipment they will need. So make it easy for them!

Should You Offer Tasters / Free Content?

This is a little aside that came up in Carly’s workshop. It’s a hot topic between professionals with some saying you should give away nothing for free.

Personally, I’ve found a little free content is a good way to get new clients – people who haven’t trained with you before will be apprehensive to spend money if they don’t know what you’re about and what your style is.

Carly offers some free workout videos on her YouTube channel ranging in styles and time.

All The Tech Behind The Scenes

The majority of us already had to become z-list DJ’s to create the best sound experience for our live classes and now, there’s just a little more tech to take your offering to the next level. Here is what you will need to create you on-demadn fitness class offering:

  • Zoom recording / Dedicated recording
  • Edit in iMovie
  • Host on Vimeo
  • Membership through Patreon
  • Access library through website

Should I use Zoom recordings or dedicated recordings?

As I eluded to earlier, Zoom recordings are pretty low quality. I did find a hack though on my mac – you can open Quicktime player at the same time as your zoom meeting, hit record and then you have much higher quality recording of the same session.

The con’s of recording your actual Zoom session though are the inter-personal chats that you may have. I have however had some clients feedback that they love that – it makes them feel like they’re in a live class.

Recording dedicated sessions have their downfalls too though- for me, I barely have the energy. You end up having to do the workout yourself and for me, on top of my teaching schedule, my own training – cycling and running, it needs to be very carefully planned into my schedule.

This also means you’re limited by your energy levels as to how many classes you can record. Carly shared that initially she spent an entire Saturday recoding around 10 videos (of differing lengths) to help bulk up the variety of her workout video library.

So when planning the launch of your library, you might want to factor in how and when you will create any dedicated recordings.

Editing Your Videos

Back in April, I shared some tips with you for planning and editing your fitness videos. If you have the funds, you can definitely outsource this bit, but I’m betting you might not be in that place right now?

Here are some programmes Carly suggested for video editing on your laptop / computer:

  • iMovie on Mac
  • “Create” in Vimeo (you’ll need a Pro account for this)
  • Video editing for non-mac: ​www.movavi.com

I personally use iMovie. For recordings from Zoom, I cut off the waffle and chat at the beginning / end and add title page with class name / style. Carly also suggests to add the class description and what equipment is needed along with an outro at the end

How To Host Your Videos

This is probably the question that comes up on a daily basis. Where should you / can you host your videos so clients can get access to them.

If you choose to record your Zoom classes and store them on the cloud, you get sent a link to share with participants. Bear in mind, this will include the aforementioned waffle and chat at the beginning and end of class. You can set the recording to be deleted after a set amount of time too – I opted for 72 hours when I use this option.

If you want to have more control over your on-demand library then you need a better store option and Vimeo is what both Carly and I use.

  • Vimeo Plus 5GB per week £10/pm when billed monthly + fees – annual packages available
  • use code backtoit for 20% off your annual subscription
  • Vimeo Pro is £16pm billed annually
  • You CAN get Vimeo Pro on monthly billing, they just don’t make it easy to find

With Vimeo, you password protect videos to control access. Carly then changes this password on a monthly basis – updating clients each month. So essentially, her membership payment unlocks the password each month.

I currently use Vimeo Pro as I discovered they do a student discount. Before that I was on Plus, and founf the 5GB restrictive especially with good quality videos so that upload limit is something you would need to factor in when planning your launch.

I found I could upload around 3-4 (actual) Zoom recordings a week, or 1-2 better quality recordings per week dependant on the length (and therefore file size) of the class.

Privacy Options on Vimeo

On Vimeo, you have quite a few privacy options to help you control access. I use the people with the private link option and share the link when a purchase is made on my Ko-fi shop. This does mean that my clients have access for life, unless I choose to add a password later down the line.

The people with the password option is what Carly uses. You can update the password in bulk on Vimeo saving you changing it for every single video.

You can do this by navigating to > homepage > view all videos > select all > privacy > update settings.

The where can this be embedded option is also pretty handy. I have my own site as a default which means no other site could embed and share my videos unless I give them permission.

In the settings you can also turn off comments and update the setting to ensure videos can’t be downloaded.

Taking Payments For Your On-Demand Videos

This is probably the second most asked question when it comes to online classes – how to tale payment.

If you’re not already set up on a booking system, you can opt to have clients pay you via PayPal or directly into your bank account but personally, I think that is risky and also requires a fair bit of admin on your part.

Currently, Carly uses Patreon, while I use Ko-fi.

Overview of Patreon

  • Way for artists & creators to sell products
  • Creation packages for you to choose from – Lite, Pro & Premium
  • % of earnings is taken by Patreon before you are paid
  • Option to withdraw via PayPal – costs £1 per withdrawal
  • You can offer one membership or tiers – people pay for more access
  • You need at least the Pro package to have multi -tiered offering

You can check out Carly’s Patreon Page here.

A couple of things to be aware of with Patreon are that a) their month is based on PST time which is 8 hours behind us here in the UK and b) they add 20% VAT (that goes to Patreon) onto your prices.

Overview of Ko-fi

  • Way for artists & creators to sell products
  • Either free Ko-fi account, or upgrade to Ko-fi Gold for £5pm* (this link gets you 10% off Ko-fi Gold)
  • No other fee’s are paid to Ko-fi with a Gold account
  • Money is paid directly into PayPal and / or Stripe – fees from PayPal / Stripe apply
  • No specific membership tiers available currently, but you can create a shop free of charge with no fees for Gold accounts.

My Ko-fi Shop:

I currently have a Ko-fi Gold account which I upgraded to within my first month of signing up to Ko-fi. They launched the shop feature a couple months ago, and that’s what I have been using to host my on-demand workouts.

I’m now an ambassador for them so I get to try out upcoming features and share my feedback. If you wanna try out Ko-fi Gold for a month just get in touch!

Other Payment Options:

  • PayPal.me link
  • Monzo.me link
  • Direct into bank account

Although these payment options come with less / no fees, I feel like they are riskier. Other options provide more security for both you and your clients and also reduce admin. If people pay you via PayPal you need to find their purchase (which is sometimes with a random email address) and then email them the link for their purchase.

Other Platforms For Selling Videos:

  • GymCatch
  • FitFam Pro
  • Google Drive

These options came from Carly’s video. Using GymCatch for on-demand doesn’t cost any extra. If you wanna try GymCatch, you get a free 3 month trial, and if you use this referral link, you’ll get a free 4th month.

Music For Your Online Videos

Since the huge increase in online fitness classes being delivered, the issue of playing original artist music vs license free music has come up again and again. 

In the Summer of 2020, we saw the launch of the new PRS online music licence which allows fitness instructors to play original artist music online but there are a number of limitations.

How Much Does The PRS Online Music Licence Cost?

The licence is £109.50 plus VAT (£131.40) and the sync add on is £43.80 (inclusive of VAT not sure without). You only need the add on if you already have an LOLM licence. As far as I am aware this license is currently only valid till the end of 2020.

You must only use it for online classes and on demand classes. Anything else like ads or social media content is not part of the licence agreement and you will be muted and unable to appeal.

You are covered for up to a maximum of 75,000 streams for the duration of the licence. See the EMD website for more info on this. 

Sourcing License Free Music

License free music is the easiest and less stressful route to go down, if you need music at all.

Carly shared Pure Energy GO – which is an app for license free music that you can download to your phone. Cost is on average £12.99 per album, with regular discounts via their Facebook Group.

I’ve also used Workout Music By WSHQ. I downloaded their Relaxing Music, Vol. 1, which costs £10 for the album, to use in my Rollin’ With My Foamies classes.

Their music is all royalty free, meaning it can be used for online classes, both pre-recorded for YouTube or Facebook and live streaming by instructors.

You do not need a PPL or PRS license (UK), APRA or PPCA (Australia) or ASCAP (USA) to use the music in commercial fitness classes.

Final Tips For Your On-Demand Fitness Library

Before we leave you, I have some last tips to share with you from Carly to make this as smooth an operation as possible!

Buy an external hard drive – to store all your videos etc on and to keep them safe should anything happen to your laptop. My laptop doesn’t have very much storage space for big files like workout videos so I have a WD My Passport.

Record your Zoom classes – we spoke about this one before, but it’s a good way to build up some content and hit the ground running.

You might lose live clients to on-demand – offering a new on-demand service does come with the risk of losing some of your live clients to on-demand. However, when you get on-demand clients, you can tempt them over to your live classes…

Project HB Tip – you can incentivise on-demand users to live classes with discount codes or offers.

Pick your price point and then stick to it – don’t price yourself too low to start with. £10 – £20 per month seems to be the average; at £20pm added value will be key.

Add perks to monthly memberships – to keep your offering fresh and secure the next monthly payment.

Let your personality shine though in your videos – your clients have chosen to pay you, for being you, rather than access free content on YouTube.


Choosing to offer a whole new service is no easy feat, but if there is one bonus, it’s that with everything being digital, mistakes can be made without losing much. As Carly said to me when the first l’down came about… “what have you got to lose?!”.

If you found this post helpful, you can buy Carly a coffee here. And if you have any questions, feel free to pop them in the comments or drop me an email.

Elle

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How to stay fit forever : 25 tips to keep moving when life gets in the wa

When it comes to exercise, we think about how to “get” fit. But often, starting out is not the problem. “The big problem is maintaining it, ” says Falko Sniehotta, a professor of behavioural medicine and health psychology at Newcastle University. The official UK guidelines say adults should do strength exercises, as well as 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, every week. According to the Health Survey for England in 2016, 34% of men and 42% of women are not hitting the aerobic exercise targets, and even more – 69% and 77% respectively – are not doing enough strengthening activity. A report from the World Health Organization last week found that people in the UK were among the least réactive in the world, with 32% of men and 40% of women reporting inactivity. Meanwhile, obesity is adding to the chronic long-term diseases cited in Public Health England’s analysis, which shows women in the UK are dying earlier than in most EU countries.

We all know we should be doing more, but how do we keep moving when our motivation slips, the weather takes a turn for the worse or life gets in the way ? Try these 25 pieces of advice from experts and Guardian readers to keep you going.

Work out why, don’t just work outOur reasons for beginning to exercise are fundamental to whether we will keep it up, says Michelle Segar, the director of the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center. Too often “society promotes exercise and fitness by hooking into short-term détermination, guilt and shame”. There is some evidence, she says, that younger people will go to the gym more if their reasons are appearance-based, but past our early 20s that doesn’t fioul motivation much. Nor do vague or future goals help ( “I want to get fit, I want to lose weight” ). Segar, the author of No Sweat : How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, says we will be more successful if we focus on immediate positive feelings such as stress reduction, increased energy and making friends. “The only way we are going to prioritise time to exercise is if it is going to deliver some kind of benefit that is truly compelling and valuable to our daily life, ” she says.

Get off to a slow startThe danger of the typical New Year resolutions approach to fitness, says personal trainer Matt Roberts, is that people “jump in and do everything – change their diet, start exercising, stop drinking and smoking – and within a couple of weeks they have lost détermination or got too tired. If you haven’t been in shape, it’s going to take time. ” He likes the trend towards high-intensity interval training ( high intensity interval training ) and recommends people include some, “but to do that every day will be too intense for most people”. Do it once ( or twice, at most ) a week, combined with slow jogs, swimming and fast walks – plus two or three rest days, at least for the first month. “That will give someone a chance of having recovery sessions alongside the high-intensity workouts. ”

You don’t have to love itAdvertisementIt is helpful not to try to make yourself do things you actively dislike, says Segar, who advises thinking about the types of activities – roller-skating ? Bike riding ? – you liked as a child. But don’t feel you have to really enjoy exercise. “A lot of people who stick with exercise say : ‘I feel better when I do it. ’” There are elements that probably will be enjoyable, though, such as the physical response of your body and the feeling of getting stronger, and the pleasure that comes with mastering a sport.

“For many people, the obvious choices aren’t necessarily the ones they would enjoy, ” says Sniehotta, who is also the director of the National Institute for Health Research’s policy research unit in behavioural technique, “so they need to look outside them. It might be different sports or simple things, like sharing activities with other people. ”

Be kind to yourselfIndividual motivation – or the lack of it – is only part of the bigger picture. Money, parenting demands or even where you live can all be stumbling blocks, says Sniehotta. Tiredness, depression, work stress or ill family members can all have an impact on physical activity. “If there is a lot of support around you, you will find it easier to maintain physical activity, ” he points out. “If you live in certain parts of the country, you might be more comfortable doing outdoor physical activity than in others. to conclude that people who don’t get enough physical activity are just lacking motivation is problematic. ”

Segar suggests being realistic. “Skip the ideal of going to the gym five days a week. Be really analytical about work and family-related needs when starting, because if you set yourself up with goals that are too big, you will fail and you’ll feel like a failure. At the end of a week, I always ask my clients to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Maybe fitting in a walk at lunch worked, but you didn’t have the energy after work to do it. ”

Don’t rely on willpower“If you need willpower to do something, you don’t really want to do it, ” says Segar. Instead, think about exercise “in terms of why we’re doing it and what we want to get from physical activity. How can I benefit today ? How do I feel when I move ? How do I feel after I move ? ”

Anything that allows you to exercise while ticking off other goals will help, says Sniehotta. “It provides you with more gratification, and the costs of not doing it are higher. ” For instance, walking or cycling to work, or making friends by joining a sports club, or running with a friend. “Or the goal is to spend more time in the countryside, and running helps you do that. ”

Try to combine physical activity with something else. “For example, in my workplace I don’t use the lift and I try to reduce fax, so when it’s possible I walk over to people, ” says Sniehotta. “Over the course of the day, I walk to work, I move a lot in the building and I actually get about 15, 000 steps. Try to make physical activity hit as many meaningful targets as you can. ”

Make it a habitWhen you take up running, it can be tiring just getting out of the door – where are your shoes ? Your water bottle ? What route are you going to take ? After a while, points out Sniehottta, “there are no longer costs associated with the activity”. Doing physical activity regularly and planning for it “helps make it a sustainable behaviour”. Missing sessions doesn’t.

Plan and prioritiseWhat if you don’t have time to exercise ? For many people, sérieux two jobs or with extensive caring responsibilities, this can undoubtedly be true, but is it genuinely true for you ? It might be a question of priorities, says Sniehotta. He recommends planning : “The first is ‘action planning’, where you plan where, when and how you are going to do it and you try to stick with it. ” The second type is ‘coping planning’ : “anticipating things that can get in the way and putting a plan into place for how to get motivated again”. Segar adds : “Most people don’t give themselves permission to prioritise self-care behaviours like exercise. ”

Keep it bermuda and sharpA workout doesn’t have to take an hour, says Roberts. “A well-structured 15-minute workout can be really effective if you really are pressed for time. ” As for regular, longer séances, he says : “You tell yourself you’re going to make time and change your schedule accordingly. ”

If it doesn’t work, change itIt rains for a week, you don’t go course once and then you feel guilty. “It’s a combination of emotion and lack of confidence that brings us to the point where, if people fail a few times, they think it’s a failure of the entire project, ” says Sniehotta. Remember it’s possible to get back on track.

If previous exercise regimes haven’t worked, don’t beat yourself up or try them again – just try something else, he says. “We tend to be in the mindset that if you can’t lose weight, you blame it on yourself. However, if you could change that to : ‘This method doesn’t work for me, let’s try something different, ’ there is a chance it will be better for you and it prevents you having to blame yourself, which is not helpful. ”

Add resistance and balance training as you get olderAdvertisement“We start to lose bourrinage mass over the age of around 30, ” says Hollie Grant, a personal training and pilates instructor, and the owner of PilatesPT. Resistance training ( using body weight, such as press-ups, or equipment, such as resistance bands ) is important, she says : “It is going to help keep muscle mass or at least slow down the loss. There needs to be some form of aerobic exercise, too, and we would also recommend people start adding balance challenges because our balance is affected as we get older. ”

Up the ante“If you do 5k runs and you don’t know if you should push faster or go further, rate your exertion from one to 10, ” says Grant. “As you see those numbers go down, that’s when to start pushing yourself a bit faster. ” Roberts says that, with regular exercise, you should be seeing progress over a two-week period and pushing yourself if you feel it is getting easier. “You’re looking for a change in your speed or résistance or strength. ”

If you have caring responsibilities, Roberts says you can do a lot within a small area at home. “In a living room, it is easy to do a routine where you might alternate between doing a leg exercise and an arm exercise, ” he says. “It’s called Peripheral Heart Action training. Doing six or eight exercises, this effect of going between the upper and lower body produces a pretty strong metabolism lift and cardiovascular workout. ” Try squats, half press-ups, lunges, tricep dips and glute raises. “You’re raising your heart rate, working your zones musculaires and having a good general workout. ” These take no more than 15-20 minutes and only require a peau for the tricep dips – although dumbbells can be helpful, too.

Get out of breathAdvertisementWe are often told that housework and gardening can contribute to our weekly exercise targets, but is it that simple ? “The measure really is you’re getting generally hot, out of breath, and you’re sérieux at a level where, if you have a conversation with somebody while you’re doing it, you’re puffing a bit, ” says Roberts. “With gardening, you’d have to be doing the heavier gardening – digging – not just weeding. If you’re walking the dog, you can make it into a genuine exercise session – run with the dog, or find a route that includes some hills. ”

Be sensible about illnessJoslyn Thompson Rule, a personal trainer, says : “The general rule is if it’s above the neck – a headache or a cold – while being mindful of how you’re feeling, you are generally OK to do some sort of exercise. If it’s below the neck – if you’re having dysfonctionnement breathing – rest. The key thing is to be sensible. If you were planning on doing a high-intensity workout, you would take the pace down, but sometimes just moving can make you feel better. ” After recovering from an illness, she says, trust your instincts. “You don’t want to go straight back into training four times a week. You might want to do the same number of séances but make them shorter, or do fewer. ”

Seek advice after injuryClearly, how quickly you start exercising again depends on the type of injury, and you should seek advice from your doctor. Psychologically, though, says Thompson Rule : “Even when we’re doing everything as we should, there are still dips in the road. It’s not going to be a linear progression of getting better. ”

Take it slowly after pregnancyAgain, says Thompson Rule, listen to your body – and your doctor’s advice at your six-week postnatal checkup. After a caesarean section, getting back to exercise will be slower, while pregnancy-related back injuries and problems with abdominal zones musculaires all affect how soon you can get back to training, and may require physiotherapy. “Once you’re walking and have a bit more energy, depending on where you were before ( some women never trained before pregnancy ), starting a regime after a baby is quite something to undertake, ” says Thompson Rule. “Be patient. I get more emails from women asking when they’re going to get their stomachs flat again than anything. Relax, take care of yourself and take care of your baby. When you’re feeling a bit more energised, slowly get back into your routine. ” She recommends starting with “very basic stuff like walking and carrying your baby [in a sling]”.

Tech can helpFor goal-oriented people, Grant says, it can be useful to monitor progress closely, but “allow some flexibility in your goals. You might have had a stressful day at work, go out for a run and not do it as quickly and then think : ‘I’m just not going to bother any more. ’” However, “It can start to get a bit addictive, and then you don’t listen to your body and you’re more at risk of injury. ”

Winter is not an excuseAdvertisement“Winter is not necessarily a time to hibernate, ” says Thompson Rule. Be decisive, put your trainers by the door and try not to think about the cold/drizzle/greyness. “It’s the same with going to the gym – it’s that voice in our head that make us feel like it’s a hassle, but once you’re there, you think : ‘Why was I procrastinating about that for so long ? ’”

Keep it bite-sizeAlex TomlinI’ve tried and failed a few times to establish a consistent running routine, but that was because I kept pushing myself too hard. Just because I can run for an hour doesn’t mean I should. Running two or three times a week for 20-30 minutes each time has improved my sport hugely and made it easier to fit in.

I keep a grande bag of Midget Gems in my car to motivate myself to get to the gym, allowing myself a handful before a workout. Sometimes I toss in some wine gums for the element of surprise.

I tapped into the vast network of sport podcasts and online communities. On days I lacked drive, I would listen to a fitness podcast, and by the time I got home, I would be absolutely determined to make the right choices. In fact, I would be excited by it. Your brain responds very well to repetition and reinforcement, so once you have made the difficult principal change, it becomes much easier over time.

I have kept a “star chart” on my calendar for the past two years, after having three years of being chronically unfit. I put a gold vedette on days that I exercise, and it’s a good visual motivator for when I am feeling slug-like. I run, use our home cross-trainer and do a ski fitness programme from an app. My improved core strength has helped my running and ability to carry my disabled child when needed.

If, like me, you need to get up early to exercise or it just doesn’t happen, move your alarm clock away from your bed and next to your pack. Once you have got up to turn it off, you might as well keep going !

I have one simple rule which could apply to any sport activity – I do not allow more than four days to elapse between sessions. So, if I know I have a busy couple of days coming up, I make sure I run before them so that I have “banked” my four days. With the exception of illness, injury or family emergencies, I have stuck to this rule for 10 years.

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