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Everything You Need to Know About How to Start an Outdoor Fitness Class

By Neesha Kanaga

Published 7 April 2021

Outdoor fitness classes are gaining steam thanks in part to the pandemic which forced gyms to close and people to focus on social distancing measures while exercising. Intense exercise is made much safer once moved outdoors, and doing so allows gyms to continue offering group training classes, keep up engagement with members and potential members and, of course, continue bringing in revenue. Now let’s dive into how to start an outdoor fitness class.

If you are a gym owner, this is the perfect moment to step into spring with a brand new offering that lets you target your members outside of your facility. For personal trainers, outdoor training provides the opportunity to safely train your clients, either in small groups or one-on-one training.

The best part is that both gym owners and personal trainers alike can benefit from the flexibility of outdoor fitness classes. This allows for integration with fitness apps, nutrition software, and other great additions to make your clients’ lives healthier – the easy way.

Why You Should Start an Outdoor Fitness Class

Outdoor fitness classes are not a new trend, but they have undoubtedly seen a surge in popularity since COVID-19 forced gym closures worldwide. Even with many health clubs re-opening, many members are still looking to avoid unnecessary germ exposure, meaning the traditional on-site fitness class is more or less out of the question. The question is, how to start an outdoor fitness class?

The benefits of outdoor fitness classes extend far beyond the pandemic and have been around for as long as these classes have been in existence: you and your clients get to spend some time outdoors, soaking up some vitamin D and fresh air, and enjoy the mood-boosting, energizing benefits of being out in nature.

These classes can be a great income earner, and they allow for more space than the traditional gym-setting class and give you the chance to get creative with your programming.

But, the advantages don’t end there – if you are a personal trainer or group coach looking to go out on your own, you can offer your outdoor fitness classes at competitive rates since you don’t have the overhead costs of a gym facility to cover, potentially attracting clientele who want to participate in group classes but cannot afford a pricey gym membership.

For a gym owner, you can offer outdoor group fitness classes as a standalone alternative membership to your gym or include them in your on-site membership, adding to the benefits for both you and your members.

For many, one of the greatest advantages of outdoor fitness classes is setting your preferred schedule and hours. Class times will vary depending on who your target clients are of course, but you can choose days and times that more or less work for you. With outdoor fitness classes, you can tailor your offerings to your niche – because it’s not all about boot camp classes, you know. More on this below!

Finally, outdoor programs can be excellent advertising for you or for your gym. Hosting your classes outdoors can garner attention from passers-by and get some free advertising for yourself or your club. Make sure to always head to class with branded gear so that, even if they aren’t able to stop you and ask for your info at the moment, they can look you up later!

Looking for ways to build an outdoor fitness class on a budget? Check out How to Build a Cheap Outdoor Gym Station.

Community Benefits of Outdoor Fitness

Of course part of the appeal of outdoor fitness classes is that they are great for you and your brand and outdoor fitness classes are safe during this unprecedented time, but they are great for the community as well.

Fitness classes in general are appealing to people because they provide a social aspect that working out alone simply doesn’t offer. Classes hosted outdoors can be enjoyed by a diverse group of people, from the young to the old, and whatever the gender, high-intensity workout-lovers, and low impact exercisers alike.

Hosting your classes outside means you can add a little something to your community that everyone can enjoy.

How to Start an Outdoor Fitness Class and Make it Hybrid? Livestream!

You can also take advantage of the online fitness trend by streaming your outdoor fitness classes to reach an even wider audience. The Virtuagym Community Feature allows you to schedule live-streaming workouts that members can register to join & do from anywhere.

What is Outdoor Fitness?

The best part is that your outdoor fitness classes do not need to be limited to boot camps. Read that again if you need to! Outdoor fitness can and should vary widely from HIIT classes, kickboxing, plyometrics, and sports conditioning to circuit training, pilates, yoga, basic training, and more. You can even combine multiple disciplines like yoga and cardio to create your custom programs.

Further reading: Ultimate Guide For a Successful Outdoor Boot Camp Workout

Target new moms with an outdoor stroller-focused workout, or make use of outdoor equipment like benches and stairs to build creative strength training workouts.

If you have an outdoor track at your disposal you can program a track workout and market it to people wanting to prepare for their first 5k, or those wanting to shave minutes off of their race time.

Your outdoor fitness class doesn’t even need to be on land as the popularity of SUP (Stand up Paddle) Yoga classes are taking off as well.

When it comes to how to start an outdoor fitness class, the options are truly limitless and you can create a custom class with routines that appeal to a whole variety of people with different goals and fitness levels.

How to Start an Outdoor Fitness Class – Best Practices

So, what do you need to take into consideration when you get started with outdoor fitness classes?

1. Location

Local parks are always great options, but you’ll need to find out what permissions and/or insurance you need in your area.

2. Pricing

Pricing will depend on the type of class you are offering, as well as whatever overhead costs you need to take into account to make a profit. Will you offer monthly-class memberships, pay-as-you-go options, or sell class packages?

3. Class Times and Demographics

To whom are you trying to market your fitness classes? Do they work 9-5 jobs? Then you might want to structure your classes for early mornings or evenings.

Stay-at-home moms or dads might like a mid-morning class; others might prefer weekends. Tap into your target demographic to decide when is the best time to hold sessions.

4. Equipment

Obviously the less you need to drag around, the better, but some classes will need certain equipment. Have your participants bring their own mats (and anything else they may have- ankle weights? Mini-bands? etc.) Small things that are easy to transport like cones, agility ladders, and jump ropes are great additions to outdoor classes.

Some parks may have outdoor fitness equipment, but if your clients are not sure how to use outdoor fitness equipment, leaving them to their own devices can be potentially dangerous!

5. A Back-Up Plan

What are you going to do in case of inclement weather? Have a contingency plan in place in case class needs to be rescheduled or find a temporary location if such an event arises. How will your participants know if a class has been changed or moved?

6. Social Media

Don’t forget about your social media strategy! Promote your outdoor classes and celebrate client successes using social media. Client spotlights are easily shared amongst friends and family (getting more eyes on your posts!).

High-quality photos/videos of your classes will draw people in, especially since it gives them a taste of what to expect from your class beforehand.

A Great Option for Now – and in the Future!

Outdoor fitness training is an excellent option for your business, whether you are a gym or health club or a personal trainer looking to add group fitness options to your revenue stream.

Combine your outdoor fitness classes with Virtuagym fitness software’s wide array of integrations to provide incredible value to your members and keep them coming back for more!

Neesha Kanaga

Neesha is a copywriter and wanderer who currently finds herself bound to the weather-challenged Netherlands due to the unforeseen circumstances of 2020.

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