We Asked The Expert

What Equipment Do You Need To Teach Online?

In this blog post, we take you step by step through the equipment needed to teach online fitness classes.

Since gyms and leisure centres were closed as part of the COVID 19 Lockdown in March 2020, thousands of fitness instructors have begun teaching classes online. With restrictions still in place in venues around the UK, online classes will continue to be a popular format for fitness professionals.

When you begin to teach online, it’s essential that you have the right equipment in place so you can be seen and heard well.

Video

Firstly, you need to be seen clearly by your class participants when you’re teaching online!

Many fitness instructors are using smart phones and tablets to deliver their classes, which both work perfectly well.

However you may want to see comments by your participants during the session. You may also want to see their video feed if you’re delivering via a video conferencing platform such as Zoom. In which case, you will need a bigger screen so a laptop, desktop PC or Mac will be more appropriate.

Most devices and computers now have very good quality in-built cameras which are adequate for teaching online classes. However you can also use an external HD webcam such as this one, which will ensure a clear picture for your participants.

laptop and fitness equipment
visual of how to set up microphone and music for teaching online

Audio

When you’re teaching a fitness class online, you need your participants to hear both your voice and your music clearly.

Stuart Wilkinson, Head of Sound Dynamics, has the following advice for the perfect audio set up.

Having a small mixer gives you so much more control over the volume and tone of your voice, along with the music. Here’s a mixer that’s perfect for this set up.

If we break it down into voice and music, it may be easier to understand. 

Voice

You’ll need a headset microphone system which will plug in to the mixer. This is an essential part of a professional sounding set up.

So, you wear the headset and bodypack as though it’s a regular class and plug your receiver box into the mixer. If you don’t already have a headset mic system, here’s the one we recommend.

Music

You can either play your music directly through your online platform, for example Zoom, using iTunes (or similar) or you can plug your phone into the mixer, as shown on the image above.

If you plug your phone in to the mixer for the music, there could be less lagging during the class. This will be because Zoom isn’t trying to do two jobs and doesn’t need the extra internet strength to carry out both tasks. (The two tasks being iTunes and Zoom at the same time).

If you’re playing music from your phone, you will have better control over your music by using the Pure Energy GO App.

If you use your phone for your music, you’ll then need to plug a speaker into the ‘phones’ socket on the mixer. This is so you can play your music back to you in your room. When you plug your phone into the mixer, the sound is being sent directly through to your laptop, so you won’t hear your music. You’ll need a phone to mixer connecting cable like this one to do this.

If you’re unsure of which portable speaker to choose, the team at Sound Dynamics will be happy to talk you through your various options. 

It’s important to stress at this point, that it’s highly recommended that you use Licence Free Music such as Pure Energy GO in your online classes. This ensures your video doesn’t get muted or taken down, and also that you’re complying with licensing laws.

Setting Up The Mixer

This diagram demonstrates which cables plug in to which socket on the mixer to set up the equipment you need to teach online.

You can use the Mic and Music Controls to change the volume and tone of your voice and your music to get a mix that works for you and your participants.

diagram of how to set up a mini audio mixer

We hope this article has helped you to understand the equipment needed to teach online and how to best set up your equipment for delivering fitness classes via Zoom, Facebook Live or any other online platform.

If you’re having problems with your video being muted on Facebook Live, take a look at this article. If you’re interested in teaching classes via YouTube Live Streaming, we have an indepth review here.

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