I'm not aware of a more true statement than "you can't be half pregnant" - which is typically used to admonish someone who appears to be doing something half way, while expressing the desire for complete results. It's becoming clear to me that many Club / Studio Owners (and Instructors for that matter) think they can successfully be "half pregnant" when it comes to offering and/or teaching virtual Indoor Cycling classes.

Lots of businesses try to be "half pregnant" and I've worked for a number of them 🙁 It may be caused by a lack of capital, human resources or a simple failure of leadership. In any event, the business in question decides to begin dabbling in some new product or service offering, rather than fully commit the time and resources needed to be successful. It rarely works out well.

My taxidermy business is getting a little slow... I know what to do... I'll start making cheese! 

Customers are smart. They'll see through (or are confused by) these halfhearted attempts at pretending to offer a service, when you really don't - or only do so at a very minimal level. 

If you offer virtual ride videos in your studio [wlm_firstname], I'd like you to ask yourself this question; are my students truly engaged by the virtual ride videos I show, or do they simply act as another distraction in your studio?

There are two distinct components that affect whether your students are engaged by virtual rides or are only distracted by them...

  1. Does the studio layout/design minimize distractions, while focusing your student's attention on the video?
  2. Does your teaching/coaching engage your student's in the video?

This post is getting long, so I'm only going to focus on the layout/design question for now.

I've been frustrated for years by one of the Life Time Fitness studios where I teach. Don't get me wrong, these studios are beautiful and are a real joy to teach in. I use virtual rides in most of my classes. But because of how studio is laid out, the video screens compete for attention with the multiple distractions shown here:

Many of our participants come to our classes looking for a mental break from the real world. They're inundated with thousands of visual images every day. Now consider the participant who's riding with me in this studio and all the different competing images she needs to ignore to stay focused on any-one-thing:

1) The basketball game being played outside the studio.

2) Me - the Instructor up front.

3) The clock

4) The actual video screen

5) The refection of the cute guy in the front row

6) The endless stream of people walking to adjacent studios

7) The reflection, of an endless stream of people walking to adjacent studios

Another studio where I teach has a similar problem, except it isn't the side wall that's glass, it's the back wall. I'm frequently competing for the attention of my (male) student's with the reflection of some attractive gal, doing bent-over-rows, on the gym floor outside the studio.

Now compare that studio with this Virgin Active studio in London:

Can you see how captivating it would be to have one large screen, with no mirrors and placing the Instructor off to the side? This studio becomes more like a theater. Calm, with no unwelcome distractions. With its dominate screen and black borders (no mirrors) riders can immerse themselves in the visuals, while you provide the additional context and coaching of a compelling virtual ride, that all will enjoy.

My point here is that if you're considering adding virtual cycling video capability to your studio, don't try to be "half pregnant". Consider the space you have to work with and decide if it really makes sense to add video, without some major changes. As tempting as it may seem, adding a couple of flat screen TVs, to an existing studio with mirrored walls, may not create the effect you were hoping for.



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