Hey squad! We're creating a series of interviews with virtual trainers like you so we can all learn from each other. Today, we have Ashley Rhianne, a dance and Pilates instructor who transitioned to virtual when Covid hit. You can find her on Instagram

Ashley Rhianne teaches virtual dance and Pilates.
Ashley Rhianne teaches virtual dance and Pilates.

When did you start doing virtual fitness sessions? Did you start before
shelter-in-place policies?
I started doing virtual classes about 2 weeks after the quarantine started. As a dance and pilates instructor I was eager to keep my students but was worried about the transition to virtual.

Do you find that your customers came from your pre-Covid client base? Or did they find you after lockdown started?
Alot of my dance students were already with me but after lockdown started I definitely got more inquiries and different people joining in.

Which do you enjoy more, virtual fitness or in-person fitness?
I enjoy both — I love the accessibility of online classes for people and I think it works well for some people to do it from their homes but I really love being in studio also. I am a people person so its nice to be face to face.

In what ways is virtual fitness better for the teacher and the customer?
In what ways is it worse?
Better: accessibility, affordability, you can do it in the privacy of your own home. Worse: the technology aspect, having to be accountable and staying committed to attending classes.

What do you find are the most challenging aspects of virtual fitness? Teaching technique, technology, audio, studio space? Something else?
I am still working out my ideal space and for me its the challenge of
promoting my classes and keeping people attending. I invested in audio and I have lights so this part isn’t a challenge.

Describe for our readers what you use for hardware, software, and peripherals. How do you handle video broadcast and audio in particular?
I have a headset and body pack for teaching and I use Zoom business for running my classes.

Do you do it all alone, or do you have someone to lean on for production help and the like?
I do it all n my pwn although I want to improve my production skills as this is where I need help.

What advice would you give to a fitness pro who wants to try out virtual fitness via Zoom or other platform?
I would 100% suggest investing in a headset. It makes it so much easier for the students to hear you. I also suggest being engaging with your audience — talk to them as if they are in the same room as you so that you can build the whole experience.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned now that you’ve been doing virtual fitness for a few months?
That I love it! And it has made me a better teacher!

Do you plan to pick up in-person fitness again when shelter-in-place comes to a close, or do you believe that virtual is the new normal?
I am already teaching some classes in person but will continue to offer virtual also. I think virtual will be the new normal for the future.