Starting a Fitness Social Network Group?

I am a fitness and yoga teacher, currently teaching five online classes a week to between 8-12 people. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have had to move from live classes to online classes. In a live scenario, I was limited to smaller classes in my home studio. This new online medium gives me the opportunity to broaden my audience. In order to do that, I have been trying to increase my Facebook presence and engage my current participants online and attract more participants. With my limited experience and trials, I have managed to attract one new participant in the last four weeks.

Woman doing an online Yoga class. Image by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

My vision to move forward and broaden my audience would involve creating my own website that would include the following content:   blog on fitness, health and aging topics (including fitness book reviews), fitness videos (indoor and outdoors), fitness video snippets (how to), nature & ‘play’ pictures (I love the outdoors, golfing, SUP, skiing etc).  It would also allow for tracking attendance for classes and payment.  I would also publish content on Facebook and Instagram to bring the audience to my webpage.  The theme would be relating to fitness for playing or finding your fitness mojo.

I would like to engage my audience by offering a periodic (weekly or bi-monthly) free play activity, such as hiking, walking, biking, swimming etc.., while still offering my weekly fitness classes.   This offers an opportunity to create a free activity, allows a social aspect that we don’t have time to foster during the fitness classes and also the reason for the fitness classes, is to be able to be fit enough to ‘play’.  

Furthermore, I have been starting to use polling in Facebook, which helps me to listen to what types of classes or areas of fitness people would like to work on (e.g. what equipment do you have, what areas of the body do you want to work on next, what health related programs would you like to start etc.).   Lastly, I would like to create a seasonal (one per season) contest or challenges on either recording/counting steps or time devoted to fitness – and offer small monthly prizes for the winner.

I also think that knowledge is power.  I would like to develop a ‘play to test your knowledge game’ relating to the benefits of health and fitness activities or topics. 

I have been using Facebook to post my fitness class events but have not fully used the full suite of capabilities.  Once I have more content posted – perhaps on Facebook or my website, such as 2 videos, 2 blogs and images, I would like to use the Facebook ‘boost posts’ option to advertise my online fitness classes.  There is also an option to promote offers by offering discounts etc.   These tools would help reach a broader audience.

I really like the Instagram format of posting images and video snippets (short videos).  I could use this to promote certain movements such as stretching, strength or cardio exercises and playing.  I could also use these as a challenge for people to try the movements and post the results on my Facebook page.

My next steps are to install and learn video editing software to begin to create videos for my online content.  I will begin by creating a private page to post my videos and content and invite members to the private page.  Because of my insurance, I need to ensure that my participants have signed a waiver, before they join my fitness classes (live or video).  I will also therefore need to create a form in Google Docs that people can review and click yes quickly, before they connect to my content.   

What other tools or activities could I engage in? I would love to hear from you.


FACEBOOK: Vision of creating a new online fitness Social Network Group. Can you help me plan it out #OnlineFitness #OnlineBusiness #FitnessInstructor #FitCovid Check this post:

TWITTER: Vision of creating a new online fitness Social Network Group. I need your help. #OnlineFitness #OnlineBusiness #FitnessInstructor #FitCovid

Three Inspirational People That Play

Playing is a big part of my plan.  As I approach my retirement, I plan on taking on more activities that involve play; hockey, swimming, cycling, golfing and teaching fitness.

As a child I remember how much fun I had climbing trees, swimming, playing tag and jumping on inner tubes!  Those were the best summers ever as I played.  As I grew older, I stopped playing outside.  As a 16 year old, I starting to do strength training in my brother’s gym, in our house and slowly began to understand the benefits of strength training. 

As I attended University, I started to frequent a gym where I took a fitness class that my friend was teaching thinking that, eventually I would teach fitness classes too.  Alas, that didn’t happen right away.

After University, I started a full-time job, got married, had kids and didn’t have much time for fitness or playing.  I was too busy working day to day, taking care of a household and too exhausted.

Finally, after my last child, I started to play once again and joined a women’s hockey team.  I then started slowly to play more, by cycling, learning to swim, running and strength training.  

Over that period of time, I watched my parents age and found that my father who worked outside all his life and walked every day was in great shape, but my mother, who worked in a more sedentary role as a housewife was not as healthy.  They both lived long lives, my father to 93 and my mom to 87.

In 2015, five years ago, (22 years after attending university), I finally fulfilled my dream and enrolled in YMCA courses and received my Group Fitness Certification to teach fitness classes. I have also since obtained my Yoga certification.  I now teach several classes a week.   I learned through these and other courses and literature, that exercise slows down our aging process, helps our cognitive abilities, strengthens our heart, bones and muscles.  There are so many benefits to exercising as we age. 

At my current age and activity level, I feel that I need to take fitness seriously, which includes strength, cardio and flexibility training because I would like to continue to play sports such as hockey, cycle, swim and golf for many years to come.  The only way that I can continue with my ‘play’ activities and not get injured, is to continue with a deliberate fitness regime.

If I would have known then, what I know now, I would have walked daily with my Mom, when she lived with me.  I could see her cognitive and heart condition deteriorate before my eyes.   Had I known the benefits and had I been able to help her increase her physical activities, she may have had a better quality of life, towards the end. 

It may be too late for my parents, but it may not be too late for you or your family members.  It’s possible to keep ‘playing’ in life, even when we get passed 60, 70, 80 years of age and beyond.   Here are three inspiring people that may help you or your loved ones to start and stick with a fitness program, whatever it may be, it’s never too late to start.

Mark Sertich – The Oldest Hockey Player from YouTube

Mark Sertich is a 95 year old hockey player.   He does his daily stretching and strengthening and also plays his three hockey games a week.

Ernestine Shephard – The 80 Year-Old Bodybuilder from YouTube

Ernestine Shephard started body building at 71 years old.  She walks and runs 10 miles a day and trains daily with a group of ladies. She is the oldest female competitive bodybuilder in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Betty Jean McHugh – The 90 Year Old Marathon Runner from YouTube

Betty Jean McHugh started racing (running) in her late 50s.  Since then she has run 20 marathons and broke many records for her age category and she is still a marathon runner at 90.

These videos show regular folks that decided to keep active during their golden years.   It shows that these activities help to keep them feeling young and to keep them connected to others – something very important as we grow older.  

Playing during my golden years is a big part of my plan These three individuals have inspired me to keep going with my plan. Who is inspiring you? What about you? Will you play?


FACEBOOK: Some people never stop playing. Check out this blog on three inspirational people that play. #Healthinaging #Aging #Health #Longevity #HealthyLifestyle Check this post:

TWITTER: What’s your play plan? Check out this blog on three inspirational people that play. #Healthinaging #Aging #Health #Longevity #HealthyLifestyle

Help! Social Media at Work?

Image by Pexels

I work for a Canadian based company, having offices in several countries in the world.  All our employees are affected by this pandemic.  With this new situation, some people work from home, others need to go to the office, some people don’t have work to do and must stay home.    In some countries, you are not allowed to leave your home, in others you may walk around your neighborhood.   Our employees all face different situations depending on where they live, but we all share a common bond, our company and this pandemic.

In the last few years, I have put on a May Fitness Challenge, where we group employees into teams and each person in the group records their time exercising into a mobile application we have specifically created to track time.  We post weekly progress on points and teams and at the end of the challenge, we give out prizes and medals. 

Image by Pexel – Creating a Health and Wellness initiative

Two weeks ago, I have been asked to help create an internal worldwide Health and Wellness initiative for our 1600 employees.  The purpose is to create an online community, where people are able to communicate freely about how they are doing and by giving them a choice of daily activities to complete, it will present a forum for discussion. The daily activities could include, a fitness or yoga class, a meditation challenge, a bingo game, a cooking class or a smoothie challenge.

The tool that we have at our disposal is the Office 365 suite.   We have the ability to publish a mobile application from this platform to eventually record points – perhaps in May.  For the month of April, we want to reach out to everyone, have them sign up and sign a waiver (disclaimer on any physical activities they may undertake).  Once they sign up, they will be given access to a SharePoint site. 

The Health and Wellness SharePoint site, would contain areas where people can post their pictures, videos and comments called Yammer, a weekly and daily schedule, links to activities and other such information. 

We are setting up a working group to review any posts that are logged and also to suggest new activities to do and post links to recorded videos or live videos.

This is a first initiative for me. I would love to hear any other ideas on tooling or activities that would benefit our initiative!  Please help!


FACEBOOK: Help on launching a Health and Wellness campaign, using Social Media #HealthandWellness #HealthandFitness #Sharepoint #Sharepointintranet Check this post:

TWITTER: Intranet Social Media? I need help! #HealthandWellness #HealthandFitness #Sharepoint #Sharepointintranet

Offering Online Fitness During COVID-19? Free Advice!

According to The British Journal Of Sports Medicine  we need to maintain our physical activities in order to boost our immune system that will help with the fight of any viral or bacterial infections. Personally, I truly believe that keeping physically fit reduces the number of illnesses that I have had in the last few years.  This, I attribute to the 5 fitness classes that I regularly teach and the other sports that I play.        

In this new COVID-19 paradigm I can’t play my sports, or physically teach in the gym or the studio but I still have people that want to keep up their fitness regime and boost their immune system, and so do I.  My only option is to learn how to teach online classes while maintaining my own daily fitness workouts.  Here are three main points that need to be considered before jumping to online classes:

  1.  Become Highly Proficient on the Technology side or ask Advice

I recently joined a Facebook Fitness group where I posted some questions on what technology should be used to start my online workout classes.   I also ended up learning a lot through trial and error.  Here are some insights.

Video Platform

I tried two platforms, Facebook Live and Zoom.  I started off using Facebook Live to teach my classes.  Although I had some success, it was quickly noted that I couldn’t see my participants and couldn’t see the text feedback as people were sending messages.  Also the technology was causing problems for my camera setup and would flip from laptop camera to web cam.   I next tried Zoom.   I noticed that I could see all my participants on the screen working out with me and I could match my pace with my participants.  The participants could wave at me if they needed to stop or point something out to me.    I also did not have any issues with microphone or camera selections. Although there has been some recent security issues with Zoom, in this case of teaching classes, I would recommend Zoom or something similar, where you can see your participants.


I knew that my laptop camera had some limitations on quality and therefore invested into a WebCam  Logitech C930e that had an integrated microphone and could be mounted on a tripod.  I wanted to make sure my students could see as well as hear me well.  This Webcam turned out to be a great investment.  My participants do tell me that sometimes my image is a bit blurry, when I do a HIIT segment (move quickly), but it quickly refocus automatically. At this point, I truly believe it meets my needs for the next few months.


I started using my WebCam microphone and participants indicated that while they could hear me loud and clear, they could not hear the music, or the music was distorted.  Here is where I received a recommended video to purchase a separate microphone and to change my default setting in Zoom to optimize the audio.  I purchased the Blue Snowball Microphone.

Here is the YouTube video that with the Zoom, Microphone set up Recommendation

2. Review Liability and Copyright Issues

Insurance Liability
I currently have purchased fitness insurance that covers teaching fitness classes, either at a studio or in my home studio.   My insurance stipulates that I must have my participants sign waivers to make them aware of the risks of physical activity.     After discussion with my insurance, they have recommended that I upgrade my insurance to cover online classes and have confirmed with me that I still need my participants to sign off on these waivers.     Here is a bit of a grey area.   The students that I already teach have signed a waiver, but if I open up my classes to the public, how do I get everyone to sign off on these.  I am still researching this.

Music Copyright

As a fitness instructor, I am always faced with  the issue of music copyright.   I have specifically bought music from PowerMusic which is meant for teaching fitness classes.   After reviewing Power Music policy, I can see that my music is not licensed for live-online classes.  I would need to purchase special music that has been deemed licensed for online classes.   This is an area that would need to be investigated further.

3. Communication and Social Media Platform


I have been sending a link through email to individual people to join my classes and have been wondering how to expand to more people and how to get feedback.  I do get feedback during the class – I can see people posting comments, but when the class is over, this data is deleted.   I have decided to create a messenger group for my fitness classes and post my fitness class links through this medium so people can join the class and also post messages after the class.   This way, I can engage with the conversation. I can also advertise on my Facebook Page on the upcoming classes and then once they sign/acknowledge the waiver, I can add them to the messenger group.

I have certainly learned a lot in the last three weeks towards teaching fitness classes online. I hope this has helped some of you undertake the leap to online. Although this blog was geared towards fitness, there are many other areas that can be moved to online such as a drawing or painting classes, teaching music or dance and more. Have you been teaching online and if so, do you have any advice for me? Alternatively, will this post inspire you to try teaching online?


FACEBOOK: Three Areas You Will Need to Consider With Offering Online Fitness During Covid 19!! Free Advice! @Zoom_Video_Communication #Zoom #onlinefitness #virtualworkouts #virtualfitness #fitnessinstructor Check this post:

TWITTER: Offering Online Fitness During Covid 19 Now! Three Things to Review!!! @Zoom_Video_Communication #Zoom #onlinefitness #virtualworkouts #virtualfitness #fitnessinstructor

Now that we can’t socialize, is VR (Virtual Reality) our new social reality?

Photo by Pexels

If you live on this planet, you are aware of the Corona virus, also called Covid 19.  As of Friday March 25, 2020 at 8:00pm, there are 201 countries with cases and over 512,701 confirmed cases reported.

In our communities, specifically the Government of Quebec is prohibiting indoor and outdoor gatherings of any kind.

Personally, I have now been in my home for two weeks, with two visits to the grocery store, a quick trip to Ikea and a few hours in my workplace to pick up my laptop. I have been mostly indoors, able to work remotely from home.

In the last few days, I feel like I have lost my best friend. Three weeks ago, I was able to socialize, meet people, teach fitness classes, go for coffee or to a restaurant and not really think about my health or ability to move around.  Now, I get up, eat breakfast, sit at my home desk, work all day, stop at five, help with supper and cleaning, read or watch a movie, worry, go to bed and repeat.   It’s seems unreal, I sometimes feel sad!  I miss my social interactions.

I recently downloaded a product called Zoom. It’s a an online meeting platform, where as a host, I can invite friends and I can see and hear them on my screen. I plan to host a wine party online next week! My friends and I can chat through this interface, be in our own houses and drink our own wine. Sounds like fun!

I have been wondering if there is a next level to this social interaction, where we can feel more connected, when I came across an article describing Facebook Horizon. It is a Virtual Reality Social Platform.  I just thought, how unfortunate that I can’t try it now. I have included a video below that explains how it works.

Details of the Facebook Horizon Virtual Reality Platform Posted on YouTube

Upon reading the article mentioned above and viewing this video, I am totally enchanted with the ability to go online and socialize with friends using Virtual Reality.   I understand from the video that it comes with some various Wii looking worlds and certain games and activities, but that you can build your own if you wish.  I was wondering, could you play cards online, play a board game, teach a fitness class or have a dance party with everyone!!!

Here are my questions for you:  What activities do you do now, that could be transferred into a Virtual Reality world? Would you be willing to try it?


FACEBOOK: Now that we can’t socialize, is Virtual Reality our new social reality?@FacebookHorizon #FacebookHorizon #SocialVR #VR #VirtualReality Check this post:

TWITTER: Socializing using Virtual Reality! Let’s meet inside a new virtual world!!! #FacebookHorizon #SocialVR #VR #VirtualReality

COM0011- Blog 1 – Can I Take Control of my Facebook News Feed Content?

I love sitting around, drinking my coffee and catching up with my Facebook friends and family. Lately, I have been wondering if I need to see all those adds and suggested content that I don’t really care about! I was wondering – can I change the content of my news feed?

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

Facebook has been developing their algorithm since it was born in 2004. Over the years, they invented news feeds, likes, newsfeed sorting, prioritization and last year, in 2019, they introduced the ‘Why am I seeing this post’ tool.

Created by HootSuite – Article: How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2020 and How to Make it Work for You

Let’s focus in on the News Feed.   Do you ever wonder why you are getting certain content or adds on your feed?    It’s important to understand that Facebook has over 1.6 Billion users visit Facebook daily and over 300 million actives users. Facebook had to develop an algorithm to manage and sift through this content to display it on your feed.  It does this by analyzing your likes and reactions to posts and serves up more of what you like.   It also serves up adds that have certain advertising requests that matches your profile (e.g. age or gender or location).

How do I find out more about these preferences?  Go to a post in Facebook and click on the … (three dots), top right corner.  A menu will pop up with the question ‘Why am I seeing this Add?’. 

Screen Shot taken from my Facebook page after clicking the …. (top right)

I can click ‘Hide all adds from this advertiser’ or I can click on ‘Make Changes to your Add preferences’.

Screen Shot taken from my Facebook page after clicking the Why am I seeing this add link

You can look through the About Facebook Adds to get more in depth information about these settings.

Who knew?  As of 2019, Facebook has now given users the ability to hide adds that they don’t want to see or to modify your Add Preferences and change your interests, your information, Ad settings etc… 

In conclusion, yes I now configured my Facebook add preferences but have yet to see how it will truly affect the adds and content that pop on my feed.  Stay tuned!    I would love to hear if you have had any success with this approach!


FACEBOOK: How can I take control over my @Facebook News Feed content? #WhyamIseeingthisadd #Facebook Check this post:

TWITTER: Controlling my @Facebook News Feed content? This is 4 u. #WhyamIseeingthisadd #Facebook