Social Audio-Only Workouts Are The New Next


by Dr. Sandra Colton-Medici

Is social audio calling you? Hype-song or hype-voice, no one can deny that sudden burst of energy one feels when you hear your favorite song come through your earbuds while working out. You may even experience the frantic do-or-die movement to pop those shoulders back into place when your ballet instructor yells, “Shoulders down!” in class. It’s an audio cue like no other, right? The social audio craze from Clubhouse to Twitter Spaces, to the soon-to-be Facebook alternative (still unknown), and Mark Cuban podcast hybrid*, Fireside, is giving way to an audio experience that fitness industry giants should be capitalizing on, stat!

Benefits of an Audio-Only Workout

An audio-only workout via drop-in social audio removes the insecurity that many already bypass by staying home to workout instead of going to the gym. Personal space, check. No competition, check. At home or anywhere workout, check. All you need is to get into a Twitter Spaces ‘space,’ Clubhouse ‘room,’ or Fireside ‘chat,’ and you have the benefit of the voice that helps you go from zero to 100.

Some fitness genres will excel and those are the ones with immediate calls to action that also ask for individuality, (i.e., Zumba, Step Aerobics, Yoga, Boxing, and HIIT Training). The best part will be the ability for instructors to chat with their students in an extended chat format following the workout or training. This is one thing that is difficult to do in a gym, due to class switchovers and the limited time instructors have to build relationships with their core customers. 

Cues Are Keys To Success

A seasoned step aerobics student doesn’t need the instructor visual nor does the core Zumba student either, as many of the moves can be freestyle or individualized for personal enjoyment. One way to keep this in your mind’s eye is for instructors to develop core language that their followers can immediately recognize, identify, and react to.

Challenges & Opportunities For Audio-Only Workouts

The drawback to an audio-only workout is the unknown parameters surrounding the legality of music streaming via social audio platforms. ASCAP and BMI have processes for gyms, dance studios, and radio stations to obtain the appropriate licensing, but really drilling down on social audio may bring these entities into a more specific legal stance as the advertising or monetization like Super Followers come into play both on Clubhouse and Twitter. Accessibility for users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may also be a challenge for audio-only training as well. App developers can enhance instructors’ reach and get ahead of the curve by creating programmable vibration technology to deliver instructors’ verbal cues. This might be a way for social audio apps to give access to more people to these types of workouts, (i.e., a sort of wearable tech to pulse workout cues via in-app setting preferences). 

The Future Sound of Workouts

For the foreseeable future, social audio has provided community and connection during the very difficult time for the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps with its evolution, the lasting relationships forged inside of these conversations and potentially workout ‘after chats’ will bring forth a new way to get and stay fit in the comfort of your own home.



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