The business of exercise with Saloni Kantaria

Saloni Kantaria, on home workouts and virtual classes

Saloni Kantaria in one of her virtual workout classes.

When exercise and fitness is your business, you have no choice but to keep your clients on the path to fitness. How do you do that during a pandemic? Virtual classes.

I got in touch with Saloni Kantaria, owner and fitness instructor of Reform Cycling and Strength Studio and asked about virtual classes, training at home and maintaining a boutique fitness studio during a pandemic.

On keeping the business running

Our plan is twofold. To continue offering our Les Mills virtual classes at our studio. However, in line with the Govt’s directives, we are only allowing 5 people into the cycling room that normally holds 20 and 3 in the strength studio which normally would hold 15.

Besides that, our paid virtual home 8-week programme is still ongoing and is currently in its third week.

The challenges of creating virtual classes

This was all very new for me. I had to watch lots of tutorials, videos and listen to podcasts to educate myself on this. The challenges were:

  1. Getting used to the technical side of teaching a virtual class like making sure the videos aren’t leaked to outsiders.
  2. Structuring an 8-week programme using only a mat, a pair of dumbbells and a resistance band while making sure the programme is interesting.
  3. Figuring out how to explain it to my clients and convincing them to pay for it
  4. Learning how to record a workout, editing the video into a concise virtual workout and uploading it without getting into trouble for copyright infringement.
  5. Understanding how camera angles should work, how to get good sound and how to work out in a “set” type environment.
Feedback from clients about virtual classes.

On feedback from clients

They feel like they are being supported by Reform through this difficult time. They’re all familiar with my technical approach and appreciate the foundation laid out for them, including the week to week progression of the workouts and the variations offered for various exercises.

On working out from home before COVID-19

I actually like working out from the comfort of my home sometimes.  When I do, its virtual workouts offered by an American based company called Peloton. Specifically, their yoga classes. I am not a big yoga fan and don’t enjoy 60-minute yoga classes but I know I have to do it to improve my flexibility. Before all this, I preferred doing the Peloton 20-minute yoga class on the app from home as opposed to taking a real-life class.

On what she misses most

I do miss going to the fitness studio for my indoor cycling and barre classes. I even miss going to the gym in my building and meeting other fellow residents. I enjoy the energy of working out in these environments.

On exercising more at home

Funnily enough, because I’m teaching the 8-week virtual program, I’m working out 6 days a week as opposed to my normal 5.  I teach 3 days a week, I practice my routine for 3 days prior to teaching and do my own virtual workouts with Peloton. I only get one day off now.

Exercise is important for your physical and mental well-being

Things to keep in mind when working out at home

  1. You need to be disciplined to get on with your workout and hold yourself accountable.
  2. You need to pay careful attention to what the instructor is saying and focus on getting the technique right.
  3. You need to push yourself because there are no fellow class participants or an instructor who is going to give you that extra push to do it.
  4. You need to take the time to understand exactly what the workouts do to ensure one element of your functional fitness routine is not being compromised; you should do some cardio, some core strength, some flexibility, some pure strength and some breathing workouts to balance out your routine.
  5. You need to get creative with your exercises if you have limited equipment to use and learn to focus on using your own bodyweight to do strength workouts.

Her advice to people trying to exercise at home

It is important to…

Keep your immune system strong and beyond eating well and taking the right supplements, you need to exercise too. It’s important for your physical and mental well-being.

It doesn’t have to be complicated…

Exercise = movement. Play with your kids in the garden, dance in your living room, workout in your house or garden but do something other than sitting all day.

Coming up with a regimen

Be honest with yourself as to whether you can come up with a program that includes all the elements of functional fitness (cardio, strength, flexibility, balance, plyometric movements). If you don’t have the necessary fitness knowledge and you can, consider joining a program as this will keep you accountable and on track.


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