By Christine Graf
When the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shuttered fitness studios, Shenendehowa middle school teacher and local spin instructor Brittaney Deitz found herself with a lot of free time on her hands. Prior to the pandemic, she was teaching spin classes five to six days a week at a local studio.
“I enjoy motivating and inspiring people, and it brings me such joy to teach classes and share health and fitness with others,” said Deitz, a Clifton Park native. “So those first few weeks of the pandemic were really tough. I didn’t even have a bike at home because I was at the studio so often that I didn’t need one.”
After a friend gave Deitz a bike, she started doing workouts at home and posting details about them on social media. People began reaching out and encouraging her to teach virtual classes. She was skeptical at first and considered it unlikely that people would be willing to purchase spin bikes for their homes. The bikes are expensive and were difficult to find at the height of the pandemic.
Her husband, Justin, encouraged her to pursue the idea and surprised her by setting up a home spin studio in their living room. Three days later, Deitz taught her first sample class on Zoom with six students. The following day, she opened up her free classes to anyone who wanted to participate.
“All of sudden out of nowhere, I had hundreds of people signing up to take my free classes. It was all from social media and word of mouth. That’s how this has taken off,” she said. “And what really blew me away was the number of people who went out and bought bikes when I started this whole experience.”
Deitz had a loyal following at the spin studio where she taught for many years, and her 25-person classes typically filled up one month in advance. Her virtual teaching platform now allows her to have an unlimited number of riders in her class.
“I would have wait lists longer than the number of people I could fit in a class. It was frustrating for people to try to get a spot,” said Deitz. “This is so much better because it’s unlimited, and I think people are really enjoying working out at home. It’s quick. It’s convenient.”
Bolstered by the success of her free classes, Deitz and her husband decided to take the business to the next level.
They invested thousands of dollars in cameras, lights, microphones and flat screen televisions that allow her to see her class participants. Deitz then expanded her offerings and began charging $35 for a monthly subscription that allows access to unlimited live classes and an on-demand library of recorded classes. Single class rates are also available, as are free introductory classes.
“I can keep the cost lower because I don’t have the overhead of renting studio space and buying bikes,” she said. “And I have five different formats that people can try for free.”
In addition to teaching 30-, 45-, and 60-minute classes, Deitz teaches classes off of the bike. Her “Body by Britt” classes focus on strength, training, endurance, toning and flexibility.
“As much as I love spin, I feel that in order to have a well-rounded fitness level, you have to get the weight training in. I try to use minimal equipment in my classes and always give modifications to make it accessible to people at all different fitness levels,” she said.
Although her classes are interactive, participants have the option of turning off their cameras. The majority leave their cameras on, but some prefer not to.
“That’s another beautiful thing about these workouts. You can do them in the comfort of your own home without worrying about being judged or critiqued. Some people start out with their camera off and they might take classes for three or four months. Then all of a sudden their camera is on because they are comfortable. I had a few clients who said their New Year’s resolution was to take classes with their camera on,” said Deitz.
In addition to promoting Britt Deitz Fitness on social media, Deitz created a private Facebook group, Virtual Fitness and Spin Classes with Britt Deitz, that has more than 1,500 members. Her group includes people from all over the country and the world, she said.
Deitz has hundreds of subscribers, and although she could make fitness her full-time profession, she enjoys teaching and has no intention of giving up her career as an educator. Instead, she will continue to motivate and inspire people in both of her chosen professions.