The goal of a fitness instructor is to keep the heart rate of their clients up throughout the workout. This means motivating them through speech, demonstrating through action, and basically being present to keep them going from the beginning of the workout to the end.
So why are we writing about microphones for fitness instructors and making sure a microphone test can help ensure optimal preparation for any routine? Because this is one of the key weak points of many fitness instructors’ setups. A bad wireless microphone can cut in and out, poor water proofing makes sweat a particularly nasty threat to its longevity, and sound clarity is of utmost importance as the fitness instructor directs his or her clients.
So what is the best microphone for a fitness instructor to use? Is it a headset-style mic that attaches to your ear with a small boom that runs to your mouth? Perhaps a lavalier microphone that clips to your shirt and connects via a wire to your sound system, or a remote unit that wirelessly transmits the signal to a receiver?
In the interest of simplicity, we’ll cover the latter. A lavalier microphone has a number of pros and cons associated with it that could either help or hurt you as a fitness instructor talking to a class full of eager athletes hoping to get their workout in. We’ll also touch on wearable microphones that attach to your ear, and go over some of the pros and cons of these units.
Microphone Test: Lavalier Microphones
Lavalier microphones are used by broadcast, film, and fitness professionals every day. They’re typically rugged pieces of equipment that allow you to capture and transmit clear audio without the potential interference of a microphone positioned around your nose and mouth.
Fitness instructors tend to work up a sweat and breathe heavily during their routine. You don’t want the sound of your breathing to come across the loudspeaker to your class. You want nothing more than the music and the sound of your voice to come through. This is where a lavalier microphone excels. It’s just sensitive enough to pick up your voice and, positioned correctly, will be out of the way so you can do what you need to do.
The downside of one of these microphones is the noise associated with clothing. If you don’t clip it properly, the little pickup can make an awful racket as the mic rubs against your shirt. Doing a microphone test first will let you know if this is going to be a problem or if you’re in the clear.
One popular and inexpensive option in this category comes from Audio-Technica. The ATR-3350 is a solid, reliable microphone priced at just under $20. The wire is long enough to reach a wired receiver, but thin enough to roll and tuck into your shirt or pocket to avoid accidental snags when used with a wireless transmitter. Again, doing a proper microphone test first should help you determine whether or not this will be an issue.
Microphone Test: Headsets
A head-worn microphone like the Pyle-Pro PMHMS20 can make a huge difference in your workout instruction. Not only will you not have to deal with making sure you don’t accidentally knock into your microphone during your workout, but it’s almost invisible on your face should you wish to record a session for YouTube or some other online video.
Head-worn microphones are easily to work with and offer an advantage of better vocal audio in a noisy room. Lavalier microphones can be really good at picking out the primary voice, but nothing quite compares to a microphone positioned an inch from your mouth.
The downside you hit with these can be your breathing. You may need to work with mic positions and gain levels to filter out this extra noise. Need I say it? Microphone test first so you’re not troubleshooting during a workout session.
Regardless of which solution you go with, remember that the most important thing to consider is the clarity of your words. If you’re more of a loud speaker, you might want to go with a microphone that doesn’t sit virtually on top of your vocal pathway. If you tend to be a bit quieter during the heat of a workout, then a microphone sitting lower on your chest is probably not the best solution to try first.