Now there really are no excuses to skip a workout. The latest fitness trend brings live exercise classes straight to you. Unlike exercise DVDs or on-demand fitness, these online classes give you access to fitness instructors who help you break a sweat in real time—right at home.
“The trend toward live, online classes is the natural extension and progression of ‘home fitness,’ which started back in the '80s with Jane Fonda's videos,” says Sandy Todd Webster, editor-in-chief of IDEA Health & Fitness Association’s publications, including the IDEA Fitness Journal. “The pros include convenience—you can do these anywhere in the world, so if you're in Singapore on business and want to work out in the morning, you can access a website that offers a workout you like—and privacy if you're shy about exercising publicly, as well as good time management. So instead of having to pack a gym bag and travel to the gym, which often can derail exercise compliance, you can simply plug in a URL and get to work.”
Live online workouts can also be less expensive than classes at gyms or exercise studios, and you get more variation than a DVD workout where the routines can be limited. Let’s face it, even with a favorite workout DVD, it’s tiring to hear the instructor say the same things, including side comments and jokes, over and over again. You’re also held accountable, which isn’t the case with a DVD where you can turn it off half-way through or watch it from the couch without anyone knowing.
“If you enjoy working out in a group class or with a trainer, but don't have time to make it to the gym or a dance studio this is the format for you,” explains Mary Helen Bowers, creator of the online Ballet Beautiful classes. “The time that you save commuting can go towards so many other parts of your day. It's really freeing and I find that it makes people more likely to work out.”
Amazing exercise options are just a mouse-click away—from yoga to ballet to bootcamp. Here are four live online workout sites that are worth their weight in sweat. Check them out!
Get a Dancer’s Body
Where: Ballet Beautiful
What: You use Ballet Beautiful’s custom software to take one of these interactive ballet barre-style classes in the comfort of your own home and in real time. The workout, created by professional ballerina Mary Helen Bowers, uses dance-inspired moves to help you get a coveted dancer’s body and build strength. But there’s no need to install a ballet barre in your home—all of the exercises are equipment-free. Registration is required for any of the 10 weekly classes, which cost $35 a pop or $280 for a month of unlimited classes.
Flirt and Get Fit
Where: Flirty Girl Fitness Live
What: Three to five daily classes are streamed live from the Flirty Girl Fitness studio in Toronto. Miss a class and you’re okay because it’s available on the site for 24 hours after it airs. The site also has an array of what they call “Flirty Favorites,” which are workouts that you can access at any time. A 24-hour pass is $5, a week of unlimited classes is $10 and a month of unlimited classes is $15. Options include Flirty Pilates, Bikini Bootcamp, Body Blast, Sexy Sculpt and Hottie Body Boxing, among others.
Workout With Instructors Across the Country
Where: EMG Live Fitness
What: EMG Live Fitness offers classes that are not coming live from one studio, but from studios all over the country led by some of the most sought after instructors. Plus, you join a class that’s physically taking place so that you can workout with New Yorkers, even if you’re in Kansas—and you get a front row spot. The schedule includes one to two workouts per weekday that include Jersey Cycle, Yoga rEVOLUTION, V-Core Workout and Jeni-Fit at the Barre, among others. Classes are purchased one at a time for $5 or a 10-class card is $40. A dozen or so classes are also available on-demand at all times.
Class Variety That Fits Your Schedule
Where: Connect Online Fitness
What: Log on and you’ll have access to seven weekly classes that run Monday through Friday. Live offerings range from half-hour classes, such as Timesaver Strength Training and Cardio Circuit Express, to hour-long workouts, such as Bootcamp and Vinyasa Flow, with new classes being added all the time. (Fit Kids classes are coming soon.) The basic membership is $15.95 and a premier membership is $19.95 per month. Both allow you to take live classes, but the premier membership includes extras such as private virtual studios and on-demand classes with live communication.
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