6 online gyms that make motivation a moot point
These virtual gyms offer classes that range from yoga to HIIT anytime you boot up a computer or iPad. No MetroCard, commute, or babysitter required.
Instruction is from top trainers like Jillian Michaels to yoga superstars and emerging talent you might otherwise have to fly across the country to work out with. And several virtual gyms offer live group or private sessions via a fitness version of Skype.
Memberships are low, classes aren’t crowded. You just need a few square feet next to the couch.
The only thing not included at these six virtual gyms? Towel service. We delved into their offerings to bring you everything you need to know before you click and lift. —Jamie McKillop
Offering every workout from yoga to martial arts, Wello is an innovative online fitness platform that provides live training over two-way video. Think Skype, with a lot more sweat involved.
Workouts in groups of three to five are offered all day long, or at least as often as your boutique fitness studio classes. For private sessions, clients are matched with trainers based on availability and personal preferences like activity and trainer personality.
It's a flexible online gym for those unwilling to sacrifice a live training dynamic and the motivation it provides. But those a bit camera shy, beware. You can feel a little exposed in your downward dog should the computer camera be at an unflattering angle.
Group workouts from $10/session, personal training from $19/session, www.wello.com
With a host of downloadable fitness classes that range from rowing to ballet workouts, iTrain's greatest allure is that their videos are playable sans Internet connection. Meaning, you can use the technology on the elliptical, jogging on the Westside Highway, or anywhere else in between.
Videos and MP3s are priced depending on the class and aren't updated regularly. And with many workouts to choose from and various degrees of difficulty, there seems to be a workout for everyone.
The audio instruction for gym workouts is an added bonus, offering up segments like new treadmill routines to break you out of your 9 mph rut. But we do wish we could replace the cheesy music they include with our own pump up playlist.
From $5.99–$10.99/video, www.itrain.com
An offshoot of yogi lifestyle brand Gaiam, Gaiam TV is a "conscious media" outlet that not only offers instructional yoga videos but is also home to natural health, nutrition, and spirituality segments. It's like the National Archives for healthy types.
It can be viewed on computers, mobiles, and televisions with an HDMI cord. With episodes by wellness luminaries like Deepak Chopra, you'll want to get unfettered access on all devices possible. But don't make our mistake and get so engrossed in the programming it leaves less time for your workout.
For that you can choose from a vast pool of videos (new and old) led by household yogi names like Rodney Yee and Shiva Rea, just to name a few.
Lionsgate BeFit is a free (yes, free) 90-day total body circuit and cross training workout system that's exclusive to YouTube. Hosted by Samantha Clayton and Garret Amerine, segments include strength, cardio, flexibility, yoga, and high intensity drills.
If 90 days seem too long to commit, the channel also offers mini workout segments led by all-star trainers like Jillian Michaels, Mary Helen Bowers, and Denise Austin, which are updated daily. The only catch is that BeFit is ad-supported, so if brand-dedicated workouts aren't your thing, then BeFit probably isn't either.
The newly debuted BeFit Go segment on the BeFit channel is worth a look. With HIIT segments designed for use on mobiles and tablets, it's possible to get your HIIT in wherever, whenever. But don't think you won't get some undesired attention doing leg lifts alone in Washington Square Park.
This is live, one-on-one coaching over webcam—and far more affordable than personal training. Founded by longtime Pilates instructor Denise Posnak, the online workout system is specific to yoga and Pilates, with the exception of one Alexander Technique class. (Barry's Bootcamp lovers should sit this one out.)
We'll be honest, the Skype workout can feel uncomfortable (cue planks with someone staring back at your from the screen), so you have to roll with it. The upside is that MyBOD Wellness deliver feedback and engagement with an instructor, and therefore accountability.
The site's roster of nine female trainers fails to boast any big, celebrity names. But instructors with backgrounds in dance and CrossFit bring experience and a unique teaching style to this innovative program.
$35/intro session, $55/regular session, www.mybodwellness.com
From cardio dance to kettlebell sessions, Daily Burn offers a wide variety of effective, sweat-inducing classes led by an eclectic cast of former pro-athletes like snowboarder Cody Storey (pictured above) and in-line skater Eitan Kramer.
Although segments are seldom updated, the workouts are carefully constructed and on-par with what you'd get at say, your luxe gym. But at just $10 a month, Daily Burn costs a fraction of what you'd shell out for a gym membership in NYC. The workouts can get very heated, so make sure to put a towel down, so you don't leave your floor dripping in sweat.
As an added bonus, the website also offers a nutrition section to kick start weight loss, so it's an solid program if you're looking for something well rounded.
Free 30-day trial, $10/month subscription, www.dailyburn.com