Battling traffic, finding a parking spot, dealing with locker room drama—maybe you should skip the gym today. Why would a personal trainer encourage staying home? Because if you have high-speed Internet access, you can take exercise classes right in your living room (and get the same results you would have if you’d trudged across town and squeezed into a room full of people for an instructor-led workout).
Don’t get me wrong. There are many benefits to taking group classes at the gym. But maybe your schedule is hectic, your child is sick, you’re traveling or you simply aren’t comfortable yet in a gym setting. That’s when streaming a session can be the perfect way to exercise without leaving the house. Before you log in, here are some tips for navigating the world of online workouts.
1. Stay local
If you currently belong to a gym, check to see if they offer online workout classes. Many gyms now offer this service to members. With a simple click, you can use Skype to join in on a private or group workout. Some classes will be live, while others may be on demand.
2. Be adventurous
From yoga and pilates to HIIT, kickboxing, kettle bell, ballet barre, indoor cycling and combo classes, you’ll find a wide variety of classes to choose from online. If you’ve hesitated to take a class at the gym because an activity is new to you, experimenting at home allows you to relax and participate (in privacy!) with confidence. You can even take a one-on-one live class with an instructor on some sites.
3. Verify instructor qualifications
Anyone can be an “expert” online. Before signing up for a class, be sure to research the instructor’s credentials and look for qualified, nationally certified trainers. I always check the reviews, as well, for feedback from others who have taken the class.
4. Look for deals
If you’re new to online classes, look for a site that offers free trial memberships or monthly memberships with the option to cancel if you’d like. Sometimes longer-term commitments are less expensive, but remember, they’re binding. Things change in life – or you may decide to take classes at the gym – and then you’re stuck with a contract you can’t get out of. Online classes can range from free (trial memberships) to $40 and up for monthly subscriptions.
5. Secure your streaming device
Whether you’re using a laptop or smart phone, make sure it’s positioned in a spot that’s at the right level. That way, you won’t have to stop your workout to adjust for optimal view. Also be sure it’s in a safe location so it won’t fall and break.
What you’ll need: