Whether it’s for work, shopping, or entertainment, technology is always changing how we get things done. These days, fitness is no exception. If you have a smartphone, laptop, or other devices, you can check your heart rate, track your steps, join an online exercise group, and even sign up for a virtual fitness class. With just a touch of a screen, you can view live or on-demand exercise programming. So, if you have Wi-Fi, you’re ready to go!

Many of us don’t feel completely comfortable going to the gym, have transportation issues, or have small children at home. This puts a damper on finding time and motivation to hit the gym. If this sounds familiar, virtual fitness apps and platforms may be a viable solution for your health. And in today’s hectic world, hitting the Internet to cram in some exercise makes sense.

Virtual Fitness Pros and Cons

Amongst YouTube, mobile apps, and live streaming, the virtual fitness market has blasted off in recent years. So many famous exercise businesses now offer classes you can participate in real-time, download, or stream on-demand. No matter which virtual fitness platform you choose, consider these pros and cons:

Pros

  • Convenience: You don’t have to leave your home, purchase pricey equipment, or even put on workout clothes. There is no “Class schedule” so you can hit your favorite class any time, day or night.
  • You can choose workouts you enjoy: Need to decompress? Choose yoga or meditation. Looking for something high energy? Opt for Zumba, HIIT, or cycling. Want to tone or strengthen your muscles and improve your posture? Try a barre workout. It’s all available.
  • Affordability: Many virtual fitness classes are free, and paid membership programs often allow you to sign up for a trial period to decide if the program is for you. Even the paid memberships are at significantly lowered rates than gyms and studio classes.
  • No one is watching: I think that’s all that needs to be said. If you don’t feel comfortable exercising in front of other people, virtual fitness platforms are an ideal solution.

Cons

  • Information overload: All you have to do is search workout videos and you’ll find plenty of fitness classes across the world wide web. But choosing which videos are best can be quite challenging. It can be overwhelming and time-consuming to find something that works for you.

  • There are no regulations
    : Unqualified fitness gurus can create a YouTube video and make all sorts of claims because no person or agency is policing the virtual fitness space. This is where an injury occurs.
  • You need a solid connection: Wi-Fi glitches are common, and that affects the value of any virtual fitness activity.
  • No one is watching: This can be good and bad. Without an instructor to tell you that you’re performing exercises incorrectly or to motivate and push you, you may not be getting your best workout.

Virtual Fitness Done Right

Choosing the workout style that meets your needs can be tricky. If you’re older than 55, have a chronic health condition, or suffer from an injury, participating in virtual fitness classes can be downright dangerous. But even if you’re healthy, there are a few things you should watch for before you sign on:

  • Pricing: Many online fitness sites have monthly subscription prices and some tack on hidden fees. Are you really going to be using these classes enough to get your money’s worth?
  • Credentials: Do some research to find out whether instructors are licensed. A good rule of thumb: Search for companies who have certified fitness professionals teaching their classes. Some of the high-profile licensing and professional societies include:
    • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
    • National Academy of Sports Medicine
    • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
    • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
    • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
    • National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
  • Reviews: Take a moment to read through reviews for virtual fitness classes. If you see hundreds of five-star reviews, it’s a safe bet the class has something solid to offer.

No matter which form of fitness you choose (virtual or real-world) talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a chronic health condition.

 

Fitness Companies Offering Online Workouts!

These popular fitness companies are making working out at home more accessible for everyone via online classes, mobile apps, and more.

Barry’s (Paid) $$

If you are looking to shred calories like crazy, this well-known Bootcamp-style fitness studio has launched virtual 35-minute classes that can be booked online or though the Barry’s app. Each class sells for $20.

 

Nike Training Club App (Free and Paid) $

The Nike Training App offers a variety of free workouts designed by professional Nike trainers, and they just made their premium version (that has even more workouts) completely free for members. The mobile app includes everything from HIIT-style (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts to yoga flows for all fitness levels. Membership is usually $14.99 per month or $119.99 annually.

 

 

Peloton (Free and Paid) $

Peloton is currently offering a 90-day free trial to their full library of digital classes. That is three months completely free! Peloton workouts include a variety of options including cycling, meditation, yoga running, and more. After 90 days, subscriptions are $12.99 monthly. That’s pretty cheap!

P.volve (Free and Pain) $

This total-body and strengthening fitness platform is offering a free 30-day streaming trial. With it, you get access to hundreds of workouts. Use promo code ONEPVOLVE after creating an account. P.volve is also providing free 15-20 minute workouts on Instagram Live and 10 post-workouts on YouTube. Monthly plans start as low as $19.99.

 

Sweat (Paid) $

This popular, intense fitness app includes a wide variety of workouts by several different famous trainers, including founder Kayla Itsines. There are two plans available: one for $19.99 a month and another option for $119.94 yearly.

FitOn (Free)

The FitOn app offers free fitness classes from celebrity trainers and personalized plans. The workouts include everything from HIIT to strength to Pilates.

ConBody (Paid) $

This Bootcamp-style class is offering access to online workouts (no equipment needed) for $9 a month. Con Body offers military-style bodyweight training techniques

 

Sky Ting (Free and Paid) $$

Yoga lovers delight! This NYC-based yoga studio is offering a free week of Sky Ting TV ($20 monthly), the company’s video platform, which features a variety of yoga routines.

 

305 Fitness (Free)

For those of you who prefer the fun dance cardio-style workout, 305 fitness has lots of amazing free classes available to watch and follow along with on their YouTube page.

Physique 57 (Free and Paid) $$

This popular barre studio is offering a 7-day free trial to their on-demand online classes. Monthly plans are available for $24.99

 

CorePower Yoga (Free)

After temporarily closing all studios, CorePower Yoga has yogis covered with a variety of free online classes through their CorePower Yoga On Demand platform.

Tracy Anderson Method (Free Trial and Paid) $$$$

This full-body workout blast that many celebrities love, is offering a two-week free trial to try their online studio classes. Subscriptions generally cost $808.50 annually or $90 monthly. Download the app here.

 

Obé (Free and Paid) $$

Obé Fitness has 14 live classes a day and over 4,000 workouts available on-demand. New classes are added daily. Obé offers a 7-day free trial. Annual membership is $199 yearly or $27 monthly.

 

Barre 3 (Free and Paid) $$

Barre lovers can get a similar burn at home with a 15-day free trial to online classes from Barre 3. Online access is $29 a month afterward.

Gym Shark (Free)

This widely beloved UK-based activewear brand announced all home workouts are now free on their conditioning mobile app. They offer 5day, 3 days and even 1 day a week workout plans that best suit your schedule and desired results!

 

Fhitting Room (Free and Paid) $

Fhitting Room, one of NYC’s most popular HIIT-style boutique studios, is offering 30 days of complimentary on-demand workouts free. After that, the workouts are $9.99 monthly.