Working (out) from home: 5 on-demand exercise classes
Tear your eyes away from Netflix and get moving with these streaming fitness classes in the comfort of your own living room
Let’s be honest – around now is often when our yearly fitness resolutions fall by the wayside. It’s cold, it’s dark and the novelty of dragging ourselves to the gym or going for a run in the rain has worn off. However, all is not lost. The fitness industry has tapped into today’s on-demand, streaming service culture, and now you can work up a sweat from the comfort of your own living room.
Of course, this isn’t entirely new – Peleton and its high-tech (not to mention high-priced) stationary bike and live classes are steadily taking over the fitness world, with Italian competitors TechnoGym following hot on their frantically pedalling heels. For those who don’t have £3k to drop on a piece of equipment we’ll likely end up using as a coatrack (that’ll be most of us, then), these on-demand exercise classes are a more purse-friendly alternative. And if you’ve not exercised in front of a TV since panting along to a Jane Fonda VHS in the ’80s, rest assured things have come a long way. You can still wear your leg-warmers if you like though.
The lowdown: Less pirouettes and more Pilates, Barrecore combines work with a ballet barre with dance-inspired movements, lightweight props and high reps – ideal if you’ve always dreamed of having a dancer’s body. Jourdan Dunn, Poppy Delevingne and ballet queen Darcey Bussell herself are all said to be big fans, so who are we to argue? Instead of travelling to their studios in London, Bristol and Manchester, you can get the Barrecore workout at home with their online videos, which cover their signature class as well as shorter workouts for those pressed for time.
How much? You can get a two week trial for free, and then the online service costs £25 a month. You can also pick up a kit to get started (including some very snazzy ultra-grippy socks) for £39.
Best for… Anyone who’d rather eat their sports socks than go spinning – Barrecore is low-impact and works up a sweat through holds (like yoga), rather than cardio. Devotees report that an excellent bum is one of the most noticeable results, so if you’re sick of squats, Barrecore could be your ticket to a perkier derrière.
SCOTT LAIDLER ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINING
The lowdown: Online fitness courses can sometimes be a bit cookie cutter – plug your weight and height in, and it’ll spit out a set of exercises that may have nothing to do with your lifestyle or goals. Personal trainer Scott Laidler’s online course is designed to be different (and this chap certainly knows his onions, as he’s trained everyone from Oscar-winning actors to Paralympic athletes). Fill in a questionnaire and you’ll receive a custom fitness plan designed by Scott and his team, a nutrition plan and access to a video exercise library – all with the aim of whipping you into shape in six to twelve weeks.
How much? Prices start at £195 for six weeks.
Best for… Fitness fans committed enough for a personal trainer, but too far from a good local one, or those with an upcoming event that they want to look fabulous for.
The lowdown: InstructorLive calls itself ‘the Netflix of fitness’ – but rather than falling asleep in front of it with a glass of wine, you’ll be choosing from 160 programmes with more than 1500 different workout videos, which you can stream on-demand on your TV, tablet or phone. There’s a huge amount to choose from here, from fitness classics like high intensity interval training, Pilates and aerobics to more specific workouts, such as Wedding Ready in 60 Days, Little Black Dress Workout, pre- and post-natal yoga and the intriguingly-named Romancercise (which is apparently a pre-date HIIT workout – who knew?).
How much? Prices start at £4 a month for a single programme – ideal if you’re just dipping in a toe.
Best for: Those who get bored easily and want to try a bit of everything, or beginners who’d rather start slow in their PJs than face a group class at the gym.
MOVEMENT FOR MODERN FITNESS
The lowdown: Yoga bunnies looking for a little motivation will love this on-demand library of routines, which range from under 10 minutes to over an hour. You can filter by type of yoga (which covers styles we didn’t even know existed – Jivamukti, anyone?), difficulty level and even what kind of mood you’re in. We recommend you attend at least a couple of live classes to nail the form and alignment (sadly, the videos can’t do it all for you), but once you have the basics this service is mega convenient. There are at least three new videos a week, and you can sign up for daily challenges that’ll be emailed to you at 6am sharp to kick you into action – even if you’re working out in your jim-jams.
How much? There’s a two-week free trial when you sign up, and then prices start at £10.99 a month.
Best for? Anyone who’s always wanted to give yoga a try, or who wants to get back into it after a long absence. It’s not just for beginners, though – experienced yogis will love the daily challenges.
The lowdown: If you’re worried that a streaming on-demand service isn’t enough of a kick up the bum to actually get you working out, then these online classes from Stemz Fitness are live and interactive (which means, *gulp*, accountability). Bookable online and conducted by Zoomlink (so like a video conference call), there are five different options here, including P90X and Insanity for serious fitness buffs (or, you know, masochists). The two-way system means that instructor Ems can give you feedback on your form, and classes are capped at 10 people for that one-on-one feel.
How much? At just £3.50 a class, this service costs less than your morning coffee. No excuses here!
Best for: Cardio queens who are concerned that their form may suffer if they exercise solo.