Before social distancing was a phrase many of us had heard of, online workouts had been gaining in popularity as a home-based fitness solution for a number of years. In fact, it was anticipated that it would grow by 30% from 2017 to 2022 but I suspect the COVID-19 isolation may bump that percentage further. People have expert trainers at their fingertips and the variety of workouts is endless all while in the comfort and convenience of your own home. Right now, this is one of the only solutions for many people whose gyms are closed and the weather isn’t quite warm enough in many parts of the country to shift our routines outside. There are subscription based services with a monthly fee and a number of great free options as well!
I jumped on the streaming bandwagon last fall when the weather started changing here in Indiana. I’m a fair weather outdoor fitness enthusiast – if I have to wear more than a long sleeve tee, count me out until spring. I decided to explore some free options before deciding whether I wanted to dip my toe in one of the subscription-based services and frankly I haven’t entertained the thought of paying for a subscription since.
What has surprised me most…
There is literally something for whatever mood I am in for any length of time I have available to work out. In any given week, I am doing kickboxing, Pilates, HITT, strength, etc., all for free and from the comfort of home. Talk about a boredom buster and I find it easier to not make excuses because I know there’s always an option.
You can absolutely get a sweat pouring workout with little to no equipment. This was one of my main doubts as I looked at my workout area in our basement where I have bands, dumbbells, a yoga strap and mat and a 12’x12’ area of gym flooring. Once you peel back the mindset of needing all kinds of bells and whistles and fitness gadgets, it’s really phenomenal how great of a workout you can get with thoughtfully designed body weight movements and a few sets of dumbbells.
So here are my top three recommendations for streaming options you can access on YouTube for free.
- Fitness Blender – this is where I started and this is where I find myself going back to the most. Kelli and Daniel provide so many different workout options and formats and they are pretty chill in their cueing and demeanor. I don’t personally need a pep talk through my workout. If I’ve motivated myself enough to head down to the basement, I don’t need further convincing once I’ve started and frankly it’s just noise to me. Their workouts are sound and well designed. I also love the fact that they don’t play music in their videos. The music on most online workouts I’ve experienced is basically noise with a beat (man that makes me sound old…) so I much prefer to play my own music while only listening to the trainers cueing.
- Sydney Cummings – her workouts do a great job of keeping you on your toes. Sydney is really creative in her program design to add compound and dynamic movements. You remain focused on putting the different pieces of the exercise together (and trying to look as smooth as she does) opposed to how bad your muscles are burning or your heart is pounding. One con for me is the cheesy fitness/techno music. I have to turn my music up over hers and then sometimes have a hard time hearing her cueing which you really have to follow because her moves are so dynamic.
- Yoga by Adrienne - admittedly I could use a little more yoga in my routine each week but when I do squeeze it in, Yoga by Adrienne delivers. Once again, she has so many different options available and has the perfect mixture of a calming tone but adding in some personality...and sometimes her dog joins her on the mat for a quick ear rub. I recently had tension and knots in my neck and shoulders in which I’d gone for a massage and had been stretching but could not seem to get any relief. I found a great routine with Adrienne targeting these areas and within three days that tightness was totally gone. I most often find myself pulling up one of these workouts as a cool down or finisher to a more intense workout and it always feels like the perfect supplement.
Whether you need a short-term fitness fix until your gym opens again or you are simply wanting to dip your toe in the fitness streaming world like I did, these free options a great place to start!