Exercise On Demand: Do you stream your workouts?

Last night was my first meeting in a six-week fitness group. A friend of mine is coaching the class, which meets on Wednesday nights for a one-hour workout and 30-minute mind and body workshop through February.

While I’m enrolled, I get access to a gym; but I’m also starting to research the best ways to workout from home. I’ve had the most success (when I actually show up) with studio classes—that I have to schedule and plan for—but it sure seems like it would be great to save all that transit and prep time and enlist some on-demand options.

Right now, ads for the Peloton Digital subscription ($19/month) seem to be following me everywhere—and they’re compelling! I’m not interested in the equipment, but the option for joining in remotely with live studio classes (as well as pre-recorded classes) in cycling, running, bootcamp, floor, and outdoor workouts is appealing. Friends who have the bike say they love the instruction. And maybe having some set start-times would motivate me to schedule a workout.

But Peloton isn’t the only option out there. There are so many workouts streaming that it’s hard to know which are best.

Here are six others that are getting good press. Have you tried any? 

Barre3 ($30/month)
A mix of pilates, yoga, cardio, and weight training. You can choose from hundreds of videos (new ones are added every week) that vary from 10 to 60-minutes. You can control the music, and there’s an option for real instructor feedback. I like the emphasis on low-impact movements.

Booya Fitness ($10/month)
“Every fitness class you could imagine,” is their promise: barre, yoga, kickboxing, dance, HIIT… and so on. My first thought was that it was actually too much, but there’s a nice filter in the interface that helps you select a workout based on goals, equipment, space, and time. The videos include participants of different skill levels—a nice touch—and there’s an emphasis on affordability and accessibility in the mission.

LEKfit On Demand ($20/month)
Fans of Busy Philips’ Instagram feed will know all about these dance-inspired workouts, but may not have ever seen the trainer, Lauren Kleban. She’s the one leading every class, so it’s important that you like her style of instruction. These “intervals of low impact, high intensity cardio with muscle sculpting techniques created to strengthen and tone” and a dedicated playlist could mean more equipment that the others: Kleban recommends you hae a Jumpsport or bellicon fitness rebounder (trampoline), weights, a yoga mat, and some resistance bands.

mFIT ($20/month)
ModelFIT’s signature style is to target small, stabilizing muscle groups with dynamic movements. Some focus on specific body parts, such as 6-minute Killer Upper Abs, while others offer full-body sequencing or heart rate-boosting cardio. Most are equipment free but some require resistance bands or small hand and ankle weights. They range in length from 5 to 20 minutes.

Physique 57 ($20/month)
Barre classes tend to be my favorite, so I’m drawn to these fast-paced, ballet-inspired workouts. Strength training and cardio in 10, 15, 30, 45 and 57 minute videos with no equipment required. The Barre OG.

Aaptiv ($14.99/month)
This one is a little different: It’s audio-only, which means all you need is the app and some headphones to get started. You enter your goals, then choose a workout based on duration, trainer, music, etcetera. The trainer guides you through a workout that you can do at home, in the gym, outside—anywhere.

Note: Many of these offer trial periods for free, so that might be the best way to start. They also tend to go down in price if you commit to a longer subscription.

I left off the Yoga options because it wasn’t what I was looking for, but also because I feel like there have been far more options for at-home Yoga for years. Feel free to share any favorites in the comments!

What do you think about streaming workouts? Have you found any you love? And any tips for making exercise a more regular part of one’s routine?

P.S. Is this the fastest way to get fit?

[Photo: Meier Raymond for Vogue, September 2012]

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