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The best online workout classes to keep fit at home

The Guardian
2020-05-31 | Since 2 Month

Feel the burn: ‘Now you can power through tough full-body workouts in live-streamed classes.The world’s most in-demand fitness instructors are ready to raise your pulse. Push back the sofa, pump up the volume and move your body


Yoga for every ailment
Texan yoga guru Adriene Mishler is one of the best things to have come out of the Lone Star State since Dr Pepper. Unpreachy but wise, “the people’s yogi” keeps it real with mismatched outfits, a nice line in self-effacement and a zen pooch called Benji, often found chilling mat-side. The living-room sessions, suitable for beginners and advanced practitioners, open up with “What’s up, my friends!” and last from five minutes to an hour. Tailored to just about every ailment or state of mind out there, there’s yoga for writers, for productivity, for bedtime, for joggers, for stress relief, weight loss, back pain, vulnerability and self-respect. Charming and calming, she offers herself as a “buddy”. When “shit hits the fan, I have your back.” YouTube, free. Find What Feels Good subscription, £8.15 p/m

Dance your way to fitness
Edgy choreographer Ryan Heffington may have worked with Christine and the Queens, Sia, Florence and the Machine and Arcade Fire, but his lockdown live-streamed “follow along” SweatFest dance workouts are “basic and accessible”, to quote this Californian dude. With his LA and NYC Sweat Spot classes on hold, here’s your chance to shake it out in his living room with house grooves and moves that include the “happy hippy” and the “cowboy”. Reese Witherspoon, Andrew Scott and Pink are devotees, while Heffington himself confesses to getting a high-leg kick out of this chance to share his passion. “Dance,” he says, “is so fucking healing.” Instagram @ryan.heffington; Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday

Stretch to stay supple. Photograph: Ilka & Franz/The Observer

Channel your inner ballet dancer
French former ballerina Nathalie Errandonea-Mewes usually runs her N-RG Barrebody barre classes – a fusion of Pilates, classical ballet moves and yoga stretches – in a studio in north London. Now you can power through her tough full-body workouts in live-streamed classes that include the signature 60-minute barre, cardio barre and the 30-minute glute-burning “booty blast”, as well as a free fun fitness session for kids aged seven to 12. Live-stream single sessions, £4.50; n-rg.co.uk

Join the A-listers
Make like Gwyneth and sculpt and tone with former dancer and choreographer Louisa Drake, now that her Louisa Drake Method boutique fitness classes and personal training sessions, usually held in Fitzrovia, are on hold. Be your own A-lister and beam the Pregnancy Project (for mums-to-be in their second and third trimesters), a barre class, or Sculpt and Stretch into your own inner sanctum. Just don’t forget the red rope. Full-body workouts from £7 (which gives you 30-day access); live classes via @louisadrakemethod

Work off that lockdown wobble
A “workout” to see off the “wobbly wobble” may have been the hottest thing in town when Jane “respect to the leotard” Fonda was doing her thing back in the 80s, but today it’s a mean-sounding “method” that the body-sculpting elite go for. Hollywood super-trainer Tracy Anderson’s eponymous method is usually only available in studios in the likes of the Hamptons and LA, in 30C heat and high humidity, no less. Now you can get ripped with one of her weekly live-streamed, dance-based cardio classes for beginners through to advanced in the TA Online Studio. Just imagine Jennifer Lopez or Gwyneth (yes, she’s a fan of this one, too) burning through the pain with you and a lean body, courtesy of her high-energy workouts, is yours in the making. £73 p/m or £670 annually; tracyanderson.com

No weights? No problem. Photograph: Ilka & Franz/The Observer

On your bike
Zwifting, like Zooming, is part of the lockdown lexicon for cycling enthusiasts who want to get fit, go faster, or run with a pack of strangers – on a virtual open road. The indoor training app, which also offers training for runners and triathletes, includes structured workouts and training plans. You need a bike (who knew?) on a turbo trainer, or smart trainer (pricier), and a set of rollers, or an indoor exercise bike. Then you’re off on ride simulations of real terrain – even Tour de France stages. £12.99 p/m, seven-day free trial; zwift.com

Fitness with a community spirit
It’s all about the connection and the buzz in Psycle’s four London studios that usually offer spin classes, barre, HIIT and yoga. Now the matey trainers are absolutely smashing it with classes online, including Fit in 45 with Ryan in his kitchen, Fit in 30 (upper body) with Ollie, barre with Maria and Revival Yoga with the very smiley Alana. Regulars tune in but newcomers will get welcome shout-outs too. Live classes every day (usually £20 a session, check Instagram for their schedules) are now free, with on-demand classes on its IGTV channel. YouTube and Instagram, @psyclelondon

West London’s celeb favourite
Here’s your chance to break sweat at Bodyism, the wellness mecca-meets-pricey private members’ club on Westbourne Grove, west London, that has trained the likes of David Beckham, Elle Macpherson, David Gandy and Pippa Middleton. The posh gym is now opening its gilded doors with online sessions: there are two live group classes per day on Zoom, as well as one-to-one sessions, including yoga, Pilates, boxing and barre, and you get access to pre-recorded classes, meditation and health tips. Normal membership is £1,500 a year or £130 a month, for five classes per month. The current offer gives unlimited access to the online library, plus the 14 live classes each week. Online £130 p/m, virtual PT sessions £100 a session; bodyism.com/club

Take a moment for yoga and meditation. Photograph: Ilka & Franz/The Observer

New York’s finest
Hip, edgy and too intimidating even to contemplate, let alone join – that’s NYC’s JetSweat studio. But now you can join from the security of your home. Classes include yoga, cardio, sculpt, mind-body health and weight loss. Currently offering 50% off the annual subscription. £16.30 p/m or £195.60 annually, free trial available; jetsweatfitness.com

Rumble in the jungle
Boxing’s Noah Neiman took his NYC boxing-themed fitness studio, Rumble, nationwide a few years back and is now running bag-free “social fitnessing” workouts online. You’ll need to dim the lights, get the tunes on and some funky art up on your walls to recreate Rumble’s vibe at home, then set to with daily boxing and body weight video workouts on Instagram Live. doyourumble.com

Motivation for the nation
If you’re missing banter with a trainer, then check out Fhitting Room LIVE’s interactive workouts on Zoom. The turbo-energised NYC HIIT and strength studio is running six of its FHIX classes with two trainers – as usual (resistance bands, kettlebells and dumbbells optional). Kick off with a motivational chant such as, “Let’s do it, let’s kill it!” before finding your sweat spot with 50-minute HIIT sessions that include the advanced FHIXtreme, pre/postnatal and FHITkids (aged 9-13) and Forever FHIT (65+). Private and group classes also available. Free HIIT workouts online, ondemand.fhittingroom.com, and the Fhitting Room LIVE classes are £16.30

Fuss-free Pilates
“Let’s get this party started,” says Shannon Nadj before one of her new online routines. For a sleb Pilates trainer who counts Hailey Bieber, Sean Combs and Selena Gomez among her clients and has studios in West Hollywood and Brentwood, Nadj works a pleasingly mellow vibe. She doesn’t talk during her Full Body Glider workout, letting a smooth lounge soundtrack, her cream outfits and matching nails and shiny wooden floor add to the calm. But she works through other routines with clear instructions, her suggestion of using household objects in lieu of equipment (a gallon of water instead of a weight, a towel instead of a glider mat) adding a we’re-all-in-this-together touch of reality. Free classes, YouTube and Instagram; @shannonnadj

Swanky workouts without the fee
Expensive and exclusive (but not any more), the swanky Third Space gyms are now streaming daily on Instagram Live, including a workout of the day (WOD, to the initiated) and there are workouts via on-demand IGTV classes, plus a free workout library on their app. You do need a bit of kit (kettlebells, resistance bands) for classes that include Bodyweight HIIT, Metaburn, Yin Yoga, and Exhale. Online medical and physiotherapy consultations also available. Membership, usually from £175 p/m, now free; thirdspace.london

The beat goes on
Known for moody music and boxing classes in their London studios, Rebel are now offering 45-minute Reel Live Stream Zoom classes every day, and weekly classes with a range of trainers on Rebel TV (there’s a 20% discount on subscriptions; usually £15.99 a month). Classes include HIIT, burn and balance with Sammy, boxing, conditioning and weights with Mia and a 30-minute stretch with Marcus, as well as one-to-one personal training sessions with Rebel PT (from £35). 1rebel.com

Fun-filled retro aerobics
For a blast of retro aerobics joy, check in with Carl Ilov and his pastel string vests and impossibly long legs. Hailed as Joe Wicks meets Jane Fonda, he describes himself as Kim Woodburn meets Kim Cattrall at a Lil’ Kim rave. Live it large with his free high-energy, easy-to-follow dance classes that pump out some pop bangers in his homely flat. Check in at 10am on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 12pm on Saturdays. facebook.com/campfitwithcarl

Bounce back to health
When Tribeca trampoline studio The Ness first opened, membership was by invite only; Gwyneth became a fan and low-impact bouncing catapulted into the stellar fitness universe. Times change. Now any of us can access the Ness method and enjoy sculpt-and-tone classes – no trampoline required. Sign up for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to help you choose the right videos for your needs, then get started. Currently offering a seven-day free trial, then it’s £34 p/m; thenessnyc.com

Move to an African vibe
Burn to the beat with Kukuwa’s video workouts to a winning African playlist. These simple follow-along 60-minute classes are hosted by a group of instructors all kitted out in branded African-print sportswear. This is feelgood fitness guaranteed to lift your spirits – and your booty. Favourites include African Dance and Sculpt, the Midweek Motivate 15, the Kukuwa African Dance Quickie and the unmissable Feelgood Friday. Seven-day free trial available, £12.20 p/m; kukuwafitness.vhx.tv

Dare to face Fierce Grace
With uber-cool studios in London and Rome, Fierce Grace Yoga’s ambient (as opposed to hot) yoga classes have only ever been a metropolitan fix. Now everybody can enjoy the yoga method that mixes a range of HIIT, Pilates and slow-strength yoga styles on Fierce Grace TV Mindbody. A playlist is sent via Zoom before each class. Created by Michele Pernatta, who brought Bikram yoga to the capital back in the 90s, the Lockdown Special offers 30% off a class pack (they come in 10, down from £75 to £52, or 20, down from £120 to £84) and drop-ins are now £6. fiercegrace.com

Get Insta-ready with Shreddy
Young influencer Grace Beverley’s fitness app, Shreddy, includes menu planners, recipes and classes for a youthful crowd. She’s now offering free burn classes, full body workouts and mini challenges on Instagram and there’s currently a 17% reduction on quarterly membership and 33% off annual membership. Free workouts on Instagram, @shreddy; shreddy.com

Fitness with a heart
If you’re craving human connection and TLC to keep you on track, Claire and James Davis of multi-award-winning 38 Degrees North have your back. A force of nature on their inspirational retreats in Ibiza and Marbella, this down-to-earth couple are at the helm of a members-only online academy that has a supportive community at its heart. Choose a training plan, video workouts, meal plans, online body tracking and meet for a Wednesday workout on Facebook. Reduced membership £5 for month 1, then £20.25 p/m (usually £27); thirtyeightdegreesnorth.com

Share your workout story
Courtney Black, 23-year-old fitness blogger, trainer and super-motivator, is hosting free online workouts once or twice a day, Monday to Saturday, on Instagram for fellow 20-somethings who then share their “transformation stories” on social media. Weights are needed for some of her classes that include boxing, full body HIIT, and legs and booty. Instagram, @courtneydblack; courtneyblack.co.uk

Get the ball rolling
If barre or Pilates don’t give you sufficient burn, then P.volve’s (as in Stephen Pasterino, otherwise known as P) at-home, deep-tone method might get you crushing those goals – without the pain, without squats, but with an inflatable ball (the p.ball!) strapped between your thighs (you can improvise with a small, squishy ball). Live-streamed low-impact, high-intensity workouts available for 30 days for free with the code OnePvolve, then £16.40 p/m; pvolve.com

Dance school starts here
New York’s Ailey Extension runs prestigious dance classes for wannabe professional dancers. Ailey (the main dance school) is for ages 7 to 25 but the Ailey Extension is for 16 and up and is currently running a staggering range of dance classes on Zoom including beginner’s ballet, West African, Zumba, hip-hop and Afro-Cuban. £7.30 a class, normally £17.90; aileyextension.com

Train with a Viking superhero
Thor actor Chris Hemsworth and his PT (that’s personal trainer to couchies) Luke Zocchi feature 20- and 40-minute sessions of HIIT, Pilates, boxing, yoga and strength workouts, plus the new Centr Unleashed six-week workout programme for small spaces on their fitness app Centr. The powerhouse duo also have a workout on Instagram in which the Australian muscleman swaps his Viking hammer for bottles of detergent and baskets full of washing in lieu of dumbbells. Centr is currently offering a free seven-day trial, after which prices start from £7.83 p/m and include meal plans and guided meditations; centr.com

Are you ready to par-tay?
Pump your cheesy heart out with dance cardio- fitness YouTube star Caleb Marshall, aka the Fitness Marshall, to pop sounds from Justin Bieber to Fifth Harmony and Dua Lipa. His easy-to-follow routines mean you can have a laugh at the Marshall’s smooth moves, if not your own, as you party on to the “sweat set” playlist, updated every week. From £4.99 p/m; thefitnessmarshall.org


Glam it up with the supermodels
Celebrity trainer and former member of athletic dance troupe the Brooklynettes, Megan Roup has a super-glam fanbase. Her follow-along athletic dance workouts on the Sculpt Society app are super-easy to follow, her instructions nice and clear, her hip-hop leaning tracks easing you in. She’s all about enjoying movement, which explains her appeal to ordinary mortals as well as supermodels. Her fun, energising workouts, once the preserve of private tuition, can be accessed on Instagram. 14-day free trial and a 50% reduction on annual subscription (now £95.37); thesculptsociety.com

Go with the yoga flow
Sparkling Melissa Wood trains all kinds of beautiful people stateside, including Danielle Bernstein, Marianna Hewitt and Hannah Bronfman. Beam her smiley face into your living room courtesy of her app and get fit with a range of low-impact, Pilates-meets-yoga flows, do some meditation or follow the pre- and postnatal routines. Or check out her free workouts on Instagram. Seven-day free trial, £8.14 p/m; melissawoodhealth.com

Pillow talk
If you’ve got a pillow at home, then you’re in with the likes of Candace Cameron Bure, Ashley Graham and Venus Williams, all of whom are fans of the high-intensity Stokes Method. The “full body pillow” workout combines strength, light cardio and your fluffiest headrest. Other workouts include strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, barre, yoga and Pilates. MODs (that’s moves of the day) on Instagram. Seven-day free trial, then £12.20 p/m; kirastokes.com

Star-jumping jack flash
The Australian super-influencer Kayla Itsines already has a range of home-friendly, 28-minute workouts on her personal training app Sweat. Now she’s posting exercises to do at home with minimal equipment on Instagram, including At Home Arms & Abs and alternatives to her popular skipping routines that feature air knees and good old star jumps. Meanwhile, the Bikini Body Guide, or BBG to the initiated, is available on her app. £16.30 p/m; kaylaitsines.com

All the rage with Raj
Of course we love Joe Wicks and kitsch Mr Motivator’s retro aerobics (free), but the final shout-out has to go to 73-year-old YouTube inspiration and NHS fundraiser Rajinder Singh aka Raj Skipping Sikh, whose equipment for daily workouts on his Berkshire allotment includes a watering can, abandoned tyres and an old skipping rope, while traditional Indian music in the background eggs us all on to fitness victory.



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