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The Best Online Workout Programs I’ve Tried Since My Barre Studio Closed
Gyms are finally starting to reopen here in New York City, and as much as I miss Pure Barre, I’m going to hold off a little bit longer before returning to the studio.
Since March, I’ve been trying many different online workout programs that I can do from home. Below, you’ll find a list of the eight workout platforms I tried, and my opinion of each. (Don’t feel like scrolling? This is my favorite, and the one I wound up sticking with.)
The biggest takeaway from my time working out at home: I much prefer attending live classes. It takes more discipline to carve out the time at home, and I definitely don’t push myself as hard.
My goal is basically to not become entirely out of shape during this pause on normalcy. In real life, I averaged one 45-minute barre class about four days a week. In the Covid era, I aim to do some form of movement every single day. Some days that means a 10-minute class, and some days that just means an extra long walk. The best case is usually a half-hour class, and I probably accomplish this three days a week.
I didn’t invest in any program that required purchasing equipment, like Peloton or Mirror (although one reader pointed out that you can still use the Peloton app without buying the bike.) I did purchase these hand weights and these ankle weights from Amazon. And after doing a ton of research on toxin-free yoga mats, this is the one I chose–and I love it. You can get 10% off a mat with code GIMME10.
These online barre workouts range in time from ten minutes to a full hour, including live-streaming classes. This platform is the obvious choice for me, since Pure Barre is my favorite in-person fitness studio.
There’s nothing wrong with Pure Barre’s online program, but I decided if I was going to pay to workout at home, I was going to try something different. The online version didn’t compare to my studio experience. I canceled after the free trial.
The Class has the spiritual vibe of a yoga class but is more of a HIIT class in terms of the actual workout. It offers a lot of live classes but also has an on-demand library. Expect plenty of burpees and other hard cardio-type sections, plus some mat work that’s basically pilates. The final third of your 60-minute workout involves some free movement that is pretty embarrassing if anyone in your family is subjected to watching you work out.
I liked this workout (it’s HARD), but all of the talking and prompts was too new-agey even for me. I would love to make it to a studio to try The Class once the world resumes, because I suspect that the meditative parts of this workout would be more resonant in person.
If I were into yoga, Glo would have likely been the winner just due to the sheer number of classes offered. It has plenty for beginners through advanced yogis. I did try the pilates which was solid, but this isn’t a program I would pay for as a non-yogi.
Physique’s barre classes are all on-demand and you can choose from 30-minute or one-hour sessions. I’ve been to a Physique studio in Manhattan, and I enjoyed the challenging low-impact workout they offer.
Somehow their online version just didn’t do it for me, maybe because most of them are filmed during a real full-length class and the production quality isn’t amazing.
This is the one I am now paying for. I don’t even do yoga, but I love their barre classes and the variety Alo Moves offers, including the ability to squeeze in whatever workout I have time for.
Alo Moves is also one of the most affordable platforms, and they offer new workouts each week, including meditations.
I like you can sort classes by level (beginner, moderate, intermediate, or advanced) as well type (yoga, HIIT, barre, and more). You can sign up for series that run for different lengths of time, from a week to a month, as well as skills-based classes.
While there isn’t a ton of variety here, I found Melissa herself to be the best teacher in any of the classes I took on any platform. Melissa’s “flows” are something of a yoga-pilates blend, and she has nice short workouts that you can fit in any time.
I recommend Melissa’s program to all pregnant friends because I think she’s got the best lineup of pre- and post-natal workouts.
I was surprised by how much I liked this one, but it’s also the most expensive workout program I tried. All classes are led by Tracy herself, plus breakdown sessions with her trainers.
Tracy offers one new workout each week. After the non-stop talking of The Class instructors, I loved that Tracy does her workouts in silence–but with a good soundtrack!
I preferred the beginner “sTArt” program, but did eventually graduate up the intermediate classes.
Price: $90 per month after a 14-day free trial.
Please comment below with whatever online workout classes you’ve enjoyed most during this pandemic!
P.S. I was trying to find photos of myself doing workouts for this post, and I realized that I only seem to take them when I’m on vacation. This made me really miss travel, and to feel very fortunate to have been to so many amazing places. Here are some of the fun places I’ve worked out over the last few years!