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As a fitness blogger and Instagrammer, I’ve made it a point to try just about every fitness class in NYC: the bizarre combination of cycling underwater, a dizzying aerial yoga class, and over a dozen different barre classes throughout the city.
But the truth is, I never loved barre. The moves felt awkward in my body—I’m not very flexible despite being a yoga teacher. I always felt unsure about my form and worried I was going to hurt myself as a result. I figured barre classes and I were just not meant to be.
All of that changed after I took my first class at The Bar Method two summers ago. At the time, my body was craving low-impact movement. I had run the NYC Marathon a few months prior. Before the marathon, I was all about the high-intensity fitness classes and thought if I didn’t sweat (or feel like I was going to puke) it wasn’t a real workout. After the marathon I had no desire to push my body like that anymore, nor did I want to force myself to.
A friend of mine was obsessed with The Bar Method and raved about it all the time. I decided, why not try it and see what the fuss is about?
During that first class, I noticed a few key differences that separated The Bar Method from all the other barre classes I had taken over the years:
Within the first 5-minutes of my first class, I learned that The Bar Method is all about hands-on and verbal adjustments. Throughout class, my instructor came over to correct my posture. She’d call me out by name to both praise me when I had good form and also correct things I was doing wrong. Which let’s be honest was a lot of things in my first class.
I was impressed with the attention to detail and had never experienced something like that before in a group fitness class. Nothing got past her hawkeyes and there was no room for poor form, slacking or giving up in the middle of a set.
I left feeling confident and safe that, with the helpful adjustments from the instructor, my form was spot-on.
Before my first class, the instructor really took the time to learn my name and if I had any injuries. This level of interaction isn’t just for newbies though. Whenever I take a class with a new-to-me instructor, they take the time to learn my name (and will use it in class!) and learn if I have any injuries. The most amazing thing: the instructors are incredible at remembering your name. Seriously, how do they do it?
After taking a number of classes with the same instructors, they’ve really gotten to know me. And they’re not afraid to call me out when I drop to my knees during push-ups because they know I’m strong enough to do them on my feet!
Despite being a low-impact workout (no burpees or jumping jacks here!), I was shocked by what a thorough total body workout the class was. We worked every major muscle group to fatigue (and then some!) leaving me just the right amount of sore. I realized then that you don’t need to be sweating buckets or doing burpees in order to get a full-body workout.
Whether you’re pregnant, dealing with an injury or a newbie to the class, The Bar Method offers a ton of modifications. I learned firsthand just how many modifications and variations there are for injuries when I was dealing with my own injury — a hip impingement thanks to something I tweaked while teaching my own fitness class. The instructors took such good care of me during this time and checked in throughout the class to offer modifications for my hip.
After taking my first class, I was hooked and started going to class once a week. As time went on, I craved more and decided to join Club Bar at the Williamsburg studio. I really mean this when I say I never thought I’d be the kind of person that takes barre classes 3-5 times a week—I was previously the queen of bootcamp and cycling after all. But now, I’m all about The Bar Method and it’s the class I look forward to taking each and every time I go.
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.