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Pre-COVID, I had just gotten into some HIIT classes, and I enjoyed them a lot. There’s something about going through circuits as a team with a group of people that really motivates you—you know, shooting for a common goal and all that. But after everything shut down, I lost my momentum. I shifted my focus to perfecting my at-home yoga practice and hopped off the cardio and strength train the second I could. I want to say it’s because I live in a small apartment, and I didn’t think I had quite enough room for anything but yoga, but honestly, a lot of it was laziness, too. At least I don’t lie.
But the other day, something sparked in me (could’ve been a sudden motivation to get back to it, could’ve been my boss assigning me this article—doesn’t matter), and I decided to start browsing virtual HIIT classes.
First, I pulled out my phone and opened my Mindbody app. It would’ve made sense to take a virtual HIIT class from a studio I had already heard of or been to, but I wanted to try something different. With live stream and on demand now an option, we can pretty much take classes anywhere we want—pretty cool. I wanted to try to find one in a city that’s already reopened. I thought maybe it would be cool to just video myself right into an in-person class!
I thought I heard something about parts of Colorado being open, so I typed ‘Denver’ into my location bar and ‘HIIT’ into search to see what was out there. The first studio that came up was HIITBox Colorado in Brighton, and I noticed they had both in-person and virtual classes listed (perfect). I booked a Virtual HIITCamps class for the following day after work.
After booking, I received a confirmation email letting me know I’d receive the link to my class 30 minutes before it started (and I’d done all those live stream yoga classes, so this wasn’t my first rodeo). The next day, I pushed my coffee table out of the way, rolled out my mat, grabbed some weights, and got ready.
When the class began, I saw a whiteboard with a bunch of circuits written on it. I looked at it for a bit, wondering if that was all I’d see.
Then, my instructor Adam popped onto the screen and introduced himself. I wasn't able to turn on my camera—because the limited space in my living room would’ve presented some less than ideal angles—but I talked to him through the mic.
I was the only person in the virtual class, and he talked to me by name and asked me if I’d ever taken a class like this before. Then he demonstrated the warm-up for me and explained how it would work. He’d set a timer for the warm-up and walk around the room, checking on everyone in the in-person class and coming by the computer to make sure I was doing well also and seeing if I had any questions.
When the warm-up was complete, he explained the circuits to me and set another timer that would last the rest of class. In sync with the in-person HIIT-ers, I did three rounds of each circuit with bursts of cardio in between and some abs at the end (and let me tell you, I was sweating). Throughout the workout, he’d come by and encourage me, making sure I was still doing okay.
Overall, I had a great workout, and it felt really good to take a HIIT class after such a long break (and in case it wasn't obvious, yes, I’m sore). I would totally take another class there, but next time I’ll come a little more prepared.
I think the people in the in-studio class had some music going, but I couldn’t really hear it. It would be awesome if I could ask the instructor for a link to his playlist next time before the start of class, or just make my own to have going throughout. Music is a great way to stay pumped during class, and it would’ve added a very real element to complete the experience and made me feel like I was even more connected.
Since I was the only person in the virtual session, and I couldn’t see the people in the studio because I needed to see the board listing the circuits, I was kind of on my own out there. It didn’t take away from the great workout I had, but I was kind of missing the group element that’s a big part of why I take these classes in the first place. The way the virtual experience is set up on Mindbody, though, allows you to see all the other people in the class along the bottom of your screen. The whole time I was thinking, “I totally should’ve told my friends to join!” Especially if you have friends or family that live far away or haven’t been able to see you due to quarantine, this is a great way to sweat together, motivate each other, and have fun from afar (it definitely beats those family Zoom calls).
Before joining, I didn’t know video would be such an important element on my end. I was crammed into my living room, wearing a horrible outfit, and not really able to set up my computer in a good position to fit me in the frame. Knowing this next time, I would pull up a chair to place my computer on, move my coffee table completely, or even take my workout outdoors, so I could really have room to get on camera. Plus, this will make it a lot less awkward when the instructor is trying to communicate with me (sorry, Adam). After all, now’s a great time to work on getting over our exercise embarrassment.
Like I said, this class was great. Adam was super encouraging, and the circuits were just hard enough to make me drip with sweat and feel it the next day. But I could go at my own pace, so they weren’t too hard for my first class back after such a long break. Next time, I’ll know what to expect, plan ahead, and make the experience even better.
Wanna try it for yourself? Book a class at HIITBox or browse virtual HIIT on Mindbody (and remember my advice, it’s so worth it).
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.