“It’s undoubtedly a rapidly growing sector, with recent reports estimating the industry is worth more than $9.6 billion globally,” says Laura Hill, senior editor at Welltodo, a digital content platform reporting on international health and fitness trends. It’s also an unrecognisable sector from the one Fonda pretty much launched about 35 years ago.
Gone are the days of frantically pressing rewind to gure out what the hell you’re meant to be doing, because we’re at the new dawn of live-streaming, AI data feedback and being yelled at by a trainer in West Hollywood while you collapse mid-spin session in your Sydney bedroom.
Any home fitness session should be done with caution. High-impact exercise on a tiled kitchen floor, for example, will be too hard on your joints, says personal trainer Chiara Lewis.
“If you’re starting any kind of exercise that you’ve never done before, have a few sessions with a PT to work on your form,” says Lewis. “And avoid going too hard too soon. It can take six to eight weeks to transition to the next level of tness. If you’re a beginner, don’t launch straight into a HIIT session; take your time to build up.”
So, what are the best at-home workouts? We’ve rounded up the most safe, convenient and efficient ones to try.
The PT In Your Speaker
WHAT If you’d like to ask Alexa to do more than just turn out the lights, then rest assured, the new generation of smart speakers – the Amazon Echo, et al. – can also be a nifty addition to your exercise regimen. Google Home Hub ($199), for instance, has teamed up with Fitstar, an app o ering snappy seven-minute HIIT workouts. So, all you need to do is say, “Google, let me talk to Fitstar,” and then go hell for leather, during which time it will re a new move at you every 30 seconds. Unsure of the moves? The Home Hub is a speaker with a screen, which means you can see exactly what you should be doing.
YAY The cheap thrill of an inanimate object doing what it’s told hasn’t faded yet. Then there’s all the other ways the Home Hub helps you stay on track. Need an alarm call telling you to “get your arse out of bed and work out?” Just ask. “Research has shown that regular, short bursts of exercise are as good at building endurance as longer, moderate exercise, as well as being more effective at burning abdominal fat,” adds Lewis.
NAY If you’re looking for something fresh around the actual exercise, you are not going to be that impressed. And you need a basic level of fitness (and knowledge) to get the most out of these short, intense workouts.
The Live-Stream Class
WHAT In the US, ClassPass Live dominates the live-stream scene, providing interactive classes where participants are tracked via a heart- rate monitor with their performance shown on a leaderboard. It hasn’t made it to Australia yet, though you can stream classes (but they aren’t live and don’t come with the added benefits of interaction). While various gyms o er ad-hoc live sessions, one that is growing in popularity is Crunch Live (crunch.com.au), which boasts more than 85 online workouts from $14.95 a week. Another standout live- stream service is online yoga platform yogaia.com (from approximately $15 a month). Using a two-way camera, instructors – based in Helsinki, London, Berlin and Hong Kong – can see (not hear!) what you’re doing and offer verbal corrections accordingly.
YAY You can access live sessions via a website or app and both are easy to use. There’s a range of yoga styles (as well as classes such as Pilates and meditation); if you miss a live session you can follow a recorded one; and if you don’t want to be watched, you can turn off your camera.
NAY Because some of these offerings are global, the class you fancy doing that day may only be available at 4am!
Smart Home Gym
WHAT Peloton bikes are virtually silent, state-of-the-art exercise machines that come with an in-built screen through which you can not only follow pre- recorded spin sessions, but also join in live workouts. The trainer, based in New York or London, knows you’re there, so expect to hear your name yelled mid- workout! The bike tracks performance and progress, so that you’re constantly pushing yourself to beat your last PB. It’s not available yet in Australia, but you could wait for the Mirror (mirror.co) to hit our shores. This interactive live trainer portal streams from “inside” a full-length mirror.
YAY A 45-60-minute session on both products will improve cardio tness, endurance and burn fat, and the trainer will keep you motivated.
NAY Both inventions come with a hefty price tag (the Mirror is $1500). Also, you need space to store them.
The Intelligent App
WHAT Leading the pack of fitness apps (which vary from basic libraries of online videos to slicker offerings that use artificial intelligence to tailor-make programs to users) is zova.com (free on iOS/Android, with paid options). Featuring pre-recorded workouts from international trainers, sessions are 10-15 minutes, based on your exercise preferences (such as cardio or strength) and new workouts are added weekly. For approximately $115 a year, you can upgrade to Zova Premium. This gives you access to more metrics, training programs as well as nutrition advice.
YAY You can do these workouts whenever suits you, and they are short, meaning you can do a few back-to-back.
NAY There’s a community element online, but workouts are solo. If you’re looking for competition, try elsewhere.
This article originally appeared in the October issue of marie claire.