One of the best parts of quarantine is that for years, all I’ve wanted is for workout instructors to tune me in to their weekly classes from the comfort of my living room, to be done at 4:00pm or 11:00am or 3:00am or WHENEVER I DAMN WELL PLEASE, and now they are.
It’s not like I WANTED to be antisocial … it’s just that I don’t feel like dedicating more time to my workout than absolutely necessary. I did the gym rat thing and all I got was a mechanic bill for the lawyer’s car I backed into. Honestly, the only thing I’ll leave my house for on a regular basis is a dance class, because I’m trying to learn something there and I have a hard time motivating myself to do that in the comfort of my bedroom for the exact opposite reason that I don’t want to leave it for a pure workout.
So now, due to a lovely supply-and-demand situation as a result of coronavirus and quarantine, my dreams have come true:
Zumba has a directory of virtual classes available.
PomSquad Fitness has daily offerings (though those are very timely).
The best choreographers are all hosting online master classes (for better or worse lol).
It’s a veritable GOLDEN AGE for home exercise!
Time for recs.
The most important thing to figure out is whether a workout is on your level or not.
Too hard, and you won’t be able to do it.
Too easy, and it’s a waste of your time.
Next, you have to either like the instructor, be able to pretend you ARE the instructor, or hate the instructor enough to spite them with your prowess.
I HAVE to mention that if I wasn’t taking Evelyn Small’s heels dance class when I found out I was pregnant, I would not have stayed in shape. I would have entered beached whale territory because that is where every pregnant woman deserves to be. But because I was taking Evelyn’s class, and if I didn’t work out at least once a week I would be huffing through the choreography, and I didn’t want to look that pathetic, I kept it up through the pregnancy and I have no doubt that that’s one of the reasons I was able to have a natural birth. (Story for another time, trust.)
Where possible, if the instructor is a YouTuber then I tried to link to their Patreon page/website/membership platform, too, because it’s important to support people whose work you enjoy.
MY CURRENT OBSESSION:
Sabah Kadri – new Patreon link
Don’t you hate when the YouTube algorithm works in your favor? Sabah makes me drip sweat while also having the variety of choreo. I really really enjoy her charmingly lo-tech, very upbeat Bollywood dance routines. (Pro tip: make sure it’s a high intensity video.) She’s so bouncy and full of energy and I somehow manage to match her energy to get through it all and love it. Oh, and she has a PhD, so chew on that.
BEST GATEWAY DRUG:
Yoga by Avigayil – Facebook link
I never would have been a yoga person if not for Avi Behar’s candlelit classes. Now look at me. (JK, please don’t.) Back when they were in person, I used to go to her for a de-stress that was even better than a massage. (Probably because she would give me a massage in Child’s Pose.) Avi’s prenatal yoga classes were also hugely instrumental in limbering me up during pregnancy. She’s currently offering weekly Zoom classes for ladies FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME, so hit her up.
Boho Beautiful – Website link
Every time I think I’m going for a relaxing yoga session with these Canadian peoples, it ends up making me sweat and I hurt after. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just a fact. I find it really challenging. I’m a little on the fence about their new program – they just migrated from Patreon to their own membership system and there’s only one price point, which is frustrating since it’s not my only workout – but it is very very user-friendly. Also her calming voice is very calming.
YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND:
The Fitness Marshall – Booty Army YouTube membership
You might remember Caleb Marshall and his Backup Booties from when he went viral a few years ago for this Meghan Trainor video. His videos were the first time I was actually, truly entertained by an instructor while working out, and it makes such a difference to keep me coming back. Sadly, I grew out of his videos and I no longer break a sweat, but it was really really helpful in getting me to where I am today: a person who sweats more. The paid tier of membership is for livestream classes, which is nice if you don’t like making playlists of videos ahead of time.
Ysel Gonzalez – Membership website
This one falls under the category of “pretending I am this very very good dancer with fabulous hair.” Seriously, THAT HAIR. Her energy is off the charts and her students are so into it, you can’t help but follow along. Ysel had a couple of 40 minute classes up on YouTube but they’re not up anymore, but she has a $2 subscription model that I can’t resist. Again, you can always make playlists out of her short videos on YouTube. My favorites are still the classes she has with her returning students, but the new stuff is good, too.
SASS-GUILT YOURSELF INTO PILATES:
Jake Dupree – Patreon link
Warning: That link is to Cosmo’s glitter unicorn’s not-shy burlesque dancing stuff in addition to the snobby pilates instructor stuff. Jake Dupree has the most sculpted lean body I’ve ever seen, and he will kick your butt and make you thank him after. I do this one when I’m feeling masochistic.
CALM YOURSELF INTO PILATES:
Move with Nicole – YouTube channel
For awhile, I was working out with my sisters over WhatsApp, and one of them is really into pilates. It wasn’t my thing but now I can do those weird little leg lifts? Like, I’m not sure how that happened? But I like that I can? Nicole is very casual about working out, which is helpful when your leg is shaking and your butt is experiencing sharp pains – sorry, your glutes. If you’re lucky, you get to spot her cat, who shares her personality.
BEST SWEAT. PERIOD:
The Fitness Blender – Website link
Another hit from my sisterly workouts, this is literally a bare bones workout with NO CHARM and NO ULTERIOR MOTIVES and I hate it and I see results immediately. Apparently the guy looks like the guy from a TV show one of my sisters used to watch, so it feels like she’s working out with a friend.
SOMEONE FIND ME A FITNESS GURU WHO LOOKS LIKE JASON MOMOA.
THE ONES THAT STARTED IT ALL:
POPSUGAR Fitness – Website link
No conversation about online fitness is complete without mentioning POPSUGAR. Way before the pandemic, they introduced up-and-coming workout instructors who would do a full session with their hosts as a sort of intro to their paid platforms. The variety of offerings is astounding. It’s a brilliant model, and a lot of them are fun. I won’t say who, but there is one member of my household who refuses to do any other workout video.