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Virtual Workouts

by Edward Habat

Finding the virtual fitness class that’s right for you. 

From busy schedules, tight budgets and over-crowded gyms to plain old social anxiety, there are plenty of reasons why people have trouble sticking to a workout regimen. But with the latest technology and a little discipline, virtual fitness may provide an easy and convenient solution.

With roots in the fitness tapes of the 1980s (anyone remember Jane Fonda’s Workout tape, circa 1982?), the goal of virtual fitness is to minimize the hassle of working out by using the ubiquity of Internet access. Whether you’re at a gym in front of a larger-than-life projection, or at home on your laptop or TV, anyone can now have access to a personal trainer.

With hundreds of gym owners and equipment manufacturers rushing to release their own virtual classes, each new plan will have a wide variety of fitness choices. From cardio to strength and endurance training, here are a few different ways you can participate in digital workouts.

On Demand

Much like pay-per-view television, on-demand programs allow you to start a class at your own convenience. Many at-home exercise bikes have access to pre-recorded workout plans built-in, but all you need is an Internet connection and some floor space to get started with a simple yoga or pilates course. If you have a non-traditional work schedule, or prefer to exercise in the comfort and privacy of your own home, an on-demand class is the perfect fit.

Group classes

Are you the type of person who has a hard time getting to the gym, but gets the most out of it once you’re there? A virtual group class at your local gym might be right for you. Many local gyms are offering virtual lessons in groups via projector screens for people who miss live classes, or want to get the benefits of a celebrity-trainer-led routine.

This is the perfect plan for those who are motivated by other people. Group environments often offer subtle competition between members as a way to push everyone closer to their goals. From soothing yoga to high-intensity cardio, group classes offer a wide range of plans depending on your goals. Add the charisma of a famous trainer to the mix, and there’s no telling how many calories you’ll burn.

Virtual reality

As technology continues to advance, many companies are utilizing virtual and augmented reality to bring you closer to your fitness goals. If you have the budget, companies like VirZoom, Peloton, and Mirror are creating virtual reality programs for those who struggle to stay motivated during a workout. Be on the lookout for Mirror's new augmented-reality equipment, featuring conference-style classes on barre, yoga, boxing, and pilates.

From simple cycling routines disguised as riding through fantasy worlds to full-body workouts framed as high-tech action moves, there’s no doubt the casual-couch potato will find a new sense of motivation with virtual fitness.

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