The gym has never been my happy place. In the past, I have signed up to a plentiful class passes and special offers. Though, truthfully, I have never found an IRL option I don’t (kind of) detest. The pattern is always the same: a few weeks of endorphins, smug satisfaction and online shopping at Sweaty Betty, followed by more and more missed sessions. Mounting shame for my increasingly sporadic attendance. Oh, and a monthly direct debit that would have been better spent on books and/or Pret.
When Covid hit, at-home fitness boomed. Trampolining in the garden? Why ever not. Dance cardio so vigorous the neighbours think you’re having a rave? Knock yourself out. Even I, forever dedicated to long walks over HIIT classes, started to feel left out. Tentatively, I signed up to a few online yoga sessions. Within days, I’m unashamed to tell you, I was a total convert. Doing a class from home alleviates all the pressures that come with gym-going: the fear that I’m not going to keep up, comparing myself to everyone else and the excuse that I don’t have the time or spare cash. Online classes are invariably cheaper than their real-life counterparts and most are either on-demand or allow you to keep your camera off – perfect if, like me, your downward dog is more of a collapsed spaniel.
And I’m not the only one armed with a newfound class confidence. Big-money franchises like Apple Fitness+, coupled with the fact that sales of home gym equipment shot up by 170 per cent in the UK after just the first month of lockdown, means digital fitness is here to stay. Here’s a round-up of the workouts on offer – with no gym subscription required.
Even the most hardened yoga naysayer couldn’t fail to be cheered by FLEX Chelsea’s sunshine-bright classes, which include Peach for the Beach (for brilliant bums), seriously sweaty Power Flow sessions and – essential if you sit in front of a computer all day –10-minute eye yoga tutorials. Try to book with founder Chatty, who remains unfailingly positive no matter how early the class or terrible the weather.
From £8.00 per class.
If you’re trying yoga for the first time (or just prefer an extra low-key, very welcoming atmosphere) try Minnie Samengo’s accessible-but-brilliant classes, which include everything from power sessions to restorative Yin, available live or on demand. Minnie is encouraging (she offers a personal Instagram thank-you to everyone who attends her classes), smiley and will, without fail, motivate you to come back week after week.
From £9.00 per class.
Founded by ex-model Laura Dodd, The Yoga Class only launched in November 2020 but already boasts a massive library of classes (including guided meditations) as well as an enviable list of Spotify playlists to soundtrack your workout. If you want it, you can even get personal support from Laura herself to master specific yoga practices.
From £23.98 a month.
Take out some of that cooped-up-at-home aggression with a few well-aimed punches courtesy of a boxing session from Jab TV, which focuses on heart rate-lifting shadow boxing with no kit required. Live workouts drop at 7.30am daily, which then stay on the site for 24 hours so you can make like Anthony Joshua whenever you please.
From £10.00 per class.
Describing itself as ‘where Fight Club meets nightclub’, Kobox is high-voltage fun for when you’re stuck inside with itchy feet. Offering virtual workouts every day with plenty of encouragement and a proper community feel, this is for you if you sorely miss regular, in-studio workouts.
From £9.00 per class.
Launched by a former dancer who’s performed with the likes of Cher, Whitney Houston and Jay-Z, Barre 50 will induce a burn so good, you won’t be able to feel your glutes for days, but my word, will you see the results. Classes are kept pretty small, too, with a separate instructor to watch and correct you, so you can be guaranteed you’re not getting it wrong (or slacking).
From £15.00 per class.
New to ballet? Try Barrecore, which offers a beginners’ level and more high-energy classes for when you’ve mastered your basic plié. Prepare to really work out your whole body, though, no matter how gentle you go, and keep the end goal of prima ballerina fitness in sight.
£25.00 per month.
Be warned: this is not your average Pilates class. The incomparably talented (and lovely) Isa-Welly Locoh-Donou is a master of challenging, low-impact workouts that blend traditional moves with cardio and a superior playlist of ‘90s classics. Fun, effective and highly addictive.
From £7.00 per class.
With its immersive live classes and extensive online library, Heartcore has everything covered, from dynamic flows to moves that will really stretch out every muscle. Taking everything from the Heartcore signature in-studio workout and moving it to mats at home, it’s one for you if you like your Pilates classic, high-end and big on delivery. Bookmark 24th February in the diary for Heartcore At Home: a new and improved online platform (their classes on zoom will continue until then).
Monthly membership: £55 for unlimited classes
Promising to lengthen and strengthen your body in just 10 weeks with workouts ranging from an hour to as little as five minutes, professionally trained dancer Megan Roup knows her stuff. Combining dance cardio and sculpting routines, she keeps you moving while keeping things fun. A win-win, really.
From £14.58 a month.
Fond of little shimmy in your bedroom, the kitchen, the shower? If you’re missing dancefloors (aren’t we all, just a little bit?) then try Dan’s at Home, which offers a whole range of Latin American-inspired dance workouts to keep you happily bopping along to the beats. You’ll be club-ready before you know it.
From £11.99 a month.
Ever wanted to train with Chris Hemsworth? But of course you have. Now’s your chance (kind of). Centr, which was started by the actor, offers a huge range of top-tier classes, from HIIT to boxing, yoga to martial arts, with the option to set the intensity you want. Expect seriously perky instructors but sadly, no personal training from Chris himself.
From £22.99 a month.
Don’t really fancy splashing out on your fitness? We hear you. Try Workshop Gymnasium for easy access Instagram live classes in yoga, dynamic Pilates and stretch, all for free. There are three classes a day but if you need more (or a bit of guidance) try founder Lee Mullins’ Zoom workouts.
If you’re up for the challenge (quite literally) Chloe Ting is the way to go. Her completely free – hallelujah – challenges promise a flat tummy, super-strong core or slimmer thighs in days. Take your pick and refuel afterwards with one of Chloe’s many healthy recipes, from chocolate banana pops to rice paper rolls.
Time-poor, easily bored or just genuinely can’t be arsed? The marvellously titled Fit as F-ck will get you moving, once and for all. With a series of workouts that take just 15 minutes and require no equipment whatsoever, it’s the ideal choice if you’re more stay-in-bed than Namaste.
From £7.99 a month.