Tried & Tested Fitness Classes at Home

Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, isn’t the only fitness phenomenon to be reaching out the nation’s homes this week. Whether you are craving a high-intensity gym workout or a dynamic yoga session, boxing with a pro or mat Pilates, there really is something for everyone winging its way into our living rooms. Lots of pre-recorded workouts have been made available but it is the live streaming that really has the power to work holistically in this time of national crisis. Each one of the classes below takes a different approach and that’s the beauty of it: their unique set-ups, banter and camaraderie, and sheer positive energy that they all exude will get us all through the coming weeks.

Many individuals and companies are uploading classes for free and others are giving amazing offers so it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new. I have reviewed a good number of classes over the last week (so many, I can now hardly walk …) for both the amateur and more seasoned fitness enthusiast and here’s the verdict.

Free Live Streaming

Psycle

Cult cycle studio Psycle does a few things other than cycling and currently has three live stream classes (free) each day in gym, yoga and strength building. Join their instagram @psyclelondon for the next day’s schedule. I joined the 12.30 Fit in 30 (Upper Body) strength workout and really loved it. Coach Sam was fantastically cheerful and checking up on us all all the time – it was a hoot. Tough though – when it came to ‘plank whilst throwing one arm extended’ I was certainly out of my depth. I tuned in the next day to a Cardio Dynamic yoga session. A couple of teething problems setting up the computer/mic (but it only added to the charm/we’re in this all together vibe) and it was a great class. More dynamic than I am used – with music.

Kit Rich

Kit Rich is live streaming a general bodyweight workout from her home in LA (3pm UK time) each day until 31 March. She’s good. It’s slick, not much chat, no music. Sometimes a bit of calm training is what is called for! Her training philosophy is 3 or 30 each day, which translates to 3 miles walking, running, swimming etc or 30 minutes walking, running etc and that way you achieve an achievable, long-term workout routine.

Joe Wicks 9am weekdays

This was my first introduction to live streaming fitness – I logged on with my brother’s young family in Abu Dhabi and it was great to see them getting so involved. Joe is a bit of a Marmite character – I can see why kids love him. After the twenty-minute workout I felt I had used every muscle in my body. Shout-outs to the 1,000,000 viewers from all round the world slightly annoying but then, even if you are doing it on your own, you don’t feel like you are.

Carl Van Heerden @carl_vanheerden

Friends swear by Carl’s routines. He is streaming free daily bodyweight workouts via his Instagram at 1.30pm.

Cirq.life

Free live streaming weekdays 8am and 8.30am and 6 and 6.30pm through their Instagram stories. This is for seasoned gym goers. Bit too intense for me; slick production from the instructors’ homes and a good bit of banter/encouragement.

Barry’s UK @barrysuk

Again, another one for fitness fanatics. Huge following. Check Instagram for next day’s live stream schedule.

Lululemon is launching some live streaming next week. Watch this space @lululemonuk

Free Youtube work outs

Yoga with Adriene

One of the most popular – and free – ways to do yoga is with the online sensation Yoga with Adriene. What a marvellous person to welcome into your sitting room. I was floating after following her 15-minute Meditation for Anxiety video. A must for these troubled times.

Just Dance 2020

The kids introduced me this: dance videos that you follow on your own or with a partner. It’s brilliant – and addictive – and possibly all you need to stay fit. Marries coordination with a serious workout. Puts a smile on your face too.

Subscription Fitness

Peloton – All-round training

Peloton has extended its free trial period to a whopping 90 days; then £12.99/month. There are lots of preloaded classes in all categories: running, strength, yoga, stretching and bootcamp. Too many of the lives streams are late at night but this may change. I tried the 20-min full-body workout with Jess Sims. There was music blaring in the background; serious energy was channelled through my computer screen. I will definitely be trying this and other classes again.

Barrecore Ballet-type conditioning

Barrecore offers two weeks’ free and then it’s £25/month (you can trial a class for free also). Currently three live classes a day during the week and one on both Saturday and Sunday. I found my class surprisingly tough. I still can’t believe how much effort I exerted making only tiny movements and I really felt it the next morning. I have a few friends who go to their regular classes; I can now understand why they have such lithe bodies. I’ll definitely do this again.

Lumi – Yoga

Livestream 5-class bundle £37.50 (£7.50 per class). This is my yoga studio of choice in West London, now live streaming all their classes via Zoom. I joined my regular lunchtime session and it was just as good as the real thing. Elina Iso-Rautio is the founder/owner and she is one of the best yoga teaches I have ever come across. She really manages to deliver the chiaroscuro needed for a great yoga session, mixing strength and softness and leaving you energised, relaxed and focused. Another Lumi instructor to look out for is @lisalotuslondon. Follow her instagram to join Zoom sessions from her home in the coming days/weeks. The joy of Zoom classes is that you really can’t duck out of them. You can see them but more importantly they can see you!

Tone it Up – All-round training

Download the app for free training until 22 April. Also daily Instagram live workouts; check for schedule – because this is streamed from West Coast US, some classes are late at night.

The app is brilliant, featuring loads of pre-recorded lessons, focusing on different parts of the body. Many are filmed on the beach so you can really imagine you are escaping. Good section on healthy cooking an added bonus.

Glo – Yoga and meditation

This has been my go-to online yoga app for a couple of years now. Dip in for 10, 20, 60 … minutes and choose from Vinaysa flow, yin or specific areas of the body to work on. I have my favourite teachers (Tiffany Cruikshank, Jason Crandell and Gopi Kallayil to name a few). They have a lovely feature in that you can share up to five classes a month with friends for free. $18/month. And during this time of need, they are offering anyone nine free classes to use themselves or share on their From Our Hearts page.

— Annie Reid
25th March 2020