I have to admit, I’m one of those weird people who like the gym. And not necessarily a fancy gym, but the old-fashioned variety with a cardio floor, weight area, abdominal floor, and locker room. I like the smell of stale sweat and metal, the clink of weights and men making strange noises as they lift, the soothing hum of a spin cycle; even Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie,’ which was played on an endless loop at the last gym I was a member of. As someone in desperate need of a routine to keep their sanity off, I’ve always hit the gym with a very specific program downloaded from the internet: push-pull legs, one body part per week, or upper-lower splits.
I generally don’t like exercising indiscriminately. For me, spontaneity is a stressor, not fun. I’m also someone who gets very moody when I don’t work up a sweat. Hence, for the past three to four years, finding structured home exercise programs that I love has been a salvation for me.
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Programs like this take the stress out of choosing or planning a workout session; it is already taken care of. All you have to do is open your calendar and press the play button on the program that is already installed there. And yes, these don’t cost as much as a gym membership.
Fitness mixer: Kelli and Daniel Segars
These trainers will always be at the top of my list; You helped me through a terrible winter, heartbreak and two lockdowns. The Seattle-based couple’s YouTube channel now has a subscriber base of over 6 million, yours really included, and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike most fitness videos, which are about screaming instructors, bright lights, and upbeat music, this video is like working out with your best friends. Kelli, I admit, is my favorite. It exudes authenticity, laughs at missing counts and always offers low-impact alternatives.
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But they are both excellent and their workouts are very well structured. Exercise videos that include strength, HIIT, gentle cardio, kickboxing, Pilates, and stretching (and sometimes a little bit of everything) are free. Or, you can buy programs that last a month or two that will help you plan your workouts for the entire time, or Fitness Blender Plus, which has all of this and more. If you’re short on time and want great value for money, try Fitness Blender’s 24-minute Superset full-body strength training (see video above).
I discovered Sydney Cummings through a fitness blender support group (yes, I’m so obsessed) and was impressed. Cummings, a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist, has approximately 1.2 million subscribers and offers a free, ad-free exercise video every day. She also has a paid community membership called the Sydney Squad, which offers group nutrition and coaching, as well as accountability and support.
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If that is too much of a commitment, you can also buy monthly training calendars for a low price. If you’re a power junkie who loves tossing around weights, Cummings is perfect for you. Your workouts are full of simple but effective strength exercises. Do you want great arms and shaped shoulders? Try the great upper body dumbbell workout (see video above).
Kayla Itsines has been the it girl for online fitness for some time, with 13.2 Instagram followers and more. Itsines became famous in 2014 when she released her Bikini Body Guide (BBG). It’s an e-book with a detailed 12 week workout program that promises a better body and encourages its followers to post pictures of themselves on this journey.
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The popularity of these guides – yes, I own them and they are great – led to the launch of the Sweat with Kayla app the following year, which also did very well. And although she sold her fitness empire for around $ 400 million and changed the name of her guides (from BBG to High Intensity with Kayla), her philosophy remains the same. Their programs include strength training circuits, cardio training – both LISS and HIIT – and a rehab or strength training session or two. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for most of their offerings, but you can occasionally find a training video on YouTube (see the video above) if that’s what you’re looking for.