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Not everyone is a fan of workout classes in a gym. You have to be there on time, fight for weights and space for your mat, and then worry about people staring at you in the mirror when you’ve once again forgotten the steps to the Zumba routine.
And even if you are the type of person who can “dance like no one is watching,” there are still the smells and the germs and the price of individual classes or a gym membership.
But, thanks to technology, you don’t actually have to force yourself to be a gym rat to take fitness classes anymore. Here are my favorite ways to use tech to stay fit while staying away from the gym.
My 3 Favorite Paid Workout Apps
In my article 5 Ways to Know If a Digital Trainer Is Right for You, I explained that the best workout apps are not as expensive as a gym membership, but they’re not free either. Most start with a free trial, followed by a subscription fee that can range from $1.50 to $20 per month.
Here are my three favorite workout apps, what makes them great, and how much they cost.
1. Daily Burn
If class variety keeps you going, try Daily Burn. You can stream workout classes to your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Android phone or tablet. In addition to the on-demand library of yoga, cardio, strength training, dance classes, and more, Daily Burn also streams a daily live thirty-minute full-body workout that feels about as close to a gym fitness class experience as you can get.
You can try Daily Burn free for thirty days. After that, it’s $14.95 per month for a Basic membership and $19.96 per month for the Premium service. Both memberships offer unlimited classes, but the Premium service also offers you a personal coach.
If you’re familiar with basic yoga poses and won’t miss the community of a studio class, I highly recommend the Yoga Studio app. With 25 hours of classes, ten of which feature Yoga Master Rodney Yee, you’ll have more than enough routines to have a healthy practice.
If you want more customization, you can use the app to design your own classes with the poses you want to focus on. The classes feature soothing music and the typically relaxing yoga teacher voices. You can also search for classes based on length, skill, or focus.
The app costs $1.99 per month or $95 per year.
If you’re relatively comfortable with the exercises involved in strength training, you might want to try Aaptiv. Their training sessions are audio-only, so you work out with encouragement and directions in your ears and you don’t have to use an iPhone, tablet, or your TV. This allows you to focus on your breath and form.
Aaptiv’s workouts are also customized to specific goals, so you can find an exercise program that works for you. In addition to home workouts with and without equipment, you can also listen to Aaptiv classes while you’re at the gym. There are even programs for outdoor running, walking, and race training for 5km, 10km, half marathon, and full marathon distances.
Aaptiv costs $14.99 per month.
Free Classes on YouTube
If none of the workout apps above sound good to you, or if you’re looking to pay nothing for classes, look no further than YouTube. You can get the YouTube app on your tablet, phone, or smart TV and start searching for classes that look good to you. Many of the trainers who provide classes for free online also offer subscription services or fitness programs that include more videos or other extras like e-books, meal plans, and more.
The best part about YouTube is that if you find a class you like, you can easily find it again in your viewing history, save it to “Watch Later,” or make your own playlist to keep all your favorite workout videos together in one place. If you want a place to get started, take a look at My Favorite Workout Videos on YouTube.
If you’re interested in the opposite of free, you might want to check out Peloton. For about $3,000 for the first year and approximately $500 every year after that, you can avoid gym spin classes and exercise in the privacy of your own home on your Peloton indoor bicycle. Peleton also offers a treadmill that costs between $4,000-5,000, not including the required monthly membership.
I have personally never tried a Peloton, but I know people who swear by it. So, if money is not an issue, take a look at Peloton Review: What to Know Before You Buy and Peloton Tread Treadmill: What to Know Before You Buy, both from The Wirecutter.
Working Out Isn’t Rocket Science
You don’t need a gym to get fit. Even if it’s too cold or too hot to go for a run, you can still get a great workout in the privacy of your own home. If you have a treadmill, bike, or weights, you can incorporate those into most of the workout apps and videos I mentioned above. Even if you don’t have any equipment, there are bodyweight workout options that don’t require anything at all. Sometimes you don’t even need to wear shoes!
And the best thing about all these apps and free streaming classes is that once you’ve done the routines long enough, you might not need them anymore.
What are your favorite ways to exercise outside of the gym? Let us know in the comments section below.