getting buff on the cheap: a comprehensive list of apps, streaming videos + tips to get you buff


If you haven’t noticed it yet, I’ve got class fever. Ever since I cancelled my Equinox membership, having grown tired of crowded classes, broken elevators + green juice-induced attitude, I’ve found solace in flittering about the city, panting in TRX classes and lying supine in yoga studios. However, I’m acutely aware of my privilege, the fact that I can afford the abundance of fancy-pants fitness classes New York offers (having a ClassPass helps). I’m also aware that sometimes the idea of trekking to a space after work gives one vertigo, and it’s hard getting buff in miniscule hotel gyms while traveling. I’ve been there, done that, and have ordered room service instead. That having been said, I decided to research online classes that give you the fancy without removing the wallet from your pants. Here are my picks!

Laughing Lotus: Truth be told, I took my first LL class today at their Flatiron location, and I wasn’t impressed. However, my one encounter with an instructor, who didn’t exercise a focus on alignment principles, is certainly not indicative of a whole studio’s philosophy. Many people whom I respect love LL, and a few friends have sung the praises of the studio’s videos.
YogaGlo: I am evangelical about my affection for YogaGlo. To be honest, I truly think these classes set the standard. Some of my revered teachers (e.g. Elena Brower) offer classes in various styles, and sometimes I used to listen to the classes (without practicing the poses) just to calm me down.
Dirty Yoga: Free of pretension and accessible to all levels and incomes ($20 membership/month isn’t bad), Dirty Yoga is serious about yoga, yet doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Barre3: My friend, India Jewel-Jackson loves the videos + has seen results, and I couldn’t agree with her more. A dear friend of mine was kind enough to share her login so I can sample the workouts without risk (although, for $15 a month, the risk is fairly minimal). All you need is a chair, mat, and light weights for the majority of the sessions. The instructors motivate as they’re performing the moves right alongside you, and classes are offered for all fitness levels. So if you seek a quick 10-minute ab blast to a 60-minute scorcher, Barre3 has got you covered.
Physique 57: Words cannot express how much I adore Physique57’s workouts, however, their classes are pretty pricey. While I may not the hands-on adjustment at home, $5-$10 classes are pretty palatable.
Booya Fitness: As soon as I learned that Booya launched, I was JUBILANT. Bootcamp, cardio, yoga and strength-training classes are on the docket from some of my favorite studios in the city. You guys know how I’m preaching the word that is Chaise Fitness? Well, you can save the cash and the plane tickets and for $10 get fit in front of your television. Also, there’s a few class streaming for newbies daily, so definitely try before you buy.

Strength Training + Misc.
Crunch Live: Tired of waiting for sweat-slicked treadmills and jockeying your way into a packed spin class? Crunch has a ton of classes available online for $9.99/month.
7-Minute Workout: I own this app and it is everything. I use it when I travel as a way to tone up in my hotel room. Planks, squats, curtsy and reverse lunges, you don’t need a gym and 45 minutes of tears to reap the benefits of an intense quick circuit.
iTrain Fitness classes that range from rowing to ballet workouts, this app offers you a gym in your pocket.
BeFit: While many fitness videos tend to grate, freebies from Jillian Michaels and other superstars are a pretty solid deal if you’re looking to get fit on the dirt cheap.
Tone it Up: I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about working out without nodding to the Tone it Up duo. While many (including myself) sometimes play the videos on mute, these ladies will kick you all over the joint.

Personal Training
Wello: Wello is an innovative online fitness platform that provides live training over two-way video. Think Skype, with a lot more sweat involved.
MyBOD Wellness: Whether you’re in your livingroom or hotel room, the team offers offers LIVE personal Pilates and Yoga instructors via Skype or Google+.
Gain Fitness: From classic strength to yoga, sport-specific to bodyweight training, this personalized fitness app will motivate you to push through plateaus.

BurnThis: Socialize your sweat with this awesome app, which allows you to book local fitness classes and check out when your friends are working out. h/t Grace Atwood

Sage Tips from my Friends
Laurel adores My Fitness Pal, which has helped her kept track of everything from meals to workouts, and she’s lost 20 pounds as a result. | Hitha’s go to app is Power20 and she hits up Doonya YouTube videos for when she wants to dance her butt off! | Annalise, a workout buff who always doles out sage fitness advice recommends Endomondo. “I used the free version until I knew I liked it. Syncs with my Fitbit, tracks a lot more than running, and the premium has training plans. [I’m] using it to train for my half marathon.” She also recommends the Workout Playlists on Spotify (so streaming this!), with Indie Workout being her fave.

Keith uses Map My Fitness (Walk + Ride), and he’s the one who convinced me to get a FitBit Force. Keith also uses the Lose It! app to moderate his calorie intake. | The always-inspiring Patrice clues me into the C25K (Couch to 5K) app, which is perfect for work-out newbies, and while she hasn’t road-tested the Daily Yoga and the Livestrong apps, they’re on her horizon. | Leslie, Sherry, + Chelsea swear by the Nike Training App. | Sharlene + Amy recommend RunKeeper for you avid runners.

What’s getting you buff + motivated? I’d love to know.

Photo Credit: Confused Hair on Flickr

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