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What's better when it comes to online fitness classes: On-demand or live-stream?

Posted by Sophie Saint

Due to the world-wide lockdown, two main mindsets seem to have emerged as a way to deal with the strange circumstances and is raising the debate of which is better when it comes to online fitness classes: on-demand or live-streaming workouts.

On one side, you’ve got those who believe we should take this time to self-improve. Maybe work on that novel you’ve been mulling on for, like, forever. Maybe start a new indoor hobby or pick up a new professional skill to put you in a better position career-wise post-COVID-19.

On the flip-side, there are those with a little more relaxed approach and focusing more on self-care. For these people, maintaining good mental and physical health is the number one priority.  

But there is one thing that unites both of these camps: the need for general well-being. And both camps have rightly been considering how to adapt their fitness routines to cope with lockdown, isolation and restricted access to the outside world. In fact, 25% of the nation’s population is now fitting home workouts into their schedule in some form. 

What's better when it comes to online fitness classes: on-demand or live-stream?

With so many online home workouts and fitness classes available, this aspect of isolation should be easy to crack (well, easier than picking up on that novel again). But where to begin? How can you choose between the live-stream and on-demand options? Which class is even right for your personal circumstances? 

Before even thinking about joining a bootcamp or getting zen with an amazing yoga class, you should think about whether you would prefer the independence of an on-demand session, or the group-feel of a live-streamed fitness class. 

We at MoveGB, firmly believe that both have their merits and neither is intrinsically better than the other. 

What’s important is you choose what’s right for you. And let’s try figure this out together so you waste no time with trial and error...

My schedule is like my lockdown moods: forever changing 

Even though you may be stuck at home, you still can’t control everything and even the usual multi-tasking now has new layers of complexity. One day you may be free in the mornings because the kids decided to sleep in (Mondays have become Saturdays which have become the new Wednesdays, after all). Then, on the next day you could be held up with work on yet another Zoom meeting.

But the good news is that these new schedules don’t mean there’s no time to work up a good sweat and shed all the cooped up frustrations.

A dive into on-demand fitness

On-demand classes can work around your schedule. As there is no timetable to stick to, whether it’s 3pm, 3am or whenever you have time to workout, that workout will be there waiting. 

You’re in control of your own destiny, so even if you missed that 12:30pm live-stream yoga class, you can hit up that any-time on-demand session that you know and love. 

And the best part is that these classes won’t go away after isolation ends. Once you return to work and your life gets even busier, those on-demand classes are still going to be there, still fitting around your schedule.

Busy people tend to keep being busy, whatever the circumstances, so Adrienne Herbert’s (‘the face of wellness’ according to Vogue magazine) idea of  a ‘power hour’ might be helpful. Adrienne advises, “Keep a ‘power hour’ - one hour of the day when no one has any demands on your time. It might be a home workout, working on a side hustle or practicing self-care.” 

“That sounds perfect, but I miss people” - time to look at live-streaming workouts

Isolation and being kept at home is tough, you don’t need us to tell you that. We know from our loyal Movers how much they adore the social aspects of the classes they take, the friends they make, the respect they grow for their instructors, the networks that flourish. 

That social connection is a big miss at the moment. 

But live-streaming fitness classes are a great way to leave the house without actually leaving the house. With live-streams and good web access, you’re not tied down by geographical restrictions any more. You get to interact with people from all over the country who have a common interest in whichever class you select.

And, as you attend these classes more regularly, you can forge bonds with the instructor and forge bonds with other regulars from the comfort of your own home. Plus, you’re getting to know a remote workout which (someday) you may get to enjoy in-person. 

Take Carnival Fitness by Piloxercise, for example. This is a pretty challenging class with great results, but what makes it stand out is the fact that they pride themselves on creating that friendly and fun vibe that is super social.

They bring a party to your house/garden/bedroom where all can have a boogie and a sweat, feeling the remote vibes from the hundreds around the country joining in, all in unison! That vibe is what will keep us from going crazy over the next few weeks.

What if I just want to do it my way?

That’s totally cool. The important thing is that you’re working on your health and fitness during isolation and that’s key. If you’re not quite missing the social aspect of normal class life just yet, then on-demand classes might be your bag. 

These pre-recorded on-demand classes are a great way to really test your ability and set your own pace with your home workouts. If that online yoga class is not challenging enough or you’re not 100% sure about online dance classes, you can just switch it off mid-class and try something more to your tastes. 

You have the freedom to set your own rules and customise your workouts how you like them. 

That’s great! But I can be guilty of putting workouts off for ‘tomorrow’ - I need help committing.

When you can’t go anywhere or do anything in the outside world, the lethargy that comes with being sedentary can be a huge drain on productivity and motivation. If you’re guilty for constantly rearranging your to do list to push your workout to ‘tomorrow’ and are in need of that little bit of extra motivation, live-streaming classes are probably going to be best for you. 

Accountability is the best way to stick with any fitness goals you may have. If there is someone expecting you to turn up for a class at a certain time and you don’t, you’re not only letting yourself down, but letting the fitness instructor down too. 

Or spin it on it’s head and get your friends involved too! If you have a friend who committed to joining the same live-streaming class, you can't stand them up and leave them to do the workout alone. Turn up, turn on and hang out with your friend for an hour while also pushing each other to stay active while staying at home. Plus it’s kinda fun trying to spot the familiar face among the other streamers.

Dance is especially great for this. A class like Aanchal Gupta's Bollywood Dance is great for beginners or seasoned fitness veterans alike. The workout is about having fun, getting fit, and staying physically and mentally active.

And what else?

Once you’ve committed to something, you’re more likely to stick it out making live-streaming classes a great way to commit to your fitness goals. This financial commitment is also a great way of ensuring you keep up with your fitness during quarantine - if you’re paying for workouts, you’re psychologically more likely to carry out with them otherwise you’ll be losing out on money AND fitness. What a waste. 

If you’re a busy bee despite whatever the world is throwing at you, on-demand options for fitness classes will probably suit you better. If you’re a more social animal or in need of a motivational boost to lock you in, then live-streamed classes are probably more up your street. 

One fundamental thing remains the same from the pre-coronavirus days though: the key takeaways in creating a fitness routine that sticks is to balance convenience and variety. With a richer array of online options, variety in workouts and the convenience of undertaking them has never been better.




Topics: Sustainable Fitness, Social, Avoiding Boredom, MoveGB, home workout, Live-Streaming Classes, Home Fitness, Home Workouts

Written by Sophie Saint

Sophie Saint

Exercise used to always terrify me, until I was forced to face it head-on with an impending surfing trip. I entered the world of MoveGB and never looked back.... Yoga, gym sessions and the odd round with a punchbag opened up my eyes to getting active and feeling awesome from it! Travelling, social media and blogging are what I love both in and out of work. And Turn'd Up dance has become a serious obsession now...

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