Before the pandemic, Vesco found all of these things through her work as a trainer at the Dogpound gym, as well as the now-defunct BFX boutique studio, both in New York City, which had some of the strictest and longest restrictions. in- Face-to-face training due to Covid-19. So, like many freelance personal trainers and group instructors out of a job, she began offering live online classes from her living room. “I think the pandemic has forced all of us to slow down and focus on what really matters to us as individuals,” she says.
“No matter where you are, no matter what you need, you can open a screen and find a familiar face, or meet a not-so-familiar face, it changes your life, and that’s a really beautiful thing.” —Bianca Vesco, CPT
What began as weekly Saturday Zoom classes (known to their clients as “Saturbaes”) quickly evolved into multiple live sessions per week, as well as recordings of said sessions, so those who missed them could enjoy the group aspect. of at least -workouts at home. “Having access to digital spaces 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world was a game changer when we all had to stay home,” says Vesco. “And here we are, years later, still navigating a world where some people want to go to the gym and some don’t.” According to a recent survey, more than half, about 56 percent, of the people surveyed said they prefer to exercise at home. For those who prefer to stay remote, thanks to live streaming, “we still have a community,” he adds. “No matter where you are, no matter what you need, you can open a screen and find a familiar face, or meet a not-so-familiar face, it changes your life, and that’s a really beautiful thing.”
At this point, it’s harder to find fitness brands than No offer live classes online.
For independent trainers like Vesco, live online classes have become a lifeline during uncertain times. Even now that it’s safe to return to gyms and studios, many continue to offer live streaming workouts, adopting a hybrid fitness model, meaning they’ll continue to offer both in-person and remote training options. But they are not the only ones ushering in a new era of live streaming. Several fitness brands have also embraced the medium for its ability to bridge the gap between physical and pre-recorded classes when it comes to building community.
Since the start of the pandemic, the major digital fitness streaming platforms have finally entered or dived deeper into this space as well. This includes Tonal, which launched live classes earlier this year, Tempo, which made its live class offerings available at its cheaper Tempo Move home gym in March, and Mirror, which began offering daily classes live led by Lululemon ambassadors in 2021 after being acquired by the sportswear company. At this point, it’s harder to find fitness brands than No They offer live classes online, either through their websites, through video conferencing platforms like Zoom, or through social media.
“We know that the group effect, exercising with others, is powerful,” says Rachael Babiracki, head trainer at Les Mills US. The New Zealand-based company launched its first omnichannel platform, LesMills+, last year in an effort to “bridge the gap between digital and live workouts,” according to a press release. “Exercising with others creates camaraderie and tap into your motivation through connection,” Babiracki adds. “When we know others are waiting for us and we have a place in the group, we’re more likely to consistently show up.”
In that way, live online classes can be incredibly uplifting. “A live class is a great way to build accountability for yourself,” says Ashley Mills, co-CEO and co-founder of obé fitness, which, along with Peloton, was an early adopter of live streaming classes when it launched. in 2018. “Knowing you’ve added it to your calendar helps introduce yourself, and the energy and greetings provide next-level motivation.”
“People come to group fitness because great instructors help participants get to places they couldn’t go alone.” —Megan Chloe, Les Mills coach
Then there’s also the fact that working out together often brings out the best in people. It’s not so much about competing with the person next to you (or the instructor in front of you), but about letting their performance encourage you to give it your all.
“People come to group fitness because great instructors help participants get to places they couldn’t go alone; work harder, move better, get more out of training,” says Megan Cloe, trainer at Les Mills. “Online [live] broadcasting allows participants to feel seen: to hear their names, to maintain that eye contact, to train, to experience motivation from a live instructor even when they have to, or choose to, remotely. This allows participants a sense of ‘groupness’ that keeps people coming back again and again.”
Psychologists agree that group exercise, whether in person or online, is incredibly beneficial for overall mental health.
“What I love about taking a group fitness class is the feeling you get in a room full of people working toward a common goal,” says licensed psychologist Alyson Nerenberg, PsyD. “It feels like more than just people exercising alone; instead, it feels like you’re part of a larger community working together to get stronger and healthier. That’s the power of community.”
Now, does this mean that exercising without a group aspect is not that beneficial? Not necessarily, just that being in a supportive environment where everyone is fighting for the same goal can really up the ante in terms of motivation.
“The only bad workout is the one you don’t do, but make no mistake, the environment we work out in plays a huge role in our performance,” says Rumble XPRO Julian Doan. “Although there is nothing better than a live experience, live online classes are the next best thing because your favorite trainers educate, inspire and entertain you anytime, anywhere. That kind of freedom combined with commitment makes it easier to achieve your goals in less time.”
At the end of the day, Chloe puts it perfectly: “The connection between buildings is no longer limited to the walls of the studio, it’s virtually limitless.”