The lazy, tracksuited hermit's guide to getting fit. Fast.


Working out at home has never been easier.

It’s 11:45pm on a Tuesday night and I’m ready for my weekly barre workout.

I’m dressed in pyjama pants and an old, scruffy t-shirt. And it’s really cold outside.

But none of that bothers me – because I don’t have to leave my house. I don’t even have to see anyone else during my workout.

That’s because the barre studio is online. I can enjoy my full workout without even leaving my house – all I need is a computer (or a phone, or a tablet) and a wifi connection.

Virtual fitness is the next big thing to take over the fitness industry in Australia. As we become increasingly time-poor, we’re always searching for new and convenient ways to get a workout in – and more often than not, online options are the way to go.

Virtual fitness involves anything that happens on your computer screen rather than a physical gym or fitness class. It might be a series of YouTube videos, or recorded group fitness classes, or even a personal trainer that Skypes you to chat about your personal goals. The Age recently coined the term, acknowledging that the trend is so popular that even traditional fitness franchises are feeling threatened.

So why is virtual fitness the next big thing? Well. I’m so glad you asked:

1. It’s cheap. Most virtual fitness videos are free or will cost you a small fee – nothing like the expensive gym memberships that we’re used to paying. With the average Aussie paying $6,000 a year on health and fitness, many are looking to save that money by going for less-expensive workout options.

Nat, before she worked out at home.

2. It’s easy. You can work out anytime from the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

3. You have options. Don’t want to do a Zumba class? No worries. You can opt for a cardio class, some yoga, some pilates, or… well… anything else under the sun.

4. It’s comfortable. Some might be intimidated by the thought of going to a gym to try a new class – especially when everyone else in the class seems to be an expert. At home, on your own, no one is going to judge you when you miss a step or choose to go a bit slower.

So if you’re a bit bored of the same old fitness options, here are some of the best virtual fitness options out there:

1. YouTube videos

There are endless YouTube videos out there, offering guidance for every kind of workout you could possibly think of. But in case you don’t feel like wading through the muck, go here – it’s our guide to the six best videos on YouTube.

2. Wello


This website is a super-clever online fitness platform that provides live training over two-way video. It’s pretty much Skype or Google Hangout – only you’re doing a fitness class with up to five other people. You can also pick a private session with a one-on-one trainer. You can pick any kind of class, from yoga to circuit training to martial arts.

Although it’s based in the US, there’s a clever option to set it in Australian time zones so that you can pick a class that suits you.

3. Barre Body

Their online studio offers a whole lot of videos that are designed to tone and strengthen different parts of your body. You can choose videos that are under 10 minutes for a little mini workout, or go for something that’s a little bit longer. I like the 30-minute holiday express workout (it’s great for when life is generally super busy, not just when you’re on holiday).

4. Online Personal Training

This website utilises fancy coaching software so that you stay accountable for everything you do. You also get a personalised training plan when you sign up, based on the questions you answer about your workout and eating habits.

5. Daily Burn

Daily Burn is free to try and costs only $10/month if you choose to subscribe after your trial. It offers a whole lot of workouts from a bunch of former pro-athletes and you can pick and choose, based on what you’d like to work on. You can also check out the website’s nutrition section if you’re looking to improve your diet as well as your fitness.

6. iTrain

iTrain is essentially a huge list of videos that you can buy, download and then play anywhere, even if you don’t have an internet connection. It’s a great alternative to workout DVDs, especially if you’re someone who travels regularly.

Do yoga with me YouTube channel

They have everything from pilates to treadmill to cycling workouts, so you’ll have plenty of relatively affordable options.

7. Do Yoga With Me

A clever website offering completely free yoga videos. There are hundreds of them and each are rated and timed so that you know you’re doing a 45-min beginner’s workout.

8. Fitness Blender

One of the all-time favourites of many fitness gurus, Fitness Blender has hundreds of full-length workout video options. And they’re all free. While you might need equipment for some of them (the kettleball workout, for example), most are completely free.

Do you follow any virtual fitness websites?

00:00 / ???