Not only do we have thousands of free exercise videos at our fingertips via YouTube and apps (and Well+Good!), but many of the country’s top boutique fitness studios are now streaming their workouts online for anyone, anywhere to access.
Of course, nothing can replace the experience of sweating through endless high-knees with a trainer like Tracy Anderson IRL. But these digital destinations have a lot going for them—they’re perfect for those days when you don’t have time to schlep to a studio (just roll out of bed and press play!), and they’re also ideal for frequent travelers, since you can access them pretty much anywhere with a WiFi signal. They’re also much more affordable than a studio membership, and many of them come with additional content, from healthy recipes to weekly workout schedules.
Since each studio’s streaming service varies greatly in terms of what it has to offer, I tested out some of the newest and most noteworthy in order to suss out which ones are really worth the money—and, perhaps more importantly, will keep you engaged enough to push through even the hardest moments. (Because we all know it’s way too easy to slack when you don’t have an instructor hovering over you.)
Keep reading for an overview of the best boutique fitness studios’ online workout platforms.
If you: Need an ultra-enthusiastic trainer to keep you motivated
Then you’ll like: AKT On Demand
The Workout: Anna Kaiser’s much-loved combination of dance cardio and strength training, just like you’d get in one of her New York City classes.
Why it’s good: First of all, there’s Kaiser herself—she’s so high-energy that you can’t help but be excited about the paces she’s putting you through. Then, there’s the fact that the content library is really extensive, with nearly 50 videos total, new workouts added monthly, and everything from full hour-long interval classes to 10-20 minute hits of the component parts (cardio, resistance training, or foam rolling). Kaiser’s also curated a 10-day challenge, as well as two rentable workout libraries designed for travel.
Inside tip: If you have a small apartment, you might find yourself tripping over furniture as you grapevine around the room—make sure to clear some space before you start.
The cost: $49.99/month or $499.99/ year; $9.99 for a three-day rental or $29.99 for a ten-day rental.
If you: Think Misty Copeland is the epitome of #fitnessgoals
Then you’ll like: Ballet Beautiful
The workout: Straight-up ballet conditioning and stretching taught by Ballet Beautiful creator Mary Helen Bowers, whose clients include Karlie Kloss, Jaime King, and, like, the entire Victoria’s Secret catalog.
Why it’s good: The moves are hard, but the soothing piano music (and the oh-so-adorable Bowers) make the experience surprisingly relaxing at the same time. Workouts are presented in bite-sized intervals—most around 10-15 minutes in length—and if you sign up for the custom workout program, you get a daily plan with video lineups laid out for you, depending on your fitness goals and how much time you have available. Two new workouts are added to the library each month.
Inside tip: While it’s nice to be able to mix and match workout segments, some may find it a little jarring to have to start a new video (and sit through the same intro) every 10-15 minutes
The cost: $39.99/month for the custom workout program; you can also purchase videos individually, starting at $9.99 each.
If you: Enjoy socializing while you sweat
Then you’ll like: Barre3 Online
The workout: An energizing combination of barre, yoga, and Pilates taught by preternaturally perky instructors from Barre3 studios nationwide (and founder Sadie Lincoln).
Why it’s good: The community element of this platform is what makes it really unique—each video has its own forum where you can chat directly with the instructor and other members, while those who spring for the Premium membership get access to quarterly webcasts with the Barre3 team. A new video is posted every Monday, along with a workout schedule and a few recipe ideas.
Inside tip: Many workouts require props that you may not already have—resistance bands, hand weights, playground balls—but don’t let that discourage you. There are always prop-free modifications in each video.
The cost: $15-$59/month, depending on how much content you want to access.
If you: Don’t have time for an hour-long dance cardio class
Then you’ll like: Body By Simone’s BBS TV
The workout: A collection of 20-minute-or-less videos, updated monthly, each one focusing on one aspect of an in-studio BBS class—dance cardio, upper- and lower-body resistance training, core work, and trampoline cardio.
Why it’s good: Out of all the advanced-level dance cardio workouts I tried for this piece, this one did the best job of breaking down the moves slowly, giving me lots of time to perfect the peppy choreography before doing the routine at speed (which made it more fun in the end). Most classes are taught by Simone de la Rue herself, although some of her top trainers do make cameos.
Inside tip: At the moment, there’s no functionality to automatically queue videos together. So if you want to do a longer workout, you should strategize which segments you want to do before starting. (Otherwise you’ll end up like I did, pausing in between each video to scroll through the library—and adding 10 minutes on to my total workout session.)
The cost: $14.99/month or $120/year.
If you: Consider yourself a ClassPass super-fan
Then you’ll like: Booya
Why it’s good: On one platform you can find everything from barre to boot camp to yoga and dance, so it’s perfect for those who like to mix up their workouts. Although it seems overwhelming at first, there’s a lot of personalization involved thanks to in-depth filters (e.g. equipment needed, your energy level, space available). Another why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-first feature? You can change the volume of the instructor’s voice relative to the music playlists, which are made up of pop and EDM hits.
Inside tip: In addition to the individual workout videos, Booya offers a large library of fitness plans (some with nutrition advice and recipes)—but they cost extra. Expect to shell out anywhere from $2 to $15 for access.
The cost: $9.99/month; $26.99/three months; $99.99/year.
If you: Are first in line to try the craziest new workout trends
Then you’ll like: Crunch Live
The workout: Sessions inspired by the offbeat classes offered at Crunch gyms nationwide (think Broadway dance, barre bootcamp, and a Brooklynettes cheerleader workout).
Why it’s good: Again, it’s nice to have lots of different formats available all in one place. Crunch offers curated workout schedules and challenges, as well as suggested workouts for specific interests (for instance, a runner’s cross-training guide). There’s also a Facebook group where you can connect with other Crunch Live members, although there are currently only about 100 people in it.
Inside tip: Only a couple of the workouts are over 30 minutes long, so if you want to sweat for a full hour, you’ll have to string a few different videos together.
The cost: $9.99/month or $90/year.
If you: Spend a lot of time in hotel rooms (or a petite apartment)
Then you’ll like: LEKFit
The workout: Los Angeles trainer Lauren Kleban‘s signature combination of easy-to-follow dance cardio, resistance training, and rebounding on a mini-trampoline. (Essentially, what she offers to it-girl clients in her tricked-out backyard studio.)
Why it’s good: Kleban first developed her digital workout videos for her students to use while traveling, and it shows—everything from the dance segments to the mat work is perfect for small spaces. Other smart touches for jet-setters: lots of resistance band routines (easier to pack than hand weights) and floor modifications for the rebounding workouts.
Inside tip: Keep an eye on Kleban’s Instagram stories—she posts a new workout playlist every Monday.
The cost: $15.99/month.
If you: Practice Beyoncé dance moves in front of your bedroom mirror
Then you’ll like: Nicole Winhoffer’s #NWChurch
The workout: Literally the same exact class Winhoffer teaches in her NYC studio on Sunday mornings—there’s a camera set up at the front of the space to film it. The first half is total body toning, the second is dance cardio to a hip-hop soundtrack.
Why it’s good: The hour-long workout is really fun—and hard. (I mean, Winhoffer is an ex-Madonna trainer). If you’re not familiar with her method, it’s nice to be able to go back and refine the moves, since they can be kind of hard to get right the first time. Oh, and pro tip: if you need a quick mid-day mood boost, fast forward to the dance section at the end.
Inside tip: Although a new workout is uploaded every weekend, only two videos are available to view at any given time. So if this is your only means of exercise, you might get bored (and it makes that relatively high monthly price tag a little harder to swallow).
The cost: $80/month.
If you: Have an entire drawer devoted to grippy socks
Then you’ll like: Physique57 On Demand
The workout: Lotte Berk-inspired interval training designed to push your muscles to fatigue.
Why it’s good: This is a “choose-your-own-adventure” type of online fitness platform—you can do a single barre workout (anywhere from 10 to 57 minutes), string together multiple segments into a seamless mash-up playlist, or do a monthly challenge or an extended workout plan. There are also lots of different trainer options, so you’re sure to find one that you connect with.
Inside tip: If you’re a barre beginner, do the two-week “New to the Barre” workout program to learn the fundamentals of form (and first, brush up on your barre terms).
The cost: $57/month for unlimited access; you can also purchase videos individually for $5-$7.
If you: Dream of having Gwyneth’s arms and JLo’s abs
Then you’ll like: Tracy Anderson Streaming
The workout: Tracy Anderson’s celeb-approved dance-and-sculpting method, recorded live from class at one of her eight studios in NY, LA, and London.
Why it’s good: A new hour-long “master class” posts each Wednesday (usually led by Anderson herself, filmed in real time while she’s teaching a class), along with a 30-minute beginners class, a breakdown of the moves, and a dance-cardio session led by a senior TA instructor. The videos are said to live online for a week, after which they’re replaced with a new series—however, when I tried the service, I was able to access lots of past cardio workouts in addition to the ones for that week.
Inside tip: This is another one that requires a lot of room to move, at least when it comes to the cardio portions. You should also have a set of dumbbells and ankle weights to get the full burn from the strength training portions (although you will still feel it without them).
The cost: $90/month, minimum enrollment of 3 months; $475/six-month subscription; $403.75/six months with auto-renew.
If you: Start and end every day in downward dog
Then you’ll like: My Yogaworks
The workout: Nothing but yoga, taught by some of the studio brand’s top LA instructors
Why it’s good: There are nearly 1,000 (!) videos on offer, which you can filter by duration (they range from 5-90 minutes), teacher, level, anatomical focus, or holistic health benefit. “Journeys”—or curated collections of videos—help you focus on specific goals, whether it’s nailing a headstand, getting ready for a wedding, or practicing with your pup (yes, seriously).
Need to know: The sheer number of videos can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure exactly what you’re in the mood for. Start with one of the challenge series to get a feel for the different teachers and their styles.
The cost: $15/month.
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