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That depends! First, you should consider where you prefer to work out. Do you already have a gym with cardio equipment and lots of weights (such as dumbbells and kettlebells), either at home or a place in the community? In that case, you probably need a fitness program with an app, so that no matter where you are, you've got your ideal workout at your fingertips.
Second, think about your current experience and ability level with fitness. Do you need step-by-step guidance to show you how to do crunches, shoulder presses, and sumo squats with good form? If so, your ideal online fitness program will give you specific instructions for all of the workouts it provides - preferably with video instructions delivered by certified professionals like personal trainers.
Wednesday, August 4th
If you want the best all-around online fitness program, one that incorporates motivating workouts and easy-to-follow meal plans, your first choice should be My Fitness by Jillian Michaels. Whether you're a "total newbie" or "super advanced", this system will give you all of the workouts and nutritional guidance you need for your journey.
Here are some of the features that really caught our attention:
Because Jillian Michaels has been in the fitness industry for many years, you can expect that her workouts will run the gamut across a wide range of levels and styles. Browsing through some of the workout programs available through the app, you'll find an 8-week session designed to help with "Dad Bod", "Transform 90" for people who have at least 30 pounds to lose, even training programs for people who want to run a 10K.
And, the My Fitness app doesn't stop there. Need help with nutrition? Take your pick from these "bulletproof" meal plans:
Each plan includes all of the shopping lists, menus, recipes and guidelines you'll need, and were designed in conjunction with registered dieticians and professional chefs. If there's a recipe that's just not your favorite, or if you've got food sensitivities or allergies, the app lets you easily swap out for ones that work better for you.
All of your new healthy habits are tracked on the app through a fun dashboard, including your calories burned and consumed, your weight, and your workouts. You'll get badges for your accomplishments, which will help you stay motivated and on track.
My Fitness by Jillian Michaels is priced so affordably, we were afraid it was a trick. You can take advantage of a free 7-day trial, to see all of the features and workouts and how they work for you. After that, you can pay $14.99 for a monthly plan, $29.99 for 3 months, or $99.99 for a full year. There's definitely no trick: people say that the app works well, and the results speak for themselves. (We recommend that you look at the Transformations page and see the success stories from people who fell in love with this online fitness program - and with their stronger, healthier new selves.)
Short of getting Jillian herself to come into your living room and walk you through a workout, you won't get better guidance and support in an online fitness platform. Subscribers rave about how top-notch the workouts are, how easy they are to follow, and how transformational it is to incorporate her meal plans with the fitness routines. My Fitness by Jillian Michaels earns our highest ranking for online fitness plans.
Booya Fitness was designed to bring the world's best - and trendiest - workouts to you. The company's creator was frustrated by having to miss her favorite studio classes when she traveled, and also noticed that the hottest new classes tended to only be offered in major metro areas - and at very high membership fees for "elite" customers. With Booya Fitness, those classes are at your fingertips, whenever you choose to work out.
This online fitness program is one of just a few in the industry that give you a full month to try it for free. That's a great way to see if it's a good fit for your schedule, your preferred style of exercise, and your current fitness level. After the free trial, Booya Fitness is one of the most affordable programs we evaluated: $9.99 on a month-to-month plan, $26.99 for 3 months, or $99.99 for 12 months.
Your monthly membership gives you access to these types of online fitness classes, all set to popular music you'd hear on the radio (and not generic EDM or other synth sounds):
You don't need to create an account to browse these classes. Select a workout style that interests you, to see how Booya Fitness lets you sort through everything that's available. We love how easy it is to see at a glance what to expect from each class: any equipment needed, about how many calories you'll burn, how long the class runs, etc. We really love that the platform lets you filter the available workouts according to your current energy level, your goal for the workout, video length, and any equipment we may have available (or none at all).
Classes are taught by top instructors from the most popular gyms and classes around the country, and come with fun titles like "Drop It Like A Squat" and "De-Quasimoto" (for a posture-correcting routine). Once you find a workout you think you'll like, select it to get more information. You can watch a preview video, get a description of what to expect in the routine plus pointers for anything to watch out for (e.g. challenging intervals), plus more information about the gym/instructor the class comes from and about the class style itself. You'll also see a list of workouts on the right side of the page: one that's similar to the one you're looking at, another that will be similar but more challenging, one that is in the same style but to "take it down a notch", and so on.
One feature Booya Fitness has that we didn't see anywhere else: you can buy the gear you see in the videos, from sports bras and capris to dumbbells and other equipment. That's a nice one-stop-shop capability for people who just want to click and have it delivered, instead of having to drive all over town collecting the right fitness gear.
If you want to take your working out up a notch, or if you really need someone to tell you which workouts to do and when, take a look at Booya's Workout Plans. You'll have to pay extra for them - prices start at $2.99 for a 1-week plan and go up to $10,99 for a 12-week plan - but they come with much more direction (like done-for-you instructions via email every day) and can include nutritional guidance if you need it. You can sort your options by desired program length and your overall commitment level, as well as any equipment you have available. Some of the fun Workout Plans you can choose from are "2 [or 8] Weeks Until the Aisle" wedding prep, "HIIT It: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse", and "Weatherproof Workouts: The Most Comprehensive No Excuses Plan".
All of Booya Fitness' workouts, including the add-on plans, can be accessed on-demand from any device, and can be downloaded for use offline for those times you probably won't have WiFi.
If you're the kind of person that looks longingly at boutique fitness classes in the city but just don't have the time or money, Booya Fitness lets you have it all at a price you can afford. This online fitness program has the kind of variety you just won't find at one single gym or studio, with the extra convenience of mobile access anytime you want it. This is a great option among online fitness platforms.
Daily Burn brings the fitness class right to your home - or anywhere else you want to work out. This online fitness program wants you to know exactly what you're getting before paying for a membership. That's why they offer a generous 30-day free trial, and there's a full 26-minute workout to try out right on the Daily Burn website. These videos are meant to be streamed from your TV or laptop, putting the workout right where you feel comfortable and ready to work up a sweat, get toned, or relax and stretch.
Daily Burn includes over 1,000 workouts in a wide range of categories:
With your Daily Burn membership, you'll have access to a dashboard that tracks your weekly goals, calories burned, your workout history and a weight tracker. The program also includes a brand-new 30-minute full-body workout every day, known as Daily Burn 365. It airs each day at 9AM EST, but you can watch it anytime at your convenience prior to the new workout airing the next morning. There are two apps for use with this online fitness program: Yoga and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). Whether you choose the app or the online account, during account setup you answer a few questions about how often you'd like to do a routine, your current level of exercise, and so on, you'll get a recommended list of workouts.
Other than the Daily Burn 365 group class, most of the workouts are videos that feel like one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer, and your stats can be linked to Apple Health. Be aware that these apps are currently only available for iPhones, not Android devices.
Daily Burn recently added audio guided workouts as well. Want someone to coach you through a 43-minute uphill challenge on the treadmill, or lead you through some gratitude meditation for a few minutes before bed? It's all included in your membership.
There are a few limitations with Daily Burn, besides having apps that are only available on Apple devices. Once you get your list of recommended workouts, there's no function we could find that lets you sort by available equipment. So, if you don't have a step-up bench, dumbbells, or a yoga mat, you won't know until click on the details of a workout if it's going to fit what you have available. Finally, Daily Burn doesn't offer any kind of nutritional tracking, meal plans, or advice, so you'd need to find another resource if that's an important part of your fitness plan.
On the other hand, people love Daily Burn - which you'll quickly see in their online community and the comments they leave on individual workouts. Team up with someone who likes the same workouts you do and challenge each other!
You'll never be bored when using Daily Burn as your online fitness program. It's affordable, updated frequently, and gets you in touch with a fitness community that can help support you in reaching your health and wellness goals.
Have you ever gone to the gym, headed out for a jog, or started doing push-ups in your living room and wished that you could have someone there to tell you what to do for the most effective workout? That's where Aaptiv comes in.
Aaptiv gives you access to more than 2500 guided workouts, with more than 40 new routines added weekly. These workouts include an extremely wide variety of categories, from "fresh-air friendly" outdoor jogging to bodyweight exercises that can be done at home with zero equipment and everything in between. This is strictly audio-based, so you follow the guidance of certified coaches throughout your workout, without having to stare at a screen or squint at your phone. Plus, you set the style of playlist, and each workout is set to that type of music from today's top hits: no canned, generic electro-beats to bore you.
You'll start by filling out a brief questionnaire that works as a fitness evaluation. What are your goals? What level of experience do you have with exercising in general? How long is a typical workout for you? What are your favorite types of workouts? What kind of music gets you moving? Once you've filled out the questionnaire - and entered your credit card information - you'll get recommendations tailored to you, from Aaptiv's 12 categories of guided workouts:
The platform also includes monthly challenges with specific goals, to keep things fresh and to give you extra accountability. Aaptiv has a very active online community of users, so you can also connect with people there, work through challenges and workouts together, and compare notes on specific workouts.
Aaptiv gives you a 7-day free trial. Be aware that this free trial defaults to a yearly membership of $99.99 plus tax after that first week. Aaptiv also has a monthly plan at $14.99, but you'll have to set that up manually by clicking the small, blue "Change Plan" link at the top of the page. (Note: only the yearly plan comes with a money-back guarantee.) If you're a student, Aaptiv offers a whopping 50% off annual and monthly memberships (after you verify your student status with UNiDAYS).
Want to preview without signing up for a free trial? Play any of the free samples on the main page. We checked out the Outdoor Running, Strength Training, and Treadmill workouts, and loved how it put a coach right in our ears.
Workouts can easily be downloaded to your phone and played offline. Headed to an exotic locale where there's no Wifi but want to keep working out? No problem! Just load up your phone while you have a connection, and play it in your Saved tap in the app.
The only thing missing from Aaptiv, when compared with other online fitness programs, is meal planning and nutrition. The program has an online magazine that offers articles and tips for recipes, healthy eating, and so on, but there's nothing in Aaptiv that actively guides users through their daily food choices and records their calorie intake. You can enable Apple Health to track your calories burned, if you use an iPhone.
Because Aaptiv is 100% audio-based, it's the best match for people who have some basic fitness experience - or who are comfortable looking up YouTube videos when they come across an exercise they don't know by name. In other words, there's no in-app demonstration of plank side crunches, warrior pose, or best running form, though you might find related articles on the Aaptiv magazine.
Aaptiv is affordable, fun to use, and lets users feel like they have their own personal trainer every time they stretch, hit the gym, or go outside for a run. This app is a solid choice when it comes to online fitness.
Fitness Blender was created by a husband-wife team of personal trainers who wanted to make fitness accessible to all. Daniel and Kelli Segars deliver on their mission by offering more than 500 free workout videos on the Fitness Blender site.
These videos walk you through every minute of the workout, unlike some online fitness programs that show you how to do each rep but then expect that you'll do them in your own time. We loved that the videos had small previews in the upper corner, showing you what you'd be doing next and for exactly how long. The videos aren't set to music, though, so you'll be hearing a lot of Kelli and Daniel breathing as they verbally coach you through the movements.
You can sort through those free workouts by trainer, duration, estimated calorie burn, difficulty level, body focus, training type, and/or equipment. So, if you know you only have 30 minutes to spare and you have a jump rope on hand, you can go directly to the workouts that fit those specifics.
When you create a free account on Fitness Blender, you'll gain access to features like adding workouts to your calendar. You should note that Fitness Blender doesn't have a mobile app. Instead, they focus on having a website that is mobile-friendly and suggest that you add the Fitness Blender website to your home screen on your mobile device.
All of Fitness Blender's videos use YouTube to display. This means that unless you have YouTube Premium, you will probably get ads during your workouts.
Does Fitness Blender work? Looking through the comments on many of the workout videos, we'd say it does. People say that they get a better exercise experience than if they tried to do it alone, and many users love the ability to "favorite" different videos and add them to their Fitness Blender calendar. The Before & After stories and pictures are also very compelling.
So, with all of these features for free, what do you get when you pay? Fitness Blender has specific meal plans, with or without corresponding workout programs, if you'd rather not take the DIY approach to setting up your exercise and nutrition calendar. All of the programs can be reused, with no expiration date. In other words, let's say you choose the 4-week Low Impact workout plan for $14.99 and feel like you really need another 4 weeks to get the most from it. No problem: just add it into your calendar for another 4 weeks, once you finish Day 28.
At the time of our review, there were a total of 25 workout programs available for purchase. These included options like "FB 30: 4-Week Fat Loss Program for Busy People" (30 minutes/day), "FB Booty: Boot Camp for Butt and Thighs" (41 minutes/day), and "FB Fit: 8-Week Fat Loss Program" (55 minutes/day). These range in price from $7.99 to $19.99.
Fitness Blender's Meal Plans are structured similarly. You can choose from 4-week plans for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans; each one comes with grocery lists and recipes for 3 meals and 3 snacks per day. Only one of the plans, the omnivore, can be added to your Fitness Blender calendar; the other three are available only as a PDF download, losing some of the functionality we liked about this online fitness program. All of the meal plans have suggestions for modifications if you have food allergies or sensitivities, and you'll have to choose the calorie allotment that you think will help you reach your goal.
When compared with other online fitness platforms, Fitness Blender offers some nice advantages, especially if you need step-by-step video instruction for how to do strength training with good form (which will help you avoid injuries!). You could easily make progress just by setting up a schedule with their 500+ free workout videos. But, if you're looking for app capabilities (like downloading workouts for when you go out of town) or a really robust nutrition tracking platform, you'll probably be happier with a different online fitness program.
Train Online can show you how to work out, from exercises designed to build those biceps to burpees that strengthen your whole body. The platform also provides a lot of information on overall fitness, how to train effectively, and gives you tools for tracking your progress.
Train Online is less than transparent when it comes to their fees. There's nothing on their main site that talks about pricing, almost making you think the service is free. (And that's not so crazy: several of the Online Fitness programs in our review offer free accounts, or at least a complimentary trial for a week or 30 days.) It's only when you go to create an account that you find out you'll pay either $19.95 per month or $49.99 for lifetime access. We exited out of that screen without entering a credit card for payment, and the system still let us create a dashboard to track our progress, make journal entries, and so on.
It was also weird to see this on their Join page: "0 Years Online, 0 Workouts, 0 Exercises, 0 Members". That didn't exactly inspire much confidence, even though it was probably just a programming glitch.
We were able to view lots of exercise and workout program videos with our unpaid account. Watching those videos, it's easy to see that Train Online expects you to have a lot of equipment handy, either at home or through a gym membership. For example, their Booty Blaster workout requires a fitness ball, an aerobic step (preferably with risers), a high box, and a bench.
One thing we noticed with the videos is that they don't run the length of the workout. In other words, the video seems to last just long enough to demonstrate each exercise, but assumes that the person doing the workout will stop and start the video for each set of reps. That could either be a plus, giving you time to catch your breath, or a minus because you have to constantly hit pause and play.
As we went through the site on our "Starter Account" (as it was designated on our dashboard), we never found a place where it asked us to pay. We were left completely confused as to what the monthly/lifetime fees for "full access" would give us, since we seemed to be able to access everything for free.
But, that means there's no risk to see how Train Online works for you - just don't enter any credit card information when creating your account, and feel free to browse through the site options. At the end of the day, this isn't a bad resource for Online Fitness; it's just not as polished and intuitive as our higher-ranked programs.
Hitch Fit specializes in total body transformation. Founded by Micah LaCerte and Diana Chaloux, who operate the Hitch Fit gym in Kansas City, Missouri, this is one of the few Online Fitness programs that gives you direct access to and support from the very people who have designed it.
Their programs are designed to help people who want to make significant changes in their health and fitness. Programs include weight loss, muscle building, couples' plans, and even bikini/fitness modeling and competition prep.
The site is a little busy, making it challenging to figure out where to start. You can browse their available programs, like Couples Bootcamp or Faithfully Fit. The easiest way to start, though, is probably be selecting whether you want to lose weight or build muscle and clicking on the yellow button for your goal. You'll then see a drop-down box that lets you get more specific, like if you prefer a vegan/vegetarian meal plan or if you're trying to lose weight before your wedding. You'll then be given recommendations for the program(s) that are the best fit for your needs.
Pricing varies depending on which program you select. For example, a 12-week program aiming for up to 30 pounds of weight loss sells for $267.99, while a 20-week muscle building plan is priced at $457.99.
Whichever plan you choose, you'll need some basic fitness equipment, either at a gym or in your home. For women, you'll need dumbbells up to 25s, a bench, and some kind of cardio equipment. For men, you should have the same, but with dumbbells up to 60s.
We strongly recommend you read the FAQs before committing to a Hitch Fit plan. Some of the details that caught us by surprise, especially when compared with other Online Fitness programs:
So, let's say you're ready to make some big changes in your life. Does Hitch Fit deliver? Looking at their gallery of before-and-after photos, it's obvious that this Online Fitness program can work. You'll see lots of people with major weight loss and muscle gain, though many of the photos were taken at their gym in Kansas City - which means they had in-person input, workouts, and help throughout their journey.
But, when we read reviews around the web, we found some complaints. Unless you are 110% committed to the program, including regular contact with Micah and Diana, you might not get much support. One person said that they fell off the wagon for a while - and was never able to get help after that. Another subscriber said that the fitness and meal plans they were given were extremely basic and not customized at all - that they had information that's easily gotten for free from other places online. And, with no refund policy offered by Hitch Fit, you're out of luck if you try it and don't like it.
While Hitch Fit offers subscribers the ability to make major body transformations, there's a lot of room for improvement. Especially compared with other programs that are more affordable and flexible, and that are backed by a satisfaction guarantee. Hitch Fit comes up short when it comes to Online Fitness.
Changing Shape offers workouts, meal plans and the guidance of a personal trainer - for free. You'll have to create a complimentary account in order to access the main features of the site (workouts and routines), but you can preview the diet plans by clicking the link at the top of the page.
As much as we wanted to fall in love with Changing Shape - who wouldn't want a free personal trainer?! - we weren't impressed with the general impression we got. We found lots of typos and weird grammatical issues when using the Changing Shape site. "An error occur", "specials characters", and so on. The site itself wasn't secure (https), which also left us wondering about the safety of signing up for a free account.
Although Changing Shape has been around for over 15 years, the company doesn't have a rating with the Better Business Bureau. The company is listed as a sole proprietorship, owned by Matt Johnson - who is probably the "Matt" referred to in the handful of user reviews we found. In other words, Changing Shape is a one-man shop.
While Changing Shape might be a good resource for online fitness - and hey, you can't beat free - the overall feel of the site is much less polished and professional than the other programs we evaluated. If you really don't want to spend a dime on your fitness and nutrition, you might want to try Changing Shape, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for - and that you might not get the kind of support you would see with a bigger online fitness platform.
Finally, are you looking for guidance with just exercise, or would you also like expert advice when it comes to your food choices? Some online fitness programs just target workouts, with others are more whole-body and include full meal plans with recipes, shopping lists, and suggestions for making changes related to allergies or food preferences (vegan, paleo, and so on).
Once you've figured out a basic idea of what you're looking for and started to browse today's top online fitness platforms, here are several factors to keep in mind when making your choice:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Online Fitness programs available today. We hope this information will help you find the right platform to help you reach your health and fitness goals in a way that is fun, convenient, and affordable!
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