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Saturday, March 25th
As you might expect from a company named Beachbody, this brand is based in Santa Monica, California. Founded in 1998, Beachbody is one of the most recognizable names in at-home fitness (even if you don't want to drink their Shakeology nutrition drinks).
Which program do you like?
There are a LOT of workout collections, referred to as "Programs" , available here. It's a good idea to browse so you have an idea of what you'll be choosing from. You may already know some of Beachbody On Demand's flagship formats, from the classic TurboKick with Chalene Johnson to P90X created by Tony Horton, or see if you like newer programs like JBYB (Just Bring Your Body, no equipment required) and Idalis Velazquez classes en espanol. Clicking on any one that gets your attention will take you to much more detailed information, including trailers showing class samples, a program overview with the total number of workouts and intensity level, and so on.
Hard to figure out which package to choose
Pricing here is really confusing, to say the least. When you click the "sign up" button, you get taken to two options: Total Solution Packs and Membership Only. For the sake of simplicity, let's say you're not currently interested in bundling a membership with a nutrition program and supplements to "get results faster" , and just look at the Membership options. That will require you to enter a name and email address just to see your offers (which isn't our favorite sales tactic).
Here's what we were given for offers:
To complicate things even further, there was a promotion running at the top of the site offering three years of BOD and BODi and an integrated fitness bike, starting at $50/month. Overwhelmed yet? Since many people looking for online fitness options aren't really looking to go the Peloton-type route, we won't get into more detail here - but be aware that it's yet another option you can access through Beachbody On Demand.
Lots of features included in both membership tiers
So, let's get back to what you get from this online fitness platform. There's a long list of features included in the general Beachbody On Demand membership and the BODi add-on: on-demand videos, meditation, two healthy cooking shows, online communities, daily activity and program tracking, and multiple device streaming. But, our favorite membership benefit is the 1:1 coach: once you've signed up, you'll see your assigned coach's contact information, and they can help you choose the right program and help you troubleshoot your progress.
Upgrade for live classes and other tools
If you want live classes, you'll need that BODi upgrade. This membership also gives you the ability to workout alongside a trainer on the screen during those classes, access to a premium workout library, ongoing nutrition support with weekly meal plans and recipes, and a few other features.
Recent feedback isn't trending upward
So, why does Beachbody On Demand come in with just an average rating here? While there are thousands of five-star reviews on the app stores, more recent feedback is almost exclusively negative: casting isn't working, there's no way to use the app to browse workouts by category, and it doesn't integrate as expected. Beyond that, we also saw a trend surfacing about the classes themselves: sometimes people without the BODi upgrade felt that new content wasn't being offered to them, there were some mentions of instructors not paying attention to teaching good form or being body/mind negative. For the money people are paying for this platform, we were surprised to see that kind of feedback.
Pushing supplements and shakes?
Another aspect to point out relates to the coaches. Beachbody is sometimes described as a multi-level marketing setup, calling representatives "coaches" and having them push those supplements, shakes, and nutrition programs we mentioned earlier. We don't know about you, but that's not the kind of energy we want when we log on for a workout.
Not terrible, but not our favorite
There's a lot to choose from with Beachbody On Demand, and it has some features we didn't see with most online fitness platforms (like 1:1 coaches and integration with a bike if desired). But, that's not quite enough to get us past the confusing pricing, glitchy app, and "buy our nutritional products" push. We would recommend several other programs before settling on Beachbody On Demand.
To answer that question, you should start with an idea of what you're hoping to accomplish. Are you at the very beginning of your fitness journey and need some gentle, encouraging guidance to get started? Do you have a gym membership but you're not quite sure what to do when you get there? Are you frequently traveling for work and looking for a way to exercise no matter if you're in Manhattan or Miami?
There are platforms that fit all of those situations - and so many others. Another consideration is whether or not you're looking to combine nutritional changes with your online fitness choice. Some services give you an all-in-one, with meal plans and workouts to choose from, while others specialize just in exercise.
Either way, most online fitness platforms work in roughly the same way: take advantage of a free trial, then decide if a paid membership is right for you. On a budget? No problem: there are several excellent choices that let you access tons of workouts at no cost. Yes, you'll probably be invited to upgrade to a paid plan, but feel free to ignore that and work out using just the regular content and tools.
Now that you've given it some thought and have an idea of what your online fitness "wish list" would include, it's time to start browsing what's available. You might feel a little overwhelmed at first, with so many choices and new ones popping up all the time. Don't stress. Here are some criteria to keep in mind that will help you narrow them down:
To help you choose the online fitness program that's going to be the best fit for your goals and lifestyle, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked today's most popular services. We're sure you'll find the perfect way to take your fitness to the next level - on your own terms!
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