Workout 2.0: How to Make On-Demand Workouts Work for You

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On-demand workouts are in demand—and there's no wonder why.

"You can do live classes and workouts at your own time and convenience in the privacy of your home," says Blaine Schmidt, Athlete Training and Health performance coach affiliated with Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute. "Anything that gets you moving can burn calories and reduce your risk of diabetes or obesity."

"Ultimately, though, your success comes down is you,” says Mac Graham, Athlete Training and Health performance coach affiliated with Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute. “If you’re moving and sweating consistently you’ll achieve goals.”

Schmidt and Graham size up the hottest at-home sessions for you:

Mirror
The Spin: Former New York City Ballet dancer Brynn Putnam founded the most high-tech option. This full-length mirror is about the size of a yoga mat. When looking at the mirror, the user can see the trainer and other classmates and vice versa. The interactive display, complete with embedded camera and speakers, also connects to Spotify (for music) and your Apple watch and a Bluetooth heart rate monitor that gauges target heart rate and your progress over time.

Trainers can correct your form and keep you motivated by giving you live feedback.

The Pros: “Trainers can correct your form and keep you motivated by giving you live feedback,” Schmidt says. “The mirror shows easier versions of moves, so you can adjust to your ability or injury. Also, there’s a wide band of classes, from beginner to advanced levels and include cardio, Pilates, strength, boxing, barre, yoga, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), he says. “Plus they add classes all the time, so it doesn’t get stale.” Trainers from top New York fitness studios including Equinox, Nike, and Physique 57 hold seven to 12 live sessions daily between 5 a.m. and noon p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. CT. Teachers take into account the information you’ve provided: your height, weight, fitness goals and injuries. “This is my favorite,” Schmidt says.

The Cons: Upfront you must invest $1,500 for the mirror, “an expense that can be off-putting,” he says. The equipment can take space, especially if you sample the smorgasbord of options. “As with all these workouts, you’ll need space to move around.”

THE PRICE: Beyond the $1,500 mirror and installation, you pay $40 monthly for live workouts. Any equipment you add, such as an indoor bike stand, cycle or dumbbells cost extra, www.mirror.co.

Peloton
The Spin: You can cycle, run, walk or perform other daily workouts with live instructors. You sense a community, but without having to hit the gym or trails, says Graham.

There’s a vast menu beyond cardio: strength, boot camp, yoga, stretching and meditation.

The Pros: Pick your workout type, length and instructor. Bike and treadmill monitors feature city, mountain or other visuals, and you hear trainers cheering you on. There's a vast menu beyond cardio: strength, boot camp, yoga, stretching and meditation. "Having a variety is smart for the provider and the exerciser," Schmidt says. "That way you're less likely to plateau or get bored." Use the app to track progress.

The Cons: As with many of these routnes, you lack one-on-one focus from a personal trainer who knows your strengths and weaknesses and can safeguard you from injury, Graham says. Also, if you don't raise your game with progressively heavier weights, shorter rest periods and higher intensities, you can plateau.

The Price: Stretching your budget may be as necessary as stretching your hamstrings. This starts with $2,245 for the bike or $4,295 for the treadmill, customized with monitors and other features. Expanding your repertoire pads the price. Live daily workouts with instructors cast $19.49-$39 monthly, www.onepeloton.com.

Kayla Itsines BBG
The Spin: BBG stands for Beach Body Guide and offers fitness for femmes in 28-minute bites, plus a meal plan. Each set of moves lasts seven minutes, and you're encouraged to do as many reps as you can within the time.

The Pros: "These routines are convenient and short, so you can't use time as an excuse for not working out," Schmidt says. Itsines offers thrice weekly combo cardio/strengh classes catered to women (arms/abs, legs and whole body). Her highly-structured exercise and nutritional program provides a blog, community forum and a place to post your results. "You feel you're part of something bigger, which keeps you motivated," Schmidt says. So do Itsines' beauty and washboard abs.

The Cons: You're on your won for knowing proper form, which may raise the risk of injury among newbies. "Change it up or you won't see improvement and may lose motivation," he says. Also, lacking: details on Itsines' credentials as a trainer and the science supporting the meal plan.

The Price: After a seven-day free trial, yyou must pay $120 yearly or $20 monthly, www.kaylaitsines.com.

Beachbody
The Spin: Beachbody is the granddaddy of on-demand workouts, and also the best known. Workouts change every two weeks.

The Pros: Beachbody touts more than 100 classes, including cardio, stength, yoga or HIIT, Graham says. Results can be tracked via an app and they offer a structured meal plan and you can learn how to cook healthy meals via the brand's cooking show, too.

The Cons: While some fitness studios might offer classes, "People can become gym trainers after having done only a few sessions," Schmidt says. "That scares me: Anybody could teach their classes." Graham is turned off by claims participants can lose nine pounds in 14 days. "It catches people's attention, but that weight loss is aggressive, unhealthy and unlikely. You should lose 1 to 2 percent of your body mass at most weekly."

The Price: Starts at $99 yearly, making this program the most cost-efficient, www.beachbodyondemand.com.

*Not all affiliated physicians are Memorial Hermann employees.

*Information provided should not be used in place of medical direction from a physician. Speaking and regularly scheduled visits with your doctor is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

 

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