By Lisa James
If you’ve started exercising with the help of online instruction, you’ve probably become hooked on getting your workouts in anywhere and anytime it’s convenient for you. And you’ve come to love exploring different classes taught by different trainers.
Still, there’s an art to getting the most out of your virtual fitness experience. Here are some tips for making your sessions as productive as possible.
Figure Out Exactly What You’re Looking For
If you are already a gym member, contact one of their trainers to see if he or she offers classes online. Otherwise YouTube is a great place to start, if only to get a sense of what’s out there in the digital fitness universe. After that, think about what you want to accomplish. Want hardcore bike-based training? Go to Sufferfest. Looking for variety of programs with a side order of healthy living advice? Check out Fitness Blender. Want to get your yogi on? Look at YogaDownload. Do you need one-on-one instruction? Then you’ll want to hook up with a specific trainer for a set amount of sessions.
If You’ve Decided on a Trainer, Look for Someone Qualified
Anyone can call themselves a personal trainer online, so it’s crucial to know that person’s qualifications. Are they certified by a nationally recognized organization such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine? Read reviews and other forms of feedback from people who have taken classes with the trainer.
Shop for Deals
Many sites offer free trial memberships; take advantage of them. If a site offers monthly memberships, look to see if you can cancel at any time.
Go with a Bigger Screen for Better Results
The bigger the screen, the less peering and squinting you’ll have to do during your workout. A TV is better than a laptop, which is better than a tablet, which is better than a smartphone.
Clear Your Space Before You Start—and Warm Up
If you’re not sure an item is in the way, then assume it is and move it. Exercising in a clear area not only reduces the chance of injury but also allows you to focus on what you’re doing. And online classes are like any fitness class; give yourself five to ten minutes of warmup time before the session starts.
For Standing Work, Position and Secure Your Screen Correctly
If you’re not using your TV, then make sure you’ve got the screen when you can easily see it—don’t keep your screen on the floor. And make sure the screen is secured so it doesn’t fall (a broken device can make your session a LOT more expensive than you had planned).
For Floor Work, Don’t Strain to See Your Screen
Injuries can occur if your spine winds up in an awkward position: You don’t want to be moving your neck to the side so you can see the screen during a crunch, for example. It’s a better idea to stop and watch the instructor model a rep or two and to move the screen around as needed.
For Live Classes, Become Part of the Group
If you’re taking classes via Zoom or another video chat platform, then take advantage of it—say hi to everyone at the beginning and offer feedback when appropriate.
Don’t Forget to Cool Down
Just as you warmed up at the beginning of the class, take another five to ten minutes for a proper cooldown after you’re finished.