There is no doubt about it, going to a gym or fitness class for the first time can be intimidating. The equipment looks more like glorified torture devices, many of the people seem overly peppy or alternatively serious about their exercise, and then there is the fact that everyone but you seem to know what is going on.
Luckily with technology there's more and more apps and Youtube channels that you access from your own home, sparing you the initial discomfort and anxiety. Below you will find some easily accessible, minimal equipment required, recommended fitness videos for Yoga, Pilates, Zumba/Dance Fitness and Barre as well as a brief description of what these activities are.
What is it: Yoga involves poses combined into a series that are typically used to improve strength and flexibility as well as help you relax through different breathing and meditative techniques. There are many different types of yoga such as Hatha (in which poses are held for at least a few seconds), Vinyasa (in which one moves more quickly through the poses) and more.
What you need: A mat with good grip or other low impact surface.
Yoga YouTube Channels we like:
If you are looking for a nice easy intro to yoga this is it. Not only does Sarah Beth have lots of beginner videos (with good safety cues), but she also has more difficult videos that you can enjoy as you progress. While she recently returned from a brief break, Sarah Beth typically posts on a regular basis.
Not to worry, although this channel is called Fightmaster Yoga, the name comes from the instructor Leslie Fightmaster not the type of workout you can expect. If you are looking for a nice feel good boost through positive mental imagery and well cued yoga poses then this is the channel for you.
What is it: Pilates is a similar workout to yoga except that in Pilates there is a specific focus on your core (front/back/sides of your torso plus portions of your upper legs). Moves are again typically done in a set order and a lot of the focus is on proper technique versus that quick burn.
What you need: A mat with good grip or other low impact surface.
Pilates YouTube Channels we like:
This channel has received a lot of attention over the years on different TV shows. Cassey Ho, the instructor on this channel excels at motivating and making the workouts pass quickly. While, it's not a pure pilates channel, Ho is a pilates instructor and most of the posted videos posted are Pilates related.
This is one of the more professionally run fitness channels available on YouTube. While, the channel is not Pilates specific it does contain tons of Pilates videos. One of the nice features about the videos on this channel is that they are both timed and contain an approximate calorie count (obviously will vary everyone) with the associated exercises.
What is it: Zumba is an aerobic fitness program that uses dance moves choregraphed to Latin inspired dance music. However, note that as Zumba is a brand that instructors must pay into not all YouTube Channels that teach dance fitness classes will be called Zumba. Therefore, you can get similar fitness videos by searching both Zumba and Dance Fitness with the main difference between the results being that Dance Fitness Channels do not use Zumba trademarked music.
What you need: An open space and some good speakers that can blare Latin inspired music.
Dance Fitness YouTube Channels we like:
While Nevana and Goran’s channel has slightly more complex choreographed moves than some other dance fitness channels they also have lots of fantastic creative moves, unique video settings and interesting outfits. Their channel has lots of popular Latin music which is something that is often lost on other dance fitness channels. If you want an authentic dance experience this is a great channel to check out.
This channel contain lots of popular music both Latin and other and has similar complexity to Nevana and Goran’s channel. One nice thing about this channel is that there are several different teachers so you are exposed to a wide variety of teaching styles. This channel posts a new video weekly so there is not only lots of content available, but also that lots of the music used is current.
This channel is a great place to start if you are new to dance fitness. The instructor Dez has choreography that is not only interesting, but also simple and repetitive making it easy to learn. While the videos are shot in comparatively less exciting settings (usually studios) many of the videos have other individuals in them adding a more traditional group fitness feel to the class which is fun. If you are confused where to start, this channel is a good place.
What is it: Barre is a workout designed off of similar moves in ballet and moves similar to Pilates and yoga classes. In Barre many of the movements focus on small isometric holds with high repetition of small range of motion movements (think holding a squat and then moving up in down in that squat slightly 32 times).
What you need: A mat with good grip or other low impact surface. Small 2-3lb weights. Note that full small water bottles can be used as weight substitutes. A elevated surface that you can grip onto for support (similar to a ballet barre) such as a chair or table edge.
Barre YouTube Channels we like:
SummerGirl Fitness is the best place for beginners to start. While, there are a limited number of barre videos available, the videos that they have are very easy to follow. If you are an individual with zero to limited dance background, SummerGirl Fitness walks you through the exercises with slower transitions.
Many of the moves in the different barre videos posted are very choreographed and move smoothly from one to the other. While, the transition pace between videos is quicker than SummerGirl Fitness, it is also very satisfying having the chance to master the different series of moves.
Lazy Dancer Tips has a comprehensive repertoire of barre fitness videos, as well as some neat dancer related tips. For example, Lazy Dancer Tips has videos on making different hairstyles that are associated with ballet as well as how to care for your body when you are a dancer. Lazy Dancer Tips is a channel that could offer the fulfilled dream of learning how to be a dancer in the fullest sense from fitness to physical presentation.
Remember, trying something new can be difficult and there are tons of ways to work out and get active, so if you don’t like the first video you try don’t be discouraged. Many fitness professionals recommend trying a group fitness class at least 3 times so you have a chance to acquire enough skill to enjoy the class before deciding if you like it or not. The same thing applies for a fitness class videos. And if you end up liking the videos, braving a class wouldn't feel as scary if you want to try it out. Good luck and happy working out!