The world is online – just look around and you will see that everyone is online whether on their phones, tablets, smart watches or laptops. With everything being online today – it is even easy to get fit online. Yes, you read that right, online fitness is a trend that is growing by the day.
To start with the basics, it is important to identify the online fitness option that works for you – whether it is an App, television channel or Youtube. As people are online all the time, YouTube is a platform that provides a plethora of information regarding various genres including fitness. For beginners, the initial stage would be to explore different channels on fitness according to their suitability in terms of their fitness goals. It is important to check in credibility in terms of the channel and the creator to ensure that the outcome or the results are beneficiary. “You can do this by gauging through the ‘About Us’ section and the best way to get a sense about the channel is to scan the comments section and see what others are talking about. Secondly, since YouTube provides accessibility to abundance of content, we’ve made playlists on the channel. Each playlist is for a different fitness goal (weight loss, muscle building, strength) Even if you’re an absolute beginner, you can go to the YouTube channel and start learning about the topic you want. The direct message option on every channel gives the users a chance to put forward their personal requests and queries and we directly respond to answer so that the users get a personalised touch,” says Ranveer Allahbadia, Founder, Beer Biceps, India’s biggest English fitness channel.
There are plenty of online workout programmes and video streaming sites that make it easier and more convenient to exercise wherever and whenever you want. “Till now my experience has been restricted only to YouTube channels. Sometimes on a rainy day, just like any other woman I search for the classes that can help me to get flat abs. I am really not sure of the results as I am indulged in numerous other activities,” says Sucheta Pal, Zumba Global Brand Ambassador. So how do online fitness classes work? In this day and age, everything is available on the internet. “You do not have to get a gym membership to stay fit. Online fitness classes are becoming popular day by day. In many ways, it is like being trained by an expert however they’re not next to you when you workout. A viewer is able to follow a series of workouts that are tailored towards their goals,” avers Sunny, Founder My Bollywood Body, the most subscribed and watched Hindi fitness channel with over 6 crore views and 8 lakh followers. Gaurav Taneja, Founder, Fit Muscle TV an online platform for fitness enthusiasts who are looking for proper knowledge based on science, in training, nutrition and supplementation says, “the channel covers everyone, from beginners to advance professional athletes. It is too old fashioned to think, you need to spend hours in the gym for a chiselled look. If training is done smartly and backed by science, everything is possible. That is what we are doing, filling the gap between old school concepts and the new age scientific methods.” Amrita Kaur, an avid online fitness users says, “I have two herniated discs and when they start giving trouble, I just have to be on bed rest. It is something I have to live with. When I randomly came across TED Talks by beer Biceps I was further motivated to continue to be keep myself fit at all times.”
Fitness on your Fingertips
Between work, family and other obligations, it can be very difficult to squeeze in time to exercise. But it seems that many of life’s little problems can be solved with the internet’s help. Online fitness class is becoming worldwide trend and most of the focus is to give attendees a taste of personalized training and then hopefully if they like the content they will get hooked or else they will try to find a live class. Many fitness instructors are featuring online workouts on their own websites, and even more using YouTube hence it’s now easier than ever to get fit for free and in the comfort of your own home. “Yes, these online fitness programs are extremely effective in making people fit, granted they are being followed properly. The programs are tailored to a person’s specific needs and goals. They have to be followed religiously, in order to attain the goals set,” opines Sunny. In fact there are even dedicated television channels that can help you get fit. Tata Sky Fitness has celebrity fitness trainers ranging from Yasmin Karachiwala, Kaizzad Capadia to Abbas Ali, Grand Master Shifuji and many more who have shared workout, yoga sessions, self-defence and celebrity fitness tips that any individual can follow at home, without the need of any professional equipment. “Apart from 30-minute alternate programmes of yoga and workout, there is an option of quick 10-minute sessions too. There is a chart of the nutritional value of food items too. All these features have got thousands of subscribers hooked and benefit from the service,” says Pallavi Puri – Chief Commercial Officer – Tata Sky. Abhinay, a subscriber from Chandigarh thanked the service for his successful weight loss taking inspiration from Kunal Sharma’s workout on the service. Similarly a subscriber Audrey from Bengaluru dealt with her pre-exam stress by practicing yoga with the help of Tata Sky Fitness and says, “as a student, I was constantly stressed before my exams. I subscribed to the Tata Sky Fitness channel and followed a class of yoga and meditation, that helped me tremendously to calm down my mind and reduce my stress. It helped me focus and perform better in my exams too and since then I have been an avid follower of the program.”
Weighing the pros and cons
Online fitness has several advantages including access to professional advice and the fact that it is mostly free making it easy on the wallet. Also, no gym equipment is required and it is independent of time and location. Dr. Amit Panja, Head Physiotherapist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan adds, “the person can work out anywhere and at any time as per his/her comfort level. There is flexibility of time. Also exercises can be repeated as often as needed, to reach expected output and it may be beneficial for those who do not need any instructions and have sound knowledge about proper techniques.” On the flip side, no help is available to correct technique and form and the lack of motivation can be a deterrent as no one is available to motivate you to keep going. Again it is difficult to judge progress and is not suitable for someone who lacks discipline and can easily be distracted. It is also not sufficient as a form of exercise for serious lifters who require gym access. It can also be a little confusing for beginners as there are many channels to choose from. Fitness apps are also becoming commonplace as people use their mobiles for everything and apps are a way of life today. For instance, the Curefit app allows the user to choose from the available packs like Beginners guide, cardio packs, Core WO, Strength training etc. Under the pack usually there are 6-8 sessions provided for variety and depth in WO. The sessions are pinned to the dashboard in a video format. The user can watch and train simultaneously which also aids in using correct form and reps. Pallavi Barman – Head of Marketing and Operations at HRX agrees, “the DIY WO (Do it yourself Workout) tutorials are for the uninitiated/beginners or for the audience who is pressed for time and yet wishes to work out at home for quick results. The soon to launch HRX DIY WOs will be based on desired calorie burn and disposable time at hand example if a user wishes to burn 200 calories in 10 min he/she could use a certain pack. If the same user wishes to up the intensity, there is a choice of higher calorie burn within the same time also. Likewise with more time at hand a user could choose a low intensity or high intensity WO.”
A key question that arises as far as online fitness classes are concerned is the efficacy of them in helping people achieve their fitness goals. “We receive hundreds of emails, and thousands of comments on our social media platforms from people who have followed our videos and have achieved their fitness goals. They send us their ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures as well to show their transformations,” avers Sunny. My Bollywood Body customises their workouts and has two toll free numbers and almost 35,000 people who are on their WhatsApp group broadcast messaging. If an online program available is not suitable, you could request for what you need and the team can design a customized diet and fitness program at a cost. To date the team has written over 7000 customized programs. Ranveer explains, “these are extremely effective! It is a very rewarding job because you can influence so many people’s lives at once. I get about 10-20 inboxes everyday with people saying thank you. Everyone appreciates the free of cost guidance. Something that I did not have access to while growing up and I believe fitness education should be free for all. I have also helped Tanmay Bhat from AIB with his weight loss journey. He is an avid watcher of the channel as well.” However like with everything there are two sides to the coin. Dr. Pooja Singh, Head Physiotherapist, Fortis’ S.L. Raheja Hospital, has another take and says, “I used many online approach of training or maintaining fitness in people. But my personal opinion is that fitness exercises are always independently accessed for people, programmed and tailor made, considering various parameters. Medically and physically there should be assistance and supervision of a trainer or a physiotherapist to prevent muscle and soft tissue injuries.” So before you go online to get fit just make sure you take the right precautions. You will then see that it is easy for you to achieve your fitness goals and you can then take all the credit for the new you!
Popular online fitness classes
- My Bollywood Body
- Beer Biceps
- Crunch Live
- Fit Muscle TV
- Fitness Junction
- Xcell Fitness
- Official Barstarzz
- Fitness Blender
This story appeared in the Sep-17 issue of Smartlife here: