Fitness to Go: Anywhere, Anytime Exercise Classes
Traveling? Staying home with the kids? Unable to afford a gym membership? No time to schlep across town? No problem: Fitness websites and apps are available wherever -- and whenever -- you are. For some users, they replace gyms and yoga studios altogether, and for others, they are a helpful complement.
Fitness instructor and personal trainer Yu Hannah Kim has always believed that fitness should be available to anyone. Now, with the launch of her new site, Yufit, she's making that dream a reality.
Yufit offers streaming videos for everything from cardio kickboxing and core burn workouts to yoga and stretching.
"I wanted to create something that people could use anywhere, anytime," Kim told TechNewsWorld. "I wanted to give people something that was inexpensive and easy to use."
Classes on the site run 30 or 60 minutes, and members can follow particular classes and interact with the instructor and fellow members through a news feed. Kim says that the site is particularly useful for people who aren't able to attend fitness classes at a gym.
"When they go on travel or on vacations, they find it difficult to keep up with their workouts," said Kim. "They can access Yufit anywhere they have an Internet connection. Some people use it instead of the gym, and others use it in addition to the gym."
Yoga for the Masses
For people who want all yoga, all the time, My Yoga Online gives access, for a monthly or yearly membership fee, to more than 1,000 videos in many different styles, including anusara, kundalini, power and vinyasa -- as well as pilates and meditation.
One key to the site's appeal, according to its CEO and cofounder Jason Jacobson, is the variety it offers.
"This replaces DVDs," Jacobson told TechNewsWorld. "Instead, it's many videos in one place -- and practice at home, while traveling, or at work."
For some users, it replaces yoga studios altogether, and for others it is a helpful complement to their studio practice.
"When we first launched, we thought we'd be competing with yoga studios," said Jacobson. "What we've found is that a lot of members look at this as a complement, a way to expand their horizons. This is a great way for people to expand into different styles of yoga, different teachers ... without leaving their home."
In addition to streaming videos, the company has an iOS/Android app called "My Yoga," which lets users access their favorite videos on the go. The site also features content such as articles about yoga and fitness, and it has a social component, allowing users to create profiles and interact with other users.
"It's making yoga available to more people and erasing the myth that yoga is a religious or isolated practice," explained Jacobson. "It's really making it open to the masses, especially people not in major cities who don't have access to quality yoga programs."
For those who want to set creative fitness goals for themselves, the recently launched Fleetly might be the way to go. The site and its companion iOS app allow users to participate in a variety of challenges, such as 100 workouts in 2012, 36,500 Push-ups in 2012, and a Winter 100 Miler. They track their progress, interact with friends, and use the service as motivation to achieve their fitness goals.
"Our mission is to make Fleetly the digital hub for fitness," explained Geoff Pitfield, Fleetly's founder, who was inspired to create Fleetly while training for his first triathalon. "By this I mean Fleetly is where people come to not only discover and track their progress, but also interact with others about their fitness through challenges, talk and content."
Fleetly works, in part, because of the fun factor, Pitfield said.
"We believe that providing a fun, immersive place where people can engage in a deep, meaningful way about their fitness -- and get encouragement and feedback on their progress -- provides great motivation," explained Pitfield. "[That's] essential to meeting their fitness goals -- whether that's training for an Ironman or just trying to get off the couch."
Fleetly's social component also keeps people motivated and engaged. When they're working out with their friends, they're more likely to want to keep doing it.
"We have a member from the Netherlands who wanted motivation to keep up his New Year's fitness resolution, so he created a challenge, and now over 6,000 people in the U.S. and abroad are participating," said Pitfield. "When you look at the chat stream, you see they are abuzz with all these people sharing their achievements, encouraging each other, giving and receiving advice, and having a good time with it. When people are this engaged with their fitness, they are motivated to stay on track."