Right now is a crazy time for all of us.
Never before has the UK – scratch that, the WORLD – been in such a situation whereby all outdoor activity and socialising is pretty much forbidden, and our health services are at severe risk of collapsing in front of our very eyes.
It seems like such a simple thing to do, doesn’t it, to remain at home whilst others literally risk their lives on the frontlines. However it is nevertheless so powerful, and something that can honestly be the difference between somebody else living or dying. None of us know the power that we each have as individuals…but truly, it is a lot. And that goes for everything we do in life – not just now.
Welcome to the home gym…
Whilst the government is currently allowing people out of the house to exercise – for walks, jogs, bike rides etc. – working out at home has become a whole new part of many people’s routines.
Luckily for me, this hasn’t been anything new – I’ve been working out at home for years and actually prefer it. It’s not that I have anything against the gym, or attending classes – these indeed have been part of my workout regime in years gone by. But for many reasons, such as convenience, low cost and accessibility, working out at home has been where I’ve made the most progress in my physical health and well-being.
Of course I’ve integrated this with getting outside where possible, whether it’s walking, jogging or riding a bike. But the bottom line is, you don’t need an expensive gym membership or class pass to get fit and healthy and become your best self. That I know to be true.
Benefits of Online Workouts
Thanks to the internet, most of us have little excuse not to work out at home. Thanks to YouTube and many other online subscription services, we have access to almost any type of activity we want, from yoga and pilates to HIIT workouts and zumba.
In some cases you may need one or two small pieces of equipment, and it is indeed fairly inexpensive to set up a little workout area in your home, as fancy or as simple as you like (I prefer to keep it simple). However most workouts online are designed to be equipment-free, requiring a small space, your own body weight, and maybe some items around the home.
I’m a big proponent of working out at home because I love the idea that being fit and healthy can be available to anyone. It all comes down to finding an activity you truly enjoy, and an instructor that truly motivates you.
What are my favourite workouts?
I believe it can take some time to find types of exercise you really enjoy – sometimes even years. It definitely took me a little while – and even now I’ll change up my routine depending on what my body is feeling that day.
Overall, my favourite types of exercise are yoga, pilates and kettlebell workouts. I never quite got into lifting heavy at the gym, but kettlebells for some reason just click. They are great for compound exercises and you can work a lot of muscles at once, meaning shorter yet more effective workouts.
Yoga and pilates are of course ancient practices that have been continued on through centuries. However, don’t be fooled into thinking they’re all about stretching and breathing! Yoga can indeed be used for muscle rehabilitation and relaxation, but practiced in different ways it’s actually a powerful strength-builder and is amazing for improving your flexibility. Pilates, meanwhile, is all about lengthening and strengthening, meaning it builds lean muscle. Yes, much of it is done on the floor, but it’s far from taking a nap!
Outside of these activities, I also love bike riding and bouldering, and in the past I’ve also been a huge fan of callanetics – the style of isometric exercises created by Callan Pinkney in the 80s (said to be the ‘father of pilates’). For the purposes of this post however, we’ll stick to the activities I currently do at home. 😉
Of course, my love for these things has had a lot to do with the inspirational and incredible instructors I’ve found online. And so, without further ado, here are six of my favourite fitness YouTube channels! I hope you check them out and find them to be helpful in some way.
My 6 Favourite YouTube Channels For Working Out at Home
1. Yoga With Adriene
Few people won’t have heard of Adriene Louise of Yoga With Adriene – she has been absolutely smashing it in the wellness arena in the last few years.
But just in case, here’s what you need to know: Adriene won’t make you feel judged, excluded or way out of your depth if you’ve never done yoga in your life before. She’ll extend a friendly hand and guide you, step by step, through every yoga practice without prejudice or assumptions. Adriene’s kind and patient spirit literally shines through every video, and you’ll soon come to love her witty remarks, wry jokes and penchant for the occasional innuendo. Oh, and did I mention her totally adorable dog, Benji??
Basically, doing yoga with Adriene is fun. Occasionally there is a bit of a spiritual angle, if you’re into that, but Adriene does a wonderful job of never discriminating, keeping her classes open and available for all and working on levels everybody can understand. Her classes are designed to encourage people to “find what feels good” – listening to their own bodies and incorporating skills and approaches they can use off the mat as well as on.
On Adriene’s channel you’ll find classes for every purpose – from back pain to text neck to ab work…as well as more emotional fine-tuning, like yoga for anxiety, anger or deep focus.
If you’re looking to get started with a regular yoga practice, I highly recommend her most recent 30 day challenge, ‘Home’, which I happened to complete just the other day. Along the way I learned so much, and am a much stronger yogi than I was before I started. All you’ll need is a mat (or towel), and an open mind.
2. Ange’s Pilates
I first came across Ange through the channel eFit30 (see below), where she leads many pilates classes. However, working out with Ange on her own channel means more dedicated time is spent teaching and perfecting specific moves, as well as some more intermediate and advanced exercises she shares (for when you’re feeling adventurous).
Ange’s pilates workouts are a pure pleasure to do and perfect if you’re new to the exercise. Her calming voice and relaxing Australian accent help you flow effortlessly through the movements, offering clear and precise instructions the whole time. Before you know it the workout is over, and afterwards you’ll feel lengthened, strengthened and rejuvenated! (Plus, have you seen how fantastic this woman looks?! She’s incredible!)
Most of Ange’s classes are equipment-free, but she does offer workouts for therabands, rings and pilates balls too, all of which are great fun.
3. BodyFit By Amy
Before I discovered BodyFit By Amy, I was scared of picking up a kettlebell. Even though it was something I was curious about, I had no idea what I was doing and thought you needed a trainer to show you the ropes in the gym.
Of course I was wrong about that, and good job too! Amy’s kettlebell workouts have led me to love the kettlebell, to the point where its one of the few pieces of equipment I own (as well as a couple of dumbells I use for pilates). Her positive attitude, patient tuition and clear instructions will absolve any fears you had about kettlebells or HIIT workouts before, and make them fun, engaging and effective.
You will sweat a lot doing her workouts, but with Amy’s encouragement every step of the way, you’ll feel like you’re working out with a friend. Amy does have other types of workouts on her channel, such as dumbells and equipment-free circuits, but its her kettlebell sessions I go back to again and again.
If you’re curious, take a look at her video on how to do a kettlebell swing, above. And if you’re a mother, Amy also has a ton of ‘Mommy & Me’ workouts on her channel you can fit around taking care of your little one.
4. The Balanced Life
The Balanced Life is run by the beautiful pilates and barre instructor Robin Long. Her series of quick pilates and barre workouts are perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, and need to squeeze a workout in quickly. Believe me you will feel the burn – particularly if you’re new to the exercises!
Often when I’m looking for a proper workout, I’ll piece together a few of Robin’s short videos to make sure I’m working every area. So, I might do ten minutes of legs, followed by ten minutes of arms and then ten minutes of abs. But I think what I love most is literally that her videos are short so you can fit them around your own schedule. Paired with her sunny personality, it makes for an effortless, uplifting workout!
If you’re looking to get started with pilates, I recommend her 30 Day Pilates Body Challenge, which focuses on just doing ten minutes a day to introduce and get you hooked on pilates!
eFit30 is a channel where you can find all manner of fitness exercises – largely pilates, dance and resistance training – all for free, and all aroud 30 minutes! It’s where I first discovered Ange from Ange’s Pilates and fell in love with her teaching style. There are several other fantastic instructors on there too, like the lovely Renee in the video above.
The channel is adding new videos all the time, and is a perfect way to discover exercises and instructors you really like. Yes, it sort of looks a little cheesy at times…but what can I say, I’m a sucker for that 90s retro style!
6. BananaBlondie Yoga
If anybody thought yoga was all about meditation and tree hugging, then Michelle Muench of BananaBlondieYoga is the girl to prove them wrong.
That’s not to say she isn’t a tree hugger (she’s vegan, a gal after my own heart), but she has sure heated up the yoga scene in recent years with her unique style of sensual yoga (and humorous potty mouth). Whilst Michelle definitely has some fantastic free classes for beginners on her YouTube channel and her online subscription service BananaBlondieYoga.com, her more advanced classes will make you seriously shed some sweat…showing that yoga can be as effective as any other more rigorous workout.
The proof is in Michelle herself – at 42 years old(!), she’s a fantastic example of what yoga and whole plant foods can do for your body. Her Instagram feed will give you serious legging inspo…and if you want a laugh, check out some of her car rant videos on her channel.
What do you guys think? Will you be trying any of these workout channels? Perhaps you’re already a fan of one or two of them?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and please let me know if there are any fitness YouTube channels you love that I should check out!