Before the pandemic, Vesco found all of these things through her work as a trainer at the Dogpound gym as well as the now-defunct boutique studio BFX, both in New York City, which had some of the toughest and longest-running restrictions on in-person training due to Covid-19. So, like many independent personal trainers and group trainers who were out of work, she began offering live online classes from her living room. “I think the pandemic has forced all of us to slow down and focus on what really matters to us as individuals,” she says.
“No matter where you are, no matter what you need, you can open a screen and find a familiar face or meet a not-so-familiar face that changes your life, and that’s a really beautiful thing.” – Bianca Vesco, CPT
What started out as weekly Saturday Zoom classes (known to their clients as “Saturbaes”) quickly grew into multiple live sessions per week, as well as recordings of those sessions so those who missed it could still enjoy the group aspect – home workout. “Having 24-hour access to digital spaces from anywhere in the world changed the game when we all had to stay at home,” says Vesco. “And here we are, years later, still walking in a world where some people want to go to the gym and some people don’t.” According to a recent survey, more than half, about 56 percent, of those surveyed said they prefer training at home. For those who prefer to stay away thanks to live streaming, “we still have a community,” she adds. “No matter where you are, no matter what you need, you can open a screen and find a familiar face or meet a not-so-familiar face that changes your life, and that’s a really beautiful thing.”
At this point, it’s harder to find fitness brands Not offer online live courses.
For independent trainers like Vesco, live online classes have become a lifeline in uncertain times. Even now that it’s safe to return to gyms and studios, many continue to offer live-streamed workouts that encompass a hybrid fitness model, meaning they will continue to offer both in-person and remote training options. But they’re not the only ones ushering in a new era of live streaming. Several fitness brands have also embraced the medium because it can bridge the gap between physical and recorded classes when it comes to community building.
Since the pandemic began, major digital fitness streaming platforms have either finally entered this space or delved deeper into this space. These include Tonal, which launched live classes earlier this year, Tempo, which made its live class offerings available at its cheaper home gym, Tempo Move, in March, and Mirror, which began offering daily live classes in 2021, led by Lululemon ambassadors were acquired by the activewear company. At this point, it’s harder to find fitness brands Not offer online live classes, either through their websites, through video conferencing platforms like Zoom, or social media.
“We know that the group effect — training with others — is powerful,” said Rachael Babiracki, Les Mills US head coach. “Training with others creates camaraderie and increases your motivation through connection,” adds Babiracki. “If we know others are expecting us and we have a place in the group, we’re more likely to show up regularly.”
This is how online live classes can be incredibly empowering. “A live class is a great way to take responsibility for yourself,” says Ashley Mills, co-CEO and co-founder of obé fitness, which along with Peloton was an early adopter of live streaming classes when it launched in 2018 was. “Knowing you’ve added it to your calendar will help you show up, and the energy and shout-outs take motivation to the next level!”
“People come to group fitness because great instructors help participants go places they couldn’t go on their own.” – Megan Cloe, Les Mills Instructor
In addition, training together often brings out the best in people. It’s not so much about competing with the person next to you (or the instructor in front of you) as it is about letting their performance encourage you to do everything you can.
“People come to group fitness because great instructors help participants go places they couldn’t go on their own; Work harder, move better, get more out of your workout,” says Les Mills trainer Megan Cloe. “On-line [live] Streaming allows attendees to feel seen—hearing their names, still making eye contact, coaching, experiencing the motivation of a live trainer even when they need or want to be away. This gives participants a sense of ‘belonging to a group’ that keeps people coming back.”
Psychologists agree that group fitness — whether in person or online — is incredibly beneficial for overall mental health.
“What I love about a group fitness class is the feeling you get of a room full of people working towards a common goal,” says licensed psychologist Alyson Nerenberg, PsyD. “It feels like there’s more than just people exercising alone – instead, it feels like you’re part of a larger community working together to get stronger and healthier. That is the power of community.”
Are you saying that training without a group aspect is not as beneficial? Not necessarily – just that a supportive environment where everyone is striving towards the same goal can really increase motivation.
“The only bad workout is what you don’t do, but let’s face it, the environment we train in plays a big part in how we perform,” says Rumble XPRO Julian Doan. “While nothing beats a live experience, live online classes are the next best thing because you’ll be taught, inspired, and entertained by your favorite trainers anytime, anywhere. That kind of freedom combined with commitment makes it easier to reach your goals in less time.”
At the end of the day, Cloe sums it up perfectly: “Building connections are no longer limited to the walls of the studio, they are practically limitless.”