Fitness Friday

Body by YouTube: The 5 Best Online Workout Channels

Who doesn't want a workout that's challenging, flexible, personalized and totally free?

By Ayshe Tayfun July 22, 2016

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Superman that flo'.

Image: Shutterstock

Exercise options are pretty much unlimited these days. There is literally something out there for everyone, and best of all, some of the best exercise options are free or pretty close to it. You might be used to watching funny videos online during your, ahem, lunch break, but have you ever considered making YouTube or other online videos part of your fitness routine? The trick is navigating through the junk to find sources that suit your workout needs. To that end we've found a few sources you can count on—including some online options from local studios.

Fitness Blender

Started by a husband and wife team in 2010, Fitness Blender is a health and fitness website dedicated to making fitness free and accessible. Fitness Blender videos—there are hundreds of them—can be accessed on their website, their app (available for iOS and Android) and on YouTube. You can find exactly what you’re looking for with drop-down options that allow you to pick the equipment you have available, length of time (5 minutes to over an hour), area of the body you want to focus on and more. If you love the workouts, you can build a workout schedule using the calendar on the site or app. Health and fitness articles will help supplement tailored workouts that are easy to follow.


PopSugar is a lifestyle website with a fitness channel (FitSugar) that has expanded from workout articles with step-by-step photo instructions to creating full-fledged fitness videos that are available on the site as well as on YouTube. While Fitness Blender mostly focuses on strength training and high-intensity interval training, PopSugar's videos span the breadth of the fitness world, from quick, focused workouts to CrossFit and '80s-inspired aerobics, most of them made in collaboration with a famous fitness instructor.


You know how an enthusiastic and encouraging instructor can make a fitness class way more effective and more fun? The same is true of the trio of instructors—Rebecca-Louise Smith, Kelsey Lee and Cynthia Dallas—who make each XHIT video feel like a one-on-one personal trainer session. If you don't know where to begin, we particularly love the routines inspired by celeb bods—who doesn't want Beyoncé's butt, Jennifer Lawrence's legs or the abs of a Victoria's Secret model?

Local Studios

Local gyms and yoga studios are also jumping on the online bandwagon. Yoga is the perfect format to follow via video on any type of device because very little space and equipment is needed. Houston's Black Swan Yoga and Joy Yoga have capitalized on that idea. Black Swan Yoga, located in the Heights, has videos that are grouped by instructor that include bios and videos with different pre-recorded flows at a cost of $8 a month per instructor. If you prefer a class experience, Joy Yoga, located in the Heights and Galleria area, takes a different spin with live streamed videos of actual yoga classes recorded throughout the day, plus individual instructor channels. Users can test it out for $0.99 for the first month.

Whether you just like the convenience of working out in your own home, on your own time, or have a schedule that doesn’t allow for a regular gym routine, these online options are reliable and effective. All you have to do is press play.

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