There’s 25 days until the gyms re-open (not that I’m counting or anything) and my motivation fuel tank is officially running on empty. Aside from forcing myself out of the house for daily walks, I have really struggled to establish a regular exercise routine during lockdown 3.0 and that’s because I’m a gym girl through and through. This whole exercising in the same place that I sleep and binge Netflix thing just doesn’t work for me. Give me an air-conditioned gym with lots of shiny machinery and a sauna room over a home workout any day!
That being said, one of the few things I have enjoyed about exercising at home has been discovering the fitness side of YouTube. Pre-COVID, my YouTube usage was limited to watching compilation videos of babies being cute and half-assing make-up tutorials before nights out. It was only when lockdown led me in search of ‘fitness inspo’ that I realised YouTube also happens to be a gold mine for free workout videos.
There’s thousands of dedicated fitness channels, covering all types of exercise from HIIT and full body workouts to strength conditioning and yoga. With so much choice and variety just a couple of screen taps away, there really is a workout to suit everyone. Short for time or lacking in energy? Opt for a 10 minute, low impact workout. Feeling more energised and wanting a challenge? Go hardcore with a full hour of cardio.
YouTube playlists make it easy to mix and match videos according to your fitness goals and preferences to create the best workout for you. I like to get started with a short warm-up video, follow that with a lengthier cardio workout and finish up with a 5-minute arm or abs burner.
Browsing YouTube in search of worthwhile workouts can be time-consuming when there’s so many to choose from, which is why I have put together a list of my five favourite fitness channels to get you started. Enjoy!
‘Fake it til you make it!’ is one of fitness instructor Emily’s catchphrases over on the EMK FIT channel where the focus is on having fun through fitness and keeping your body moving. I typically hate any HIIT-style workouts but Emily has converted me with her dance HIIT videos. They are high energy, left-feet-friendly and always accompanied by iconic music (like 90’s club hits, Lady Gaga songs and the Mamma Mia film soundtrack). What more could you ask for?
Gina B was one of the first fitness personalities I discovered on YouTube and I still use her cool down videos religiously. They provide the perfect ending to a challenging workout playlist, with plenty of stretching, gentle movement and feel good music to help you wind down. I also love Gina B’s walking workouts, especially designed to help you hit your daily step goal and get ahead of your friends on that Fitbit leaderboard.
I highly recommend Caroline Girvan’s videos for anyone who loves weight workouts. They are an excellent choice for anyone looking to build their strength and really feel the burn. The first time I attempted her 30 minute full body kettlebell workout my body ached for three days afterwards — then again, I hadn’t picked up a kettlebell in over a year so perhaps that had something to do with it! If you don’t usually workout with weights, you might want to ease yourself into Caroline’s videos by trying one of her equipment-free workouts first.
A Kyra Pro workout is the ultimate mood booster. The super smiley Kyra looks like she’s enjoying every workout she does and her upbeat attitude is infectious. My current favourite video on her channel is this 10 minute standing abs workout. Here’s the deal with sit ups and crunches — I avoid them at all costs. Why?
1. They hurt my back
2. They’re boring as hell
3. I completely and utterly loathe them.
Thanks to Kyra though, I am finally exercising my abs on a (semi) regular basis. Standing exercises reduce the strain on my back, her workouts always include a variety of moves to keep things interesting and a 10 minute abs workout is achievable for anyone, even me!
With over 5.5 million subscribers, lifestyle website POPSUGAR’s YouTube fitness channel is most definitely not in need of a shout out from a humble blog like mine. Nevertheless I felt compelled to include them in this list because I do really enjoy their videos, especially the ones that feature an extra instructor to demonstrate lower impact modifications for the duration of the workout — ideal for the injury prone, people with granny knees, anyone who just can’t be arsed to do full burpees, and those of us who are lucky enough to qualify for all three categories!
Do you use YouTube for workouts? What are your must-follow fitness channels? Let me know in the comments. For more home exercise ideas while we wait for the gyms to re-open, check out my blog Easy Ways to Stay Active at Home.