Home exercise classes took off significantly during the pandemic as gyms and leisure centres closed their doors for lockdown. For many people, this put a pin not only in routine training but also an active part of their social life as the class placed them amongst like-minded people with similar goals. 

Before the pandemic, the fitness industry opinion often fell in favour of in-person classes for most people but now attitudes and normal routines have been changed for the long-term, and so too has the balance in preference between in-person and online exercise classes.

It’s easy to assume that online classes are in some way subpar in comparison to classes held at a venue but since the pandemic, this assumption no longer holds true.

Exercise & Training

Whilst performing exercise under instruction is the reason for the class, the exercise you do is only one part of what you need. The fact is that burning 300 calories an hour will happen with the same movements whether you’re in the gym or at home in front of your Smart TV. 

Video call software such as the now infamous ‘Zoom’ has made creating an interactive environment no more difficult than a few clicks of a mouse and there’s very little that can’t be demonstrated by a trainer to many people at the same time on a laptop screen that would only be possible in person. A burpee demonstrated on the screen looks just as difficult as one you see in person! As far as the points considered in this post, the pure exercise aspect of the classes can be delivered just as well in person as it can online.

Socialising & Time Management

A great deal of people find that their social lives and fitness journey begin to intertwine as they find themselves amongst people who have the same goals and have faced the same challenges, making it quite a relatable experience. 

For those who enjoy seeing their friends in the class, at first glance, it may be that in-person classes have the edge on this point but it’s important to consider how socialisation itself has changed since the pandemic.

We now have a greater awareness of how our working lives interact with our social and family time and the typical 9-5 working model is seemingly losing its status as the ‘norm’. What this means for those who commit to training is rather than overlapping exercise with social time, we can more easily overlap fitness and our employment. An online fitness class can easily be performed during a lunch break and leave enough time for a high-protein meal. And this means our social lives can now be exclusively for socialising.

Motivation & Sustainability

Fitness training gives us the greatest benefit when we’re consistent with it over time, and this is probably one of the most difficult things to get right when aiming for a lifestyle in which exercise has a place. By telling ourselves we’re going to commit to a class at the same time each week and regardless of how we feel, getting our trainers on and going to it, we overcome some of the biggest hurdles that challenge our ability to be consistent. 

With an online class, this commitment becomes easier. When you’re able to stand in front of your living room TV and log on to your weekly class, the journey to the venue and leaving the house are removed from the equation making it much easier to be consistent.

What we perhaps lose on the motivation front is the encouragement from those in the room at an in-person class. But the first challenge is attending the class and if you can do that consistently, the results you begin to see will become part of your motivation to continue.

Accessibility & Environment

A class at your leisure centre will be well-equipped with mats and weights etc which perhaps gives it the edge over your home gym environment. However, the unavailability of certain pieces of equipment at the beginning of the pandemic gave us the opportunity to look for alternatives. 

A gym will likely have a large selection of training weights but this has no advantage over the set of adjustable dumbbells you store in your living room cupboard. It’s unlikely that your home gym environment will be better equipped than a leisure centre or gym, but with some investment, versatile equipment can be purchased that suits you and the type of exercise you’re performing. A gym needs to cater for everybody, whereas you only need to cater for you and that’s why your home gym needs only a fraction of what a collective training environment needs to be just as functional for you.