During my 20-minute commute to my morning workout at Barry’s, a boot camp style class that marries treadmills with weight lifting, I thought about how much easier it would be if I could work out at home. It would be much more affordable than the outrageous $30 a class price tag attached to Boston fitness classes and I wouldn’t have to waste 20 minutes commuting to and from each class. However, would working out at home be as effective as my beloved Soul Cycle and Barry’s classes and would I be motivated enough to actually do it? Apparently, the answer to both of these questions for many people is yes. However, it turns out that the key to success for working out at-home is Social Media.
I did some initial googling to see what kinds of options there were for at-home workouts. During my research, I found a number of different online methods that many people use to better reach their at-home fitness goals – apps, online fitness communities, and live classes on YouTube. However, I have recently become intrigued by one in particular – online fitness communities. Over the past year, I started to notice this growing fitness movement because it has been flooding my social media feed. More and more people have been posting works out from groups like Tone It Up, Kayla Itsines, Beach Body, and many others. For those of you who are not familiar, I’ve provided links to a few of the communities below, but basically, for a fee, they offer a combination of nutrition plans, weekly schedules, daily workouts, and membership to their online community of members. Some have even become so popular they now host in-person fitness retreats and events where thousands attend. One common theme in all of these communities is to connect with your trainer (i.e. Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up) and other members through posting your meals, workouts, and successes.
What I’ve found most interesting about these communities is the ripple effect that I’ve seen occur. Currently, Tone It Up has over 1.2 million followers, Kayla Itsines over 8 million, and Beach Body 1.4 million. Each of them starting with basically nothing and in only a few years, Tone it Up is reportedly a multi-million dollar business and Kayla Itsines has been praised by Bloomberg Businessweek as generating more revenue than any fitness app this year, besting Nike+, and Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal.
Social media is what attracts most of these members to these groups. People join these communities because they have seen a friend on social media doing it or they follow one of these trainers on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Snapchat. They go to their website, purchase a package and then they start posting workouts, and quickly encourage others to follow in their footsteps. In any industry – this is a company’s dream! Customers raving about their experience and results and soliciting others to join! While these communities and social media are the keys to success for these companies, they are also the keys to keeping you motivated and helping you reach your goals. The network of members keeps you accountable, gives you the support you need to stay motivated, challenges you to push yourself, and celebrates your success. The social media platforms allow everyone to seamless connect to one another without having to meet up in person. Together, they are what keep you coming back and staying engaged. And the most fascinating thing about all of this is that most (if not all) of is via online and no in-person contact!
Most people join gyms or different fitness studios in order to feel like they are a part of a community, but in a large city like Boston, it is difficult to feel connected or member of a community even when you are there in person. Isn’t ironic that in some cases, it is easier to develop a deeper sense of community through social media platforms?!
All in all, I think it is quite amazing that over the past 7 years, in true social media fashion, these online fitness communities have appeared and changed the way we traditionally think about fitness. At-home workouts have been around for decades, but having a support network of millions of people (most of whom you will or have never met) while working out at home is pretty revolutionary.
Although I still have not given up my in-person classes for an in-home workout, it might be something in my near future – especially as the weather gets colder! I’m curious about your workout preferences – does anyone have any positive or negative experiences with the at-home work outs I’ve mentioned? Do you think it is possible to feel supported and motivated by a huge fitness community that you have never met? Given their growing popularity, do you think they could one day completely take over in-person classes?