Who needs a gym when you can work out at home for free with YouTube trainers?
There are a thousand reasons not to go to the gym. Most of them, like lack of time or fear of being seen in spandex, are unfortunate. Here's one for the plus side: YouTube has hundreds of fitness channels to get you in shape at home. And some are pretty good.
Many channels retain their grass roots, dispatches-from-the-living-room feel. Others go for professional production rivaling pricey DVD counterparts. Either way, each channel brings its own stars, style, online community and signature instruction. Though the channels below are only the tip of the iceberg, they represent a good sampler platter of YouTube's fitness offerings and each has plenty of workouts requiring little to no equipment. Best of all — they're free.
If you miss your "Buns of Steel" VHS tape or love home fitness DVDs, check out BeFiT. With almost 1,000 videos, the channel has something for everyone: dance, stretching, boot camp, yoga, weights, abs, cardio, prenatal and more. BeFiT also boasts videos by high-profile trainers: Jillian Michaels' trouble zones workout, Jane Fonda's low-impact cardio, Stephanie McMahon's WWE fitness training and even Deepak Chopra's guided meditations.
Yoga With Adriene
Those who do yoga know the feeling. You walk into a new class and become completely enchanted by an instructor's … let's call it aura. Adriene Mishler, the fresh-faced host of Yoga With Adriene, has that aura. Her peaceful, playful and patient nature has made her one of YouTube's most popular yoga stars. Mishler's channel is especially great for beginners. Experienced yogis have their choice of videos for weight loss, broken heart healing, desk yoga, traveler's yoga and more. New videos are out every Wednesday.
Six Pack Shortcuts
Six Pack Shortcuts is YouTube's man cave for fitness feigns. It has more than 3 million subscribers, making it the most popular channel on our list. The appeal could be the many short intense workouts (not only aimed at abs), many of which are equipment-free. But perhaps it is the host, Mike Chang, who sets the channel apart. Where other channels often feature an intense, hard-core approach, the amiable yet ripped Chang seems more like your best bro. In addition to workouts, he offers nutrition tips as well as "real talk" videos discussing emotional overeating, excessive drinking and image issues.
With her cheerleader-like pep, colorful videos, costumes and followers called "POPsters," Blogilates host Cassey Ho has 2 million-plus subscribers who have rocketed her into both the digital mainstream and the land of brick and mortar. Ho's signature workout, "Pop Pilates" (Pilates routines done to Top 40 hits), is now a 24 Hour Fitness class. The host has also been celebrated by the media for speaking up against body shaming. More recently, a video, in which Ho Photoshopped herself to conform with negative YouTube comments, went viral, getting coverage in such publications as Time and People.
Tone It Up
If Six Pack Shortcuts is the man cave, Tone It Up is the women's beach fitness retreat. It bears all the hallmarks of its Southern California origin: workouts filmed on the sand, fresh and healthy recipes, lifestyle tips and the latest fitness apparel. The two beautiful, sun-kissed and goofy co-hosts, Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, even starred in a 2014 Bravo reality series. Tone It Up is a grab bag of tips, day-in-the-life clips, vlogs (video blogs) and fitness routines. The workouts are a mix of cardio and toning exercises, but the channel is perhaps best known for its 8-Week Bikini Series Challenge. It's a free plan (with pay options to upgrade) that mixes Tone It Up fitness videos with workouts of your choosing.