We tried it: Free online workouts

By Columbus Alive
From the January 12, 2012 edition

When it’s too cold or icy to get to the gym, the internet has you — and your New Year’s resolution to get fit — covered.

I tried three different websites’ free online workout videos to hash out which works best when. Penny and love-handle pinchers, read on.

Website: Hulu.com/yoga-and-pilates

Activities offered: Cardio and relaxation yoga, and Pilates

Pros: Easy to do in your house or apartment because the workouts don’t require much space or jumping around (a fact of which I’m sure my downstairs neighbor appreciated)

Cons: Commercials killing your Zen-tastic buzz

Verdict: Without an instructor on hand, it’s hard to know whether you’re doing your Downward Dog in proper form, but the teachers are good at telling you when to inhale and exhale, so you can’t mess up the workout too badly.

Website: Physicalfitnet.com

Activity: An exercise video library featuring workouts targeting every muscle group

Pros: Lots of cool new exercise ideas for those looking to isolate and work on specific areas of the body

Cons: These aren’t as much full workouts as they are exercise instruction videos. They don’t offer much direction.

Verdict: This is a good site for experienced exercisers, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a novice who might be prone to doing the exercises improperly and getting hurt.

Website: Youtube.com/sparkpeople

Activity: Exercise, cardio and cooking lessons

Pros: No commercials and some seriously effective cardio

Cons: The production value of the videos sucks.

Verdict: The YouTube channel is easier to maneuver than the actual Spark People website, and there is a wide range of workout style options.