The fitness world is always changing, but in mid-March, the industry seemed to change overnight. What was once a key part of people’s daily routine—going to a gym or studio and taking a class—was no longer available. Fitness professionals had to think quickly and decided to take their in-person businesses entirely online. The result was two different ways to take fitness classes: On-demand and live streams. When thinking of an on-demand fitness class, apps such as Peloton and Nike Run Club come to mind. For live workouts, fitness instructors have been hosting classes on Zoom, Instagram Live, and studios’ dedicated platforms. There are pros and cons to each style of online fitness class, but there are some things that probably have not come to mind.
With on-demand workouts, you have the option to pick whatever class you want. If you realize you’d rather not continue with the instructor you chose or the class isn’t the right fit for you, you can switch classes and instructors. Maybe you planned on doing a HIIT class one night, but when you woke up, you felt restless or sore from a past workout, so you choose to take a yoga class instead. Another bonus is that you can also take the course whenever you want. While looking at your calendar, you will have the opportunity to choose a class that perfectly fits your schedule, especially during those busy hours.
Live classes on Zoom allow you to interact with the fitness professional and other class participants. The instructor can teach the class and cater to their needs in real-time based on what the instructor sees. This scenario is a double-edged sword because you get personal encouragement and critique needed; however, the instructor could get distracted by looking at the screen instead of teaching. Additionally, suppose the class is uploaded to an online library. In that case, participants who take the class later may not feel as connected to the workout because the instructor is teaching to specific participants and not the general class.
When teaching a live class, instructors can give participants the specific attention they need, yet this may not be beneficial to everyone. There may be a significant number of participants in the class, and the instructor may miss someone who needs help. Instead of the instructor giving all appropriate cues and modifications, they may only speak to a specific fitness level and leave out everyone else. In a prerecorded workout, the instructor does not have the distraction of the other participants, so they can more clearly cue and provide modifications.
Life has been more challenging and busy for everyone, and sometimes things come up that distract us from our tasks and goals. For example, you may plan to take a Zoom class at 11 AM, but then your child needs you 15 minutes later. Zoom doesn’t allow you to pause; therefore, you will miss part of the class to help them. If this or another type of situation like this were to happen during an on-demand class, then pausing and resuming would not be an issue. This way, you do not miss any of your session, and your child can get the help they need.
Overall, on-demand workouts benefit more participants and instructors and fit everyone’s schedule easier than live workouts. You have more flexibility to find a class you truly enjoy that also fits into your schedule.