It's been a year since gyms closed, which means I've been doing all of my workouts online for...an entire year.
That means I've gotten to know YouTube's selection of free workout videos pretty damn well, if I do say so myself. It's cliche to say, but working out kept me from spiraling even further out than I already did this year.
Here are 10 channels that are worth checking out, with some of my favorite specific workouts highlighted. As you can see, I mostly favor barre, pilates, and strength workouts (I'm still working on making friends with cardio). These videos are specifically chosen because I believe they make your body and mind actually feel good afterward, which should be the point of all workouts.
1. PopSugar Fitness
So, this isn't a specific workout instructor, but...PopSugar is the crown jewel of YouTube fitness. Featuring tons of expert trainers, they offer something for everyone and workouts that target every part of the body. I don't know how they've built a YouTube fitness empire, but it's there, it's free, and it's great.
Personally, I enjoy this 30-Minute No-Equipment Barre Sculpting Workout by Marnie Alton, but the channel puts out so many new videos that it's honestly hard to keep track. The Abs and Butt-Toning Workout by Brittne Babe is also iconic.
30-Minute No-Equipment Barre Sculpting Workout www.youtube.com
30-Minute No-Equipment Abs and Butt-Toning Workout www.youtube.com
2. Pamela Reif
The absurdly fit Pamela Reif may not exactly offer an attainable or relatable look, but her very-short workouts are certainly attainable for the time-crunched (while also being killer in their own special, burning way).
Her videos also don't involve talking, which is nice when you're tired of having the same intro regurgitated to you over and over by a peppy fitness instructor. Pamela's workouts are great introductions to HIIT and feature lots of variety, but maybe try the beginner version if you're, well, not ready to wind up a writhing mess on the floor afterwards.
20 MIN FULL BODY WORKOUT - Intense Version / No Equipment I Pamela Reif www.youtube.com
3. Move With Nicole
Pilates workout instructor Nicole has become very popular on YouTube during the pandemic and for good reason: Her workouts are beautifully filmed and a great way to get into pilates. Her videos are often less cardio-intense and a little less exciting than some of the other videos on this list, but they're great if you want a slower-paced (though definitely not easier, if you're focusing) workout. The videos that fuse a variety of different kinds of workouts are definitely my favorite, and I particularly enjoyed this 30 minute cardio-pilates burner.
30 MIN CARDIO PILATES || At-Home Full Body Workout www.youtube.com
4. Yoga With Adriene
I'll confess: I don't actually do that much yoga with Adriene, but I've read and heard so many good things about her that this list wouldn't be complete without her. As the reigning queen of quarantine yoga, Adriene's videos are nice departures from the more hardcore physicality of a lot of other YouTube workouts. Her unique personalized videos, such as YogafFor Writers, are also nice touches and add a sense of personalization to her workouts.
Yoga For Uncertainty | Yoga With Adriene www.youtube.com
5. Kit Rich
You might not have access to a gym during quarantine, but you do have access to "celebrity trainer Kit Rich," and when else could you say that? I always enjoy Kit Rich's workouts, which are intense without being painful, and which target various parts of the body. (Of course, I found her on PopSugar, and her core-and-digestion fusion workout is genuinely great for anyone wanting to liven up their digestive system).
30 Minute Bodyweight Total Body Fusion www.youtube.com
30-Minute Workout to Strengthen Your Core and Help Support Healthy Digestion www.youtube.com
6. Britany Williams
SWEAT instructor Britany Williams' workouts will, needless to say, make you sweaty — and strong. Her 30 minute barre workouts (can you tell I have a workout type?) are more physical and strength-focused than some of the others on this list, so make sure you're ready to work.
30 Minute Full Body Barre Workout With SWEAT Trainer Britany Williams www.youtube.com
Day 11: 30-Minute Cardio Barre Workout With Sweat Trainer Britany Williams www.youtube.com
7. Emily Thorne (EMK Fit)
Emily Thorne's HIIT workouts deserve a special shoutout because they're so unique and fun — working out to Rocky Horror, anyone? Her funny, self-deprecating attitude is less intimidating than those of other workout instructors but will still leave you with a great sweat; and her themes, quips, and costumes are to die for.
ROCKY HORROR HIIT WORKOUT-happy halloween!!! www.youtube.com
SHREK HIIT WORKOUT-SHREK IS LOVE. SHREK IS LIFE. SHREK IS WORK. www.youtube.com
8. Corinne Wainer (Shaktibarre)
Unfortunately you do have to pay for Shaktibarre's classes (either by purchasing individual classes or subscribing to their app), but if you can swing it, their workout is definitely the most empowering and healing workout I've ever done. (It's also wicked hard and will push you to your limits!)
Their yoga-barre fusion model somehow manages to awaken the body in all the right places, and it's genuinely a liberating journey to complete one of their 55-minute classes. Their founder Corinne Wainer is a powerhouse and always manages to make her workouts sexy in the most refreshing way. Fortunately, there's a 30-minute sample on (where else) PopSugar:
30-Minute Yoga-Barre Hybrid Workout to Empower Your Body & Mind www.youtube.com
9. Cassey Ho (Blogilates)
Cassey Ho has made quite a name for herself with Blogilates, and for good reason: Her enthusiastic delivery and tough sequences makes her videos instant classics. She offers plenty of courses if you want your workout to be more than a one-off and also tons of videos that target individual parts of the body.
21 Minute All in One Tone Workout - get your total body lean & sculpted www.youtube.com
10. Jane Fonda
If you want to find yourself dripping sweat and exhausted after 45 minutes with 45 more still to go...just try one of Jane Fonda's iconic '80s workouts. I did this one ironically but it very unironically torched my body. But it's alright — Jane Fonda is an icon (if you didn't already know that, her Golden Globes speech should have proved it).
Jane Fonda's New Workout 1986 exercise video www.youtube.com
Jane Fonda Receives the Cecil B. DeMille Award - 2021 Golden Globes www.youtube.com