Free online workouts for the winter warrior

Online workouts at

The inner & outer benefits of backbends, on Yoga Today

Summer has long departed and with it went all the free outdoor workout opportunities, from Zumba in the park to Pilates under the bridge. Winter has far fewer options, which is why it’s tempting to stay inside hoarding cookies like a hibernating bear. If you can’t afford a gym (or fancy insulated running clothes), what do you do for a structured workout? We found a whole world of free online workout videos, perfect for the broke but healthy among us. Don’t worry: Buffed, Beautiful, and Bitchin’ on YouTube isn’t the only game in town.

In Hulu’s Health and Wellness section, Denise Austin has her own channel, but being the Rachael Ray of fitness, her voice can be pretty annoying. So if you want that personal experience, try out Kathy Smith. For a relaxing session of yoga or Pilates, there’s Yoga Fusion or Exercise TV’s Yoga & Pilates Channel. For stretch over stretch: Bikini Body Makeover for chicks and Rock Hard Body for dudes. Exercise TV has its own channel and the more specific New Year, New You and Resolution Solution, among others. Also, Self Magazine has a channel full of different types of workouts, and there’s Six Pack Abs for that specific area. And then, of course, there’s The Envy Girls (aka Carmen Electra’s stripper friends) which is just for… kicks?

The downside of Hulu is the ads. Be warned: While some, like Lean Cuisine, are tailored to the health-conscious, others are for chocolate chip cookies. It’s just mean.

Yoga Today
With over 200 classes available, Yoga Today offers one free class a week, streamed right to your computer. You can’t choose which class you can take, but you’ll have variety each week. And the scenery’s hard to beat. You have to become a member (so you can only use the class once), but it’s simple and free.

Women Workout Routines
These very at-home, slightly unprofessional workouts are made by a woman who… sweats a lot. While it’s more realistic (seriously, how many times have you had to pause a video to wipe the sweat off?), she doesn’t give a lot of step-by-step instruction as she goes, so watch the whole video first and then go back to do it. The workouts are a quick 10-ish minutes and on YouTube, and don’t require any gym equipment for the most part. And despite the title, this website works for men too.

This site offers quick tutorials on different workout routines rather than full length videos, with no registration required. While some require gym equipment, there are some you can easily do in your home. As a warning though, there’s no voiceover instruction. So this site should really be used more for a “Am I doing that right?” type of thing.

Exercise TV
Separate from Hulu, Exercise TV has its own website full of additional videos. Streaming the videos is free, but in order to download , it can get costly (cheaper than a gym, but not quite worth it if it’s streaming for free). They also have free downloadable workout plans available on the website, for those of you who are goal-oriented. Some equipment might be required, and as with Hulu, watch out for those blame ads. If you have an iPhone, you can download the app for free, full of tips and free full length workout videos.

Yes, Netflix costs per month. But if you’re a user, there are a ton of free workouts available through the ‘Watch Instantly’ feature, from Dance off the Inches to Crunch Gym videos to Self Magazine. These all have established, professional instructors, which might make you feel a little better as you’re working out. Of course, there is the occasional movie or documentary in the wrong section, so don’t get roped-in by a yoga documentary when you’re supposed to actually be doing yoga.

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