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5 Benefits of Paying for Online Fitness Classes

Woman exercising in her living room using remote instruction via her laptop.
bbernhard/Shutterstock

Looking for ways to work out at home? Online fitness classes are all the rage. Even though there are plenty of free options available, we recommend paying for some of your workouts, and here’s why.

With many gyms and fitness centers closed due to the coronavirus, people are turning to online platforms for their fitness needs. It’s important to squeeze in those daily workouts, especially if you sit at a desk all day. Increasingly, research is showing that exercise helps us relax and manage anxiety, too.

But why pay for online fitness classes? After all, in the age of YouTube, can’t you just search for any- and everything fitness-related and watch it for free?

You can, but there’s something to that old adage that “you get what you pay for.” As we’ll discuss below, the benefits of signing up for a class include improved commitment, supporting a local business, connecting with others, and much more.

Commitment and Accountability

Let’s face it, we’re way more committed to something when money’s involved. Even though there are countless free YouTube workouts, what commits you to actually doing them regularly?

When you sign up for a specific class and pay for it, though, you’re more likely to attend. No one likes to lose money. We suggest you sign up for several weeks at once. This locks in some regular exercise motivated by (if nothing else) your desire not to waste money.

Want to take it a step further? Get an online personal trainer! This is the ultimate in accountability. If you bail on a scheduled session, not only will you lose money, but you’ll also disappoint your trainer.

You can balance your workout regime by following these fitness YouTubers. As long as they inspire you to squeeze in your workout, it’s all good!

It’s Cheaper Than the Gym

When you do a quick comparison of what a typical gym membership costs, paid online workouts are definitely cheaper. Many personal trainers also charge less for online sessions.

Obviously, you won’t have access to all the fancy equipment, fluffy towels, and a steam room at home. However, you can still get creative and use household items for your workout.

You might also be surprised at how often you can fit in a quick workout when you don’t have to drive to the gym or wait until the end of your workday. Have 30 minutes to spare after lunch? Go do a workout class!

It Helps You Structure Your Day

A woman, exhausted, sitting at her desk in the middle of her workday at home.
Peshkova/Shutterstock

It’s true that free YouTube videos offer complete flexibility, allowing you to work out whenever it’s convenient. But, with that, you also risk never doing the workout. Because, well, there’s always something more important to do.

Signing up for a live fitness class makes it a concrete part of your schedule. Think about it like this: if you have an online meeting to attend, you plan your day around it. You wouldn’t bail on a scheduled meeting, right? Your fitness class should work the same way.

This is especially helpful if you’re stuck at home with the kids. Tell your spouse you have a class to attend, so you can disappear to your workout space. Or, have the kids work on an independent activity for the duration of your class.

Remember, exercise is a key component of your day because it’s one of the top things that’ll help you stay sane right now.

It Supports Local Businesses

A lot of businesses are struggling right now due to COVID-19 shutdowns. To keep the cash flowing, many of these businesses are switching to an online format.

By signing up to take virtual classes with your favorite teachers, you’re helping ensure these businesses won’t go under. Furthermore, you’re also helping support the instructors, who might rely on these classes as their sole source of income.

So, if you’ve always loved attending classes at your local yoga studio, see what they’re offering now. Your support will go a long way!

You Can Connect with Others

Certain online fitness classes allow everyone’s video to be visible, adding a personal element. This is great if you’re missing human contact, or want to attend a class with a friend. A quick wave in the virtual world can really brighten your day.

Even if your class doesn’t allow you to see the other participants, there’s something special about watching your instructor live, rather than prerecorded. It helps re-create the real class experience, even if you’re doing it crammed in the corner of your bedroom.

How to Get Started

So, you’re ready to start your online fitness journey. Great! But where can you find classes that fit your personal needs and goals?

Start by looking at your local gym or yoga studio’s websites, or on your community’s Facebook page.

If you can’t find anything locally, try these popular online fitness programs, which include various subscription options.

We love this fun pull-up bar class (you can buy a pull-up bar here). Also, this popular yoga studio offers classes for various levels, all by donation.

Lastly, check to see what your friends are doing. You’re more likely to stick to a goal if you have a workout buddy, even if it’s virtually.


Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you have to give up on your fitness goals. Signing up and paying for online classes not only supports struggling businesses, but it also increases your commitment and accountability. Explore your options and book something today!

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »

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