It began with the VCR craze. Suddenly, infomercials advertising how you could “get fit at home” by following along to simple and fun exercise routines were everywhere. Such infomercials remain alive and well today, with all types of programs still being produced in DVD form. However, exercising at home now takes on a new meaning. Discover how the home-based workout routine has evolved over time.
Where It Began: Tapes and DVDs
After “gym culture” made it mainstream and people tried all types of fitness trends, from plastic toy hoops that twirl around the body to less-than-effective “vibrator belts,” folks began complaining. Gyms were expensive. Going to one took time out of the day. Most of all, these facilities involved commitment and they lacked privacy. But time had a solution.
The home-based exercise concept began in the 1980s with Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons being two of the biggest names in at-home workout programs. During the 1990s, Tae Bo added to the frenzy.
Everyone jumped on the opportunity to reach people’s main pain points about exercise: Gym memberships are expensive and inconvenient while working out at home is flexible, fun, and private. These notions drove the development of home-based workouts and led us to where we are today.
Where It Went: Internet Workouts
With the advent of YouTube and other online video streaming services, many old workout recordings found their way online—and many more were produced by influential fitness instructors such as Cassey Ho, who have built brands entirely on the internet.
Ho—famed inventor of “pop Pilates,” which are Pilates-style workouts set to trending pop songs—is one of the best examples of how home-based workouts have changed thanks to today’s technology. Ho also has her own workout app.
Today, people don’t have to buy a DVD set. In fact, they don’t have to buy anything at all. Hundreds of thousands of free workouts are uploaded to YouTube every year. Aside from being free, the variety of workouts available on YouTube today also helps to keep people interested by mixing up the routine, but the evolution hasn’t stopped there.
Where It Is Now: Live Streaming
You can easily lose focus with a pre-recorded video. A video offers little commitment in that you can hit pause and plan to revisit it at some other point in time. This convenience allows home exercisers to easily give into distraction, boredom, or laziness.
Luckily, technology is allowing us to innovate and solve this problem as well. With commitment issues easily being the top remaining problem facing people who choose the flexibility of working out at home, live streaming workouts are helping to keep the excitement and commitment factors high.
While these live streamed workouts may charge, the trend is taking off as people realize the tradeoff between free workouts and focused workouts. Live streamed workouts are always fresh, and they offer the engagement of a real, in-person class without the inconvenience of committing to a gym membership, going outside, or finding parking.
All in all, the evolution of at-home exercise has made life easier and more convenient. Where do you think it will go next?