Best Online Fitness Services of 2018

John Carlsen ·
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We have been reviewing online fitness programs for eight years. For our most recent update, we spent 500+ hours over the course of four months testing each fitness program and gauging how well each company stays in contact and responds to questions. After our testing concluded, we chose iBodyFit as the best online fitness service because it offers the most complete selection of fitness programs as well as reliable access to its staff of certified personal trainers and dietitians.    

Best Overall

iBodyFit

iBodyFit has a tremendous selection of guided workout videos and gives personalized feedback to each of its customers. It's more expensive than most online fitness services, but it's worth the price.
View on iBodyFit
Best Value

Train Online

Train Online is the least expensive online fitness service we reviewed, though it has a surprisingly extensive library of fitness videos and workout programs.
View on Train Online
Best Mobile App

Daily Burn

Daily Burn has an excellent mobile app, which is not a common feature among online fitness services. The service also boasts a large selection of workout programs and videos.
View on Daily Burn

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Price
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Overall Rating
9.9
9.3
9
8.9
8.9
7.4
7.3
7
Offered Services
9.8
10
9.5
10
9.5
8.5
7.5
5.8
Fitness Programs
10
9.5
9.5
8
8.5
6
6.8
8.8
Support & Resources
10
7.5
7
8.3
8.3
7.5
8
6.8
Pilates
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Wedding Day or Special Event
N/A
N/A
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N/A
Strength Training or Muscle Toning
Pregnancy & Post-Pregnancy
N/A
N/A
N/A
Cardio or Weight Loss
Difficulty Options
N/A
High-Intensity or Competition Prep
N/A
Short-Term or Shred
N/A
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N/A
Senior Fitness
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yoga
N/A
N/A
N/A
Contact Grade
A
A
B
A
A
C
B
F
Cancel at Any Time
N/A
Telephone
N/A
N/A
N/A
Blog or Forum
12-Week Price Comparison
$87.00
$44.85
$14.97
$29.85
$257.99
$60.00
$59.97
$29.97
Minimum Price
$29/month
$14.95/month
$4.99/month
$9.95/month
$85.99/month
$65/13 weeks
$19.99/month
$9.99/month
Trial Period or Sample Videos
3 Days
30 Days
Samples
30 Days
None
Samples
Samples
2 Weeks
Recipes & Nutrition Guides
N/A
N/A
Streaming Videos
Service-Designed Routine
N/A
N/A
Direct Personal Trainer Contact
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Goal Tracking
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Companion App
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Downloadable Videos
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Standalone Workouts
Best Overall

iBodyFit

iBodyFit has the most comprehensive selection of workout programs among the online fitness services we reviewed. There are over 400 workout videos in a variety of categories, such as aerobics, Pilates and machine workouts, among others.
The range of options lets you try new workouts or stick with your favorites, depending on your fitness needs. You can view these videos from a web browser; iBodyFit doesn't have a dedicated mobile app, which is a little surprising. There is also a big selection of diet plans to help you pair healthy eating with your workout. The company has a variety of personal trainer plans as well as some less-expensive workout-only plans. Of the personal training plans, all allow you to get personalized feedback, and we generally got answers within about an hour.. However, you need to register for the most expensive plan to get access to VIP feedback, where you can get instant feedback to questions about your workout. You can track your personal progress on the iBodyFit website by inputting basic measurements such as your weight, waist and bicep size. iBodyFit is as affordable as most gym memberships, except that you can cancel anytime, though it's one of the more expensive online fitness services we reviewed.
Pros
  • Best selection of fitness programs
  • Assigned personal trainer on top-tier plans
  • No contract
Cons
  • More expensive than most fitness services
  • No mobile app
  • One-on-one training costs more
$29.00iBodyFit
Best Value

Train Online

Train Online's numerous videos and extensive information are a big reason we chose this as the best value in online fitness services. The videos are well-crafted to help you understand exactly what to do, and the company posts new videos on a weekly basis.
The service's printable workout plans have illustrations that show you what muscle groups each exercise targets. You can also choose to up the difficulty on your workouts as you reach your fitness goals to keep pushing yourself. Train Online is the least expensive service we looked at, and it has no contract, so you can cancel anytime without paying a penalty. You can track your progress on the Train Online website by inputting a variety of statistics as you work out, which then show up in a graph to show you how far you've come. Although you can expect to get a personal trainer to respond to your fitness questions, we found that Train Online takes a little longer to answer questions than most of the services we tested. This makes it a good option if you're interested in directing your own training and don't need extensive one-on-one feedback. The service doesn't have an accompanying mobile app or specific nutrition guides, which is disappointing; company’s emphasis is clearly on its excellent workout programs.
Pros
  • Least expensive service we looked at
  • Excellent selection of fitness programs
  • No contract
Cons
  • No assigned personal trainer
  • No nutrition guide or recipes
  • No mobile app
$4.99Train Online
Best Mobile App

Daily Burn

Daily Burn is a well-rounded fitness service with over 20 workout programs, which makes it one of the most comprehensive online fitness services, though it lacks workouts for seniors. Once you choose a workout program, Daily Burn guides you through a helpful schedule, though you can watch workout videos outside of the schedule as well.
Unlike many other top fitness services we looked at, Daily Burn has a full suite of apps for smartphones as well as streaming devices like the Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku. Regardless of which device you use, the apps have a simple interface that makes them very easy to use. Daily Burn's least expensive plan costs around $15, which is more expensive than most other online fitness services. However, we think that this service is an excellent value for the price, especially since it doesn't require a contract like many gym memberships. There's also a more expensive plan that unlocks extra workouts and features. When you sign up for a plan, Daily Burn has you fill out a brief questionnaire to help determine which programs and goals you should pursue. The service also helps you improve your diet and nutrition through a variety of plans and recipes. During our testing, we contacted Daily Burn and received answers within 30 minutes, though we weren't able to contact the company over the telephone.
Pros
  • Excellent selection of fitness programs
  • Excellent mobile app
  • No contract
Cons
  • More expensive than most fitness services
  • Can't contact over telephone
  • No senior-focused workouts
$14.95Daily Burn

Why Trust Us

We have been reviewing online fitness programs for eight years. We spent 500+ hours over the course of four months testing each fitness program we reviewed for this update. As with most other services we review, our tests didn't involve physical testing as much tracking what each service offers and how well our interactions with each company went.

We focused on services that employ certified personal trainers and put an emphasis on physical fitness. Although many of the fitness services we reviewed offer dietary advice and helpful recipes, we didn't include weight-loss programs that only focus on dieting or counting calories.

In addition to reviewing online fitness programs, we also evaluate a variety or home fitness equipment such as treadmills, elliptical trainers, exercise bikes and home gyms. These machines, like online fitness services, are good alternatives to a gym membership or as complements to an online workout regimen.


How We Tested

During our evaluation process, we recorded how often the companies contacted us, how frequently they responded to our emails and the helpfulness of their responses. Online fitness companies that actively work to keep customers motivated and on track with the exercise regime without swamping us with emails earned higher scores in our comparison.

We also favored fitness services that answered questions thoroughly and promptly. Because getting fit or staying in shape is not the same process for everyone, there's a good chance you'll contact your fitness service with specific questions regarding your personal health. Companies that responded to our questions quickly with individualized advice earned higher scores in our comparison.

Most of the companies we reviewed offered valuable insights in response to our questions. For example, WorkoutBOX was very efficient and helpful in its communication with us, ultimately receiving a perfect score for customer service. However, while all services sent an automatic response stating our question would be answered shortly, some companies had poor follow-through, declining to answer our questions or failing to respond at all.

What to Look for with Premade Fitness Programs

While you examine online fitness programs, pay attention to the services each company offers. Most of the companies we reviewed have at least one premade workout program you can follow. These routines allow you to jump right into a program that catches your eye and start burning away the calories.

The differences between losing weight and building muscle are huge, so the exercises you do for them differ significantly as well. Look for specific programs that align with your goals. If you have special needs, such as post-pregnancy exercises, or a preferred workout, such as yoga or Pilates, look for a fitness service with that type of program.

We found that Hitch Fit is a great option for creating a personalized fitness program tailored to your unique body shape, nutritional needs and fitness goals. To keep you motivated, it sends frequent reminders with your program's next step, rather than dumping the entire program on you all at once.

Standalone Workout Videos
Every service we reviewed offers standalone workout videos, allowing you to hop into a single exercise video that catches your eye. This allows you to watch workout videos at any time without having to sign up for an additional plan or program. With this option, you can do workouts on top of your existing routine, or you can customize your own workout routine, allowing you to choose and develop your own exercises.

Assigned Personal Trainers

Depending  the plan you choose, you get an assigned personal trainer who contacts you regularly throughout the fitness regimen so you can ask them questions, get direct feedback and continually adapt your fitness needs. This can help motivate and encourage you to stay on track and in shape.

Recipes & Nutrition Guides
If you’re looking for a holistic approach on your journey to getting fit, choose a service that offers nutrition guides and recipes so you can eat properly before and after workouts. This can help you follow a diet that meets your needs and complements your fitness regimen.

Goal Tracking
Whether it's a simple progress bar or accomplishment badges, goal tracking is a useful motivational tool for improving your overall fitness. Each service we reviewed lets you track your overall progress, which can boost your confidence and efforts by showing what you are working toward and how far you have come.

Access Options
Choose an online fitness service with the right access options for your needs. For example, if you travel often or don't always have an internet connection, consider a service that has a companion mobile app or downloadable videos. If you plan to work out at home, a service that streams workout videos to a web browser or TV is a good option.

Contact Grade
This score is based on our experiences communicating with each company and represents how effectively they reach out to users, how promptly they answer questions, and how helpful the information they provide is. The companies that scored the highest reach out to you and are very helpful and thorough. The services that scored lower may respond to emails, but the information may not be as helpful.

No Long-Term Contract
Fortunately, every online fitness service we reviewed either allows you to cancel at any time or has a one-time-purchase option. This means there aren't hefty cancellation fees like you see in traditional gym memberships.

Are Online Fitness Services Effective?

One of the major benefits of online services is you can work out in the privacy of your home, with your own equipment and on your own schedule. Online fitness workouts allow you to avoid the gym environment that makes some people uncomfortable; many people don’t like working out in front of others or using shared equipment.

Although many online workout programs have personal trainers who contact you directly via email and keep you accountable to your fitness goals, all rely on your level of motivation to continue using the service. Online or not, fitness programs are most effective for self-motivated people who are and ready to get in shape.

There are some downsides of an online fitness service to consider. Most notably, all of your interactions with the company are remote, including services that offer one-on-one personal trainer sessions. If you want face-to-face interactions or advice on form and technique, a local gym or trainer may be a better option.

Although free workout options such as YouTube videos, apps and random blog posts can be useful in some cases, it's more difficult to know if it's legitimate, healthy or safe. In some cases, using the wrong exercises can lead to serious long-term problems. In contrast, paid online workout programs, such as Jillian Michaels, are developed by certified professionals and are designed to be safe and effective.

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