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Best online fitness programs 2021: Online fitness classes for exercising at home

Included in this guide:

Best online fitness programs 2021: Online fitness classes for exercising at home
(Image credit: Getty)

The best online fitness programs bring great workouts to the comfort of your home. There are so many different types of online fitness classes to choose from. Some online fitness programs are designed to push you to your limits, bringing you intense cardio and HIIT fitness training online that leaves you sweating and out of breath. Others are slow and restorative, created to help you stretch and recover. Many allow you to try new forms of exercise, like yoga, balancing practices and barre. There are also classic favorites such as aerobics and pilates.

Big fitness brands, like Fitbit and Peloton, offer the very best online fitness programs, with workouts that are fun, slick and designed to bring you the results you want. But there are plenty of other options too, including free online workout classes such as FitOn’s extensive library. The key is finding an online fitness program that suits your lifestyle and health goals. 

If you’re following a home workout plan, you need to know what you’re doing – after all, there’s no personal trainer on hand to correct your form. We’d recommend using a workout program with easy-to-follow classes, led by instructors that are clear with their instructions and guidance on form, and who make working out fun. Some people use online fitness classes to shake up their routine and also work out with weights or one of the best exercise bikes. Many online fitness programs in this list have all bases covered, enabling you to pick and choose whether you want to focus on strengthening, burning energy or stretching each time you log on. 

So whether you’re looking to perfect your crow pose with a calming online yoga class, tone your abs or push your body to its limits with a military-style HIIT class, we’ve got you covered with our selection of the best online fitness programs to help you get fit at home. For more home exercise advice, read our guides to the best home gyms, as well as the best elliptical machines for full-body workouts.

The best online fitness programs to use now

1. Peloton Digital: Best online fitness program for cyclists and runners

Best online fitness programs: Peloton Digital online fitness classes

(Image credit: Peloton)

Peloton Digital Online Workout

The best online fitness classes for pretty much everyone

Specifications
Cost: $12.99 a month
Trial period: 30 days
Reasons to buy
+Syncs with Apple Watch+Huge variety of workouts+Can be used with Peloton kit+Generous free trial period

As one of the world’s best online fitness programs, Peloton Digital is blazing a trail for better and more enjoyable at-home workouts. You don’t need a Peloton bike to use the Peloton app.

When Peloton first launched, it was mainly all about getting studio-quality spin classes at home. Since those early days, the brand has nurtured a global fitness community and, in addition to cycling based workouts, it has branched out into running, HIIT, yoga, aerobics and mindfulness, but not as in-depth as you'd get with a meditation app

The Peloton Digital app (iOS, Android) gives you access to this world-beating online fitness training program on your phone, tablet or laptop, so you can workout wherever you are. You don’t even need any specific home gym equipment for many of the classes - just a mat on the floor, and sometimes not even that. 

There are over 10 online fitness workout types to pick from, including Bootcamp, Strength, Cycling, Outdoor Running, Yoga and Stretching. 

Peloton launches new live and on-demand online fitness workout classes everyday, with thousands of video workouts in its back catalog for you to exercise along with. Honestly, there’s so much on offer with Peloton Digital that it’s kind of unfair to all of the other brands featured in this guide. 

Compared to the monthly cost of a gym, and the time spent commuting back and forth to it, Peloton's online workout program is excellent value for money and could help you really strengthen and transform your body as well as nourish your mind.


2. Fitbit Premium: An online fitness program with big wellness benefits

Best online fitness programs: A woman practices yoga on a wooden jetty next to a lake

(Image credit: Fitbit)

A great range of online exercise classes and wellbeing programs

Specifications
Cost: $9.99 a month, $79.99 a year
Trial period: 90 days
Reasons to buy
+Decent variety, from dance to HIIT+Guided programs on nutrition and sleep+Good for helping you de-stress
Reasons to avoid
-Advanced users may need more

Fitbit Premium is currently the wearables giant’s main online fitness program, and as such you’ll find much here to help you exercise at home. When testing the program for our Fitbit Premium review, we found that a lot of the content was ideal for beginners and people returning to exercise after a long break. That said, there was plenty to push more users with a higher level of fitness and stamina too, including custom workout challenges carried out in the home and outdoors. 

You can ‘favorite’ your go-to exercise classes, making it easier to find them again for a future workout, and the app is laid out so that you can scroll through all of the different exercise categories quickly. These include Abs & Core, Full Body, Lower Body, Upper Body, and For Kids. 

Fitbit Premium also offers audio workouts for runners and walkers, and these focus on things like pace, stamina, and relaxation. For example, the 14-minute Clear Your Mind Walking Meditation is great for taking time out during a busy day - or to mark the end of one. We also love the 30-minute Gratitude Walk, which encourages you to focus on all that you have, rather than the things you don’t.

While Gaia remains the absolute best online fitness program for yoga and mindfulness, the wellness content on Fitbit Premium is highly enjoyable and effective. We love how the platform focuses on each of the main pillars of good health, including de-stressing, and taking care of your mind and body with nutrition, regular exercise, and regular, consistent sleep. Our article on why is sleep important explains how snoozing is an essential part of staying well.

One of the best things about Fitbit’s online fitness program is that it displays an average amount of calories you can expect to burn per workout. You may not be motivated by calorie burn, but if you are sticking to a specific diet recommended by your doctor or a registered dietician and want to ensure you come in under a certain number of calories each day, this feature is handy.


3. Daily Burn: Best online fitness program to lose weight at home

Best online fitness programs: Daily Burn online fitness classes

(Image credit: Daily Burn)

A targeted online fitness program for weight loss and maintenance

Specifications
Cost: $19.95 a month
Trial period: : 30 days
Reasons to buy
+1,000+ workouts+Generous trial period+You’ll get a personalized plan
Reasons to avoid
-Some of the teachers are OTT

If you want to lose weight, or have been advised by your doctor or healthcare practitioner to lose weight through a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet, Daily Burn could be the best online fitness training program for you. That’s because it has a proven track record of helping people to not only lose weight, but to then maintain their new healthy weight.

If you need to reduce your BMI, Daily Burn Online Workout has a range of online fitness workout programs to help you make consistent progress. This is no flash-in-the-pan training that results in water weight loss and precious little else, rather it’s designed to help you lose one to two pounds a week on average if you work out five-six times a week and combine that with healthy eating. 

Daily Burn’s video and audio-based online fitness training programs include a 21-day Inferno plan, which finishes each week with a grueling AMRAP (as many reps as you can) session to keep pushing you. There’s also Power Cardio (mixes weights with fast-paced cardio) Move (dance class), TBT (primal movements for increased mobility and flexibility), Kettlebells, Pilates, Mobility, and Core training. 

When you sign up to the 30-day trial, you’ll answer a short questionnaire so that Daily Burn can get a better idea of where you are now, in terms of your fitness level, and your body goals. From there, you will get a personalized plan recommending specific workouts to help you achieve your goals. 

There’s diet and nutrition advice on offer too, via meal plans and simple, easy-prep recipes that shouldn’t take up too much of your time in the kitchen. In a nutshell, if you want a dedicated online fitness service for consistent weight loss, this is a great one to try, especially with that generous 30-day trial period. 


4. Obe Fitness: Best live fitness training online

Best online fitness programs: An image of an Obe Fitness instructor leading a floor-based abs workout

(Image credit: Obe Fitness)

Obe Fitness Workouts

The best online fitness program to keep you motivated year-round

Specifications
Cost: $27 a month
Trial period: 7 days
Reasons to buy
+Loads of live classes daily+Choice depending on your mood/energy
Reasons to avoid
-One of the more expensive options-Some classes require equipment

If you find it hard to motivate yourself when you take a workout class online, Obe Fitness is the best choice for you as it features live workouts each day to keep you entertained and challenged. This is the closest you’ll get to a real-life workout class at home, though Peloton and Fitbit do offer live online workouts too.

There are more than 100 live classes on offer each week – with a library of old classes, including cardio, pilates, barre, and yoga. Perfect if you feel energized when you know classes are happening in real-time, and you’re following along – instructors even shout out to you to keep you focused.

Be aware that Obe Fitness is one of the more expensive home workout programs in our list, but it does offer a lot for the price. 


5. FitFusion: Best online fitness classes for creating your own routine

Best online fitness programs: FitFusion online fitness classes

(Image credit: FitFusion)

The best online fitness program for mixing it up

Specifications
Cost: $8.99 a month, $89.99 a year
Trial: Seven days
Reasons to buy
+Affordable membership+Classes led by top trainers+Create your own workout routine
Reasons to avoid
-You may want something more custom

FitFusion by Jillian Michaels is your gateway to multiple workouts targeted at helping you achieve a range of body goals, from toning and shaping to strength building and weight loss. Jillian is very empowering when it comes to helping you feel good about your body, and strives to help people feel stronger and happier. 

Exercise is a good way to achieve this, especially in conjunction with a healthy diet, and there are plenty of fun yet effective workouts to be found on FitFusion. 

If you have used any Jillian Michaels home workout DVDs in the past, some of the workout series on FitFusion will be familiar to you – we’re talking about the likes of Yoga Meltdown and Ripped In 30. These are all available when you take out a subscription to the online workout site. It costs $9.99 a month or $89.99 a year, and offers a free seven-day trial.

There are celebrity trainers on here too, including yoga superstar Tara Stiles, but there is no option to contact a personal trainer or pay extra for that level of guidance. You’ll have to structure your own workout routine, and find your diet and nutrition advice elsewhere. Still, if you like Jillian’s no-nonsense approach to training, there’s much to enjoy here.


6. Barre3: Best barre classes online

Best online fitness programs: A woman wearing orange shorts takes part in a Barre3 online barre class at home

(Image credit: Barre3)

Barre3 Online Barre Workouts

The best online fitness program for ballet lovers to stretch and strengthen

Specifications
Cost: From $9 a month
Trial period: 15 days
Reasons to buy
+A great way to add strength+Affordable membership+Lots of choice
Reasons to avoid
-You might want something more intense

Barre3 is a US-based barre and fitness company with many bricks and mortar studios. But it also offers excellent online fitness classes for an affordable price. With a subscription to the Barre3 online fitness program, you can stream workout classes to any device any time you like.

There are more than 300 workouts to choose from, and two new workouts added every week. Barre is a mixture of ballet, yoga and pilates movements. But Barre3 mixes cardio, strengthening and wellness practices – like mindfulness and breathwork – to give you a holistic experience and balance your fitness training online.

If you struggle with motivation, there are scheduling tools and progress tracking features. Barre3 also offers users a range of challenges, from seven to 30 days, depending on the results you want.


7. FitOn: Best free online fitness training

Best online fitness programs: A mother and her adult son take a FitOn yoga class at home

(Image credit: FitOn)

FitOn

The No 1 free fitness app, with workouts for a range of abilities

Specifications
Cost: Basic content is free
Trial period: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Much of it is free!+Big choice of fitness programs
Reasons to avoid
-Premium features cost money-Some weight loss-focused content

FitOn is a fitness and wellness platform founded by Lindsay Cook, a former executive at Fitbit. It offers free online fitness programs covering cardio, strength training and meditation, and the best bit is they’re free and unlimited.

FitOn streams ten classes live each day, but there’s also a vast library of on-demand videos. The exercises you can find on FitOn are varied and include pilates, barre, yoga, HIIT, circuits, stretching and mindfulness. 

Search to find more specific workouts, like those that are low impact or for pregnant women. But if you don’t know where to begin, you can filter classes based on intensity, which muscle group you want to target today or your favorite instructor. 

Many of the classes are taught by celebrity trainers and even some celebrities, including Jonathan Van Ness. While there is some content focused on weight loss, it isn’t done in a negative or harmful way.


8. P.Volve: Best online fitness program for toning

Best online fitness programs: P.Volve online fitness classes

(Image credit: P.Volve)

P.Volve Online Workouts

Trendy online fitness classes designed to sculpt your body

Specifications
Cost: $19.99 a month, or $101.99 for six months, or $179.99 per year
Trial period: 14 days
Reasons to buy
+Little equipment needed+Easy to do anywhere at home+Suitable for beginners upwards
Reasons to avoid
-You want something more intense

P.Volve is one of the trendiest online fitness training programs around right now, and is a full-body workout program that uses resistance based movements that are high intensity yet low impact. These movements are created to strengthen and sculpt your  body, and most aren’t too dissimilar to pilates. 

P.Volve is based on the premise that, when building muscles, doing more reps using lighter weights is as effective as doing less reps with heavier weights. Good form is key, though. As such all of the instructors will coach you on best form for the different movements they use in each workout.

When you sign up to the 14-day trial, you’ll gain access to over 200 online workout videos, with new classes added each week. Clearly that’s far less than what is on offer with other services featured in our best online fitness training programs guide, but P.Volve is constantly growing, so you shouldn’t be lacking for workout videos anytime soon.

You can do each workout using only your bodyweight, or start incorporating P.Volve  equipment such as ankle weights or a small workout ball (used during glutes and leg muscle exercises). P.Volve recommends beginners start with its Moves to Master instructional video, which teaches you the six foundational moves.

If you enjoy body strength training and have little room at home for equipment, P.Volve is a little odd at first yet surprisingly effective at sculpting and strengthening if you use the program five to six days a week.


9. Gaia: Best online fitness classes for yoga

Best online fitness programs: Gaia.com online fitness classes

(Image credit: Gaia)

Gaia Yoga and Meditation

The best online fitness program for body and mind

Specifications
Cost: From $11.99 a month
Trial period: Seven days
Reasons to buy
+Expert yoga classes+Pilates and body strength training+Mindfulness and meditation classes
Reasons to avoid
-Live classes are expensive

Gaia online is one of the biggest and best online fitness training programs for yoga, pilates and body strength training. But this is also a program through which you can access fun dance and HIIT classes, as well as meditation and mindfulness. You’ll also get access to documentaries and films relating to yoga, meditation and more. 

A Gaia subscription costs $11.99 a month, or $99 a year (works out at $8.25 per month). For live access, including workshops, Gaia costs $299 annually (works out at $24.92 per month). The monthly cost is cheaper than The Fitness App by Jillian Michaels, and you get plenty more dedicated online yoga and pilates classes. 

We love Gaia’s online yoga offerings, and you can search for classes based on your experience level. There are seemingly workouts here, from trail-blazing teachers, targeting everything from neck, back and hip pain, to helping you feel more energized in the morning or more relaxed in the evening. Practices covered include ashtanga, hatha, vinyasa, yin and yoga nidra. 

You’ll never be interrupted with annoying ads during a class, and you can watch Gaia's online workouts and classes on your smartphone, tablet or other device. 

If you want to get seriously good at yoga, or you fancy using yoga, pilates and general fitness classes to get healthy, Gaia is a brilliantly laid out and very well-stocked fitness program that truly delivers. It’s also the best online fitness training program for your mind, thanks to its abundance of world-leading meditation and mindfulness classes to support you through everything from stress to insomnia.


10. Jillian Michaels The Fitness App: Best online fitness program for beginners

Best online fitness programs: Jillian Michaels The Fitness App for online fitness classes

(Image credit: Jillian Michaels Fitness)

Jillian Michaels: The Fitness App

Learn how to perform a range of exercises with a world-class fitness trainer

Specifications
Cost: $14.99 a month, $29.99 for three months, $89.99 a year
Trial: Seven days
Reasons to buy
+Seven-minute workouts+Customized exercise plans+Enjoyable meal plans
Reasons to avoid
-Phone and tablet use only

Jillian Michaels is one of the world’s best-known personal fitness trainers, so no wonder her online fitness program has over 7,500 ratings between the App Store and Google Play. When you download The Fitness App, you’ll get a seven-day free trial but you have to input your credit card details before accessing the free trial. 

From there you’ll have a choice of signing up for a one-month recurring subscription at $14.99, a three-month recurring subscription for $29.99, or its $89.99 for the year.

Even though you have a choice of three different fitness levels - easy, medium or hard - bizarrely, all of the 25 online workouts presented to you will be the same regardless of which fitness level you select. So be honest with yourself about your current fitness level, and tag out of an exercise if it’s beyond you at this time. 

There are 24 different online workouts available via the app, including Fitness For Beginners, Quick HIIT, Yoga, Abs, Lean Legs, Weight Lifting and Functional Training, Walk a 5K, 5K/10K Run, Postnatal Bounce Back, and Burn 60.

We tried several different workouts during our review period, including the Weightloss Extreme 90, which sounds more intense than it is. This online fitness workout is designed to help you lose weight in 90 days, which isn’t an unrealistic time frame. The exercises are varied, and Jillian shows you how to perform each one (via a video) and how many reps to perform. 

Fans of Jillian’s Yoga Meltdown videos will probably prefer the FitFusion offering further up this list, but there’s enough here for beginner and seasoned yoga fans. Though if you really love yoga and want to explore all different disciplines within this ancient practice, our recommendation is Gaia. 

Ultimately, for the low monthly cost, The Fitness App is brilliant. There are plenty of workouts to keep you from plateauing in your progress, and having Jillian’s expert instruction regarding form is priceless for those who are new to exercise. 


11. iBodyFit: Best online fitness program for pro advice

Best online fitness programs: iBodyFit online fitness classes

(Image credit: iBody Fit)

iBodyFit

Online fitness workouts designed by a personal trainer

Specifications
Cost: From $29 a year
Trial period: None
Reasons to buy
+Plans written by a personal trainer+Exercise video samples +Great support and encouragement
Reasons to avoid
-No app

iBodyFit is run by Franklin Antoian, one of Shape magazine’s 'Top 50 Trainers in America'. It offers a comprehensive selection of workout programs, with videos in a variety of categories covering aerobics, pilates, and machine workouts, among others. 

When you head to the site, you’ll see a list of workout plans as well as options to receive personal training. The former included a Fat Burner Plan ($29 a year), designed to help you lose weight through daily workouts (beginner, intermediate and advanced levels catered for), a weight loss diet plan, and workout video library. 

For only $20 more you could access the Bundle Plan instead, comprising the Fat Burner Plan, the Muscle Toner Plan, and Beach Bod Plan, all for $49 a year. Again, you’ll get access to workout plans, videos and nutritional guidance.

For proper personal training and support, the company offers three tiers of monthly online fitness training support: Starter costs $49 for one month, VIP costs $99 for one month, and VIP Plus costs $149 for one month. Considering how expensive personal trainer sessions can be in gyms, the Starter package is tempting.

It includes a custom workout plan and diet, with workout support and feedback from a personal trainer. While it’s frustrating that there’s no app, you can track your personal progress on the site by inputting basic measurements such as your weight, waist and bicep size to see how well you’re achieving your goals. 

Overall, iBodyFit is as affordable as most gym memberships, and you can cancel without hassle. If the lack of an app doesn’t bother you, and you’d like more personal online fitness training but without the steep price tag, this could be worth a look. 


12. Hitch Fit: Online fitness programs for weight training 

Best online fitness programs: Hitch Fit

(Image credit: Getty)

Hitch Fit

Want to build muscle? These WBFF champions will show you how

Reasons to buy
+Personal training from WBFF winners+Custom exercise and diet plans
Reasons to avoid
-Plans are quite rigid

Hitch Fit started with a bricks and mortar gym in Kansas City and since grown to include four actual gyms and a global online fitness training program. While the company advertises itself as one of the best online fitness programs for everything from weight loss to bootcamp, we think they excel best at weight-based training. So if you want to get bigger muscles, this is the online fitness service for you. 

We say that because Hitch Fit was founded by two bodybuilding champions, so they know a thing or two about what it takes to build an incredible physique from the ground up. As such, Hitch Fit offers a variety of workout programs centered around weight lifting and muscle building. It even offers a plan for competitive weightlifters looking to enter more competitions.

There’s no app here, and the website design is sorely in need of an overhaul, but the quality of the muscle building plans is good. You get a diet plan, including a grocery list, plus personal coaching from the Hitch Fit personal trainers, including weekly direct feedback based on you giving them your latest stats. You also get access to a series of workout videos.

Prepare to pay far more for a Hitch Fit plan that you would for any other program featured in our best online fitness programs guide. These plans are expensive, so you need to be absolutely certain they are right for you because there is no trial period and no refund.

Hitch Fit exercise and diet plans are also very rigid, so prepare to spend a lot of your time per week doing cardio and strength based training, and preparing your meals and snacks. The diets can be quite high in protein and carbs, but this is common among any fitness training program focused on gaining weight and building muscle.

Online fitness program FAQ

How we chose the best online fitness programs

In order to compile our guide to the best online fitness programs, we focused on services and brands offering online fitness classes written by certified personal trainers. And, where possible, programs that offer a free trial period, which normally ranges from seven to 30 days. 

We also favored online fitness programs that answered our questions promptly, either via email, online chat, phone or social media. Why? Because getting fit isn't the same process for everyone, so there's a good chance you'll contact your fitness service with specific questions.


Picking the best online fitness program for you: Top tips

If you have specific needs, such as pre- or post-pregnancy exercises, or you're recovering from injury (get doctor sign-off first), always choose an online fitness program that has been written by a certified personal trainer who is a specialist in the area you need help with. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the best online fitness program for your wellness and fitness goals...

Cost
Online fitness programs vary wildly in terms of cost. Some sites charge a monthly fee, while others bill you for programs or workout plans in a lump sum. We found that monthly costs start from around $12.99 upwards, with customized workout plans costing hundreds of dollars. 

Selection of workouts
Every online fitness service we've reviewed offers standalone workout videos, so you can develop good form. These on-demand classes also mean you can watch workout videos at a time that suits you, instead of you having to organize your day around a specific fitness class.

Make sure that there is a good library of workouts on offer too, and covering different types of exercises, including strength or weights based training as well as more intense cardio exercises. You need both to have well-rounded fitness, and you'll quickly get bored of doing the same workout day in, day out.

Does it offer a personal trainer, and do you need one?
Depending on the online fitness program you choose, you may have the option of working with a personal trainer who contacts you regularly to give you direct feedback on your performance, and to tweak the plan to your evolving fitness needs. 

Personalized plans, including diet advice, with regular check-ins with a certified personal trainer are useful if you're the type of person who needs extra motivation and encouragement to stick with a workout plan. Especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Does it include nutritional advice?
If you’re looking for a holistic approach to losing weight or getting fit at home, the best online fitness program for you is one that offers nutritional advice (with a meal plan and recipes) so you can nourish yourself properly. 

Eating a healthy diet is the best thing you can do for your overall health, and can actually help you lose and maintain a healthy weight when followed in conjunction with regular cardio and weights exercise.

How easy is it to use?
Most modern online fitness programs have apps that are compatible with a range of devices, so you can workout by watching videos on your phone, tablet or laptop. These are brilliant because you can then exercise wherever you are, even if you're away from home. 


Best online fitness programs vs traditional gyms

Joining a gym might appear to be the most effective way to lose weight or stay in shape, but that's not always the case. While gyms do have various machines and weights for use, they can also be crowded and intimidating. You also have to sign up for specific periods of time, and can't cancel as easily as you can with the best online fitness programs. 

According to The Guardian, some consumer surveys have put the gym drop-out rate at more than 80 percent in the first eight weeks of signing up. Working out at home with an online fitness service means there’s no awkward locker room talk and no waiting for your favorite machine to become available.

One way to see which online fitness program is right for you is to look at the before and after photos. If a company doesn’t provide any, we’d recommend looking elsewhere. While the companies we reviewed are all above-board, make sure the photos you’re seeing aren’t digitally altered or changed in any way. Better yet, look for customer testimonials and see what results others have achieved.

In order to be successful with an online fitness program, you'll need to incorporate good nutrition. Many good programs include this element, and we don't recommend services that simply focus on burning calories.

Looking for more health and fitness content? Take a look at our guides to the best bike trainers for turning your road bike into an indoor workout bike, and the best bike computers for tracking your rides.

Claire Davies

Claire is Health and Wellness Editor at Top Ten Reviews and covers all aspects of health, wellbeing and personal care. With over 17 years' experience as a qualified journalist, writer and editor, Claire has worked across some of Future's most prestigious, market-leading brands. Due to past struggles with insomnia, she is particularly passionate about the role quality sleep plays in our physical and mental health, and loves helping readers to sleep better. Claire is always keen to hear from brands regarding products and services that can help readers feel healthy, happy and empowered.