Virtual Workouts: The Latest Trend in Health and Wellness

July 8, 2020

Lockdown restrictions may be easing, but there’s one industry that’s going to bear the brunt for some time. The UK has been adapting to working out at home since March, and though indoor gyms are back open, not everybody is itching to go back.

Whether you’re worried about your health or don’t feel confident enough to go back, there is an alternative. You can experience the indoor gym setting without venturing outside your door – all you need is a little guidance from virtual workouts.

The human touch

Keen gym bunnies are not going to give up their fitness fix without a fight. But with so many of us dedicated to group exercise, for example Crossfit, Zumba and yoga, that motivation is missing.


Enter – the virtual fitness trainer. Group exercise champions Les Mills have reported a 900 per cent increase in sign-ups to their home workout sessions, a product which was available long before the pandemic. Offering classes such as stretch-focused Body Balance, weightlifting with Body Pump and cardio with Body Attack, the group is bringing the live trainer exercise home.


Live in your living room

While the former may offer pre-recorded sessions, other fitness giants are taking it one step further – with live classes. For example, leisure club David Lloyd quickly pivoted its in-club studio sessions by updating their app to offer live workouts. Users simply cast their mobile device onto a laptop or TV screen, and follow a personal trainer.


Martin Franklin, CEO of Les Mills Europe, says: “The live experience of working out will never be replaced. The biggest part of exercise activity is entertainment, engagement and social interaction.”


Could these live workouts challenge this theory? Part of the reason live workouts have such a following is their social media presence – in particular, encouraging users to share selfies and join in with hashtags. Dubbed “user-generated content”, this can increase a brand’s influence by more than 85 per cent, according to new reports.


Turning to self-care

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has done, it’s made us all re-evaluate our priorities, including a renewed focus on physical and mental health. Exercise has been proven to improve both, and a new report on influencer intelligence suggests we’re turning to social media superstars for inspiration.


Chris Davis, Head of Brand Partnerships at Gleam Solutions, says that consumers are looking for more guidance on maintaining health and wellbeing through yoga, book clubs and workouts.


Indeed, experts are even recommending yoga to help with the mental struggles of lockdown. This has seen a huge increase in demand for yoga accessories including mats, clothes and straps.


Is virtual the future?

While some feel that you simply cannot replace the live experience of a workout, others note the benefits – for example, with personal training. Liz Shaw, an educator at The Training Room, notes that while it may be “harder to use our soft skills online”, virtual classes are great for holding weekly check-ins. “Online meeting platforms such as Zoom remind clients that a face-to-face connection is really important, helping to drive them back towards physical sessions post-lockdown.”


Others may simply prefer the convenience of a home workout. In fact, sales of fitness equipment shot up by 55 per cent between January and March, showing more of us cashing in on:



There’s no telling how the health and fitness industry will fare long-term, but we’re already seeing a change in consumer trends. With so much technology readily available to us, from apps to large television screens and superfast broadband, working out at home has never been easier.


The onus is now on fitness brands to continue delivering while we work out at home. If you’re looking to improve your home workout space, contact the team at SONA today.