The livestream workout has become my new obsession during lockdown. You can try nearly any style of workout in the sanctity of your own home with no one to judge your bent knees in downward dog or your mismatched, unironed gym clothes. You can take the beginner option on a move because it’s day one of your period and not feel self-conscious. And if you need a mid-workout poo, just pause the video and no one will be the wiser.
So while other people ran the Two Oceans in their gardens, I was doing Zumba out of time and shadow boxing with the finesse of someone trying to swat a fly. I’ve tried everything from hardcore HIIT to the gentlest yoga — including every livestream workout we’ve hosted on the Women’s Health YouTube channel. Here are the livestream workouts on my must-try list so far.
Double The HIIT
Trainer: Angelique van der Linde Intensity: High
You’ll need a big-ass 5-litre water bottle and a broom for this energetic lower-body workout with Angelique and her husband Jacques. Angelique’s larger-than-life personality kept me smiling and laughing even when my legs were on fire. I loved the props — incorporating stuff you have around the house is always a fun way to make a livestream workout more interesting. It’s a great blend of cardio and strength work. Your legs will feel it the next day!
45-Min Body-Weight Workout
Trainer: Phia-Lee Rabe Intensity: Medium
You can do this workout anywhere, even in very limited space. And all you need is something you can lie on like a mat or folded towel and a timer. I love how accessible Phia-Lee is as a trainer — she designed a livestream workout that was as challenging for her as it was for us and wasn’t afraid to tell us that she was also suffering through it! The workout is totally scaleable.
The moves have variations for beginners or those with injuries and the more advanced and because you work to a timer, you can push yourself by doing more reps or slow it down and go at your own pace. I also like the creativity of the moves. When you’re doing a livestream workout every other day, it’s a fun surprise when there’s a variation of an exercise that you haven’t done before and Phia-Lee’s workout has plenty.
Trainer: Fiona Barford Intensity: Medium
I’ve always wanted to try a barre class, but I also remember my ballet teacher, Mrs Fielding, telling 9-year-old me to stay in time with the music, stop landing like an elephant, plié lower and, “don’t stick your bum out — you want to look like an I, not a C!” Pint-size me loved ballet, but being called out in class, not so much. I have no desire to repeat that humiliation. So a livestream workout was ideal!
My desk chair was my barre and I happily imagined myself as a graceful swan with no one to point out that I moved more like a lumbering ostrich. The moves are tough. There’s a lot of “hold, hold and now pulse” but Fiona is an inspiring teacher: Watching her move, you kind of want to be her and her upbeat encouragement makes you believe that you can. Even if, like me, you’re an ostrich.
Yoga Flow Livestream Workout
Trainer: Wardah Hartley Intensity: Low
Like ballet, yoga and I have a rocky past. There was a once-off incident about twenty years ago that involved a teenage me crashing loudly out of an attempted crow pose onto the wooden studio floor of my local Health and Racquet club before gathering up my socks and tekkies and scurrying, red faced, from the room, never to be seen again.
With that always in mind (why is it that I can’t be asked to remember a name but moments of shame are so visceral I can still smell the studio?) anything vaguely challenging in yoga class is “not in my practice”. And if child’s pose is available, I’ll take it. Wardah’s livestream workout is refreshingly beginner friendly. It has all the bits of yoga that I love and none of the bits that intimidate me (no chanting, no breakdancing). She explains everything in plain English, the flow is repetitive enough that you have a chance to get the hang of it and it left me feeling wonderfully mobilised and blissed out. And because it’s a livestream workout, no one will see if you lose your balance and topple over.
MMA HIIT Workout
Trainer: Jess Mouneimne Intensity: High
Having never done MMA before, I had no idea what to expect going into this livestream workout. But what fun! It’s a mix of animal-flow mobility, strength training and cardio. You’ll need a mat or carpet, a timer and a skipping rope if you have one, but it’s not essential. The workout is best done barefoot. Jess explains the exercises well — which is great, as I’d never done many of them before. It was fun to move my body in different ways. And because it was a livestream workout at home, I could give it horns without feeling self-conscious.
There’s More To Come!
Every week during lockdown, Women’s Health is hosting a livestream workout on Mondays and Thursdays. The Monday Sizzle is a high-intensity workout, while Slow It Down Thursday is more chilled — think yoga, Pilates or barre. Follow us on Instagram to see what’s up next or head over to our YouTube channel to check out what’s new.