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article imageOp-Ed: Online workouts — YouTube or professional videos?

By Daniel Taibleson     Jun 4, 2014 in Health
The Internet has brought us a new wave of fitness bloggers and digital workout programs; the at-home workout realm has completely changed since the days of walking in place to a Jane Fonda VHS.
With the overwhelming volume of at-home fitness DVDs, online workout programs and YouTube-famous personal trainers, it’s tough to choose a new workout path. The world of Internet-based fitness is huge and growing, so here's a rundown of YouTube fitness options versus professional workouts to help you determine the best way to get active.
If you’re not familiar with the boom of YouTube fitness programs, it’s a crazy world out there. Fitness Vloggers (aka video-bloggers) and personal trainers offering fitness advice are all over the place; is this where you need to be?
The Pros: If you’re on a budget and/or already belong to a gym and don’t want to spend more on a personal trainer or workout class, YouTube is the way to go; it’s free and, with some patient sifting, you really can find some great videos.
The Cons: As with everything on the Internet, you'll have to decide what's legitimate and what isn't. Sure, you can Google “ab exercises,” but you'll likely find yourself buried in more ab exercise information than you knew even existed along with a slew of no-name YouTube instructors who may or may not be certified to train.
Where to start: Big name fitness-focused magazines often list some of their favorite fitness bloggers. Research what they have to say! Fitness styles differ from trainer to trainer, so take a look at the videos to differentiate the instructors' varied techniques. Also look for the instructors' certification info (typically listed on his or her website's “About” page). Many of these bloggers either have YouTube channels or share recommended videos on their blog or Pinterest account. If they are legit, certified and seem like the type of trainer you'd feel comfortable with in person, go for it!
In addition to doing your own research, you can also use certified fitness bloggers as a resource. Don’t be afraid to send an email or message asking them what their favorite YouTube fitness videos are or what professional digital platforms they like best. Many bloggers don’t mind hearing from their readers and actually encourage reaching out with questions. The more they know what their readers want, the easier it is for them to write about a certain topic.
If you're susceptible to injuries, check with your doctor before starting any new fitness routine. Browse through videos you want to try and let your doctor know what kind of moves you will be doing, the number of reps and intensity level of the video. During the workout, make sure you are challenged but not too challenged. You can feel the burn but if you have any pain or discomfort, stop the workout immediately.
Professional Service
The Pros: Although it’s not free, professional workout services are great for first-timers or those who have not worked out in awhile. First of all, with a professional service, fitness levels are clearly stated so there is no guessing whether or not the intensity is too high or too low (i.e. no surprises!) Also, you'd be hard-pressed to find a professional fitness instructor who doesn't take potential injuries very seriously; the real experts will always lead viewers through proper warm-ups, cool-downs and stretches to avoid any injury.
The Cons: With a professional workout service or a DVD, live stream or any digital workout, if you do the same one over and over, you are eventually going to get bored. Sign up for a service that has different workouts or buy a DVD that offers different options for intensity to liven it up a little bit.
Where to start: Like on YouTube, professional workout videos aren't hard to come by. Start by looking for a trusted and widely recognized source of fitness videos like GaiamTV. Many of the name-brand fitness equipment manufacturers also participate in making online videos and DVDs. These videos usually feature certified trainers and have nutritionists and fitness experts who offer advice on other aspects of fitness.
Even though you may be paying a little out of pocket, if you don’t know what exercises you need to do to hit your problem areas or if you’re in a time crunch and need to get into shape fast, professional is the way to go.
With a professional service, you know that you’re getting an expert workout and with most DVDs or subscription services, if you do not like the workout or if it just doesn’t work for you, many companies have return or exchange policies.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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