Online gym: Fitness instructor setting up for an online fitness lesson.

Online fitness: Train successfully using fitness apps, fitness videos and online gyms

Digitalisation has also opened doors in the fitness industry. Today, effective workouts can be supported by a variety of technological solutions: From various apps that measure and verify successes to fitness videos for your workout at home to online fitness studios that can bring professional training to your home. Read this article to find out who benefits most from online fitness and how digital training gadgets can help you reach your fitness goals.

Online fitness course: woman viewing a video workout in a fitness app.


  • Online gyms

  • Fitness videos

  • Fitness apps

  • Pros and cons of online fitness

  • Online fitness for beginners

On­line fit­ness: Which op­tion suits your needs?

Online fitness is as varied as the potential training goals. Here, we present you with a few digital training options.

On­line gyms – pro­fes­sion­al train­ing at home

The digital fitness industry is booming: If you are looking for an online gym, you can choose from many different providers. Pure online gyms usually offer a range of courses and training programmes.

Depending on the provider, you can select training packages at various levels of difficulty, that will help you achieve your goals (e.g. reduce weight, build muscle, increase mobility) or book a personalised workout.

Online gyms mostly instruct using detailed training videos. However, some providers also offer live-stream courses for you to take part in. Keep in mind that these live courses are not always set up for interactive training, which is why you should carefully read the description prior to registration.

Tip: If you seek more direction during training, you can book an online personal trainer or fitness coach who can develop a personalised training and nutritional plan, consult, and guide you through your workouts.


Bear in mind that...

You can recognise reputable online gyms, if they provide detailed explanations of training units (ideally in video format), and if they offer a wide selection of workouts.


Online fitness: young man doing a plank with guidance from a fitness video.

Fitness videos – free every-day training

On platforms, such as YouTube, you can choose from a wide range of video workouts, for example to find new training methods. Discover dance workouts, yoga routines, guided meditations and much more. (Amateur) athletes may upload fitness videos with valuable tips and recommendations to create a more active lifestyle.

Tip: To detect which providers are serious, take a look at their profiles on blogs and social media: Competent fitness bloggers are often certified instructors or have some sort of formal education in sports.

For instance, if you want to relieve back pain or work on your mobility, you may benefit from free fitness videos as a guide. However, keep in mind that video workouts cannot replace support or individual consultation. Inexperienced athletes should therefore not solely rely on fitness videos, but merely use them as an additional resource.

Fit­ness apps – for more fit­ness on the go

If you are looking for a cost-effective training guide, a fitness app could be just right for you. To start training, all you need is normally just a smartphone, and perhaps headphones. Depending on the provider, you can also connect a heart rate monitor or other types of fitness tracker to the apps.

Fitness apps can be a useful tool to complement online fitness training: They monitor your training progress, provide tools to keep an eye on your nutrition, sleep quality and other health factors, and they motivate you with push-notifications and community functions. The following types of apps may help you integrate every-day fitness in your daily routine:

  • Fitness apps with training and nutritional plans as well as tracking functions

  • Meditation apps for more life balance, relaxation, and better sleep

  • Recipe apps for healthy nutrition to support your training goals

  • Habit tracking apps as a (playful) reminder of your next workout and reward for completed challenges

Young woman wearing VR-goggles for training with a fitness game.

Fitness games – be active during gaming

If you want to become more active in your every-day routine, you can do this by gaming: On various platforms you can find exergames, which are sporty fitness games, perfect for you to get a full workout. Usually, you will need a controller with motion sensors. There are also virtual reality games that will motivate you to break a sweat. Here is a short-list of well-known examples of these active gaming genres:

  • Just Dance: Dancing game for Nintendo Switch, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

  • Beat Saber: VR music game for PlayStation 4 or PC

  • BoxVR: VR Box game for PlayStation 4 or PC

  • Ring Fit Adventure: Fitness game for Nintendo Switch

  • Wii Fit: Fitness game for a Wii

Who would ben­e­fit from on­line fit­ness cours­es?

Digital training can be a great complementary fitness option for many who are already doing classic workouts at a gym. Who these options are made for and how successful they are, depends on various factors such as:

  • Are you a beginner or an experienced athlete?

  • Are you looking for cross training to complement your current sports activity?

  • Would you like to try out a new sport?

  • How easily can you motivate yourself?

  • Can you design your own, functioning training plan?

  • Do you want to monitor your training progress by yourself?

There is no straight answer to whether online fitness is a good training option for you or not. However, there are clear benefits as well as disadvantages to all variations of online fitness training. Our following overview will give you some guidance in your personal evaluation of how effective online fitness may be for you.


Make sure that...

Not all sports enthusiasts will find a suitable online fitness option right away. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for online gyms that offer a free trial period or at least allow you to cancel your membership on a month-to-month basis. Then you can take the time to test whether online fitness fits your lifestyle and training goals.


Pros and cons of on­line fit­ness of­fers

If you are looking for a temporary or long-term alternative to physically visiting a gym, you may discover that online fitness is the ideal solution for your requirements:

Pros of online fitness

  • Online sports offers are often cheaper compared to classic fitness training.

  • The training is more flexible, as you can set up your own training hours. You also save travelling time.

  • Online sports often do not require much equipment.

  • If certain exercises are too difficult for you, it is easy to stop, rewind or restart a training video to watch it multiple times.

  • You can repeat exercises as often as you like.

  • During online fitness courses, you can fully concentrate on yourself, and you won’t feel the need to compare you

Cons of online fitness

  • Without the judgement from a professional coach, it is harder to assess your current state of fitness.

  • During online fitness sessions (also in case of live streaming or offers that include chat or email instruction), your fitness instructor cannot interfere and correct in case you do not carry out an exercise properly.

  • Online fitness programmes are normally not set up for training with fitness equipment or weights.

  • You need to pay attention yourself and make sure your exercises are carried out properly (e.g. using a webcam or a mirror).

  • You are in control of your training plan, whether you follow it or not, and whether you ensure that you take sufficient breaks.

  • If you train by yourself, you need to motivate yourself.

Online fitness: young woman training with instruction from a video workout.

Online fitness: Tips for beginners

Online fitness offers may be suitable for those who would like to (re)start a sport. However, you should keep in mind a few basic tips:

  • If possible, find an online gym that provides help and feedback from instructors, at least via (video) chat or email.

  • Ideally, your current state of fitness or certain health data is requested prior to your first training, at least by a questionnaire or test, so you can select the most suitable offer.

  • Essential basics of certain sports you can learn best from an experienced instructor on-site. Take advantage of professional instruction first to learn basic moves, which later you can train at home and by yourself.

On­line fit­ness com­mu­ni­ties: Sup­port each oth­er dur­ing home work­outs

If you miss the community aspect of conventional sports classes or the atmosphere of a gym when you train with fitness videos or an online gym, then you can join online communities.

  • Online forums: Network with other athletes in fitness forums to share your knowledge and experiences, and to motivate each other to go the extra mile to success. Fitness forums for recreational athletes are ideal for seeking advice and support.

  • Social fitness apps: Many fitness apps, that allow you to track your daily performance, also offer community functions (e.g. Strava Training, MapMyFitness or Fitbit). This allows you to share your workouts with friends and compare. Such apps are recommended especially for athletes who quickly lose motivation when training alone.


Don't forget...

Before you start your first online training session, inform yourself of what equipment you require. While you may already have your own gym or yoga mat at home, some online fitness courses may require additional equipment.



If you have not done any sports for a while or could not train due to injury, then you may benefit from online training units to ease your way back into a training routine. However, also as an experienced athlete looking to cross train or seeking alternative winter training, you will benefit from fitness courses online. With flexibility in scheduling and the option to put together individual training plans, online training can support a generally more active lifestyle and motivate you to exercise more.

It is important to take the time to find an online workout that suits your training goals and that offers the right level of personal instruction. Also for online fitness, you should remember: If you have not trained for a while, or if you have health concerns, then you should first consult your doctor and, in the best-case scenario, also a professional coach.

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(accessed on 2 June 2021)

(accessed on 2 June 2021)

(accessed on 2 June 2021)

(accessed on 2 June 2021)

Image sources: Vesalainen