I Tried My First Virtual Wellness Retreat — Here's What I Thought of the Obé Fitness Experience
I attended Obé's first digital fitness retreat to spice up my at-home workout routine.
If the past few months have taught me anything, it's that some things translate well to virtual events and others definitely do not. Zoom fitness classes > Zoom happy hours.
When I received an invite to Obé Fitness's first-ever virtual wellness retreat, I was intrigued. Obviously, attending a wellness retreat in person has its advantages. You get to enter a new space, feed off the energy of the people around you, and sometimes even take home swag. But as an introvert, I found the idea of an e-retreat really appealing. There's no need to make small talk, no one to judge your appearance or abilities, and nothing to hold you back from leaving early if necessary. (Related: Kate Hudson Has Been Doing 30-Minute Daily Workouts with This Home Fitness Program)
So, I accepted the invite, assuming if any brand could do a digital wellness retreat right, it'd be Obé. After all, Obé established itself as a digital fitness platform long before the pandemic hit and caused many in-person studios to scramble, trying to pivot to online classes. Ironically, though, my only previous experience with Obé Fitness was an IRL event last year. I remember a high-energy dance cardio session where some of the attendees seemed to be meeting their virtual friends for the first time.
The retreat was slated to run a full day, from 9 am to 5 pm — with five scheduled workouts. In between those, the Obé agenda included a post-workout hair tutorial, a keynote from journalist and former Teen Vogue Editor in Chief Elaine Welteroth, and an astrology forecast for the remaining months in 2020. (I was relieved that the prediction wasn't all doom and gloom given how 2020 started out.) A few of the sessions featured split screens showcasing Ali Fedotowsky, Mike Johnson, and Connor Saeli doing the workouts, as a fun surprise for any Bachelor fans.
Let me tell you, I appreciated each and every panel, discussion, and tutorial because Obé's workouts are tough. Just one of Obé's 28-minute workouts is enough to give you a good sweat, so the breaks in between for recovery and hydration were necessary. Every class had an element of heart-pumping cardio — we're talking jumping jacks during yoga in the final class of the day. (Related: Turn to These Streaming Workouts When You Can't Break a Sweat at the Gym)
After having fun with the retreat, I poked around the site to get more intel on what Obé has to offer. Subscribers get access to 22 live classes each day and a library of more than 4,5000 on-demand classes, all filmed from a magical opalescent box. Don't worry, those who don't like to jump around still have plenty of options, including barre, Pilates, strength training, HIIT, vinyasa yoga, and meditation. You can filter the workouts by class length (ranging from 10 minutes to an hour), fitness level (including prenatal and postnatal options), and equipment needed (everything calls for zero equipment or simple gear such as dumbbells or ankle weights). The cost to sign up for Obé Fitness is on par with other digital fitness platforms: $27 per month, $65 quarterly, or $199 per year for unlimited access.
One element that makes Obé stand out is the lineup of more than 30 instructors, including a few famous names like Isaac Calpito and Amanda Kloots. Some of the classes have music themes — think, 90's dance party and Drake. Whatever Obé workout you tune into, you're guaranteed a hyper-enthusiastic instructor and a challenging set of exercises. (Related: Your Comprehensive Guide to At-Home Workouts)
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed my first digital wellness retreat, even if it did take place in my shoebox apartment. And whether or not you have any interest in back-to-back virtual classes, Obé has something to offer for everyone.