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How the Latest Fitness Class Technology Is Changing At-Home Workouts

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Photo: RichLegg / Getty Images

With the boutique fitness trend on the rise, it's no wonder there's another powerful force at its tail end: Tech-friendly at-home workouts.

With so many fitness studios to choose from, it can be overwhelming to not only commit to a membership but also find the time and energy to make it to a class. So you tell yourself you'll work out at home—but without an instructor pushing you to keep going, it's easy to end up on your couch instead of your bike.

Luckily, with new at-home workout technologies such as livestreaming classes, interactive workout equipment, and fitness apps, it's easier than ever to get up and active without the hefty price tag of a studio membership and the mundane process of driving to and from a gym. Here's the latest and greatest in at-home workout innovations that'll make your living room the ~hottest~ place to break a sweat.

Livestreaming Workouts

Following along with workout videos is old news—but being able to stream a live class directly into your living room is the 2018 upgrade we are 100 percent here for. Having the ability to work out with others in a boutique-style setting with instructors cheering you on (yes, by name!) in the comfort of your own home (and sweat) is a luxury we can all afford. (Here's a list of studios that currently offer livestreaming workouts.)

With livestreaming picking up more popularity in at-home workout routines, it's no wonder fitness gyms and studios are adapting along the way. A new online fitness platform, FORTË, allows you access to on-demand and livestream boutique fitness classes (like Ripped Fitness, Exhale, and Joyride Cycling) worldwide. If you aren't able to livestream a class, you can still stream hundreds of their prerecorded workouts anytime, anywhere, from any of your devices. Not only that, but you can sync up your favorite fitness wearable (Fitbit, Apple Watch, etc.) to track your performance throughout each class. At $99/year (promotional offer) or $39/month, it's no wonder they're giving IRL studio classes (which can be $40 a pop!) a run for their money. (Here's more about how FORTË is pioneering workout streaming.)

ClassPass addict? The game-changing studio service now offers ClassPass Live, where users can stream live and on-demand HIIT classes for just $15/month. It uses Google Chromecast and a special ClassPass Live heart-rate monitor to display your metrics in real time and place you on a leaderboard with the other class participants. The workouts are designed so that you can adjust the intensity according to your heart rate, and tap NYC's top instructors to help keep you motivated right from your living room.

Other workout streaming services are adding live options to their Netflix-style services as well. Daily Burn offers a new live class every day in addition to the 1,000+ workouts they already have online. Gyms are getting on board too. Crunch gyms now offer a Crunch Live workout streaming service and it's free if you're already a member. The classes aren't live, but for $10/month you can stream any of the workouts in their video library.

Yeah, there's a lot out there: You can research streaming services to figure out which services are easiest to add to your current TV streaming sitch. Finding one service that covers both your entertainment and fitness needs can keep your monthly expenses low while still allowing you to add variety to your workouts.

Studio-Quality Smart Workout Equipment

Spin classes first took over the fitness world—and now they're taking over home workouts too. Spin studios Flywheel and Peloton are both at the forefront of at-home workout innovation with their in-home spin bikes, which offer a range of classes and livestreaming options.

Peloton gives you the ability to stream live cycling classes happening in their New York City studio directly to your device. That means you get the competitive aspect of a studio-style class—with other bikers and an instructor motivating you—without leaving your house. The Peloton bike comes with a built-in monitor and has more than 6,000 on-demand classes and 14 daily livestreamed sessions, running you about $1,995 with a $39/month membership fee. They recently decided to take their success off the spin bike, releasing Peloton Tread—a treadmill with a built-in monitor that offers both live and on-demand total-body, running, walking, and floor workouts taped in their New York studio. The treadmill will cost $3,995. You can reserve yours now for $250 (shipping in Fall 2018).

Flywheel's Fly Anywhere bike (with an optional monitor) is easy to connect to smart devices—including Apple TV, Chromecast, or any iOS or Android device—for streaming their unlimited live and on-demand content. Your real-time results show up on the "torqboard" and you get dropped into class races, just like in a regular Flywheel class. The bike costs $1,699 to $2,099 (depending on whether you want the screen or not) and you pay a $39/month membership fee to stream classes.

iFit also has a unique approach to fitness, offering everything from wearables to customized protein powder. The coolest part, though, is their connected fitness tech: NordicTrack offers iFit-compatible spin bikes, a cable machine, a treadmill incline trainer, and (soon!) a rower that all have the built-in ability to stream from iFit's massive workout library. You can join a studio class, or take your bike ride or run to a specific trail or road anywhere in the world—from running the Boston Marathon course to climbing Machu Picchu or biking along an Australian beach. You'll follow along with an iFit trainer as they guide you through a workout with automatic incline or resistance increases, pace coaching, and warm-up and cool-down segments.

Not a fan of straight cardio? FightCamp offers at-home boxing equipment and classes taught by high-profile instructors who work with celebs like Usher and Victoria's Secret models. A subscription ($39/month after a 30-day free trial) comes with trackers that slide under your hand wraps so you can track every single punch and watch the real-time metrics pop up right on your screen.

Virtual Personal Trainers

In this cell-obsessed world, it's no wonder that every app store is chock-full of fitness apps to choose from. Whether your goal is to lose weight, build strength, or adjust your eating habits, there's an app for that.

If you've ever been on Instagram, odds are you've seen Kayla Itsines or heard of her Bikini Body Guide or #BBG (a bodyweight-focused fitness routine) floating around. Itsines created SWEAT, an app based on BBG, which includes workouts and meal planning for $20/month. (If you want to test some of her workouts before committing, give her 28-minute total-body strength workout a try.)

Other fitness sensations have recently launched workout demo apps too: Anna Victoria has Body Love, an all-inclusive fitness app for $17/month (or try a total-body workout from it right here), the Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up offer workouts on the Tone It Up Studio app for $13/month, and Emily Skye offers her FIT workout app for $20/month.

Other apps are going audio-only—essentially sticking a personal trainer in your headphones. Aaptiv offers over 2,500 guided workouts (from elliptical or treadmill programs to stretching, boxing, yoga, outdoor runs, and meditation) that have a personal trainer coaching you the whole time. Whether you're at home, at the gym, or outside, you have a trainer keeping you motivated, timing your rest intervals, providing form tips, and, well, taking all the mental work out of working out on your own. Best part? You don't have to forgo music in order to listen to your trainer—the app has killer playlists matched to every workout, just like if you were in a real class. It's super affordable, too, costing only $99/year or $14.99/month.

If you're an avid runner but could use a little guidance in your training, try the app Studio, which offers boutique-style running classes (Think: Mile High Run Club or Barry's Bootcamp) to keep your runs motivating and fun. You can also compete real-time with someone else using the app to stay extra motivated. (Hello, races with friends!) Try their two-week free trial and enjoy top instructors, killer playlists, and new classes daily.

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