Online workouts on video calls keep fitness enthusiasts motivated

‘Quarantraining’ allows friendly competition and you are rated based on your engery level   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

“If it weren’t for me, I know a couple of my friends would just give up on working out,” says Chennai-based marketer Aarthi Srinath, tongue-in-cheek. With the three-week lockdown, the self-confessed gym rat has been egging her friends on to work out together on video calls. Aarthi would train at The Quad, and now since they cannot meet, co-founder and trainer Raj Ganpath had been sending them their training modules over email.

Much like The Quad, many have been talking about ‘Quarantraining’ — that is, working out from home. But without anyone to answer to, only the most self-motivated among us could continue with a daily fitness schedule. That is where our friends — your training buddies, come in.

“Having a structure to our days is important when we are alone at home, and being connected to people in some way helps. A lot of people work out more if they are in a group, because of that whole community effect,” says Aarthi.

Online workouts on video calls keep fitness enthusiasts motivated

“It is all about lifting each other up. I would rather motivate my friends to work out than post pretty pictures for a challenge. I challenge my friends for some workout everyday and it is going good for us,” adds Havovi Batliwala, a Hyderabad-based marketing professional.

When training with friends, alone at home but online together, you are accountable to someone. Your friends may not be able to literally spot you, but they can cheer you to finish what you started. “It is also fun, you can chat when you take a break, and you end up doing more work than you would have if you were doing it alone,” says Aarthi.

Fitness outfits have long taken note of the importance of community building for wellness, which explains the continuing popularity of crossfit groups, spin classes, and zumba sessions. And now with the cross-country lockdown, these communities have simply migrated online.

The community stays alive

With the close-down of the 270-odd centres across the country, Ankit Nagori, co-founder,, Bengaluru, says the company now has a live facility on their app ( “We had DIY content on the platform earlier, but this [lockdown] has given us the opportunity to build this lighter version,” he says.

The app features a 30- and 50-minute workout, including the warm-up and cool-down that go with all cardio-based workouts. Of the eight in-studio workout formats, they offer six (cardio, strength, endurance, HRX, yoga, dance) in the live sessions.

“The energy meter uses the camera and motion sensors, for those who want it, to figure out how well they’re doing, how fast the body is moving.” With this, he says the potential is immense, with many possibilities such as a connected heart rate monitor, celebrity and third-party content, among the most obvious.

The live also allows for friendly competition: you can compete with your fellow attendees and be ranked depending on your energy meter. Right now, these sessions are free.

Not everyone needs a tailored app. Others like SARVA Yoga, are making use of existing video conference platforms. With live classes, SARVA is attempting to take the studio atmosphere online. Over this month, SARVA and its women-centric arm, DIVA, are hosting over 1,200 online live sessions. The fee for non-members is ₹49 per session.

“We have about 80 to 100 sessions per day if you put together all our studios,” says founder Sarvesh Shashi.

Each yoga session allows 15 members to practise together, and the instructor is able to see all of them on a grid on his/her phone. “After the session, we chat about the class, if they have any questions, they can ask the instructor, and also give their feedback,” he says. They also have a WhatsApp group for the same.

In fact, it was due to one such post-class discussion on WhatsApp that Sarvesh had the idea of organising live yoga sessions particularly for Italy.

These are accessible at, where you need to register. DIVA yoga’s Instagram handle has been conducting free lives with its trainers, spread out throughout the day: three yoga sessions, one zumba session, followed by one meditation session. “The meditation session involves sound healing,” he says, adding that wellness is an important part of their programme. “Which is why we have also hosted lives with guests like actresses Tamannaah and Malaika Arora, entrepreneur Aditya Ghosh, and musician Ankur Tewari.”

How accurate is it?

Reebok trainer Shivoham has been posting at-home workout plans regularly on his Instagram. Before the lockdown, he was training Aamir Khan for his new movie, Laal Singh Chaddha. Now, he says he may have to continue the training virtually. “Video conferencing training sounds fancy, I know, but it is not the most efficient, especially if not one-on-one. We can gauge the correct form and technique if you position your camera properly, wear bluetooth headsets so that my voice is clear, and so on.”

Agrees Raj Ganpath of The Quad, “Working with someone one-on-one online is easier because we can properly look at them, tell them which angle we want the camera to be in, and watch every move from a different plane.”

Live workout apps
  • Who says working out now has to be lonely? Online platforms such as the premium version of Nike Training Club app, Gold’s Gym and Orangetheory Fitness offer live portals to connect with trainers during the lockdown.
  • Equinox-owned Blink Fitness has also kicked off daily workout live-streams (8 am EST, 5.30 pm IST) called Get Up And Blink!, as well as a slew of fitness challenges linked to our daily household chores.
  • If you have ‘lockdown jet lag’, sporting brand Bandier will be hosting workout sessions live on their Instagram page at 4 pm EST (1.30 am IST).
  • For those wanting to stay toned while staying indoors, Obé Fitness app offers 100 live classes per week, including cardio, strength, yoga, and stretch-based workouts.

However, with the physical distancing continuing into April, Raj has taken The Quad online. “We have a team of six coaches for training 24 people, and all of us will be logged in at the same time. Each trainer is assigned four people to watch closely, take down notes on what to improve and give them feedback,” he says.

Because as Raj puts it, “There is no doubt that motivation is much greater when you are exercising with other people.”

With inputs from Sunalini Mathew, Prabalika Borah and Divya K Bhavani

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 10:06:23 PM |

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