If you're determined to get fit but don't have the budget for a gym membership or an endless parade of exercise DVDs, try getting your workouts from the Web. Streaming workout videos -- for cardio, Pilates, strength training, yoga and more -- are now available on dozens of sites for absolutely nada.
The hardest part is finding ones that aren't just peddling minute-long snippets of DVDs they want you to buy or a one-time sneak peek at paid-membership content. And it's frustrating to wade through all the fitness videos at sites like YouTube.Don't worry -- we've done your homework for you.
Working out on the Web SparkPeople This diet-and-fitness site is full of cardio, strength and Pilates routines to stream. The no-frills workouts range in length from 5 to 20 minutes and can be put together as part of a free, customized diet-and-fitness plan for site members. It's best for: Beginning exercisers hoping to make regular exercise a habit. Yoga Journal/Yoga Today Both sites offer free yoga workouts from certified instructors. Yoga Journal offers weekly 20-minute studio podcasts and 20-minute segments from its line of yoga DVDs. Yoga Today features one 60-minute workout a day from an archive of 300 routines. They're best for: Yoga lovers who don't want to shell out $15 for a studio class. Probably not the safest place for beginners. Fitness magazine Most major health and fitness magazines offer short videos that demonstrate exercises. But many are too short or focused on expensive equipment. Fitness magazine's video program allows you to build your own workout video by choosing areas you want to focus on and how long you want to exercise and according to the equipment you have at home. It's best for: Committed fitness enthusiasts who want to learn new moves and mix up their current routines. YouTube and other video viewing sites YouTube offers a huge number of exercise videos from certified professionals and amateurs alike. However, most of these videos are too short to make up a full workout. The best way to find routines is to search by keywords such as "dance fitness" or "Pilates ball" and use the "advanced options" tab at the top to select a longer duration and a language. You can also search by instructor. Several eight-minute-long snippets of fitness guru Billy Blanks' kickboxing workouts can be found here and linked together to make a workout, if you have the patience. Other video viewing sites such as Veoh, Joost and Blinkx also require you to search by keyword to avoid wading through a bunch of junk. They're best for: Anyone looking for variety. But there's more of a risk of injury when amateurs are demonstrating exercises.