Something oddly disconcerting about a fitness instructor being an inanimate video screen this week.
Not going to lie, this week’s class was a bit of a strange experience. I was originally planning on going to Lisa’s Retro Dance class, a fun session with one of my favourite instructors at the rec centre, but scheduling issues meant that I ended up not being able to make it. Instead, I booked in for the only class that fit into my hectic mid-semester timetable – a virtual Total Body class. I usually quite like Total Body, but had never done one of the rec centre’s virtual classes so wasn’t sure what to expect.
First of all, when I walked into the room, I was the only one there. Usually, even with the more sparsely-attended classes, there are at least a few other people, so it was weird to arrive in an empty room. It reminded me of the Zoom workouts I was doing last year in my parents’ lounge, though even then I was usually joined by my sister (and occasionally, my cat). I’m generally not a fan of solo workouts (which is why I go to group fitness classes), but I had already walked all the way down the hill to Stanley Street and gotten changed into some of the vast pile of athleisure I’ve managed to amass, so I figured I’d stick with it for the duration of the half hour class.
The “instructor” was a pre-recorded video on a large screen at the front of the class. While the video did give good demonstrations and predicted some of the corrections that would be needed, a major downfall of not having a real person taking the class was that there were no variations of the exercises provided. Generally, a good instructor will give several different versions of each movement to account for the variations in ability level, but this was only provided for one exercise.
About five minutes into the class, a second person showed up. She turned out to actually be looking for a yoga class but had come on the wrong day (virtual yoga is on a Tuesday afternoon), but decided to stay for the class anyway, so at least I had a workout buddy for the rest of the session.
There was no music in this class, which was disappointing. Especially when there are no other people to add to the collective energy of the workout, a good soundtrack is vital to a fun and engaging class. If I had known about this in advance, I would have brought my own music to listen to.
All in all, I wish I’d gone to Lisa’s dance class instead. At least I would have been able to do my squats and lunges to 1980s pop-rock jams.
Fun: 2/10. Boring and repetitive exercises, no music, and no other people (except the lost yoga-seeker). The voiceover had a nice accent, but that was about it.
Challenge: 5/10. There wasn’t a huge variety of exercises, and they were all pretty standard (push-ups, lunges, and burpees made up a decent chunk of the class). I still got up a bit of a sweat, but not having an instructor there made me a bit lazy so I didn’t push as hard as I usually would.
Would I go again? Probably not. If I’m going to do a pre-recorded workout, there are plenty on Youtube that are more fun.