I live in a town of just less than 9,000 people. Our fitness options are limited. We have a beautiful running trail at our park, but I hate running. Plus, I have some knee issues that make impact less than comfortable and sometimes downright painful. Plus, that's dependant on the weather.
We do have a few gyms in town, but again, choices are limited. I could have access to a full range of strength and cardio equipment, but that gets quite dull after a while. Treadmills are not fun. Bikes are not fun. Doing the same old thing all the time is not fun.
In order to stay motivated to stick to a workout plan, I have to be entertained. You can say whatever you want to about that, but the truth is, we all need to enjoy the workout in order to keep doing it.
So after trying every gym in town, I was just truly frustrated at the lack of fitness classes available. I don't agree with the Crossfit philosophy and Zumba doesn't really keep me interested for long. That's really all that's available here.
I started looking elsewhere. The YMCA is a 25 minute drive, and while my kids loved being able to use the pool, the classes were not challenging and the weight room was severly lacking. The gym I used to go to when I lived in the larger town nearby, Sky Fitness is a good 35-50 minute drive depending on traffic. What I loved about that gym was the range of classes offered. There was always something to spark my interest and motivation.
Most of the classes offered at that gym were Les Mills classes, other than the yoga classes.
How excited was I to find that there a Les Mills On Demand!
Before I continue, let me say that this post is not sponsored in any way. Les Mills has no clue who I am and I get nothing at all if you check out their program. Nothing. Except the satisfaction of sharing something I am in love with.
So Les Mills On Demand is a monthly subscription service that costs $12.99. That is about half the cost of the cheapest gym in town and only 20% of what I was paying in monthly fees to Sky.
I'll start with the negatives.
1. You do need some space. I ended up rearranging my living room a bit so I had a decent amount of space to do the workouts. It's not a large space, but it is sufficient.
2. For some of the classes you will need equipment. I purchased a weight bar and some weight plates. I got them from Walmart and they cost about $130 for the entire set. That included a straight bar, two dumb bell bars, two 2.5lb weights, two 5 lb weights, two 10lb weights and two 25lb weights. We purchased those from the store as individual pieces. I honestly have not needed the 25lb weights yet. But Ryan has used them. I also purchased a 43" step from Walmart.com for $60. You do want the longer step if you plan on doing the Body Pump class because you will use it as a weight bench. I included a link to the one below that I purchased (not sponsored).
I do have plans to purchase two more pieces of equipment to be able to do all of the classes offered. I will get a set of resistance bands and am saving up for an indoor cycling bike. I'm almost 100% set on this Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike from Amazon. Again, not a sponsored link.
So there is some initial cost to get started with some of the classes like Body Pump, CX Works and RPM. But all of the other classes do not require any equipment. But this is what I figure. I spent roughly $200 on equipment. At $80 for Sky that's less than 3 months of membership. At $40 for the local gym that's about 5 months worth of membership fees. I would have spent that money anyway.
3. No hot yoga. That's the only class that I truly enjoyed that I will not be able to do at home. Well, I could. But I would probably get yelled at for making the house 100 degrees. I can always wait until summer and do hot yoga in my backyard.
1. I know the shower is clean. At the gym I would always wear flip flops in the shower if I needed to clean up before I headed to the next place on my list. At my gym now I know the shower is clean, because it's the shower in my house.
2. No class times. I don't have to make my workout schedule fit the gym's schedule. If I don't have time to workout until 10 p.m., that's ok. If I want to start class at 6:42, I can. I can take class whenever I want to. And I'm not ashamed to admit I actually did Body Combat at midnight this past weekend. I had been working on my novel and just need to get out of my head and burn some of that energy off. I can't do that at a gym.
3. No contracts. With Les Mills On Demand as well as many of the other on demand programs I looked into, you can start and stop any time you want to. There are no contracts. No sign up fees.
4. No other people. I know some of you will say, but I like working out with other people. Maybe On Demand isn't for you then. But for me, I like the fact that if I'm trying to do my fourty seven hundredth side kick and I fall on my butt, no one was there to see. Expect my kids. But they are so busy having their faces buried in their iPads it doesn't count. I don't have to worry if I'm wearing the right workout clothes. Or did I bring the right type of water bottle. (Yes, I have been a member at gyms where that was truly important.)
My favorite Les Mills workouts:
1. Body Combat – Combat is a martial arts inspired workout. It's high energy cardio. It's a full body workout. It will make you sore. And you will have a blast doing it. At least I do. This is not Jane Fonda. This is not Zumba. This is power and drive. There are low impact options for everything that I follow and the workout is just as intense. You can wear kick boxing gloves or not. You don't actually hit anything so they are completely optional and just add mental power (for me anyway). I have never had so much fun doing cardio! The soundtrack is pumped up to match the intensity! You can visit my Instagram to see Dylan trying Combat.
2. Body Balance/Flow – Balance/Flow is a yoga, pilates and tai chi based workout. The soundtracks are soothing. You will build strength and flexibility. I love doing this the day after combat. Having a yoga mat is optional.
3. Body Pump – This takes weight training to a whole new level. Low weight, high reps, and changes in tempo really makes your muscles fire up and get stronger. You do need equipment for this class including the barbell, weight plates and bench I mentioned earlier. But they are well worth the investment to bring your full weight training program home. Les Mills does have their own weight set and bench you can buy. They are a lot pricier than what I found at Walmart. The main advantage is the plates are easy to take on and off quickly and have plenty of space for hand gripping the plates. I went cheaper and that works great, but I may save up for the Les Mills set in the future. I do sometimes have to pause the video to change weights.
You get quite a few other programs including a dance inspired workout (Sh'Bam), Plyo workouts, Vinyasa Yoga, Barre (no actual barre needed), and RPM, a spin class. That's why I want to buy the indoor bike. Spin class at home? Yes please. There are also free kids classes you get even if you aren't a member.
Les Mills is keeping me motivated to stick with my fitness program. There are lots of other on demand options out there, so if this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, look around at what else is out there. Find that thing that makes you want to do your workouts! And let me know if you try Les Mills and what you think!
They are offering a 10-day free trial so you can try before you subscribe. Again, I am not affiliated with them in any way so I get nothing at all if you click on the links.