Fitness Trend: Webcam classes

Online workouts allow you to take classes from instructors based anywhere

Fitness Trend: Webcam classes

Source: Best Health magazine; March/April 2014; Image: Thinkstock

You can now take live workout classes online. Two women who use it to step up their fitness are Crystal Godfrey of Dayspring, N.S., and Laurie Caron, of Northfield, N.S. The friends live 15 kilometres apart, yet twice a week, each sets up her webcam, logs on to from her rec room and, for a fee, does a kettlebell or boot-camp class led by instructor Lisa Avramenko in Qualicum Beach, B.C. It’s similar to doing workout DVDs, with one big exception: The instructor can see class participants, so she’s able to offer feedback. From the other side of the country, Avramenko offers live tips on correct form.

Caron and Godfrey first met about a year and a half ago, at one of Avramenko’s in-person fitness classes in Nova Scotia. Both have physically demanding jobs and need to stay in shape: Caron is a paramedic and Godfrey owns a landscape design company. When Avramenko had to move to Hawaii for her husband’s job, Caron and Godfrey still wanted to work out together, and decided to give her online classes a try. Godfrey, 42, was also looking to build strength. ‘Doing Lisa’s kettlebell classes made me feel fitter, and gave me more stamina,’ she says. ‘In some small commun­ities there aren’t a lot of fitness classes to go to.’ Online classes are also convenient. ‘In bad weather, you don’t have to worry about driving or missing a class,’ adds Caron, 34.

Surprisingly, there is still a social aspect to online fitness classes. Both women enjoy chatting and laughing with each other and Avramenko via webcam, and meeting other participants’virtually’from places like New York and B.C.

Strength, endurance and confidence are the big payoffs: Godfrey started out with 10-pound kettlebells and now hefts up to 40 pounds. Adds Caron: ‘I no longer worry if I can lift something; I know I can do it.’

Webcam fitness basics

‘ Check the technical requirements before your first class. For example, says Avramenko, you’ll likely need Windows 7 or Mac 10.6 or higher; a broadband Internet connection; Adobe Flash 11.3 or higher; and a webcam and microphone. 
‘ Work out in a well-lit room and angle your webcam so your instructor can see you clearly and offer advice on correct form.
‘ Some options for the classes:,,, and

This article was originally titled ‘Try webcam fitness’ in the March/April 2014 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!