For a mere $10 a month you get access to hundreds of exercise videos, plus the 20 or so new videos they add every week. The GymBox isn't the only online service for exercise videos, but it's got the most variety and slickest interface I've seen yet.
To navigate the hundreds of GymBox workouts, you use a horizontal slider to select a category, then scroll vertically through that category's contents.
The workout site currently offers 12 categories, including yoga, Pilates, strength training, treadmill and indoor cycle workouts, in addition to kickboxing and more conventional aerobics classes. As you highlight each workout, you'll see the instructor's name and photo, a list of any equipment needed and a short summary of each class's focus and length. There are plenty of equipment-free classes to choose from, but if you have equipment like hand weights, an aerobics step, yoga props or a stability ball, The GymBox will put them to good use.
There are many reasons to turn to The GymBox for your home fitness regime. The sets are simple, but not distracting. There are no Spandex-clad flunkies doing the choreography in the background; it's just you and the instructor. Keeping a high-energy class going for an hour, all by yourself, with a camera lens instead of a student, isn't easy. Doing it without coming off incredibly cheesy is even harder, but so far The GymBox instructors I've seen have walked the line very well.
That said, not every class will appeal. I started with a yoga class and quickly discovered that to really enjoy yoga, I need a room full of other people all straining toward the same pose. The next day I picked a kickboxing workout and it was better. I'd planned to spend the rest of the week sampling all the other categories, but I found myself hewing to favorites, mostly kickboxing, extreme cardio, core strength and stretching. An hour of solo yoga bored me, but 15 minutes of solo stretching was pure bliss. When it comes to exercise, to each her own.
My only real gripe about The GymBox is that you have to install free Boxee software to run it, but that only took about five minutes. They hope to be able to run The GymBox directly from a Web browser by the end of the year, as well as to implement support for all major tablets and most major television brands.
The GymBox offers a free 15-day trial, and I thought long and hard about canceling once my trial period was over. I could make up my own workouts or put the $10/month subscription fee toward buying more exercise DVDs. But boredom is my primary foe when it comes to fitness, and with new GymBox workouts being added faster than I can do them, this'll keep me entertained for a lot longer than the five or six DVDs a year's subscription fees would buy. Bottom line: It's a keeper.
Check out TheGymBox.com to start your free 15-day trial.
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