New year, new you: low cost and easily accessible fitness apps and classes at the Laurier YMCA

With the new year beginning, people are starting new fitness programs to help them reach their New Year’s goals. 


Starting a new fitness program can be scary, and there are so many to choose from, it may seem impossible to choose the correct one for you. I’ve found a variety of free or low-cost easy to access fitness apps and classes that can help you on your fitness journey. 


Over the Christmas break, I tried two apps and attended classes at the Stork Family YMCA in Waterloo to find the best fitness programs for your goals.   


The first app I tried was Tone and Sculpt created by Krissy Cela, a social media fitness influencer. The app has a monthly fee of $19.49 but offers a free seven-day trial. It includes a three or five-day at-home or gym-based workout program. 


Subscribers can decide between a beginner, intermediate or advanced level four-week schedule. The exercises include full-body or targeted muscle-building exercises for legs/glutes, biceps/triceps and back/shoulder. There are reference videos that demonstrate how the exercises should be completed. 


The app offers extra fitness challenges, a meal and water tracker, nutrition guides and a community group where subscribers can share their experiences over the app. 


Overall, I enjoyed using this app. I always felt like I had a challenging and successful workout after using it. I did find some of the exercises were difficult to complete and required previous fitness knowledge. 


However, the app also focuses on strength training exercises that need equipment like resistance bands or dumbells in order to complete them which can be expensive and hard to access. This app does provide enough information for a beginner but it may be better for those with fitness experience and access to fitness equipment. 


If you aren’t looking for a monthly subscription, the Nike Training Club app is a good choice. This app is free but does offer an upgrade to the Nike Training Club premium which includes trainer guided workouts and nutrition guides for a monthly fee of $19.99 or a yearly fee of $159.99. 


I chose to use the free version of the app which offers a variety of beginner, intermediate or advanced yoga, strength training, mobility and endurance-type fitness routines. There are videos that demonstrate how each exercise should be completed.


The user is free to choose a fitness routine based on their own interests and fitness needs instead of following a schedule like the Krissy Cela app. You receive an achievement badge based on how many workouts you complete and how often you complete them which helps track progress and keep you motivated.


The Nike app provides a broad range of articles and guides on nutrition, goal-setting and fitness challenges which are helpful for beginners to learn about fitness in general. 


Though the app provides enough workout routines to stay challenged, they are short in length. For this reason, I needed to complete two or three to feel like I had a good workout. After using the app, I believe it is a good starting point for beginners as the variety of workouts can help them learn what they like and want for their fitness needs. 


For those with more fitness experience, this app is good for challenging them outside their regular fitness routine. I would recommend this app especially if you are just starting your fitness journey. 

If the apps leave you feeling overwhelmed, the group classes available with your Laurier Brantford membership might be for you. I tried a variety of classes through the Stork Family YMCA in Waterloo similar to those offered at the Laurier Brantford YMCA. I took cycling and group classes focused on strength and cardio.


All classes are taught by YMCA certified fitness instructors. The instructors’ guide and time each movements and until the end of class. For example, the cycling instructor tells you when to switch gears and positions on the cycling bike. I found the instructors to be high-energy, engaging and informative which helped keep me motivated.


I really enjoyed these classes as they teach you the core elements of exercise like cycling circuits, squats and bicep curls. High levels of endurance are needed to complete these classes which makes them a good choice for those with more fitness experience as well. 


The classes play music throughout the workout which was enjoyable but it did make it difficult to understand the instructor and made me miss some instructions. Overall, the YMCA is a good choice for people looking to gain basic fitness knowledge.  


The apps I tried are open for download at any time and the Laurier Brantford YMCA winter class schedule is on their website. I recommend trying them and any others that may interest you to make your New Year’s goals easier to achieve.

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