I don’t ask much of my workouts. All I want is to not be miserable and to continue to be able to fit into my pants.It sounds simple enough, but it turns out I have high standards for not being miserable. Gyms, exercise classes, workout buddies, exercise equipment, video workouts and physical exhaustion — they’re all miserable. Walks, runs and bike rides might make the miserable list for some, but those are among my favorite things to do. They were working great until our recent snow dump — there’s just no way that a slippery walk at 20 degrees isn’t miserable.
Enter the Dollar Workout Club.
The Dollar Workout Club is an online video program that posts five high intensity interval training workouts for each week. The sessions are 12-20 minutes, with a short warm-up and cooldown on either end, and are offered in three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The workout instructors — one man and two women — take turns at the different levels and you follow whoever is at your fitness level.
When my sister-in-law told me about the program over Christmas, I was skeptical but desperate. Video workouts are too complicated right up until the moment that they’re too boring. But after a month of eating Christmas cookies while waiting for the snow to melt, I was feeling antsy to get moving. I signed up for the free one-week trial and have finished my first month of the program.
What I Love
- Ease. These workouts aren’t easy per se — most days, I’ve got one group of muscles that feels like Jello and another that is sore — but the moves are easy to follow and the modifications allow me to get a workout even if I can’t yet do a real burpee.
- Variety. The workouts focus on a specific group of muscles each day. Every day has different movements and sequences, so you don’t have a chance to get bored.
- Cost. Paying to exercise has never made sense to me, not when mankind has historically done it for free in the form of hauling water, cultivating food and running from bears. But $1/week? That was doable. Instead of paying the up front annual fee, however, I chose to pay by the month, which means I’m in the “Dollar-and-a-half Workout Club.” I hate to commit.
- Convenience. The whole workout only takes 20-25 minutes and because it’s in my home, I don’t even have to change out of my pajamas. It’s also a workout that can be paused, if needed.
What I Don’t Love
- Results. My pants do still fit, but barely. Everyone says high intensity interval training workouts build muscle that leads to long-term fat loss, but for me, I mostly experience ravenous hunger and pants getting tight. Maybe I’m a freak of nature, or maybe I just need to give it more time. Or lay off the cookies, hard to say. The sister-in-law who recommended it said that she was stronger and had lost a whole size on the program.
- Mental/Emotional Aspect. Exercise isn’t just about physical health, it’s about my mental/emotional wellbeing. Sadly, video workouts do nothing for the squirrels in my head. For that, I need a big open sky above me.
Dollar Workout Club is a great program for someone like me, who’s not going to join a gym or go to a class. I’m not yet sold on high intensity interval training as a long-term option for myself, but I can appreciate having an alternative for days that are too cold, hot, pollen-laden or smoky to be outside. And, admittedly there are probably benefits to working multiple muscle groups, not just days of leg/cardio workouts. I’m not ready to cancel my subscription yet, so for now it’s still a go.