Work(out) From Home is a weekly column where we review smart fitness machines and apps in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Thanks to technology, there are still plenty of ways to exercise if your gym is closed.
Thanks to a short (and hectic) work week made possible by the upcoming, long Memorial Day Weekend, it’s safe to say I’ve been far more scatterbrained than usual. I also think I’m finally starting to feel the quarantine fatigue and the lack of motivation that can come with working from home.
It didn’t help that I started making a bunch of TikTok videos using old footage from nights out with my best friends. I looked around the room on Sunday night and realized, I forgot what having fun feels like. You know, that carefree, living-in-the-moment type of fun. The last time I even got close to that was a couple of weeks ago when I danced through workouts using On Beat Fitness — an app that centers its workouts around the beat of the music.
Given that there really aren’t that many dance-centric apps out there, I remembered that I had yet to try the new Dance Cardio class on the Peloton app. While most of us are likely familiar with Peloton’s machines and its cult-like following, some of you may not know that you don’t have to purchase the bike or treadmill in order to access the workouts.
The Peloton app, available for both iOS and Android, costs $12.99 per month and comes equipped with a full catalogue (i.e., strength training, cardio, cycling, treadmill, and more) of live and on-demand workouts.
While cardio classes have always been part of the digital app, the company only recently added dance-centric classes towards at the end of March — just in time for quarantine — and that’s when I decided to finally try them.
I should probably preface my full-blown excitement for these classes with the fact that I do have a dance background. I grew up taking all types of classes from jazz and tap to ballet and lyrical. I also traveled across the country for competitions (thank you, Mom and Dad).
But it’s been years since I’ve entered a dance studio, so I can assure you that my technical skills have really gone out the window. All of which is to say that you don’t have to be a seasoned dancer to follow along.
As usual for Peloton, the classes are broken down in a way that makes them easy to follow. The instructors build upon the moves the same way a dance teacher does with choreography. They’ll demonstrate the move slowly, allowing you to repeat it a few times to get used to it, before adding to it. This usually happens when the music is also slowed down, so that by the time the tempo picks up, you can repeat the choreography a lot faster.
Each class starts with a warmup. After which, you learn the dance in a few rounds and then, eventually, put it all together to create a full routine. My memorization skills are definitely not as sharp as they used to be and I’ll admit that I did struggle to remember the sequence of moves at times. But it helps that some instructors give them nicknames like “Beyonce,””Swag Walk,” “John Travolta,” and “Money.”
The best part is that, with each move, you’re also getting a full-body workout without realizing it. You’ll be exercising muscle groups in your legs, arms, and core while also increasing your heart rate. I wouldn’t say the workouts left me sore, but it was nice to be able to have fun without worrying about things like form or reps the entire time.
If you do want to make sure that you’re at least hitting certain heart rate zones to burn fat, you can sync your heart rate monitor to the app and keep track of it throughout the class.
The full classes are also only 20 minutes long, so you can either take them when you’re just trying to squeeze in a quick workout for the day or as a supplement to your overall workout for the day. You can also choose from one of the 5-minute warm-up or cool-down classes to add to the beginning or end of your workouts instead.
Since the Dance Cardio category is fairly new, though, there are only ten classes available at the moment. It makes sense though, given that Peloton had to switch from filming its classes in the studio to inside instructors’ homes due to the pandemic. But hopefully, once quarantine is over, they’ll update the section with more content.
And since I have yet to truly master any of the routines, I don’t mind repeating them.
It’s also worth noting that the rest of the Peloton app offers a ton of other super effective workouts as well, including strength, yoga, cardio, running, cycling, stretching, bootcamp, walking, and more. So, you can rest assured you’ll have a well-rounded library of options.
For fun though, I’ll continue to look to the Dance Cardio classes that are perfect for letting loose and working those muscles, especially in a time crunch. Will I take these moves out to the bars with me once quarantine is over? Definitely not! But at least I can transform my little room into a makeshift dance studio, even when lockdown is over.