Our next review tackles a veritable behemoth of YouTube fitness channels: Fitness Blender.
Fitness Blender is husband and wife combo Kelli and Daniel Segars. Considering their humble beginnings, Fitness Blender’s growth is nothing short of remarkable, having amassed over 500 workout videos and hoovered up a few million subscribers on YouTube.
According to their website, Fitness Blender was created to provide free fitness to the unwashed masses, in response to an industry populated by unscrupulous ne’er do wells who focussed more on monetary gain or their appearance than their on good heath. I may be paraphrasing here. Regardless, this gets a big thumbs up from Stingy Fit.
The first thing you notice about Fitness Blender videos is the production values are a cut above the rest. Workouts are done against a completely white background, which verges on the clinical. The screen is low fuss, with a progress bar showing how far through the workout you are, a small clip with advance notice of the next exercise, and that’s about it. There is no music in the background, just the instructors’ voices and crescendo of heavy panting.
Despite the lack of backing music, it is refreshing to see trainers who don’t feel they need to fill every gap with the sound of their own voice. The amount of talking feels just right – useful pointers without sensory overload.
Their workouts cover a broad range of styles, most of which boil down to cardio, strength and core:
Cardio and HIIT style workout videos often require no equipment and typically last between 25-40 minutes – including warm up and cool down. Exercises are typically done for time in the “ABAB” format. Think lateral jumps, plank jacks, mountain climbers and lunge jumps.
Both Daniel and Kelli guide the various cardio-type workouts. It feels like there is some gender-stereotyping with Kelli performing more of the cardio and Daniel more the strength workouts. Or is that just confirmation bias on the part of Mr Stingy?
Strength focussed workouts typically use dumbbells and sometimes kettlebells.
Daniel often makes the point that you should never trust an instructor who doesn’t perform their own workouts. He doesn’t rush either, focussing on form rather than intensity. So don’t go in expecting high tempo CrossFit-style craziness.
Core / Pilates
I am always astounded when fitness instructors talk happily through the most gruelling of exercises. Luckily for these guys they sometimes double up with one instructing and the other doing the moves. A lot of the Pilates type workouts are great, perhaps not the toughest out there.
And guys – don’t be fooled by the “butt and thigh Pilates workout” titles like this one. You could equally name them “Hardcore Pilates for snowboarders” and be none the wiser. Whether you are a guy or a girl, don’t let gender specific titles put you off or you will miss out on 50% of the videos. Your friends need never know.
It’s worth noting that these guys have nailed it when it comes to appropriate timing of adverts. Many YouTubers pepper their videos with ads and will often cut themselves off mid-sentence for an ad break. With Fitness Blender workouts, ads appear in the rest period between groups of exercise (e.g. once per video) which seems perfectly logical.
As with any set of fitness videos, you soon start to notice the pattern of the workout structure. If it gets a little boring, just switch to something else for a while, then come back to it. There is plenty to choose from.