From boutique boxing gyms to rage yoga, fitness is becoming increasingly niche – and increasingly expensive to match. We all want the celebrity body but only some of us have the celebrity bankroll to spend on gym memberships, trainers, nutritionists, personal chefs, exercise equipment, sneakers, sportswear, and liposuction when none of it actually pays off.
What’s a thrifty fitness junkie to do?
Thanks to YouTube, it’s now possible to get in shape without spending a cent or leaving the comfort of your living room. Exercise experts of all kinds share workouts, recipes, advice, and inspiration on their YouTube channels, entirely for free.
We’ve scoured the site to bring you some of the best and most reliable fitness YouTube channels in the game. Each offers an extensive library of free workouts, plus tips and motivation for getting your arse into gear. Subscribe and get shredded.
A go-to for more than 4 million subscribers, Fitness Blender is one of the most comprehensive free fitness YouTube channels available. Husband and wife team Daniel and Kelli have posted over 500 full length workout videos that range from cardio kickboxing to HIIT to yoga to traditional strength training. They also offer complete workout programmes, meal plans, and advice on their blog.
The Lean Machines
John and Leon – better known as The Lean Machines – have helped thousands of people get lean and strong through their work as personal trainers and on their hugely popular YouTube channel. Champions of balance, moderation and individuality, their advice is appropriate for both beginners and regular exercisers who want more in depth information, advice, and motivation. They also dish out nutritious recipes and mindfulness techniques, as well as the occasional comedy video.
Scott Herman is a fitness staple for YouTube’s bodybuilding community. His no-nonsense, 100% natural approach leads to some seriously intense workouts, all of which are handily organised into playlists dedicated to specific topics. Whether you’re looking to gain muscle, lose fat, increase your strength, or do some endurance training, Herman has a routine that will get you sweating.
Millionaire Hoy is your boy if you want to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. For the last four years, he has created more than 800 free fitness videos for his dedicated followers. Hoy’s workouts tend to focus on bodyweight exercises and High Intensity Interval Training, though he mixes things up with the occasional kettlebell or jump rope. His boxing workouts are an especially great way to torch calories without needing a gym.
Silly name, serious fitness. BUFF stands for ‘Better Understanding of Food & Fitness’ and the dudes are brothers Hudson and Brandon White. Their channel covers food and fitness in an entertaining and informative style that’s easy to understand and fun to watch. Be sure to check out their hyper-popular free 12 Week Home & Gym Workout Plan.
Who knew calisthenics could look so cool? Barstarzz focuses on calisthenics and bodyweight exercises, mostly performed outdoors, proving you don’t need a gym membership to get ripped. They’ve been featured in Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness and Business Insider, as well as on ESPN, America’s Got Talent, CNN, Bodybuilding.com, and more.
ATHLEAN-X is the creation of pro athlete trainer Jeff Cavaliere, one of the most sought-after physical therapists and personal trainers in the United States (voted a top 50 trainer in the U.S. by Men’s Fitness). His fat burning and muscle building workout programmes were designed to give the average person access to the elite training techniques he offers his celebrity clients (including Sylvester Stallone). The full programmes are available for sale on the ATHLEAN-X website, but there’s plenty of free content to keep you busy on the accompanying YouTube channel.
A good fitness plan is balanced. After all that heavy lifting and intense cardio, it’s important to stretch and recover with something more gentle. Sean Vigue is the man when it comes to yoga, Pilates, and stretching routines for guys (he was even named one of the ‘Top 50 Workout Brands’ by the Huffington Post). Vigue posts new workouts each week, all of which are organised into themed playlists that will better your flexibility, strength, posture, balance, focus, and breathing.
Bodybuilding.com needs no introduction. The ultimate hub for fitness and nutrition advice, Bodybuilding.com is your personal trainer, your nutritionist, your supplement expert, your lifting partner, and your support group. They’re the most-visited fitness site in the world, with nearly 10 million community members and close to 300 million views on their YouTube channel. You can’t go wrong with any of their videos, which range from full workouts to targeted explainers of one particular exercise.
HASFit has created over 1,000 full-length, free workout routines for both home and the gym, as well as complete 30-90 day fitness programmes for all goals and fitness levels. Workouts range from quick 5-minute blasts to longer HIIT, Tabata, and strength routines. The only thing more challenging than completing the videos is deciding which one to try first.