Today I’m reviewing hoolio – the online fitness app.
Last week I faced a challenge. A very tough and serious challenge. Fiancé asked me to take a picture of myself, high fiving myself, without using the timer.
(Oaky, this is a lie, he didn’t say ‘without using the timer’, but I didn’t realise until afterwards that my phone camera has a timer, and then I felt a bit stupid, so I’m pretending that that was the challenge all along.)
It was tricky. Try it now if you don’t believe me. I tried various methods that involved propping my phone against things and trying to take the picture with my nose, but none of them worked. In the end, I had to take off my shoes and tights, and hold the phone between my toes, whilst twisting my body to get my hands around in front of the camera, and pressing the button with my toe.
I ended up with this, as well as a feeling that I probably have too much time on my hands:
As you can see, I struggled to focus the camera with my toe.
Anyway, the point of this story is that I discovered, not to my surprise, that I’m not as flexible as I used to be. Getting my foot up onto the footstool and reaching around it with both hands was not as easy as I felt it should have been. I clearly need to exercise more.
Which is where hoolio comes in.
Hoolio is an online fitness platform, where you can create a personalised fitness regime that’s flexible, fun, and totally built around you. It’s a cross between doing boring online workout videos at home on your own and going to a class, but has the best bits of both – you don’t have to travel anywhere, and you can do your workouts at a time that suits you, but you can also use your computer’s camera to workout with friends, so you don’t miss out on the social element.
If you are looking for an easy and affordable way to get fit, read on while I tell you more about hoolio.
Okay, so first up, hoolio asks you a little bit about yourself and your current fitness levels, so that you can find exercises to suit you. There wasn’t a box to tick that said ‘I’m a lazy heffalump who’d far rather sit and watch Pointless than do a sit up’, so I went for their very tactful ‘masterpiece in progress’.
Then you can get started. Obviously you’ll need a couple of weeks to make sure you’ve got the right outfit, footwear, lighting etc* but then you’ll be all set and ready to get those abs of steel you’ve always dreamed of. You can choose to do individual videos, or pick out a preset plan that’s targeted on one particular part of your body, or created with a particular aim in mind.
You can opt just to do the free videos, which are YouTube based, and there are plenty of free ones to choose from. Alternatively, you can go for a premium package, for just £3.99 a month, for access to a much wider range of videos. You can get a free 30 day trial of the premium programme, so you’re absolutely not committing yourself to anything. (Top tip – sign up through my link for a bonus free month – that’s two months’ of premium videos for nought.)
With hoolio Premium, you also get access to videos from famous trainers such us:
- Svava Sigbertsdottir – creator of The Viking Method and trainer to Nicole Scherzinger & Amanda Holden.
- Joshua Holland – who has trained everyone from Madonna to Gigi Hadid.
- Charlotte Dodson – Miranda Kerr’s & Gerard Butler’s Yoga teacher.
I had a go at both the free and the premium videos. One of my favourite free ones was called ‘Yoga for lower back pain relief.’ It was just 15 minutes of back stretching exercises, but at a really lovely pace. I had a go at this one in my office, (I share with just a couple of other people and no one else was in), and I found it a lovely way to break up the hours of sitting at my desk in front of a screen.
Hoolio posture camera
One of the tricky things about an online workout, as opposed to working out as part of a class, is that you don’t get any feedback from the instructor to tell you whether or not you’re doing it right. hoolio gets around this by giving you the option to switch on your camera, so you can check as you go along to see if your movements match the movements you’re being shown. I tried out a back bend workout with the hoolio posture camera working alongside the exercise video. As you can see from this screenshot, you also get notice of what’s coming next, which helps the workout flow more naturally.
(I couldn’t figure out how to do a downward facing dog and take a screenshot at the same time, but this gives you an idea of what it will look like on screen.)
Invite a friend
If you’re worried that you’ll start a workout and not be able to see it through, or just want to make the whole experience a bit more sociable, you can also use your camera to workout alongside friends. Once you’re in a hoolio workout, just click ‘add friends’ at the top of the screen and you can invite up to two friends to join your workout. (The workout pauses while you do this.)
I’m guessing this works best when you let people know in advance, so you could perhaps schedule a time that you were going to all set aside for the workout? You’re much more likely to stick to it if you exercise like this.
Sync with your iPhone or Apple Watch
As is the modern way, hoolio also has an app, and can sync with your wearable technologies, making it easier than ever to monitor your progress. The app also doubles as a remote control, which is really handy. Best of all, when you sign up through my link, you get two months’ of fitness free, instead of one. You literally have no excuse. Give hoolio a go!
*That was obviously a test to see exactly how prone to procrastination you are. You don’t really need any of those excuses – best to just crack on.
Sponsored post. All opinions my own.