Getting the Most Out of Your Virtual Exercise Classes

By Susan Donovan, Director of Fitness & Wellness Services, JCC of Greater New Haven

Zoom, YouTube, Facebook Live and other virtual options have been a life saver to some people who get their workout “Rx” by taking classes or group training at fitness facilities during the pandemic. A great alternative to the exercise-minded person, but it can be a bit of a struggle for those who thrive in a group environment.

Since these virtual workouts may be sticking around for a while, we may need to get used to it. Here are a few tips to help make your virtual experience effective, energizing and fun while you’re exercising at home.

  1. Act like you’re not at home. Pretend you’re going to work out at your gym. Block off the appropriate time on your calendar and mentally prepare for class. Create a space in your home where you won’t be interrupted, have your mat or props set up, and shut off you phone! If you were in a class setting, would you be checking your phone or emails? And stay the full class; don’t leave early. Instead of rushing off to get back to your other responsibilities, try to really enjoy your class time as a break for yourself.
  2. Get to class on time and adjust your device to chat with the instructor and other participants. In the JCC virtual Zoom classes, time is allowed before and after a workout to say hello, chat a bit and connect with others. We feel it’s equally as important to stay socially connected, even in a virtual platform. This also serves as an opportunity to share with the instructor any muscle or joint issues that may need modification.
  3. Bring a friend! Whether it’s a person in your household or a commitment to workout virtually with another, this is a great way to hold yourself accountable to showing up and perhaps pushing yourself a bit harder with a little friendly competition.
  4. Document your workouts and your progress. Keep a log of your workout days, and health and wellness goals; wear a heart rate monitor; and note your progress. Give yourself a virtual pat on the back recognizing your efforts and how often you “showed up.”
  5. If you’ve been away from your exercise routine or are just starting a new one, begin slow. Being consistent with a slightly easier effort will yield better results than more sporadic, all-out efforts. Unless you are personal training in a virtual setting where the trainer is coaching you privately, keep movements on the conservative side until you build up your fitness level safely. Allow yourself to feel successful with every workout session that you are moving in a direction of better health, a stronger body and managing your stress in a positive way!

Virtual workout classes are here to stay; they are an excellent option for anyone exercising from home.

If you need help, guidance, or direction in where to start, contact Check out the variety of virtual programming our JCC offers via Zoom at

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