What Keeps Me Calm: Discovering Blogilates and The World of YouTube Fitness
For me, it was a life-changing turn for the better in terms of my relationship with fitness
Welcome to What Keeps Me Calm, a series of movies, television shows, albums, books, and other works of media that are comforting us during these incredibly stressful times. On particularly sad and disheartening days, there’s nothing better and more consoling than to turn to our favorite things to read, watch, and listen, as these offer a respite from the hardships we face collectively and individually.
“Hey, guys! Cassey here.”
I don’t know about you but those four words do something really good for my soul. Whether it be having the (rare) push to get up before 8 in the morning to workout or upholding that commitment in the middle of the day, I know I can always count on Cassey to give me that wake-up call, both for my body and my spirit.
March marked the beginning of my deep dive into the world of YouTube Fitness, with Cassey Ho of Blogilates meeting me at the starting line. I remember around this time, her 2020 Challenge videos served as my daily warm-up. The program consisted of short clips where she challenged viewers to do 20 reps of the assigned exercise, just to get the body pumped before getting HIIT.
For pro fitness enthusiasts, this may seem like a chicken routine, but for me, it was a life-changing turn for the better in terms of my relationship with fitness.
Growing up, my relationship with fitness was non-existent. It wasn’t even a mere acquaintance and if I could illustrate fitness in human form, it would be the person who wouldn’t even make it through the door to my home or my life. Heading to the gym during my adolescent years riddled me with constant nervousness, and I would carry that feeling whole. Even when I returned to the gym three years ago, I still found myself nervous to be surrounded by able-bodied humans lifting weights like marshmallows or speed-running on a treadmill.
Fitness to me was not a friend, but a foe, and I would rather run from it (ironically) than face it head-on. It was difficult when strength was measured in endurance, the burning calories, and the dreaded scale. As someone who thrived when surrounded with people, I frankly wanted to disappear and maybe pursue fitness when I was alone, if that were ever possible.
Little did I know that the beginning of the pandemic held the answer to my prayers, and after clicking on Cassey’s 10-minute arm transformation series, I fell in love with fitness videos on YouTube, and Cassey’s channel Blogilates held the key to my heart for so many months now.
YouTube Fitness brings me a certain calm, because it must be nice having a cheerleader who instantly kicks you out of whatever funk you’re in without even asking for it. Whether it be pushing you to never put your butt down during the last few seconds or Popsugar Fitness’s Allie’s iconic “Pretend I’m saying something motivating. I can’t, I’m working too hard,” the journey is unlike any other because they are fighting alongside, with you.
That encouraging camaraderie was what I missed when Saddle Row closed during the pandemic. Months of great hours on the rower refreshed my otherwise work-to-home routine and the energy of people sprinting with all the strength they can muster was what I waxed nostalgic for. But YouTube Fitness was a great alternative, and I found home not just with Cassey, but with Popsugar (Fitsugar), MadFit, and Pamela Reif to name a few.
Housing workouts on YouTube proved to be such an effective way of growing content creators like Cassey and the rest of the fitness influencers, whose content reaches the spaces of millions of viewers who keep fit during this frighteningly lonely isolation period. It rings different if you have a cheerleader and, unlike some trainers at the gym, YouTube fitness influencers huff and puff, have their legs shake during a plie squat, and let out occasional frustrated grunts in between burpees.
YouTube Fitness has become a crucial platform for the way we view fitness. It isn’t just a routine we follow, it’s a lifestyle we embrace. It is both the triumph in finishing a 45-second move or hearing the trainers whoop-whooping you from the other side of the world and the struggles of the soreness creeping through, empting you to put your arms down. YouTube has changed the way we look at staying fit, that wellness and wellbeing are an ongoing and continuous journey.
But the best thing about YouTube Fitness? The trainers acknowledge and understand when you need to hit the Pause button. “You may hit pause today, and that’s okay, because we know that you showing up is strength enough.” On days where things are not okay, that is about the best thing to hear.
As I end this piece, I don’t urge people to have a fitness regimen or encourage them to lie spread-eagle on the mat to kill their abs. But who knew adding a fitness aspect to my schedule could do wonders for my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health? I may not be flying off my mat like Cassey does, but feeling the burn in my arms as I grow stronger everyday or killing that forty-minute cardio routine lifts me to higher heights than I’ll ever know.
Discover the YouTube fitness videos mentioned and referenced in this story below for a heart-pumping sweat sesh whenever you’re in the mood for it!
Pamela Reif: 12 minute happy cardio