/// Exercising With Friends in a Webcam Fitness Class

February 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital

[ See post to watch video ] Saturday morning, I joined three friends for a Circuit Training workout class. The odd part was that none of them left their homes and we live thousands of miles away from one another — in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. Our trainer was in California. For the past week, I’ve been working out using Wello , a website that lets people turn on their computer webcams to take one-on-one, trainer-led exercise classes. Tuesday, Wello launched Group Workouts, which involve up to five participants plus a trainer. They cost as little as $10 an hour versus solo sessions that start at $35 for an hour. This week, all users get their first group class free. I tested three hour-long group classes ($15 each), as well as a 30-minute solo class ($29) to get a handle on how the site works. The thought of seeing friends during workouts and not having to leave home motivated me to use Wello. I could imagine using it as a way to stay in touch with people who live far away, sort of like an activity-based Skype. And unlike using a stale workout DVD, Wello’s live trainers watched each move I made and offered feedback. A pregnant friend in my class even got specific modifications for her condition. (Before using Wello, users are encouraged to fill out a health form. This lets people notify trainers of injuries or specific conditions like pregnancy.) The default view for a Wello class puts the trainer in the largest screen and class participants in smaller ones. But the Wello class is only as good as the technology it uses, and two of my classes experienced technical difficulties. In one class, the trainer froze half a dozen times, wasting about 10 minutes refreshing his set-up. (A Wello co-founder, Leslie Silverglide, explained that this trainer’s computer met only the minimum level processor accepted by Wello.) During the same workout, a friend could hear us but couldn’t see us for about 15 minutes. (It turned out she had two browser windows opened, with one showing us while the other hid us.) Another friend who was using the Internet Explorer browser could only be seen

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Exercising With Friends in a Webcam Fitness Class

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