For fitness enthusiasts who can't make it to the gym a web-based app will bring group video classes, and some friends for motivation, to them.
Wello, an app that connects users with personal trainers for video-based workouts, has launched group classes for a range of activities, including yoga, Taekwondo and high-intensity interval training. Classes are led by certified trainers and are accessible to anyone around the globe with a webcam and an Internet connection.
"It's that ability to join in on something last-minute and also to explore something new," said Ann Scott Plante, co-founder of San Francisco-based company Wello.
Like traditional classes, the instructors in the video classes, which have three to five students, offer motivation and feedback. Users can join an existing class, or organize a new one with friends.
Students can see a video feed of each other in the app, along with a feed of the instructor, who can provide feedback to them during the class.
"Instead of watching a static video that could get boring, or isn't necessarily built for you, we thought we would give people the opportunity to meet with a real person who would spend the whole workout with you and correct your form," Plante said.
Trainers on the platform are professionally certified in the United States and their experience and reviews can be viewed online before booking a class.
Plante said that by comparison to a traditional in-person class, trainers in the video class give more verbal instructions to make it easier to follow along and because they cannot physically adjust the students.
Although trainers can offer personal fitness classes with a video calling service such as Skype, Plante said the scheduling, payment and review features of Wello make it appealing for both instructors and users looking for a workout.
Wello, is available on the web with classes starting at under $10 per class. The company, which launched in July 2012, is working on iPad and television apps.
(Reporting by Natasha Baker in Toronto; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Eric Beech)