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Virtual fitness has been absolutely exploding during the pandemic — and it’s not slowing down. Turns out, people are big fans of the convenience (and lower price $$) of working out at home.
Obé (rhymes with “olé”) joins the likes of Peloton and iFit as a streaming fitness service with both live and on-demand classes. Its classes are filmed in brightly lit studios and taught by perky instructors that give off total ~’80s vibes~. But is this midpriced fitness app the right fit for you?
We tried out a range of classes and dug into Obé’s offerings to see what’s amazing, what’s average, and what might have you looking elsewhere.
- Lots of diff types of classes. There are 18 (!!) different class types to choose from, with options for all ages — including kiddos and older adults — and all fitness levels. There are also varying class lengths, so you can choose based on how much time you have.
- Specialized classes. Obé offers live classes, training programs, and prenatal and postnatal class options.
- Easy to filter classes. You can sort classes by category, type, fitness level, length, body focus, impact, instructor, or equipment.
- Minimal equipment needed. You don’t need a ton of equipment to take Obé’s wide range of classes. Plus, each class description lets you know what you need ahead of time.
- Easy on your wallet. At $27 per month, Obé lets you get fit without draining your bank account. There are also three billing options to choose from, with discounts and perks for longer commitments (monthly, quarterly, annually).
- Short trial period. You get only 7 days to decide if Obé is right for you, which is pretty short compared to competitors.
- Better for beginners. While there are a ton of class options to choose from, the classes might not be challenging enough for more advanced athletes.
Obé’s founders wanted to inspire people to get into fitness through upbeat ’80s-inspired workouts. The classes are filmed in brightly lit studios, and instructors wear updated-but-definitely-still-’80s-inspired fitness apparel.
The company’s mantra is “Strive for Five!” — the goal is to exercise at least 5 times a week, with the recommendation of 3 strength training and 2 cardio classes. You have a lot of ways to do that with a single subscription.
Obé has an impressive collection of more than 6,000 classes, with up to 22 live classes per day. Classes require a minimum amount of equipment, and class length varies from 5 minutes to an hour.
Users access it all via a subscription purchased monthly, quarterly, or annually. Each progressively more expensive subscription level comes with more perks, but they all provide access to 6,000+ classes and all the live classes.
Though Obé’s classes give off that ’80s vibe, the classes are nothing like your mom’s beloved Jazzercise routine.
The company offers 18 types of classes, all with varying lengths (anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour) and fitness levels (including open level, beginner, advanced, prenatal, and postnatal). It also has class options specifically for kids and older adults. Talk about ~options~.
Buckle up! Here are all the types of classes Obé offers:
- Bounce (indoor trampoline)
- Cardio boxing
- Dance HIIT
- Foam Roll
- Jump (jump rope)
- Ride (cycling)
- Power (strength + cardio)
- Sculpt (kinda like a cross between barre and Pilates)
- Yoga Sculpt
- Vinyasa Yoga
- Restorative Yoga
Some classes, like Ride, Foam Roll, and Bounce, obvi require equipment (you can’t ride if you don’t have an exercise bike, after all). But the rest of the classes require very little (if any) equipment. A yoga mat, the occasional dumbbell or ankle weight, and yoga blocks are all you really need.
You can filter classes based on the equipment required, so if your home gym is lacking, you can quickly find a class to do with what you have right at home.
You can buy an Obé Fitness subscription through either a monthly, quarterly, or annual plan. As these things usually go, you end up paying less if you commit to a longer membership. But Obé also offers some unique perks if you opt for the quarterly or annual plan:
|Monthly||$27 per month||access to Obé’s main classes|
|Quarterly||$65 per quarter ($21.66 per month)||$10 gift card, plus access to premium classes and discounts from brand partners|
|Annually||$199 per year ($16.58 per month)||$20 gift card, plus access to premium classes and discounts from brand partners|
We didn’t actually get to try the premium classes, but Obé describes them as “mash-up” classes where instructors pair up to teach classes together. The company says they’re the most popular classes, but TBH, it doesn’t sound like that big of a perk.
BUT the gift card *is* a pretty sweet perk — you can use it to buy Obé swag on the company’s website. We all love new fitness apparel and gear, amirite?
In comparison, Peloton and iFit both cost $39 per month for a family membership, which gives you and your fam (and friends, if we’re being honest here) access to a similar library of classes.
Overall, users love Obé. The workout variety, class length options, and bang for your buck leave users coming back for workouts day after day. Whether live or on-demand, you can find something in your available time frame that fits your fitness level and interests.
However, there are a couple of things that are hit-or-miss with subscribers.
First, the instructors. Overall, the instructors are great and very peppy (like “Saved by the Bell” kind of peppy). Some people live for that kind of optimism, but other people absolutely hate it.
Reviewers also say that some instructors provide better instructions and workouts than others. And yes, this is typical of any instructor-led experience — but it’s especially important to have good instructions when you’re working out at home, where you can’t get any personalized cues or corrections.
Some users also have issues with the whole brightly colored ’80s feel. This particular aesthetic isn’t for everyone. And keep in mind this isn’t a reflection of the workout quality — just the overall vibe.
We tried a range of Obé’s classes and felt a bit differently about each. Here’s how it went:
Tester: Stacey L. Nash, writer
As a NASM-certified personal trainer, I wanted to figure out what Obé Fitness offers and how effective it can be in an overall fitness plan. I tried a few of the classes, including advanced strength training classes and yoga.
High intensity strength training
I tried an advanced, high intensity strength workout, and it started out really easy. I even worried if it was going to challenge me enough. By the end of it, I realized I was wrong — it wasn’t the hardest workout I’ve ever done, but it challenged me enough that I would use Obé again.
IMO, the problem was the instructor. I realized he wasn’t giving me enough instruction to get the most out of the class. I had thought he was just going super easy on me for the first 15 minutes, but in reality the class was designed to focus on form before adding speed. But the instructor didn’t say that, so I spent almost half the workout feeling unchallenged.
When I tried the yoga class, the background music was loud (and off-tune), making the instructor hard to hear. Her timing for giving the instructions was slightly off — she gave them after moving, so I never quite got into position before she moved on.
Luckily, this wasn’t a problem in every single class, but it was still enough of a problem that I would avoid that teacher.
Obé offers enough workout variety that it could easily be used as part of an overall fitness/workout plan. If you happen to like a brightly colored, super perky ’80s/’90s vibe, you’ll probably like it even more and be more likely to use it.
There are plenty of classes (and instructors) to give you a change of pace. If you happen to start a class and the instructor isn’t doing it for you (which happened to me), there are more than enough class and instructor options to find one you like.
Tester: Ruby Thompson, Market Editor
As a virtual fitness enthusiast, I was really curious how Obé stacked up against competitors like Sweat (my favorite) and Peloton. Typically, my workout routine consists of weight training, HIIT, and cycling, but I often take Peloton or Sweat Pilates or yoga classes when I’m feeling tight or tense or just want to mix things up.
I took two Pilates classes with Marcia M., and I loved her. She had amazing energy, provided great instruction to help get me into each move, and created an overall challenging Pilates class.
The classes I took didn’t require any equipment, but I kinda wish they did, because I sometimes get a little bored if I don’t get to pick up weights, a ball, or resistance bands — but the classes were still challenging without them.
I think Obé’s Pilates classes are right on par with Peloton’s and Sweat’s classes (the moves are super similar) in terms of difficulty. BUT Obé actually has a LOT more options than Peloton and Sweat, which makes it a much more attractive option for Pilates lovers.
I was NOT a fan of these classes at all. When I picture Yoga Sculpt, I picture yoga moves with added weights. This class had *some* yoga moves, but it was mostly a crossover of barre and Pilates.
I took a couple classes with Eve C., and TBH, I wasn’t a fan. The moves were challenging (though not yoga-y at all) and I felt great afterward, but I totally saw what reviewers meant by overly peppy instructors.
She made SO many sounds (almost like sound effects??) with each move. Each leg kick or arm movement got a cartoon-sounding “HUH” or a weirdly sensual “ahhh,” and I’ll be honest — I hated it.
I was a much bigger fan of the yoga classes than Yoga Sculpt. I took a few of these — ranging from super short flows to 50-minute classes — and I thoroughly enjoyed each one.
The thing I liked the most was how many options there are and how easy it is to tell what you’re working on in that class.
As an example, Peloton’s app tells you if you’re doing Vinyasa, restorative, etc., but it doesn’t always tell you if it’s a heart opener, a lower-body focus, or a full-body workout. Yes, some classes are labeled as “focus flows,” but all of Obé’s classes give you a breakdown of what to expect in that class, which helped me choose what to try.
I would definitely make Obé’s Pilates and regular yoga classes a regular part of my routine. They’re a great way to cross-train and try something new. But I won’t be adding Yoga Sculpt to my weekly workouts.
If you’re a Pilates, yoga, or barre fan, Obé is a great option for you because it has waaay more targeted options than competitors. Hell yes to more variety!!
OK, now we know more about the app itself, but is it right for you? Here’s what to consider.
Lots of fun classes
Sometimes it is hard to get yourself to do an at-home workout. Doing the same moves over and over can get really old, making it feel impossible to jump into a daily workout.
Obé beats the boredom with a wide range of workout options, including some that use more unusual home workout equipment (hi, exercise trampolines!!).
The app also makes it easy to narrow down the selection of nearly 6,000 classes. You can filter by the part of the body you’d like to target, the style of exercise, your age, and your fitness level. It’s pretty fun scrolling through and seeing what your options are by changing a few of the parameters.
If you tend to get bored while working out at home, Obé’s extensive library won’t disappoint. But if you prefer your well-established routine, it may be hard to make Obé a part of that.
Upbeat, energetic instructors
If you’re the kind of athlete who needs someone energetic and positive, the Obé instructors will brighten your day. They’re fun and excited even though you’re not in the same room.
But if you’re a no-BS kind of athlete who would rather blast your own music and not hear the sound of someone’s voice, you might find yourself a little annoyed by the instructors.
The nice thing about live classes is that you have to be there when they start, which can be a great motivator for getting yourself to work out. They’re also an opportunity for shout-outs from instructors, which some people loooove, but some people don’t care at all about that stuff.
Sooo how does Obé stack up against competitors? Here’s a side-by-side look at Obé and other popular options:
|Cost||$27 per month||$19.99 per month||$39 per month for family plan||$39 per month for family plan|
|Main features||6,000+ classes to use on and off exercise equipment, ’80s vibes||30+ week-by-week programs, basically like a personal trainer in your pocket||thousands of classes to use on and off NordicTrack and ProForm equipment||thousands of classes to use on and off Peloton equipment, fan fave instructors|
|Class types||strength training, HIIT, cycling, barre, yoga, exercise trampoline, dance, boxing, Pilates||strength training, HIIT, barre, yoga, weightlifting, Pilates||strength training, HIIT, cycling, barre, yoga, boxing, Pilates, treadmill, rowing||strength training, cycling, barre, yoga, dance, treadmill, outdoor running/walking, boot camp|
|Free trial||7 days||7 days||30 days||30 days|
Obé is worth the price for the right exerciser. If variety keeps you motivated and you like a bright, sunshiny workout, Obé has what you need. You won’t run out of workout options anytime soon. But if you want more advanced options or just don’t love the ’80s, you might want to look elsewhere.