Catherine Piercy, Vogue
A few months back, I had my first extended training session with Ramona Braganza, the dynamic L.A.-based pro behind the sculpted bodies of Halle Berry and Jessica Alba. After a quick face-to-face consultation, she put me through a series of crunches, cardio, and serious circuit training that proved truly exceptional-particularly if you stop to consider the following facts: For the duration of our 45-minute session, Braganza was based in a small beach town off the coast of Mexico, where she'd headed for a weekend of deep-sea diving; I was stationed at a friend's house upstate in the Hudson Valley, where I'd headed for a weekend of couch surfing. Our primary form of communication? A pair of laptops.
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In recent months, virtual workouts have emerged as the next big fitness phenomenon-and with good reason. Harnessing the power of real-time web applications like iChat and Skype, they offer much in the way of convenience, portability, and personalized instruction. With this in mind, we took the best new live-stream classes (along with a handful of their pre-recorded counterparts) for a test run in the September issue of Vogue-lunging, pliéing, and plank-posing our way across international time zones and interrupted WiFi connections. Here, our extended guide to the country's most compelling online workouts from New York to Los Angeles.
Karen Elson, Natalie Portman, and Zooey Deschanel swear by the dancer-inspired workout, which sculpts long, lean muscle using micro-targeted movements.
The L.A.-based celebrity trainer's signature mix of core, cardio, and circuit-heavy intervals proves every bit as challenging over Skype.
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CORE PILATES NYC
Transformative PilatesStream mat classes arrive at the Union Square studio this fall.
TOM DESSEREAU (PILATES) AND MONIKA GROSS (ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE) OF FORM FITNESS & FUNCTION
The husband-and-wife team supplement weekly Skype lessons from their Asheville, North Carolina farmhouse with regular trips to Manhattan for hands-on maintenance sessions with their loyal clientele.
The bicoastal trainer, who counts models Heidi Klum and Doutzen Kroes as clients, also consults on Skype.
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Members from 116 countries around the world log in to browse the lifestyle website's extensive yoga, Pilates, and nutrition-based videos.
Exclusive online access to the cult barre method known as Core Fusion.
Complimentary yoga classes are streamed on a weekly basis-and immediately uploaded to the site's virtual library, where they can be accessed by subscribers at any time.
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Catherine Piercy, Vogue