Health & Fitness Online Part 1: Daily Burn

I have very mixed feelings about the quantifiable self movement. For those unfamiliar with that term, the quantifiable self refers to the ways in which we can use modern technology to collect data about how our bodies are functioning on a daily basis. This is most prominently seen in the use of wearables (like the Fitbit), which monitor numbers like heart rate, calories burned, and steps walked, but the quantifiable self movement encompasses any approach to viewing the body through the lens of various sets of measurements.

The quantifiable self movement (QSM) is intended to empower the individual to take control of their lives–if knowledge is power, then more knowledge of the body can only be a good thing, right? However, as many editorials and articles have pointed out, the QSM also seems to be associated with higher levels of anxiety and obsessive behavior from participants seeking to obtain “the right numbers” – whatever those might be.

I do have a Fitbit (Zip), and I wear it occasionally, but my previous experiences with walking challenges and pedometers has left me utterly frustrated and doing inane things like walking on the spot while brushing my teeth just to try to meet my step goals. I had just about given up on the potential for technology to help humans lead fitter, healthier lives, when I encountered two pieces of tech that changed my mind. While both pieces of technology provide a means to track and maintain your health and fitness goals, neither are associated with the quantifiable self movement. Instead one might say that these pieces of technology are about quality rather than quantity or measurements. This week I’ll tell you about the first and then, next week, I will address the second.

The first is actually a website–a combination of an online community with a Hulu-like streaming service for fitness videos. The website is called Daily Burn, and you may have heard about it or seen their commercials while watching shows on Hulu. Daily Burn has an archive of numerous fitness programs of all types, ranging from Pilates and yoga to dance workouts and high intensity cardio and strength circuits. That in itself is nice, but what really distinguishes the website is (1) Daily Burn 365 and (2) its community.

The Daily Burn Interface. I Chromecast it to my TV screen.
The Daily Burn Interface. I Chromecast it to my TV screen.

Every day at 9am EST they release a new live workout with a different trainer and a different style. You never know what you are getting, so you can’t get bored, and they frequently bring in fascinating guests to chat about their own fitness journeys. You can participate live, or you can cue up the video anytime throughout the day. It’s only up one day and then poof it’s gone and replaced with something new. While traditional fitness videos are demonstrated by a group of highly trained fitness experts with sculpted bodies, the DB365 crew (besides the lead trainer) are regular folks at different stages in their fitness journeys, who are striving to grow stronger along with those who tune in online.

Today's Daily Burn team, led by trainer Phoenix, in motion doing around the clock lunges.
Today’s Daily Burn team, led by trainer Phoenix, in motion doing around-the-clock lunges.

This leads to the second distinguishing factor in Daily Burn–the community. While most of the Internet is overrun by trolls who are intent on spreading their negativity, Daily Burn is this rare pocket of genuine mutual love and positive energy. If you participate in the workouts live, there is a chat box on the side where you can comment on the workout as you go through it. DB365ers will sign in early just to chat with each other and talk about what’s going on in their lives and then, throughout the workout, the conversation continues with expressions of encouragement and motivation to each other, the trainers, and the on-camera participants, especially when the sweat really starts dripping! Fitness and nutrition experts sign on to the chat as well, ready to offer any points of advice, especially if something doesn’t feel right when doing a move. After the workouts, there is a forum and the (private) Facebook Page to continue the conversation and also get more fitness and health advice from experts and peers.

The Daily Burn Forum
The Daily Burn Forum

When I first joined, I was very skeptical about all the enthusiasm–people couldn’t really be this happy! But now that I’ve been a member of the family for about six months now, I can verify that it’s the real deal. As a naturally cynical person, participating in Daily Burn has challenged me to have a more positive outlook on life and the people around me. In addition, the term family is not just a marketing ploy, it actually reflects the intimate nature of the community. You grow to love all the trainers, the delightful host JD, the studio participants, and the regulars who sign on every day and every week. My Facebook feed is now frequently populated by posts from Daily Burners, so I get to see them outside of the workouts, as real people with real lives.

Fitness with Daily Burn becomes less of a goal and more a part of a lifestyle, a lifestyle committed to loving oneself and the body you’ve been given, to loving life, and most importantly to loving one another. Each day in Daily Burn, we are reminded that fitness has a lot to teach us about personal strength (beyond just the physical), commitments, discipline, and perseverance. And we do it together, just as everything we do in life is far more rewarding when it is done in community.

Daily Burn is a great example of the Internet used to its best potential. There is yet hope that we can overcome the trolls and further tap into the Internet’s ability to connect people.

If you are interested in giving Daily Burn a try, they have a 30 day free trial, which is a fantastic way to see if you might like it. If you do, please sign up through this link. Daily Burn has not paid me to write this review, but I do get a referral credit when people sign up through me.

After the free trial, the good news is that Daily Burn is only $13/month. That’s much cheaper than a gym membership, and you get a whole lot more than a gym membership for that price.

Some of the other fitness programs that Daily Burn offers.
Some of the other fitness programs that Daily Burn offers.

If you do try it, let me know. I’d love to hear your experiences! As always, if you haven’t already, subscribe below via email to High and Low to make sure you don’t miss my weekly posts. You can also follow me on Twitter @highandlowblog.

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