The strange, unsettling and hopefully-not-to-be-repeated era of lockdown has had a huge impact on the nation’s wellbeing. Social connections aside, for many of us who rely on the feel-good endorphin fix to keep our mental health in check, suddenly being limited to only what we can do within the four walls of our homes was a significant challenge. 

Thankfully, the virtual world has exploded, with IGTV, in particular, becoming something of a revelation. From yoga flows and sweaty HIIT to expert chats on everything from female health to mood-boosting foods, we’ve gained so much from IGTV over the last few months. Professionals and influencers alike have striven to make their content more accessible and useful than ever before – and we couldn’t be more grateful! 

‘What makes IGTV better than YouTube?’, you might ask. Well, our laziness basically. Instead of having to go searching for video content on YouTube, it comes to you! You can be mindlessly scrolling through IG when an interesting or engaging IGTV video appears on your feed and stops your thumb in its tracks. All of a sudden, overly-edited bikini snaps and holiday photo #tbt’s are replaced with educational, inspiring discussions and endorphin-fuelling workouts that motivate you to get off the couch and into action. Too busy to watch? Hit ‘save’ on a video and come back to it at a time that suits you. 

Here are 7 of our favourite IGTV channels to have on your radar. 

I genuinely believe that everyone should follow @AllyMissLove. I hadn’t heard of her before a few months ago but the US-based Peloton instructor now makes a regular and welcome appearance in my feed and on IGTV. 

On a mission to empower and motivate, Ally is the ultimate #girlboss – a business owner, trainer, producer and TedX speaker all wrapped up in one inspirational package. 

She is extremely articulate but more important to the value of her IGTV videos is her warmth, which comes so gloriously and genuinely through in every word. In fact, her ‘daily dose of love’ videos are like miniature therapy sessions, where she talks about issues like losing/finding your sense of self, choosing joy, body image and how to be more present. Some are longer than others but most are the ideal length to have on during menial tasks like washing up or doing your make-up, and will always provide food for thought. Not only are they great footholds to grasp hold of in order to help us feel happier and more balanced, but there’s also plenty of tips and notions on Ally’s channel that I genuinely believe would help us to become better, nicer humans.

She also has an IGTV series of videos called ‘the basics of bossing up’ that she first started in May last year. They’re 2-10-minute soundbites for busy, professional people on topics such as work-life balance, as well as more specific aspects of work like networking, hiring the right people and conflict resolution. 

For anyone who struggles to quieten the negative self-commentary, is seeking snippets of professional advice or simply needs a boost of feel-good vibes every now and then, check out @allymisslove now.

Shona Vertue
Exercising at home definitely has its perks (did you even #quarantine if you didn’t do a pyjama workout?) but there are drawbacks too. Without the watchful eye of an instructor to rely on, it’s down to us to ensure we’re moving safely.

Take the warm-up, for example. The average person may not give it much thought, but skipping it means putting yourself at much higher risk of injury/pain as your muscles are not warm, loose or ready for loaded movement. Given the number of previously inexperienced exercisers trying to stay active at home (and well done to you if you’re one of them!), it should be a fundamental starting point for any activity, yet it’s something that has been totally absent from many virtual workouts – even those from supposedly-qualified trainers. The same goes for your form during exercise. While it’s great to be able to follow along with a routine, it’s so important to ensure that you’re doing the movements correctly. 

Enter Shona Vertue. The Australian author, yoga teacher and fitness guru is on a mission to guide and educate her 439k followers on the proper way to move. She is an absolute fortress of anatomical knowledge, which when combined with her entertaining personality and endearingly laidback manner (expect to be chuckling as you heed her advice), is sure to keep you coming back for more. 

Along with tips to help you master a handstand and improve your posture, many of Shona’s videos focus on common exercises that we think we know how to do (hello planks, glute bridges and KB swings that are suddenly much harder) and specific yoga poses such as crow and warrior two. In each one, she sheds light on the correct way to do the movement, demonstrates common mistakes and guides you in how to correct them. Shona’s goal is simple but hugely valuable: to help make every exercise as effective as it can be – whatever your fitness level – so that we can all gain the benefits of exercise, learn to enjoy movement and keep our bodies safe and injury-free. We recommend starting with her 5-minute morning mobility video on IGTV – it’s a H&H favourite! 

Alice Liveing
Throughout lockdown, quarantined folks across the country have been beaming the iPhone-sized ray of positivity that is Alice Liveing into their living rooms as her infectious enthusiasm and well-planned workouts helped them to find structure and satisfaction in exercising outside of the gym.

Alice is far from alone in using IG Live and IGTV to share at-home workouts, but her engaging coaching style, easy-to-follow instruction and motivational commentary have undoubtedly made hers some of the most popular out there. Each workout lasts between 20-45 minutes and focuses on upper or lower body, HIIT or core, so you can easily combine them into a full-body session or pick what you fancy doing that day. She switches it up between bodyweight-only and exercises using dumbbells, kettlebells or resistance bands. 

As Alice explains during the videos, her repetition of particular exercises week on week is intentional; helping her viewers to see real progress, just as you would from face-to-face PT sessions. And it’s worked, with many people posting that they have finally been able to nail a push-up thanks to her daily classes – a feat well-deserving of some socially-distant applause! Alice also offers regressions (easier versions) and progressions (more challenging versions) of specific exercises to ensure her videos are equally as accessible whether you’re just starting out or are ready to kick your workouts into high gear. 

At the time of writing, Alice has more than 70 follow-along workouts on her IGTV channel, some with more than 90k views. And thanks to IGTV, you can access all of them at your convenience with just the swipe of a finger.

As you wade through the cyber-stream of unsolicited advice and misinformation, sometimes you come across a gem. Kimberley Wilson (aka @FoodAndPsych) is one such shining stone. 

A chartered psychologist with an MSc in Nutrition and author of ‘How To Build A Healthy Brain’ (which I can personally vouch for as a very interesting read), Kimberley started an IGTV series called #FlattenTheAnxietyCurve in March as a way to help people cope with the impact of lockdown on their mental health. She covered topics like coping mechanisms, different types of anxiety and the importance of sleep. And she didn’t stop there. In other videos on her channel she discusses the role that different hormones, vitamins, foods and sleep have on the brain, and how we can use this knowledge to feel better and healthier.

“I wanted to help people understand their brains better,” explains Kimberley. “It’s about empowering people with the information they need to take care of themselves and the people they care about. Knowledge is power!”

And it’s not just the themes that make her videos so engaging. Her clear, calm delivery and use of flow charts help to make scientific and nutritional content easy to understand and digest (excuse the pun).

As Kimberley, herself explains, “The brain and mental health are incredibly complicated topics that can be hard to grasp. I often use diagrams in therapy sessions with clients and having a visual representation always seems to help the concepts to fall into place. It struck me that it might be a useful way of talking about these issues on my Instagram account too.” And she was right! Check out her videos on @FoodAndPsych. 

Think of F45 and your mind most likely jumps straight to high-intensity workouts and 45-minute class times that slot neatly into the average lunch break – remember those good old days? The arrival of COVID-19 and gym closures prompted F45 to take to IGTV where they launched fitness challenges and on-demand classes to help satisfy that workout urge. While gyms are slowly starting to open now, F45 included, many still might feel apprehensive stepping back inside. But thanks to IGTV, there is now a really great second option to getting your gym fix!

Initially, they were uploaded onto their app and only available to members, but fast-forward several months and F45 have now expanded their virtual offerings to share free workouts on IGTV for anyone who fancies following along. By far their most popular have been the 10-Minute Quick HIIT videos – for obvious reasons! Fast-paced and super sweaty, these speedy sessions can be done between meetings (no-one can see that post-class ‘glow’ on a Zoom call, right?) and are ideal if you – like many others – are juggling full-time work, homeschooling and childcare while also trying to stay active (and sane). 

“We’ve had an overwhelming response to our 10-Minute Quick HIITs,” reveals Cory George, F45 Athletic Director. “People have been itching to get back into the studio so IGTV has been a great way to still give our members that F45 experience and introduce new members to the great F45 concept!”  

“We wanted to do everything we could to help people keep up their fitness regimes,” he says, “while also giving them something fun to look forward to and to help them stay positive.”

Psycle London
There’s a lot of things that Psycle London does well, but they have really nailed IGTV workouts. There’s as much variety on their channel as there is on their in-studio schedule, with everything from barre classes to strength training to high-energy metcon (metabolic conditioning) now on their IGTV grid. Want to slow things down a bit? They also have meditation videos, stretch sessions and some of our favourite virtual yoga flows. 

And they’re not just your standard yoga classes either. Power yoga, revival yoga, core-focused yoga and dynamic strengthening yoga – they have them all! The mix of instructors and styles means that no two videos are exactly the same, which helps to keep you engaged from session to session. The instructors’ friendly positive attitudes seem to radiate out of the screen, making the muscle-shaking workouts all the more enjoyable. (And don’t pretend you don’t enjoy the peek inside instructors’ homes during virtual classes too). Wondering where to start? We love Minnie for yoga and Beth for barre! 

Holly Grant Pilates PT

While lots of doors have been closed over the past few months, other (metaphorical) doors have been opened, and nowhere more so than in the fitness space. Hollie Grant – founder of The Pilates PT – was one of many studio owners around the world who had to adapt to a new virtual way of doing business when Covid19 struck. When her team took their sessions online, they were pleasantly surprised to find that not only were they more popular than they had anticipated, but that they gained many new clients too. It seemed those who had been previously unable to afford or access one-to-one or group classes @thepilatespt were now – thanks to being held via video – able to join at their convenience and reap the benefits of Hollie’s bountiful experience.

Next came ‘Chats From The Mat’ – her novel IGTV series of expert discussions on all aspects of lockdown life, recorded from the comfort of her pretty printed Pilates mat. The idea was to find a way that Hollie could help to share not just her own knowledge, but also tap into the advice of others and spread the information to those who needed it most. 

“I have worked with so many incredible, strong women in the wellness industry over the years and knew that they all had their own coping strategies that others would benefit from hearing,” says Hollie on why she started the series. “It became really enjoyable for me to listen and learn from each of them, and so many people got in touch saying they’d learnt something new.”

So far on CFTM, Hollie has hosted interesting conversations with people such as pre/post-natal fitness expert Caroline Bragg, Sport & Exercise Medical Doctor Amal Hassan, and Lauren Armes (CEO of WellToDo Global), and there are more to come. If you take a look through Hollie’s grid, you’ll also find short Pilates-inspired workouts and some interesting videos on Pilates breath, which we’d highly recommend!  

words by Zoe Louise Lagesse

Read more: Chloé Pierre, Founder Of thy.self On Her Ambition To Diversify The Wellness Industry