- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2006

DALLAS

Tired of the commute to the gym? Embarrassed to be seen sweating in public? Bored with your workout video?

Now there are alternatives to the gym — and to exercise videos and cable TV fitness shows. A handful of companies are offering streaming fitness video online.

This format is still in its infancy. But specialists say technological advancements, such as fitness equipment with Internet connections and the ability to hook the computer up to the television, have helped make Web-based exercise more popular.

One fan is Michele Galindo, who enjoys practicing yoga and body sculpting at her home in Austin, Texas. She has two computers, both in rooms with plenty of open space.

“I don’t have any problem seeing it,” Miss Galindo said when asked about getting her exercise cues from a computer screen.

Miss Galindo says she has never been a fan of the gym and doesn’t like the commute. So she’s a customer of Austin-based Demand Fitness (www.demandfitness.com), which started its online fitness business in March.

“In the past, I haven’t kept up with an exercise program because it’s not convenient or I get tired of it,” said Miss Galindo, 42.

The Austin company is among several that have popped up in recent years offering fitness and health advice. Some offer a smorgasbord of diet and exercise information with video clips to explain exercises. Fewer offer longer workouts with streaming video.

“This is really the cutting-edge stuff,” said Raphael Calzadilla, chief fitness pro at EDiets.com, a 10-year-old subscription-based online diet, fitness and health site, which offers animated video clips to explain certain exercises. “This is the next wave of online fitness.”

Jas Singh, president of California-based SlimTree.com, said, “People can watch them at home, at work or in a hotel room.” SlimTree offers about 30 streaming workouts, from pilates to martial arts, and frequently adds new ones.

Last week, America Online launched a free six-week series called Beach Ready Boot Camp featuring 15- to 20-minute streaming video workouts.

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