Taking a nice long walk around my neighborhood is one of my favorite ways to add more activity to my daily routine — especially during the summer. I try my best to spend at least 20 minutes of my day walking somewhere, whether that means running an errand, paying a quick visit to a friend or just taking in the scenery around town.
When I heard that a fun at-home walking workout was trending on YouTube with over 2.3 million subscribers, I was intrigued to learn more. Initially, the idea of walking at home didn’t appeal to me — what’s the point of stepping in place inside your house when you can get a change of scenery by doing it outdoors? Fast forward to 10 minutes of me trying Grow with Jo’s Fast 3 Mile Dance Party, and not only was I grooving along to the beat of the workout, but I was dripping sweat.
After that first workout, I was hooked and had to have more. Here’s what happened when I worked through the best of Grow with Jo’s walking YouTube workouts.
How much does Grow with Jo cost?
Grow with Jo’s YouTube workouts are completely free. While there are options for weighted exercises, most of her workouts can be done with just a mat, some sneakers and a very small area of space to work out in. Since most of the action only takes 4-5 steps to the left, right, forward or back of your workout space, this workout can be done in even the smallest of apartments.
If you don’t have YouTube Premium, you will find your workout sporadically interrupted by ads. Currently, there’s a free one-month YouTube Premium free trial — so if you’re considering trying this workout, it might be the right time to try the premium version of YouTube.
Grow with Jo’s YouTube Channel
Grow with Jo’s YouTube Channel has workout playlists grouped into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. You can follow the workouts as they’re queued up or choose your adventure each time you visit the page. YouTube’s platform allows you to navigate to similar workouts after clicking on the one you want to start with, which can also help guide your experience.
If you’re choosing your own adventure within the Grow with Jo YouTube channel, you can sort by most recently uploaded or popular, but not by workout type. I decided to sort by popularity and commit to trying the most viewed walking workouts.
When you click on each video, you’re given a synopsis of what the workout will encompass, the fitness level it’s best suited for, and a breakdown of each song included and how long it plays. More recent videos also detail how many calories you’ll burn and what setting to use on your Apple watch to track your workout progress.
What is the Grow with Jo workout?
Grow with Jo’s at-home walking workouts are set up like a big dance party in her living room. They vary in length of time, and some focus on specific body parts or goals, like a fat burn or weight loss. While some walking workouts feature beats that have no words, others are themed around popular songs of the moment or certain eras of time, like her Encanto-themed workout or 2000’s dance workout.
In each video, personal trainer Johanna Devries, founder of Grow with Jo, starts things off by introducing the workout, stating what the goal of the workout will be (ex: burn calories, increase heart rate), with the ultimate goal always being to leave you feeling your best by the end.
From there, a timer appears in the left-hand corner of the screen, counting down how long you’ll be doing each move as Devries moves along to the music, guiding you through each step. On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll get a preview of what move comes next, thanks to a mirror that shows another version of Devries doing the upcoming move.
The workouts last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on which one you select.
I Tried the Grow with Jo at-home walking workout
I’ve tried so many virtual workouts over the past two years. Each time I put a new one to the test, there’s inevitably a period of time where I feel like I need to get comfortable with my new instructor.
The first thing I noticed about Grow with Jo was that this warming-up period was virtually nonexistent. Her upbeat attitude and genuine excitement about starting the workout was contagious even through the screen, and I felt instantly ready to start walking it out with her to the music.
I decided to try the Fast 3 Mile Dance Party as my first workout: a 30-minute workout that takes you the step equivalent of three miles. The workout started with familiar moves set to an upbeat backtrack; movements like butt kickers and high knees were interspersed with marching in place, along with more dance-like moves such as stepping a leg and hand out and back in, to the beat. The move you’re doing changes every 30 seconds, giving you enough time to get the move down without getting bored of it. The moves also repeat throughout, so you’ll have a chance to give it another try if you don’t nail it on your first shot.
You get out of this workout what you put into it, and I decided to go especially hard that first day since I was feeling it. Just 10 minutes in, I was really sweating, but found it so easy to keep up with the beat thanks to the way Devries previews the upcoming moves on the right-hand side of the screen.
When I woke up the next day, I was surprised to find that my arms and legs were sore from the workout, but I decided to continue. I chose the 15-minute Black Eyed Peas dance workout, which still centered around a lot of marching in place, but incorporated more funky movements like brushing your shoulders off while stepping left and right, high knees with knee-to-hand taps and butt bouncing squats that I think would make the band proud.
One of the most challenging workouts I tried was the Grow with Jo 3 Mile Walk Morning Cardio Abs workout. This workout was 40 minutes long and focused on ab cinching standing movements like cross-body leg lifts and squatting cross-over toe touches interspersed with marching. I was out of breath by the end and my abs felt sore for days after.
What I liked about the Grow with Jo walking workouts
I can’t believe that these workouts are free. Having to wait or skip through a YouTube ad is a small price to pay for the Grow with Jo platform’s value. The workouts are not only versatile in length, format and experience level, but they’re incredibly fun to do. I can’t recall another workout where I didn’t eventually feel at least a little hesitant about having to log on and get through it. Even though the format of Grow with Jo’s walking workouts are very similar, every day that I tried these workouts felt so different, thanks to the way she themes them around a variety of exercises, goals and music.
What I didn’t like about the Grow with Jo walking workouts
I wish there was an easier way to navigate the YouTube platform. I appreciated having playlists grouped by experience level, but found myself wanting to sort by workout duration, type and theme. There are plenty of workouts available on Grow with Jo that are themed to popular music — however, the ones that don’t feature recognizable songs and play only a beat start to feel lackluster after a while.
I’d recommend this workout to:
Anyone who wants a way to get their steps in without access to the outdoors
People with limited space to exercise indoors
Those who love a fun dance party
People who want a quick and easy way to break a sweat
Anyone looking for free, and effective, at-home workouts