There were so many things I told myself I was going to do while the world was shut down: I was going to learn chess, I was going to pick up a guitar, I was going to clean my desk. I did none of these things, because freaking out about everything turned out to be pretty time-consuming.
But I need to get on the stick. We are, good Lord willing and the daily cases don’t rise, somewhere near the beginning of the end of the Covid lockdown. We may be able to mix in person by summertime, and the least I can do for myself is try to get into some kind of shape. If summer bodies are made in the winter, as they say, then my vanity insists a year-long house arrest result in a scenario in which I sort of consider maybe taking my shirt off in public.
Gyms are largely closed, but some personal trainers and fitness experts—due to their enterprising spirit and the fact that our government is just not going to help anybody in any way—have found ways to bring the gym to you. With the right app and minimal equipment, you can turn your own living room into a living room that smells weird. The age of the home-workout app is upon us, and because I have goals to meet and ADHD, I am going to try them all.
First up, an app-based fitness program called FitOn. I chose this app because it offers a wide variety of free home workout sessions, depending on what you’re hoping to accomplish, how much space you have, and what kind of fitness equipment you own, if any. You can do yoga, mat pilates, barre, high-intensity interval training, or any number of toning/stretching/lifting activities, in classes either live-streamed or stored on the app. There is also a celebrity section on FitOn, in which Gabrielle Union shows you how to get arms like Gabrielle Union, Jonathan Van Ness helps your find your center, girl, with yoga, honey, and Julianna Hough uses pilates to low-key recruit you into her cult. And then there is a series of workout videos featuring the Chainsmokers, which, sold.
For the unfamiliar, the Chainsmokers is a pop-EDM duo consisting of The One Chainsmoker and The Other Chainsmoker, who broke out onto the scene in 2014 with the song “#Selfie,” and have defied the odds ever since by putting out hit after hit that you used to hear in gyms and Ubers. They got in trouble with Andrew Cuomo last summer for having a gig in the Hamptons that was kind of chill about social distancing, and one of them just sold his “bachelor pad” for $14.5 million. They are the highest-paid DJs in the world—or were in 2019 when DJs had gigs outside of their IG stories—and also venture capital bros; they’re investors in the FitOn app, and as such, have Chainsmokers workouts online so that you can get yourself in Chainsmoker Shape.
Full disclosure: I would be delighted to be in Chainsmoker Shape when this is all over. It’s good shape, it’s understated shape, it’s aspirational shape for the very online man in middle age. I am ready. To quote a Chainsmokers song probably: “Let’s fucking do this.”
There are three Chainsmokers workout videos on FitOn: a ten-minute, medium-intensity Core Blazer, an all-out twelve-minute strength workout called Stronger Together, and Don’t Let Me Down, a half-hour bodyweight situation. Each workout promises to “leave you with a good sweat and some good laughs,” which fills me with the grim certainty that the Chainsmokers have taken a level-one improv class, but I don’t have time to dwell on that; I’ve got a core to blaze.
All of the videos feature the boys—both Tall Chainsmoker and Also Kind Of Tall Chainsmoker—along with their trainer Lawrence, who balances their chill bro energy with the exact same kind of chill bro energy. Core Blazer is a whole core routine, ‘kay? And right away? They tell you? That it’s gonna be? A real amazing workout. And honestly, it is. It’s a series of plank holds, crunches, and hollow-body rocks that will really make your midsection scream if you’re doing it right, which there’s kind of no way of telling whether you are, because the trainer can’t see you to adjust your form. But either way, by the end of the ten minutes, my abs were begging for mercy under the weighted blanket that is my Covid gut. If you’ve only got a short time and you want to strengthen that core, it’s a solid workout. Just the basics, but strung together and explained well.
There are also flashes of the wit and wisdom that have endeared the Chainsmokers to the world. In the middle of this routine, out of nowhere, The Chainsmoker With Sort Of A Beard asks the trainer, “D’you think Michael Jordan is better than LeBron James?” The trainer replies, “No, Michael Jordan is the GOAT. There’s only one GOAT.” And then The Chainsmoker With A Different Kind Of Beard says, “Tsssshhh,” and that concludes the banter portion of the workout. The exchange has unexpected relevance in February 2021, as Tom Brady earns his seventh Super Bowl ring and a claim at the title of The One GOAT. But mostly it’s a solid substitute for the overheard conversations that would annoy you at a regular gym, and in that way, it provides comfort.
Stronger Together requires a pair of light dumbbells, and works both the lower body (with squats, deadlifts, and lunges) and upper (with flys, curls, and rows) in a series of timed intervals. The weight is low but the reps are high, which I am told is good for muscle tone as opposed to muscle volume, so if you’re trying to throw big plates around and get swole, you may have to wait for the gyms to reopen.
But if you’re looking for that trademark Chainsmokers humor, you have come to the right place. Here’s a sample exchange:
Trainer: This one? Is for your mid-back? So s’gonna help you with your posture? Cuz if you’re sitting at a desk? You gotta work those muscles.
The Chainsmoker With The Greater Number Of Tattoos: What’s your favorite muscle of mine?
Trainer: Yeah, not the mouth.
The Chainsmoker With The Lesser Number Of Tattoos: Tsssshhh.
If your spirit should flag, and you’re looking for inspiration, the bros have you covered in that department too. I give you this message of motivation from The Chainsmoker With The Textured Undercut verbatim: “I gotta tell you an anecdote. You know how boiling water? Can turn an egg hard? But also a potato soft? So it’s all about what you’re made of.”
I have never meant each of these three words, together and separately, in each of their various definitions and beyond, more sincerely: Cool story, bro. (The trainer replied, “That’s good words of wisdom,” and The Chainsmoker With The Windswept Undercut said, “Tsssshhh.” It was a real moment.)
But I am not going to lie: I felt this workout. The high reps on the squats and lunges really tax those quadriceps, and when my partner asked why I was Frankensteining around the house two full days later, I proudly replied: “Chainsmoker workout, baby. Chainsmoker workout.” We are leaving shame in the Before Times.
Don’t Let Me Down is the most intense of the bunch, with intervals of more challenging and explosive moves like squat jumps, split lunges, and skater hops. It’s like the group fitness class you might have taken a year ago, but in a more intimate setting, and much more likely to annoy your downstairs neighbors. It moves along quickly, almost too quickly for you to take the time and make sure your form is right. Theirs kind of isn’t; it’s hard not to notice that The Chainsmoker With Chestnut Hair isn’t keeping his chest up on those squat jumps like The Chainsmoker With Auburn Hair is, and that the latter is getting bigger ups because of it. And because this workout is the longest, it is the easiest to fill with distractions, like wondering about these guys’ inner lives and their friendship and why even after DJing parties around the world for years, and all the Molly that must have entailed, they can’t be sweaty around each other without a mild no homo vibe permeating the whole thing, but that’s all just to keep you from focusing on how much it hurts, which is a lot, which is what you’re here for in the first place.
The Chainsmokers are bro-y, bro-y bros, but they seem nice, and the workouts really do get the job done well in a short amount of time. They’re challenging, and as trainer Lawrence tells us, “If it doesn’t challenge you? It won’t change you.” As of now, these three are the only Chainsmokers workout videos, though a rep for FitOn did say they are planning on shooting more. This is because I actually asked a rep for FitOn, because I actually want more Chainsmokers workout videos, because I am experiencing what may be the first app-based version of Stockholm syndrome.
Overall, the Chainsmokers videos are a great entry point into the FitOn app, which has tons of other free on-demand workouts in lots of other areas. The premium membership adds personalized meal plans with over 500 recipes to help you not throw all your effort in the trash, for $30 a year. It’s a good deal.
I feel as though the boys and I have been through something together, something challenging and significant. I have learned to love the Chainsmokers. I even have a favorite one now. I don’t remember which.
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