The online service Obé (pronounced “obey”) Fitness offers a modern take on the cult workout VHS tapes your mom used to see. As you’d expect from a company founded by ex-TV talent scouts, Obé stands out from a crowded fitness area with its gorgeous set design. committed, charismatic trainers; and workouts that don’t require any equipment other than a laptop or iPhone.

First select one of the 15 types of training offered. These range from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to yoga and meditation classes and can either be streamed live or as needed. There is also a selection of multi-day fitness challenge series, offering everything from seven-day beginner programs to month-long fat burner collections.

A white shade from pale

Obé’s trainers teach their classes in a white box with walls that change color as the training progresses.

Photo: Elena Mudd Photo / Obé

The first thing you’ll likely notice about Obé’s visual aesthetic is the background setting. Instead of the usual studio setup, the bus is framed by blank walls. As you exercise, the hues on the walls change, creating a lively and dynamic feeling with every session. It’s almost enough to take your mind off how hard you are working.

The live classes are the star of the show here as a programmed schedule for training gives you a sense of responsibility and something to look forward to at the end of the work day. But if you can’t make it to the 20 or so live courses offered daily, you can stream more than 5,000 on-demand courses. The on-demand courses are in the same format as the live courses, but you won’t get the slightest thrill with the coach calling your name during a live session.

You don’t need any special company equipment, and some classes don’t need any equipment at all. Others may need dumbbells and exercise bands or items around the house like a chair to hold on to for bar exercises.

Trainers will guide you through the workouts, addressing participants directly from time to time and shouting personal encouragement, and this is where Obé really shines. A home fitness system relies on its trainers and programs to attract people to its service. Coaches can make or break the system, and Obé’s coaches are an absolute home run. Obé co-founders Ashley Mills and Mark Mullett started out as talent agents, and the majority of their coaching pool has a background in the entertainment industry. Their charisma in front of the camera and entertaining personalities make every class something to look forward to rather than fear.

When training a CrossFit or powerlifting class, I need to keep an eye on my members as I exercise. I am very impressed when I see coaches doing the workout while they are talking. While I was doing fitness band training with trainer Melody D., she constantly offered guidance and encouragement, referred to the participants by name and even offered short anecdotes throughout. In the meantime, I gasped, incapable of anything but a caveman grunt.

I responded to this with a skeptical attitude – I’m used to hurling weights and lifting myself on 20 foot ropes, so I wasn’t sure how much these workouts would push me. About 15 minutes after my first workout, I learned the answer was “a hell of a lot”. It wasn’t long before I hit the gas and jumped a lap of plank ranges while catching my breath (sorry, Coach Angelo G.).