I Tried Filming My Workouts Like Busy Philipps & Here's What I Learned

Photo: Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
Of all the different Busy Philipps moods you can encounter on her Instagram stories, my favorite is when she's absolutely drenched in sweat, taking selfie videos at LEKFit, her favorite workout class. Sometimes she's holding a plank and bemoaning how challenging an exercise is, and other times she's lifting her leg to the rhythm of a song all while maintaining eye contact with the camera. Like most things in her life, Busy's stories make you feel like you're right there with her in class.
Even if you've seen hundreds of these videos, you may have questions about her signature workout. First of all, what even is it? LEKfit is a music-based cardio dance-inspired workout class that involves using light weights and occasionally a small trampoline. LEKfit was started by celebrity trainer Lauren Kleban in Los Angeles, but the studio also streams workouts so you can do them anywhere in the world. According to Kleban, "Busy's been a huge part of the success and growth of LEKfit."
During class, people are encouraged to document their workouts and #sweatyselfies, but Busy seems to attract people because she's so authentic and consistent, Kleban says. (And it doesn't hurt that she has 1.3 million followers.) "We know that sharing their workouts with friends is a huge motivator for people," she says. Indeed, a 2017 study suggests that people work out harder when they see people in their social network working out, too. Anecdotally, that seems to be true. Whenever I see Busy's post-workout, freshly-showered hair on her Insta stories, I'm always eager to get to the gym myself.
But I am simply not the type to post workout Instagrams or film my workouts to share with other people. I can barely deal working out in groups because I think everyone is judging me. That said, I wanted to give Busy's workout and Insta habit a try for a few weeks. Ahead are my biggest takeaways from the journey...
The workout
Since I couldn't travel to an IRL LEKfit class in Los Angeles, I live-streamed the videos through their on-demand website right in my apartment. A LEKfit streaming membership is $19.99 a month, and with it you get access to tons of 11-minute to hour-long workout videos that are added each week. I decided to stick with the "In The Studio" workouts, because I wanted to get as close to a Busy experience as possible.
As a ballet dancer, I really dug the movements in the class, because it was mostly leg lifts, planks, and some arm exercises using light weights. (Technically, you're supposed to have ankle weights and sliders, but I didn't, and still got in a good workout.) Unlike your typical barre class, which can get repetitive, LEKfit is flow-like and somewhat relaxing. Now, that doesn't mean it's easy, and a lot of the moves require coordination and flexibility. I was expecting to get as sweaty as Busy, but I didn't really sweat that much. As it turns out, they heat the studio 84-86 degrees, Kleban explains, which would explain why she's usually soaked.
The filming
You guys, this was so awkward at first. A while back, yoga sensation Jessamyn Stanley told me that taking a gym selfie can be a very empowering experience — which I totally believe. It's not that I think workout photos or videos are vain, I just find the process so uncomfortable, even in my own home. TBH, I filmed (pro tip: use the "hands-free" setting on Instagram stories to film yourself) and deleted like three videos before I finally posted one that I was happy with. I felt kind of stupid staring at myself doing downward dogs? One evening when I was doing LEKfit at my boyfriend's apartment, his roommate caught me dancing around and filming myself, which was as awkward as it sounds.
Once I got over my ego, the videos were motivating, duh. When you're literally inviting an audience to watch you work out, it naturally makes you want to work harder or at least pretend like you're working out harder. But since I was usually alone in my apartment, there was no one there to compare myself to (besides the people in the videos), and no one to give me dirty looks for skipping an exercise.
The reaction
I got DMs for days after posting these LEKfit videos. Lots of people asked me what I was doing, and commented that the exercises looked difficult. Some people said they started following LEKfit because of me (does that make me an influencer), and others simply said, "I love these so much" and "Get it." I was expecting everyone to be annoyed by my workout log, but I was pleasantly surprised by how supportive everyone was.
So, will I film all of my workouts now? Maybe! Busy Philipps is a professional actress, so it makes sense that being on camera comes naturally to her, even in a workout class. But temporarily adopting her mentality taught me that you don't have to be a vlogger or an actor to be proud of your workouts.
Related Video:

More from Fitness

R29 Original Series