Updated: May 1, 2022
What do I mean by media workouts? Any workout plan that can be retrieved from a media source such as magazines, internet, videos, social media and books. Any group of exercises that forms a plan for one or more workouts. Note I'm not talking about individual exercises and their relevant guides.
Type in 'exercise' or 'workout routine' into Google and watch the hours disappear as you go through the endless variety on offer. Open up any fitness magazine or health magazine and you'll probably find a workout on offer. Scroll long enough on social media you'll come across a workout. The vast number of workouts and sources is outstanding. Never have we been in an age with so much information available to us. Wish to look like your favourite celeb? There'll be a workout for that. Want to run faster? Google will probably have an answer for you. Pay for that yoga class on top of a membership or go onto YouTube and get any session you want for free? Use as many plans as you like or chop bits out of one plan to put into or alongside, another plan.
You can search for specific routines dependent on your goal. If you don't know what you want to do, there'll be a plan for you somewhere. They're mostly free, if not, there's probably a similar workout elsewhere for free. Most smart phones will allow you to take your workout with you and some will even talk you through it step by step according to a script. Fitness Apps have the ability to 'train' you in real time but I don't think they are quite there yet.
Expecting a but? Congratulations, here it comes...
Without an eternal search you're not likely to find a workout that is absolutely specific to you and your goals. Lots of media workouts are a good fit but each is made to be generic or hope the right person finds the workout. Apart from videos, you're required to have at least some knowledge on what you should be doing and what you should be feeling. Having a video trainer speaking to you through your ear phones may be pretty close to real but what they are saying is predetermined, you can't ask a question and they can't see your form. You'll be at greater risk of injury without some knowledge behind you.
This mythical knowledge goes further. There's more to fitness than pushing weights around. You need to be able to self-regulate. Too many times have I seen "add this workout onto the end of your session...", so that session just got longer and now you see another workout to add on too. Most plans assume you have some equipment available to you. You might not have it or somebody else is using what you need. Even zero equipment plans like Yoga videos put a reliance on being able to see the screen. Try doing downward dog while looking at a wall mounted TV to check your form. It sours the experience a little. Are the workouts you've chosen regulated? Usually it's pretty obvious. However, there's nothing stopping an unqualified couch potato with some skills at a keyboard getting Ad traffic on their website claiming their workout will get you beach body ready for all eternity.
OK, that last point was doom and gloom but those fake workouts are out there. I've seen them. They usually have click bait titles such as "do this to get a six pack in one week". You know the ones I mean. Is there away to have your cake and eat it? A little knowledge goes a long way. There's enough material out there, for free, to get started. Though sorting through all that information is time consuming and sometimes not relevant. Knowledge will help you decide what to do when the equipment you want is taken or your running route is flooded. Some fitness information can seem contradictory but in reality it should include the caveat "it depends..."
You have your cake, you're eating it. Would you like a cherry on top? A Personal Trainer (PT) or class can be a filter. They can teach you what you need to know when you need to know it. You can interact and ask questions, "I feel it here" [podges finger onto body part]. You want to do an exercise but feel pain in the movement? A class instructor or PT can suggest tweaks or whole new exercises. PT's and instructors should know what kit is available to you and ideally what goal you have in mind. They can tailor your goals to you. Nobodies body is the same. In an ideal world everyone would have a custom workout. PT's and instructors can get you onto the right path sooner rather than later. Use the professionals just the once to check your form if you feel like it.
Two things to consider has effectively turned into four. The good and bad to media workouts, how getting your homework in goes a long way and the extra quality a PT or instructor can provide. Media workouts are not demonic summoning rituals. They are very useful. I've used them for years and I still look through them for inspiration.