The coronavirus crisis put into perspective so many of the things we take for granted, including the gym. As someone who made it to the gym three to four times a week, quarantine forced me to get more creative with getting my regular dose of exercise.
In the beginning, I struggled to find at-home workouts I enjoyed. I tried jogging for a few weeks, but I found myself getting tired of the same route. I tried online yoga classes, but I quickly realized searching for online yoga courses on YouTube can easily lead you into an internet black hole where you forget what you were searching for in the first place.
Enter the “Chloe Ting Challenge.” Scrolling through TikTok one day, I discovered the viral workout that had hundreds of social media users singing Chloe Ting’s praise for sculpting their physique during quarantine.
For the uninitiated, Chloe Ting is an Australian fitness guru who boasts a whopping 22 million followers on YouTube. Her no-equipment workouts have become especially popular during the pandemic, considering we were all looking for new ways to stay fit in the comfort of our own homes.
The popularity left me wondering: Are Chloe Ting's workout effective? And does it help with weight loss, if that is your goal? Struggling to stay in shape myself, I decided to visit the free workout program section of her website and try her “2 Weeks Shred Challenge.” Let's just say it was exhausting.
Cost and equipment
The 2-week program is free and requires no equipment. You can access it on Ting's website — each workout video lives on YouTube. There are five videos each day of the plan (including a warm up and cool down), which total to approximately 30-minutes of exercise. I tested the 2019 version of the 2-week challenge, but there is an updated 2021 version of the challenge here. The workouts use your body weight and no additional equipment is required, beyond a yoga mat for comfort.
Taking on the "2 Weeks Shred Challenge"
The format of the workout was easy to follow. Each movement is timed for 30 seconds, with a countdown clock in the top right corner. (I definitely found this helpful during difficult exercises when I needed to know it was almost done.) For higher-intensity exercises, Ting offers a low-impact modification, which was helpful for someone like me with sensitive knees.
Some exercises were difficult to complete for the full 30 seconds, so for those, I set a number I planned to complete (like 20 plank toe-touches) so I could stay intentional in the movements without becoming too sloppy at the end. But in all honesty, I did skip a burpee or two.
The second day felt a bit harder than the first. I think part of that had to do with the fact that it was a Saturday, so the idea of starting the day with some Netflix sounded a lot more appealing than working out.
To help stay motivated, I got my boyfriend to join me. The circuit included the same two workouts as the day before plus a third “optional” video. I decided to opt out because I saw it was one of the mandatory workouts for tomorrow.
I did complete one set of burpees today!
Day three was especially challenging. It involved a four-part, 45-minute workout, and it was exhausting. The first two videos were the same two I’d done every day so far, so they felt easier three days in. But knowing I had to complete two more videos after that somehow made the burn that much more real. Thirty seconds felt like 30 minutes for some exercises.
The third part of the workout focused on the lower body, and most exercises were standing, which was a relief. Some exercises were longer than the usual 30 seconds, but considering it was a break for my abs, I didn’t mind. The last workout to get “11 Lines” was a killer. I only made it halfway through.
Today was a 35-minute, three-video workout. I woke up sore from yesterday’s workout. I knew I needed some extra motivation, so I put on some of my music to jam out through the pain. I could feel myself getting stronger, but I also noticed from video to video the exercises get repetitive. Doing the same two workouts every day is getting a little boring and literally fatiguing.
A much needed rest day.
This day was another three-part, 35-minute workout. I woke up with my tummy feeling more toned which was a nice surprise! The exercises felt much easier today and I got through all 30 seconds with almost every exercise.
Today was another four-part workout. Repeating the first two workouts over and over again is starting to become very cumbersome. I thought they’d be getting much easier, but doing the same workouts every day was starting to feel difficult on my muscles and joints.
On day eight, there were three videos: the two that I've done practically every day and the lower-body workout, which I enjoyed more because it’s sprinkled so sparingly throughout the whole plan. She also recommended an optional fourth video set to Ariana Grande's song "Boyfriend," but since I had to go pick up moving supplies, I skipped on that.
By day 10, I'd started to resent these workouts a little bit. It felt like every day I woke up to do this workout it got a little bit more tedious. The lack of variation didn't help. Doing intense ab workouts for days in a row became overly exhaustive. I stopped midway through the first workout because I couldn’t bring myself to do the same 45-minute four-video workout. I’m Ting’d out.
I woke up on day 11 with some more hope. The plan was to complete a lighter workout with just the two warm-up workouts, but watching the same videos day in and day out had begun to feel like nails on a chalkboard. I had to ask myself "Does Chloe Ting really do this every day?" At this point, I was counting down the days until my morning routine returned to sleeping in and a cup of coffee.
My abs were still very sore, so I decided to skip out on two of the ab workouts and stick to the full-body workout because it included ab exercises, too. I also had to modify lunges, since doing them every day has resulted in some soreness. If you have sensitive knees like me, the “Do This Everyday To Lose Weight” workout might not be a good idea to actually do every day.
Today I got back into the ab workouts. I skipped the lunges and high-intensity knee exercises because mine were still sore. In all honesty, at some points in the workout, I ended up just watching Ms. Ting do her thing and tried to catch up as best as I could.
The long-awaited moment: the last day. The last workout was a series of four videos again. This time, it actually felt like it went quickly, probably because I knew it would be over soon for good.
What I liked
One of the best parts of Ting’s workout videos is that they often serve multiple purposes: They can stand alone for anyone looking to squeeze in a quick 10-minute workout, but she also uses them for workout series like the "2 Weeks Shred Challenge." Even though you’re relying on the same five workouts shuffled throughout the week, having the consistency of Chloe Ting’s workouts was a nice alternative to seeking out workout circuits on my own. As for the results of doing the Chloe Ting workout, I didn’t see any massive transformation, but I did feel more fit by the end. The before and after wasn't drastic and I didn’t get ab lines, but my core did feel stronger. If you’re looking for a challenge, it can't hurt to give it a try. But be patient, and don’t be embarrassed if you need to add in a few more rest days in there!
What I didn't like
Here's the deal: This isn’t a bad workout program given the fact that it’s free, but its repetitive nature gets a little old. I didn't feel like doing ab exercises for days on end was productive, and in fact, some days I skipped the ab exercise entirely because I was too fatigued. And while there are modifications for high-intensity exercises, they can still be pretty intense for people with sensitive knees like myself.
I think Chloe Ting’s workouts would be better implemented as stand-alone 10-15 minute workouts that you can build on based on how your body is feeling. If you do decide to take on one of these challenges, it might be better to do the workouts every other day, and in between those days, either rest or go on a run.
I would recommend this workout to:
- People with decision fatigue who want to take the guesswork out of exercise
- Anyone motivated by intense fitness challenges
- Those who have been slacking in the fitness department and need to jump start their routine again
- People who are in decent shape and want to take it to the next level