Fitness: Doing Chloe Ting’s Flat Belly Challenge

Image screenshot: Chloe Ting Flat Belly Challenge

This post will be updated daily until this challenge is complete.
Jump to starting numbers.
Jump to week one or end of week one update.

Click here to read my first Chloe Ting challenge experience – 2 Week Shred
Click here to read my second Chloe Ting challenge experience – 2020 Summer Shred

Gosh. I must subconsciously be doing a Try-All-Of-Chloe-Ting’s-Workout-Challenges challenge or something because this is my 3rd #chloetingchallenge in a row. I was considering changing to a different YouTuber’s workout program but none of the other ones I’ve found are fully free, and I don’t particularly feel like paying for them when we have Chloe.

Thank you, Chloe, for making all your workouts free!

The irony is that if other YouTubers all made their workouts free too, they’d probs be earning a lot more money via the ads and get a lot more subscribers too, but hey that’s just me speculating… *raises eyebrow,* *gives knowing look.*

After I completed Chloe’s 2020 Summer Shred Challenge on Monday I was only able to sit on my butt for a couple of days before I really wanted to exercise again, so on Thursday I tried a lower belly video (not bad, but her workout programs are locked behind a paywall), and on Friday I tried some yoga.

I thought about trying a yoga challenge for a month but it’s harder to do yoga with friends and if it’s just me by myself I’ll probably end up not working out after a week or so. Plus there aren’t any yoga channels that I like that offer free yoga workout programs in the way Chloe does, so back to Chloe it is!

I know she just released a new program that starts tomorrow but I’ve learned that it’s much better for me to look at all the videos in advance so I can determine if it’s something that is doable yet challenging for me. I don’t want to start and then either quit or end up short-changing myself by not trying my hardest because the difficulty level is too high.

Whilst trying to choose which new challenge to take on, I flip-flopped so many times between her 25 Day Hourglass Challenge and her 28 Day Flat Tummy Challenge because neither seemed ideal the way I felt her 2020 Summer Shred was going to be before I started that one. After much consideration, ultimately I decided on… her 2019, 30 Day Flat Belly Challenge! Lol.

Why?

Because it looks like the perfect mix of challenging yet not too insane. I love that even she was following the workout herself to get back in shape, and you can tell she worked herself hard because she’s sitting down taking deep breaths at the end of the videos haha. (Plus you get to see her SWEAT for once! Girl is not a robot and that makes me so happy mwahahahaha lolIamahorriblehumanbeing. But seriously it’s actually hilarious to hear the sarcasm in her own voiceovers like ‘ok we have this exercise next… greaaat.’ I feel vindicated and positively gleeful that Chloe feels our pain hahahaha. Somehow that makes me feel even more motivated.)

I like the music and that the song changes happen during the move transitions (both really important!) I like that most days it’s a 30-40min program because I exercise with a group of others; it’s just not worth getting on a group call to do a single video that only lasts 10min, which seems to be the schedule every other day for the 2020 Flat Tummy Challenge. I also love that her HIIT workouts include a warm up and cool down stretches in the actual video.

I may come to regret this later because some days the exercises are super long, but I feel much fitter after completing 2 of her challenges so I want to push a little harder. My only concern is that the entire challenge is comprised of 5 videos. There’s a chance I’ll get bored of repeating the same videos over and over but we’ll see how it goes.

I will be starting this challenge tomorrow but wanted to upload my ‘before’ shots ahead of time since I won’t have time to take photos tomorrow morning. So without further ado…

Starting Stats & Details

Start Date: 27th July 2020.
Workout Program: Chloe Ting’s 2019 Flat Belly Challenge.
Modifications: Will follow the program on weekdays only (click here to learn more).
Target Duration: 40 days due to modifications.
Target End Date: 4th September 2020.

Waist: 69cm*
Weight: 123.2lbs*

* my waist measurement and photos should be taken with a grain of salt because I took them after I’d already eaten 2 full meals and drank 30oz water plus an iced latte. My weight was taken this morning but the scales we have at home has proven to be wildly inaccurate (my weight will change +/- 0.6 – 3.7lbs from stepping on/off the scales in succession!) so we’re buying a new one.

I don’t look too different since completing the Summer Shred challenge, which is a plus! I decided to wear shorts for these photos so changes in physique can be better observed, especially on my entire belly area.

Given that I took the photos after eating a lot already (plus I wasn’t able to, um, have a proper bowel movement this morning), I’m impressed my waist was still only 69cm! My lower belly remains a problem area but we’re continuing to work towards that flat belly with this challenge.

I’m still intermittent fasting and still can’t jump much in the apartment so will primarily be doing the low impact movements. Any diet changes will be noted on my IF post, but typically our diet will remain the same. Finally, Jacky won’t really be able to partake in this challenge as I’ll be working out after he’s gone to work in the morning.

Let’s go!

Week One

7/27 – Day 1: Completed 10:16.
Videos done: Ep 2. 10min Abs, Ep 1. Full Body.

Man. I don’t know if it’s because I had a carb-free dinner last night, slept later than ideal or didn’t take a full week off after doing her previous challenge, but this morning was so difficult. It didn’t seem that insane when I was pre-watching the videos but for some reason this morning my energy levels were so low I could barely keep up.

That said, I enjoyed the first video a lot. I read somewhere that pushing your body to exhaustion will always bring results so you don’t need gym equipment as long as you do enough reps at home, so I really tried to work my abs hard. It worked – they burned and my arms were shaking too. But when it came to the second video I began to feel exhausted. I took multiple water breaks and sat out a couple of the exercises.

Flora and Jon joined me today (though Jon only joined for half of it as something urgent came up), and Flora also found the second video so difficult we had to pause after the second set for a longer break. She said it feels like her body has weakened after taking some days off last week. Either way, Chloe kicked our butts today.

It was only after completing this morning’s workout that I found Chloe’s No Jumping HIIT Workout (unlinked to a specific program) and had a proper look at her 2019 Hourglass Program. Dang it! Haha I really like the music and video variety (compared to the Flat Belly) in the 2019 Hourglass Program. I originally dismissed it because I thought that it looked a bit too repetitive in terms of videos, but lol, look what I’m doing now.

At any rate, I didn’t want to do the 2020 Hourglass one because I don’t have resistance bands, and although she says you can do it with or without bands, clearly it’s more effective with the bands. I want to do a workout where the maximum effectiveness was planned for without bands so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

Same for the No Jumping HIIT video – it was designed to be maximum impact whilst not jumping, and I much prefer that to just doing low impact versions of regular HIIT videos. Physically it pushes me harder, but half the battle of exercise is mental, which is what I find more important here: mentally, it makes me feel like I’ve done a great job if I get through it because I’ll have done it without taking shortcuts on any of the moves.

Doing the low impact versions makes me feel like I’m cheating so I don’t really feel super accomplished even if I get through the entire thing.

If I could go back, I’d probably put together my own program with some of my favourite Chloe videos or try out her 2019 Hourglass Program instead. Or I might start switching up some of the videos for this challenge if the original 5 starts to get too repetitive.

You might think, “It’s not too late to change now,” but I’ve already committed to this program, started this blog post about it and the majority of my blog traffic comes from people looking at these challenge posts. It doesn’t feel right to quit now plus I really want that flat belly haha.

Aw, this is the first day I’ve started a new Chloe Ting challenge and didn’t feel like I’ve done a great job, and I think that might be from doing the HIIT video second because doing the low impact versions kinda hurt my self-esteem. I felt much more accomplished after pushing myself in the 10min Abs video.

Maybe I’m just being too hard on myself here, though. I should feel proud for getting through it no matter what! If I’m still feeling like this after tomorrow’s workout (HIIT comes second again) then I’ll try switching the order in future. If I’m still mentally struggling with this program after 2-3 weeks, I’ll hit the brakes and try a different challenge instead, then come back to it another time when I can actually do the jumping moves.


7/28 – Day 2: Completed 10:57am.
Videos done: Ep 2. 10min Abs, Ep 3. Cardio Abs.

I exercised alone this morning, in my own time, at my own pace and I must say I really enjoyed it. Sometimes, it’s just really nice to exercise with zero distractions, whenever my body felt ready for it. I think exercising alone also relieved some subconscious pressure to ‘perform well’ in front of my friends, too.

I ate a lot last night so didn’t feel hungry this morning, but I was a little tired as I didn’t sleep very well last night, and it took me until 10:18 to even be ready to work out (usually we exercise at 9ish), so the fact that no one could join me this morning was probably a blessing in disguise. I definitely would not have had the energy to do it any earlier.

I really enjoyed pushing myself but also allowing myself to fall down if necessary. I had to just high plank some of the exercises because my body wasn’t strong enough to do the entire thing but I felt very accomplished afterwards because I know I pushed myself hard. My arms and legs were shaking, my abs were burning and I still felt sore in my glutes and inner thighs afterwards.

I don’t think it was even supposed to be a glutes workout but I’m definitely not complaining. I am, however, really happy that I’m focusing on my body and pushing myself for these exercises, because every time I push that little bit harder, it helps me to become a little bit stronger.

I have to admit the past couple of days I’ve had a really negative body image. I’ve been forgetting that all this was for health and ended up getting engrossed in the numbers and being dissatisfied with my reflection.

I know I haven’t wanted to focus on my weight or my appearance, but I think doing these exercises and seeing other people’s results videos has made me subconsciously focus on my own weight and appearance and compare myself to them.

“Why have they lost so much weight and I haven’t?” “How did they lose 2 inches in 2 weeks and I’m barely losing 2cm?” “Has my body and metabolism regressed? What’s going on?” “Gosh, I feel old.” — All of these thoughts and more have crossed my mind recently. Not to mention looking in the mirror at my palmier-bloated body and feeling like I looked worse than my ‘before’ pic for my very first Chloe Ting workout.

I felt so bad about myself I even thought I’d track how many calories were in an average day’s worth of food for me on myfitnesspal for the first time in years. I think this is why I pushed myself extra hard today.

I know that every body is different and reacts to exercise or diet in different ways, but in my mind I’d somehow decided that since I wasn’t seeing the same results there must be something wrong with me, or even worse — that it just wasn’t fair when I worked so hard too. But, honestly, why compare? It’s so harmful and detrimental to my mental health. And yet I couldn’t help it.

Perhaps by divine providence and a vastly improved YouTube algorithm, I found this delightful YouTuber in my recommended videos and honestly, I really appreciated her mindset and her reminder to love myself and listen to my body no matter what.

I did worry that she was only able to eat like that (and probably ate way too much sugar) because she was younger and naturally has a higher metabolism, but in this video (or was it this video? I watched most of the non-fashion ones haha) she explained how it took her a long, long, long, long time of intuitive eating and exercise to get to where she is now.

She found a love of exercise because she loved feeling her body get stronger. She eats whatever she wants, whenever she wants whilst paying attention to how her body feels from eating, to ensure she’s making herself happy both physically and mentally.

It doesn’t matter that she is younger and naturally has a higher metabolism. The principle is the same: feed your body what it wants rather than what other people tell you you should feed it. (Note: this should not be done for anyone currently struggling with an eating disorder, but if you do have an eating disorder or unhealthy exercise addiction, please, please seek professional help and stop reading in case you are triggered.)

I realise I still eat emotionally much of the time and I was worried I’d be craving sugar when I watched her videos, but when I stopped and listened to my body, it wasn’t hungry at all. I did not crave any sugar, and honestly I can’t imagine eating like she does right now haha.

She may be younger and I don’t agree with everything she says, but she has the right mindset in this area, and that’s entirely worth me learning from. She reminded me of why I started this fitness journey in the first place. Why is it that when I was chubbier, I cared less about how I looked, but the fitter I became, the more disappointed I was in my appearance? Is it because I feel like I should see more fruits of my labour in my outward appearance? But honestly, why am I expecting such dramatic results in just 2 months, and when did this expectation even creep up on me?

I’ll probably go back and watch her video again whenever I’m in a mood with myself, but right now I’m feeling great again. I am going to have to re-learn to listen to my body and treat it well, and I am going to push my body hard because I want it to be stronger, not because I want to look better in the mirror. I will learn to be proud of my body for exercising hard, but also proud of my body on days it just wants to curl up in a ball and take a break.

I will learn to actually love my body in these ways, rather than paying it lip-service in saying that I love my body whenever I think it looks good in a mirror or the lighting’s especially flattering that morning. But first, I’m going to give myself a big hug and tell my body it’s doing great.

K… reflective rant over. Have a great day, everyone!


7/29 – Day 3: Rest day!

Today I did not do any exercise whatsoever, and nor do I plan to anymore. I was going to clean the apt and do a small grocery run but… I need to rest and there’s no harm in that. I know I pushed my body hard yesterday because I am feeling pretty darn sore today. I have not felt sore for a long, long time.

Yesterday afternoon (after I finished writing my Day 2 update) I found a YouTuber named Natacha Océane, and if you have not yet heard of her I highly, highly recommend you check out her channel. She is one of the smartest, most diligent, vibrant, strongest fitness YouTubers I have ever seen and is a genuine inspiration.

No joke, this woman just casually gets a perfect score for a US Marine fitness test challenge (click for the video). If you read the comments on the video, literally everyone is just in awe; nobody can come up with any criticism for her, she just killed it. Watching her exercise is so motivational, and I also really appreciate her science-backed explanations for so much fitness and health-related topics.

I have been watching more or less all of her videos since yesterday. She challenges me to focus on training for strength and enjoyment of fitness, as well as thinking long-term and being self-disciplined whilst eating well to fuel my body, and honestly, I need more of this type of influence in my life.

I felt a sudden burst of energy and motivation after watching a few of her videos, and decided to try out a couple of her no jumping HIIT workouts. Her moves are unique and gosh it’s a good workout. I was only able to do half of both videos before I decided I was too tired for this haha. She is so advanced and I would love to get to just half of that level.

What she said in this video with regards to what actually happens to your body for long term muscle growth was eye-opening as well. It explains why I can look lean after a workout challenge but then, after a short period of not exercising, it’ll look like I ‘lost’ all that ‘muscle’ when in reality, I probably hadn’t built much muscle in the first place. Muscle building takes a long time. Oh, and yes, she also just casually passes the NAVY Seals fitness test as well. This girl is a true beast and is actual fitness goals.

I’ve committed to Chloe’s flat belly challenge so I’ll aim to complete it still. However, for my follow-up workout challenge I will probably mix it up a bit by adding some of Natacha’s videos in with my own Chloe playlist. I think what she says in this ‘How To Workout Smarter For Better Results‘ video makes so much sense, especially tips #1 and #5, so I think if I’m doing HIIT, I’ll only do HIIT that day, and the other days I’ll do strength workouts.

I can’t even do 10 push ups, though that’s always been something I’ve wanted to be able to do. She’s now given me the motivation to start training for it, so I’ll set myself that goal as well as doing Chloe’s workouts. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, it matters as long as I persevere and am progressing. I’ll get there eventually.

I am aiming to go hard for tomorrow’s workout so, hm, I may need a break on Friday, or I’ll try to go a little less intense then, but we’ll see how I’m feeling.

Today, I’m feeling exhausted. I’m very glad it’s a rest day.


7/30 – Day 4: Completed 10:30.
Videos done: Ep 2. 10min Abs, Ep 1. Full Body, Ep 4. Lower Abs.

Today was epic. Wow, I had the best workout I’ve had in a long, long time. I had so much energy despite waking up pretty tired. I went hard and my arms are still sore haha (although soreness is not necessarily a sign of a good workout).

I was able to sustain a higher heart rate that’s actually in my ‘fat burning zone’ than when I did the challenge on Monday/Tuesday (134bpm vs 125-127bpm average heart rate according to my Apple Watch). Plus, I just feel amazing and strong. Jon and Flora joined me (as well as Jacky joined for a little bit too) and I was able to be so focused on my workout I barely noticed any of them.

What did I do differently?

1. I ate before I started.
A couple of spoonfuls of low sugar, high fibre, high protein granola with almond milk was all it took to give me a huge burst of energy that kept me going pretty much throughout the entire workout. I maybe had a second or so where I felt a little dizzy half way through the workout but after some water and a child’s pose I was back in business.

Natacha’s video on “Is Fasted Cardio Better For Weight Loss” and her intuitive eating videos have been instrumental to my decision to eat before my workout and I don’t feel even a smidge of guilt for it. I felt tired and hungry before I started so I listened to my body and ate something small. I ended up having what felt like 10x the energy I normally do and I am so happy with my progress!

Never have I felt the comment, “Every body is different, find what works for you,” to be more true than now. There are people who can’t eat before they exercise and that’s fine, but it turns out that, today, I was not one of those people.

It doesn’t matter if I can’t see differences in the mirror, your girl did 1 full range, elbow in, knee-pushup, as well as 15 half range, elbows out, knee-pushups. That’s 6 more than I could do last time I checked. (Disclaimer: my friend taught me how to train for pushups a while back so I have been trying on/off to train for them since. I didn’t learn them overnight, and last time I checked 6mo ago, I was only able to do 10 with my elbows out at half range at best.)

2. I changed mentality.
I’ve realised after watching Natacha’s videos that I have been taught a lot of misinformation about diet and/or exercise by many ‘fitness gurus’ over the years, and I’ve spent the past couple of days un-learning them. I had to constantly remind myself that what they taught me was wrong every time I caught myself thinking, “Wait, I shouldn’t be exercising in this way.” I remembered Natacha’s workout ethic any time I felt like giving up, and I was able to push myself that tiny bit further each time.

3. I trained for strength whilst focusing on my form.
In the HIIT video, I substituted a lot of Chloe’s low-impact moves for push-up training, high planks, or strength training of her move to failure, depending on what the move was. For example, I can’t do full jumping jacks or high knees or abduction kicks, and her low impact alternative is too low impact for me, so I just dropped down and trained push ups.

For her side lunge and crunch move, I worked on my side lunges to failure, even after the 30s is up. For sumo squats, I squatted to failure. Making sure I had the correct form and felt the burn in the right place was more important than squeezing in as many half-hearted reps as I could in 30s. Sometimes that meant working through the breaks but then there comes another jumping move and I would rest during that, or do more push up training. I really, really made it my own based off Chloe’s moves.

Thanks to Natacha, I realised that I haven’t been training smart. I feel like I trained smartly today, and it made a huge difference. I think it makes a lot of sense that for HIIT, it’s already high-intensity so you should just stick to 20-30min of HIIT and have that as your entire day’s workout. When you’re training strength, then just train strength and don’t do HIIT on top, so I trained strength today.

Tomorrow I will probably try to follow Chloe’s moves properly, but from next week onwards, I’m going to switch it up to doing 2 days of strength (so her ab videos only) and 2 days of HIIT (so one HIIT video per day only) with a rest day according to Chloe’s schedule. I’ll also be doing a warm up and cool down video every day.

Not to say that there’s anything wrong with Chloe’s schedule because I did love her Summer Shred Challenge. I’m especially not saying that other people need to switch it up too, especially if it’s already working for you. It’s just that I’m on my 3rd challenge and was feeling like I’d hit a plateau or a brick wall of sorts. Plus, aesthetically pleasing flat abs isn’t necessarily the goal of my fitness journey anymore, so I’m just testing different things to see what works for my growth, and am documenting it here.

Finally, I fed my body well afterwards too, and I just have to say I am bouncing off the walls with energy today. My body is aching in the best way possible, I feel amazing and I cannot wait to workout again tomorrow.

LOVED IT.


7/31 – Day 5: Incomplete.

There are some days when you wake up and feel so completely invigorated and ready to take on the day. There are others where you wake up with a headache and a slightly stuffy nose and scratchy throat and don’t want to move. Today was one of the latter.

My body is also aching from working so hard yesterday. So today, I’m taking care of my body by letting it rest as it needs, and maybe do some stretching later if I feel up for it. I might be able to do Day 5’s exercises tomorrow morning, but if I can’t, that’s fine too.


8/1 & 8/2 – Weekend: Rest & Update.

I am concerned that my anaemia is returning because I’m starting to experience the same headaches as before, and some of the other symptoms I had are starting to crop up again. (Or, it could be because I’m just about to start my period and I am feeling weak.) So, aside from our grocery run, we just rested this weekend. No stretching, no yoga; my body wasn’t up for it.

I honestly feel that the update images aren’t really worth posting on a weekly basis if I’m only exercising 3-4x a week now. However, I’ll keep going for the time being, but if there isn’t that much of a difference moving forward I’ll probably only post an update every 2 weeks or so. I haven’t seen a major change, but it might still be worth documenting.

I try to keep good posture whilst taking these, and that does mean sucking in/tensing a little as appropriate.

Waist: 68cm (-1cm)
Weight: 123.0lbs (-0.2lbs, according to my new scales. Or it could also be 123.9lbs if we’re going by my old scales)

So I may have spoken too soon. Comparing these pics with the ones from last week, I actually do see a difference, but it is worth keeping in mind that my ‘before’ shots and measurements were taken after meals and these were not. Hence, I’m not sure the -1cm off my waist is that accurate either, especially since that was my waist measurement after my Summer Shred challenge.

Finally, a bonus image that I wanted to add, because for the first time I think you can see faint ab lines on the other side of my stomach:

This week I really learned a lot about fitness and eating and my body in general (if you haven’t already, please click here to read my Day 3 and Day 4 updates – it was pivotal for my health and fitness journey). I am happy to be seeing these physical changes, but I can genuinely say I really don’t care about it as much as I did before. I am just so happy that I worked out hard and felt like I did get stronger this week.

Also, every mirror in my apt shows my body differently depending on the angle, lighting, time of day etc. (or even just how tired I am or how bloated I feel makes me see myself differently), so judging my perceived appearance according to these is just such a waste of mental and emotional energy.

I haven’t felt guilty for ‘skipping’ any workouts this week, and I’ve naturally eaten more healthily since eating more intuitively (literally who knew my body would start craving salads and decide I can just go for a 16.7hr fast for funsies? Not me!)

I think my mindset is much healthier now and I am excited to keep pushing my body for strength. I want to grow some hamstring muscles at some point so I may do leg training instead of pushup training on one of the days, but we’ll see how I feel.

Bullet Journal: August Setup
Music: My July Playlist

2 Comments

  1. Stephanie August 2, 2020 / 07:46

    Hey Crystina! I’m happy to have found your blog and to have read that you’ve discovered Natacha Oceane! YES! She is my favourite fitness YouTuber and I have been following her journey/taking her advice/doing her HIIT workouts for months. SO GOOD! I wish you all the best on your fitness journey and in doing these CT challenges. Very impressed and encouraged by your commitment to them. :) – Stephanie (from Canada)

    • Bobbie
      Author
      August 2, 2020 / 23:15

      Hi Stephanie! Awww thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog :D And YAY so glad to hear you like her too. Seriously I think she needs to be everywhere because her advice is so legitimate. Thank you so much, I’ll do my best <3

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