This post was last updated and completed on 8/16/2020.
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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.
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.
* 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.
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.
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.
8/3 – Day 5: Completed 10:02.
Videos done: Ep 2. 10min Abs, Ep 4. Lower Abs.
I wasn’t able to sleep until 3am last night (might have been the tiiiny lick of espresso I had at 9pm when I made Jacky an affogato, or the smell of Swiffer Wet Pad in the bin from cleaning) but somehow, I woke up pretty alert at 8:40am and just wanted to work out.
I forgot to eat before I started because Flora was already waiting for me and I wasn’t feeling hungry at the time. Half way through the workout I did feel a little weaker, which reminded me that I hadn’t eaten yet, but I rested briefly, drank some water and was still able to continue to get a good workout.
As mentioned last week, I’m not following Chloe’s schedule as rigidly (especially since it’s the same 4-5 videos in rotation on a daily basis) and am instead aiming to do more strength/endurance training one day and HIIT the next, followed by a rest day.
That’s why we did her 2 ab workouts today, and tomorrow we’ll be doing her Ep 1. Full Body HIIT as per the schedule. It worked out quite well that we weren’t able to do Day 5 on Friday because now we get the rest day on Wednesday (Flora was also exhausted on Friday so neither of us did the workout).
In terms of Chloe’s ab workout videos though, I think this was the first time I really felt like I needed more time for each of the movements because my abs were often not reaching fatigue in 30-40 seconds. That was an alien feeling but just really cool for me.
However, it could also be that it takes a good 5-10 seconds at the start of each move for me to even activate the right muscles. Chloe does mention at one point in the video, “Concentrate on your lower abs because otherwise your muscle memory may end up just working your legs,” and I think that’s what happened because my legs were shaking and then some.
Next time I’ll just take it at my own pace and keep doing the move if I’m really feeling it, and continue to failure. It is helpful to have the beeps in the background because sometimes I’m holding a move and I’m about to collapse, then I’ll give myself 5 more seconds in my head, and as I’m about to finish counting, Chloe’s beeper goes off for 3 more seconds and I’m like, “Okay. Let’s hold it for 3 more seconds.” It’s a good way to keep pushing myself.
We started with Natacha’s Full Body Stretch video and ended with Pamela Reif’s 15min Daily Stretch, which I felt were just the perfect warm up and cool down videos. Natacha’s stretches to upbeat music got my heart rate up and ready to move. Pamela’s voice was so soothing and the gentle music was a perfect, relaxing way to end… for me, anyway!
I naturally have a higher degree of flexibility so I thoroughly enjoyed stretching with Pamela, but Flora was like, “What is she doing?? Are these movements even for humans?! Why do I feel like this is another workout??” hahahah.
To be fair, Pamela is very flexible, and whilst I really appreciated the deep stretches she does, my legs were like jelly already so I definitely fell over more than once doing the low lunges. And yeah, downward dog to PUSH UP to cobra was also just not going to happen at that point.
Tomorrow will be my first day just doing one Chloe Ting video as my entire day’s workout. I’m aiming to give it all I’ve got! Let’s see how hard I can go.
8/4 – Day 6: Completed 16:53.
Video completed: Ep 1. Full Body.
I overslept this morning and woke up feeling very groggy – probably because I didn’t sleep well the night before, plus I started my period yesterday and was still feeling a bit tender. At one point I didn’t know if I should actually workout or just push it to tomorrow.
I’m really glad I exercised today because oh my gosh. My entire body is shaking. I stink. I could have watered my plants with the sweat that came off my body today. I understand now that I really did not go hard enough in any of my previous HIIT workouts.
Typically my average heart rate on a good day doing Chloe’s challenge with HIIT routines incorporated is around 125-135bpm according to my Apple Watch. True, this could be because the non-HIIT videos bring down the average, but I guarantee you I rarely worked so hard before because I tried to conserve energy to get through all the videos.
Today, I just went for it. My average heart rate was 152bpm. I had to stop and collapse a few times to catch my breath or drink water, but I kept telling myself that if it’s only 20-30min, I can go hard for that amount of time.
I used to think that my aim should be to work my body just enough so that it felt like it was a bit difficult, but not enough so that my expression contorts and my eyes and teeth clench shut and I cry out and hold my breath then pant at how much I’m struggling. After all, the YouTubers leading the workout look like they’re breathing just fine and their expressions barely change from a smile; if I wanted bodies that looked like theirs, shouldn’t my perceived workout intensity match theirs too?
For some reason I thought that they were able to look pretty and smiley during the exercises, so I should do that too. I now know from watching Natacha’s videos that it is not normal to look like the workout isn’t very challenging and still gain results.
Today, I did all of the ugly-exercise expressions as I pushed myself. I went faster than Chloe’s speed wherever I could, and worked to what I felt like was my max for every move I did. I feel so proud of myself. I had no idea my body could do all that.
I loved the pushup with shoulder tap or pushup to side plank moves because I was able to practice my pushups. I even loved the up and down planks at the end. My arms were shaking by then but I didn’t give up like I usually would if I felt like it was getting a bit too much.
If this is what I can do on a groggy day, I am excited to see how far I can go on a day where I feel energised. Having exercised, I now feel more awake, more alert, more energetic… I feel great. It was definitely a good workout.
That being said, I definitely need that rest day tomorrow. My body needs it. I may do some stretches with Pamela, but otherwise I’ll be reading on my recliner and eating mangoes. I’ll leave you with these two gems from today:
Left is during, right is after my workout. Mouth open in both because heavy breathing. I sent the picture on the left to Jacky when he messaged me halfway through. He said it looked like a ransom photo hahaha.
8/5 – Day 7: Rest day.
I just rested my body today :)
8/6 – Day 8: Completed 10:47.
Videos done: Ep 2. 10min Abs, Ep 4. Lower Abs.
Honestly today I wasn’t in the right mindset I think. It’s so interesting how a trivial snide remark spoken non-maliciously can still have such a detrimental effect on one’s mentality for the next however-many-hours.
It is my responsibility to not let it get to me, but in the immediate aftermath, it still ended up being difficult to push myself this morning. My workout was okay, but I lacked the enthusiasm I had in the previous days.
I think my preference would be to exercise alone so that I can really concentrate hard on working my body to build strength, but I do appreciate having others there for support too. Flora said she prefers to exercise with me, so as long as our schedules align I’ll continue to try and workout with her for the time being. If it gets distracting, I’ll go back to exercising alone.
Tomorrow is a new day!
8/7 – Day 9: Completed 10:47.
Video done: Ep 3. Cardio Abs.
I just realised today I finished the workout at the same time as yesterday! I’ve been waking up a little later than usual the past few days (9:15am as opposed to 8:30am) and I don’t know if that’s just because my body needs more rest from how much I’ve pushed myself in workouts or what. Either way, it means that I’ve been completing my workouts later than before.
This morning I exercised with Jon as Flora had to leave, and I’m happy to say I worked hard! My average heart rate was 146bpm and for some of the moves I counted 50 reps in 45 seconds, so yes I was definitely working harder than Chloe at times, but I didn’t need to conserve energy to finish the entire thing to lead others so I was able to just die on the floor afterwards as necessary haha.
I still did push up practice, and this morning I was able to do 2 full range, good form, elbows-in, knee pushups. I also did 3 poor form ones in the same set but I know I was just arching my back to bring myself up for those, so they don’t count.
Good form is super important to me now, so even if I can do 5 more reps, if they’re done with poor form, I don’t count that as success. I’m such a weakling haha. But it’s okay because that’s what all this exercise is for! I will take it slowly and gain strength over time. Today I’m thrilled I was able to do 1 more rep than last week :)
Finally, I love ending my workouts with Pamela’s 15min stretching video and wholeheartedly recommend that to anyone with any degree of flexibility, because Chloe’s stretches just don’t do it for me haha.
I’ll continue this challenge for at least another week, but I don’t know how I feel about just doing the same videos on repeat for too much longer to be honest. I feel like 30 days worth of the same few videos is a bit unnecessary, especially as I literally can’t get to fatigue for most of the moves anymore.
Flora told me she stopped finding them challenging from like day 4 but after I told her I was just increasing the intensity myself and using what Chloe did as a base, she started doing the same and found it much better after that.
However, this is supposed to be a workout challenge and I’m guessing it’s supposed to challenge my body rather than my patience, so I’ll probably start adding other videos into the mix. I know Chloe has harder workout challenges and I never expected to be so enlightened by Natacha on Day 2, so it’s definitely my fault for not thinking this one through haha. Glad we started it though, but please bear with me if we don’t technically ‘finish’ it!
8/8 & 8/9 – Weekend: Rest & Update.
My muscles are still aching from my workouts this week so I feel like I need a good stretch. On Saturday I basically fell asleep on the sofa at 9pm and aside from being woken around 10:30pm to be led sleepily to bed, I more or less slept until 8:40am for church.
I guess my body needs the extra sleep time to heal itself heh. I took these photos after I’d had a bit of food and my morning coffee, so I guess it’s better to compare these with the real ‘before’ photos.
I don’t believe there’s been a change in my waist measurement but my weight has fluctuated a lot this week. I was at 122.6lbs 2 days ago but this morning I’m at 123.8lbs, which doesn’t surprise me at all because I ate a lot yesterday. I’ve been eating intuitively this week so there are some days I feel hungrier and will eat more, and then some days I basically have one meal and a bunch of fruit because I’m just not hungry.
My weight fluctuates accordingly, so I don’t really care about my weight very much when I know it could just be from bloating from eating too much the night before, or it could be from water retention and extra glycogen surrounding my muscles after my workouts this week.
It could just be a part of my body figuring itself out because I under-ate and over-exercised a while back, and it needs to slowly increase my metabolism again to balance itself out. I’m also trying to build muscle these days so it could be that too; it could be due to a multitude of factors. I’ll monitor it just in case, because it could be that my current intuitive eating is causing me to regularly eat in excess, but these short term changes are not going to bother me.
Waist: 68cm (+ / – 0cm)
Weight: 123.8lbs (+0.8lbs)
In terms of physical changes, I don’t see much of a difference (though one of our church friends asked me on Friday if I’d lost weight – nope! Haha), and if anything my hips seem to have gotten smaller. Plus, if my waist measurement was 68cm after eating, then I imagine it would have been smaller beforehand.
8/14 – Friday. Incomplete.
This week has been empty because… I didn’t do Chloe’s workouts this week.
To be honest, I woke up on Monday and really didn’t want to do her workout at all. I just wasn’t excited at the prospect of doing the same 2 videos again, especially since this program literally doesn’t have any other ab videos for the entire rest of the program. I also wasn’t feeling my best, which just made me even less motivated to workout.
Many fitness YouTubers wisely said that exercise should be fun for you – find something you really like doing that is exciting for you. It shouldn’t have to be a chore. I really enjoyed both my previous Chloe Ting challenges because there was so much variety in the videos. This one was just not exciting me at all anymore.
It was also this week that I started seriously watching Greg Doucette’s videos, haha. Honestly my first impression of him was, “Gosh, this guy is loud and rude and crazy.” However, his Natacha Oceane video completely changed my mind and I found this guy hilarious. The fact that Natacha commented in agreement with him for a lot of things made me more trusting of his advice, and now I basically watch his videos daily.
I don’t agree with everything he says, I especially think his videos are not suitable for or applicable to anyone with an eating disorder, plus he does diss a lot of fitness YouTubers (Chloe included), but he typically speaks a lot of truth and also gives really great advice to your average Bob like me.
To be fair, I do think some of the diet/fitness advice Chloe gives is incorrect (i.e. one of the reasons I was inspired to start Intermittent Fasting was because of this video of hers but I found that not only did I did not lose weight from IF, it actually caused me to binge like crazy and I didn’t find myself less hungry either) but I realised that all YouTuber advice should be taken with a pinch of salt.
I still love Chloe because she was the one who motivated me to re-ignite my fitness journey when I was in a really bad place health-wise. I don’t need to listen to her diet or fitness advice to follow her workout programs anyway.
This week, however, I just really wasn’t feeling this program, so I think it’s time to drop it. Instead, I went for walks. Like, I really thought that cardio wasn’t such a big deal if I had Chloe’s workouts, but it turns out that cardio is still a really big deal.
Now I try to go out for a walk almost every day if I can, and if I wasn’t able to walk by myself during the day, I’ll have Jacky take a walk with me after dinner. I walked 10k+ steps on Tuesday, 6k+ on Wednesday, and almost 5k steps today (I didn’t feel well yesterday and was still recovering today, plus it was 43°C!!!). I also did some extra strength training on Wednesday and today because I wasn’t able to walk as much.
Lol, who knew that it’d take a middle-aged random dude calling me a moron and yelling that I’m fat enough already to motivate me to get off my butt and do cardio?
Other YouTubers: be kind to yourself.
Me: Hmmm… *next*
Greg: don’t be a moron and get your lazy fat ass off the couch and go for a walk! Walk harder than last time!!
Me: *subscribes and walks for an hour in the midday heat with a face mask on*
It helps that Flora also told me last week that if I really want to lose fat, I need to do cardio. So I guess everything came together this week. Jacky is very happy I’m going out and walking a lot because he had tried and failed to get me to go outside so much he’d given up trying.
This week I also started trying out some of Greg’s Anabolic Kitchen recipes and… well, I never thought that I’d be losing weight eating french toast and ice cream and pizza but here we are. I basically eat one of his recipes every day now.
I omit all of the sweeteners because I think everything is already sweet enough without extra sugar (this guy clearly has a raging sweet tooth and I do not) but I’m really tempted to buy his cookbook! Like, this is what I ate on Wednesday:
I made 4 slices but by the time I finished 2, I was stuffed. Like, I stupidly ate 3 slices on Tuesday and had to lie down for an hour because I was in such a deep food coma I physically couldn’t move. I learned well after that. Yes, I had it for breakfast 3 days in a row.
Total calories with my blueberries and golden kiwi and honey: 495cal of which 40% of it is protein. Recipe here. (Don’t come for me, Greg fans – I only need 1/2 tbsp honey for this portion size, which is only 30 calories! Let me live a little.)
I feel like I’ve eaten more sugar in the past week than I eat in a month, but I weighed myself this morning and I was 122.8lbs. Let’s see what I am on Sunday morning but if this is true that means I’ve actually lost 1lb.
Coach Greg gets his clients to give their median weight calculated between Tuesday – Saturday so I think I should track that for my fitness challenges moving forward, it makes a lot more sense anyway.
In terms of this challenge, I will post a final update on Sunday because the 1lb lost might be too good to be true (we’ll see on Sunday because my weight does fluctuate a lot like every human being), and then I think we’ll let this post end here… I haven’t figured out what I’ll do next yet, but when I do, I’ll definitely let you know about it! Thanks for sticking with me :)
End & Final Thoughts
8/16 – Sunday: Challenge Incomplete.
It’s official – I’m calling this one off early. I don’t have up to date waist measurements because I didn’t sleep well last night and by the time I remembered to measure myself or take photos, we were already well into the day, I’d already eaten a fair bit and felt bloated, so no photos either.
I did, however, weigh myself and apparently I am 123.2lbs as of this morning. It’s an improvement on last week, but apparently no change as of the start of this challenge. Mentally, though, I am in a much better place. I have learned a lot in the past couple of weeks and my attitude to fitness has changed immensely.
As well as eating more healthily (in my opinion), I’m now excited to do cardio all the time. Yesterday we went to Costco and even after getting back and putting all the groceries away I still had energy and wanted to go out for a walk. However, it was blistering hot outside so we eventually decided against it. I did clock up almost 7k steps according to my Apple Watch though.
Today, I cleaned the apt and when that wasn’t enough for me, I also did a couple of leg / glute workouts from MadFit and Pamela Reif. That’s right, I’m now a MadFit fan too thanks to non-Dr. Greg heh heh.
Thoughts on This Challenge
I still credit the beginning of my most recent fitness journey to Chloe, but I think I’m at the stage now where I need to push myself harder, and I need to see good form to get a better idea of what I’m doing (sorry – love you, Chloe, but sometimes your form really isn’t the best for me to copy!)
In terms of this challenge though, it really wasn’t for me. I really liked the variety of the 2020 Summer Shred Challenge, and her 2 Week Shred was what kick-started this whole thing in the first place, so I was still interested in doing those videos.
But this one was just a repeat of the same moves and videos, which isn’t really the most helpful in strength training if your body is already used to most of the moves in week 1. And in terms of cardio, going for a walk is enough.
Thoughts on My Body
In terms of getting abs, I think the most important thing for me throughout this Challenge was really understanding and coming to terms with the fact that a lot of it is genetics.
I’ve never had visible abs this side of puberty – I was born that way. I’ll need to lose a lot more fat before any abs would show through, and since you can’t spot reduce fat (you can only train your abs so that once you’ve reduced enough fat, you’ll have some muscles to actually show off) and my body likes to carry fat on my lower belly, I’ll probably not have ab lines for a very long time…
And that’s okay.
I have begun to develop a greater appreciation for areas I have been more genetically blessed in though! I’ve always carried a lot of fat on my butt. People go to the gym to grow their glutes – I’ve just always had lots of butt fat so I never worked them (not intentionally, at least – though, to be fair, I did squat a lot in badminton because I sucked so always played front court haha.)
My mum used to tell me off for having a large bum but now that the ‘thicc’ look is ‘in’, she’s congratulating me hahaha. It’s a shame this appreciation only came after I noticed my butt getting smaller due to fat reduction on my body as a whole. I do want to get more toned though so I’m starting to work my glutes too.
I plan to continue exercising for sure. I’ve already got a bunch of MadFit workouts lined up for the coming week and I am beyond excited to try them.
Maddie has a background as a professional dancer, and I naturally have a high degree of flexibility (touch my forehead to my shin? No problem. Do the front splits? Okay give me a sec to stretch my legs. Side splits? Can’t do them anymore but was able to just do them with zero stretching beforehand when I was younger. No grace though, so I quit ballet very quickly as a child) so I’m excited to try out her workouts and stretching videos.
In particular, because I can’t jump in this apartment, I love the look of her ballet-style workouts. They look ridiculously intense with zero jumping involved, and look like they’ll help to challenge my flexibility too. And did I mention this girl is an ARMY? I mean, I am not that big of an ARMY but this song still gets me excited.
I do still plan to document my fitness journey on my blog, possibly on a weekly-basis, so one fitness post per week documenting the workouts I did to see how it goes. I may sprinkle some Chloe videos in there too but I have watched a lot of her over the past few months so I’m not sure yet heh heh heh.
I do still kinda want to re-do her 2 Week Shred challenge at a later date, and who knows? Perhaps I’ll try another one of her programs later down the line.