Fitness: Caroline Girvan’s Beginner Epic – Round 1

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*GASP* what’s this? Could it be? A non-Chloe workout?

Now before we all freak out, let it be known that I am still a massive Chloe fan. BUT after reviewing all of her programs, I just can’t see a suitable new one to do in these two short weeks before her new program launches.

I was debating between the 2021 WLC or the 2021 2WS (or any of the 2 Week Shreds) but honestly both looked a bit too long/intense for me. An average of 35-45min/day is just a taaad too much, and the older 2 Week Shreds sometimes go up to 60min in one day excluding warm up/cooldown and have 6 days’ of workout in the final week.

Not to mention I’ll never finish the 2021 WLC in time, and the website doesn’t exactly allow you to pause, do another challenge in between, then return to where you started. So I decided to try something different during these two weeks.

I’ve had my eye on Caroline’s Beginner EPIC series for a while and they never seemed to be a good fit for me. I wanted a longer program than 5 days, and they also seemed too difficult for me. But now that I’ve been back into fitness for a bit I figured I could give it a try. Plus, being only 5 days is perfect for what I’m looking for right now.

My schedule is 5 days on, 2 days off – working out daily during the week and resting at the weekends. I can do two rounds of this before the new challenge starts, and it should help to prepare me for the new weighted program. So, this post will be my first round attempt at Caroline Girvan’s Beginner EPIC. Let’s go!

Round One

2/28: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 2 – Completed 17:25.

I don’t have words to describe my pain, so here’s a photo representation of how I feel right now:

Yes. It was taken after my workout today. I woke up late, feeling hella groggy and was honestly considering just not exercising. But I wanted to workout. I promised myself I would workout every weekday and rest my body at the weekends. So in the afternoon, I just went ahead and did it.

Yesterday Chloe absolutely kicked my butt and my lower body is just downright hurting, so I was absolutely not about to do Beginner EPIC Day 1 today, since Day 1 focuses on lower body. I still kind of enjoy having the ability to walk. The ability to raise my arms, however, was one I foolishly had not prepared to lose.

I really enjoyed how much this workout pushed me and pushed my arms. I love that it prepares my body to do actual pushups by getting my arms used to having the weight of my body being placed upon them in a less intense way than just pushups.

I felt my arms shaking multiple times. I could not do the full 45sec for a lot of the movements but I pushed myself hard. It was a very enjoyable workout and I am amazed at how well it worked my upper body. I definitely felt the progressive overload, but let’s be real here, after a certain point it was just pure overload.

I really liked that she had us repeat the cobra pushup multiple times in this workout. I feel like I went through 5 stages of strength training though it: pain, failure, more pain, improvement, back to pain. Yes, those are of course the legitimate, scientific stages of strength training because I am of course a fitness expert. Of course.

My form was decent for the most part, but wow were my partial pushup attempts weak. Also at one point my husband came in and declared that my cries of pain sounded like I was giving birth, so that happened. I also could barely lift up my phone afterwards, yay.

I am very much looking forward to doing this video again next week to see if there’s any improvement. I had a big bowl of lactose-free greek yoghurt with fruit after my workout, hopefully some of that protein will help with my major muscle tears today. I am not looking forward to moving tomorrow.

3/1: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 1 – Completed 11:30.

Despite having just started this series of workouts yesterday I am certain that my enemies have conspired together with Caroline to break my legs. Never mind that she posted the video 1.5years ago. They have clearly been patiently biding their time until I fell into their trap.

Today was very much a < Caroline: 1 – My Legs: 0 > type of situation. I took multiple, multiple breaks and fell on the floor more than a few times. I cried out in pain, I couldn’t even get through the second exercise and I literally– I mean– Look, not gonna lie, I think Satan himself must have been working with Caroline because I can’t think of any other reason for her to have put Bulgarian freaking split squats so deep into the workout.

I can’t do Bulgarian split squats at the start of a workout on a good day. Caroline decides it’s appropriate for half way through when I can already barely stand. Caroline, please. But you know what’s worse? That she immediately decided to start doing single legged squats on a chair.

Here is a screen grab of my live reaction for when I saw that exercise, followed by vehement shaking of my head and the words, “Are you joking?”:

My expression got better when she started doing them upside down (in a bridge). Lol. Honestly I always wanted to work my hamstrings and wow did my hamstrings get a workout. In fact, wow did my entire lower body get a workout today.

I woke up and my arms were already in so much pain, but my legs were a little more recovered. I can’t quite imagine how bad tomorrow’s ab workout will be to be honest. I’m going to need a wheelchair. I regret living in a condo with 3 levels.

All my complaining aside, though, I honestly really enjoyed the workout. Many of the exercises were novel to me and man did my body feel it. I was excited to work my hamstrings, as painful as it was. I appreciated her form tips. I felt challenged and can easily see myself growing muscle from this because the progressive overload was intense. I couldn’t even do the sumo squats at the end without falling over.

I’m very excited to try this one again next week. It was insanely tough, but also very rewarding when I was able to push my body that little bit more. I counted how many reps I was able to do and there’s still a decent discrepancy between my left and right side. I’m looking forward to gaining a bit more balance.

I’m already committing to do Chloe Ting’s new challenge next, but when I’m between challenges again I definitely want to come back to this.

Please enjoy my post workout forlorn face.

3/2: 5min HIIT Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 3 – Completed 17:45.

Ugh. What a poor workout. I haven’t felt this weak in a while and just so many things went wrong with today’s workout. Firstly, you’ll notice the completion time is pretty late in the day. There goes my aim to exercise in the morning!

I’ve been ridiculously busy with work lately and ended up working til like 2:30am and only managed to sleep around 3. Usually the latest I sleep is 1:45am so I was already pretty tired, but that was exacerbated by my cat waking me up at 8am. I’m amazed I even managed to get a workout done at all, to be honest.

I was just too tired to exercise in the morning, and then after a few hours of work I was finally feeling motivated and strong enough to do my workout. That’s where I made the mistake of deviating from my tried and true warm up and trying Caroline’s warm up instead.

On a good day, maybe I could have been fine. But today it was just way too intense for me, and didn’t fully help me warm up because the too-much-too-soon caused me to go slower than usual because I couldn’t do it. It also didn’t allow me to stretch out muscles that I really needed to stretch, so I had to modify a lot of the moves and change some of them entirely, but even that didn’t feel like enough.

Overall, just not the best way to motivate me into an EPIC day when I was already feeling weak. Subsequently, I don’t think I was able to even do the first exercise properly because the bringing your arms above your head and back down again movement was causing my shoulder joints to click uncomfortably (not to mention my arms were still sore from Monday’s workout). My mental fortitude just dipped from there. It just felt awful.

For a lot of the exercises, I didn’t feel it in my core. Caroline uses a much wider range of motion than what I’ve done before, so it’s likely that my body, not being used to this, was trying to compensate by using other muscles. Plus the joint clicking was not fun. By the time my arms had swung back down to push through my abs, I’d become way more focused on how uncomfortable the exercise was to engage my core. I wonder if it’ll be better next week? But at the very minimum, I don’t plan to do her warm up again.

I am still glad I did the workout though. Go me, I’d say.

3/3: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 4 – Completed 15:35.

Okay this one I also wasn’t able to do in the morning, buuut… it was just so much better than yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it feels like I managed to do given I only got 6.5hrs sleep the night before (thanks, cat) when usually I can’t function on less than 8hrs.

Firstly, I went back to my MadFit warm up, which got me invigorated and ready to go. It’s literally the perfect warm up for me – stretches and warms up every part of my body and progresses exactly as my body feels like it needs to be stretched next. She did a great job on thinking this through.

I was worried that exercising so soon after I finished eating, but it wasn’t bad at all. I was able to push much harder than yesterday. I used my 5lb dumbbells, and while some of the moves felt a bit easy, some were like ahhh painnn lol. My form may also have been a little off for some of of them. Half way through I felt like the lower right side of my back was hurting. I had to stop and stretch it out for a bit before altering my form and carefully continuing.

Oh, and aside from my abs, everywhere else was still sore. I just kept feeling like my body needed some time to rest, so perhaps Caroline is a tad too intense to go 5 days straight. Overall though, I liked this workout a lot more. I enjoyed the movements and the variations. I liked the full body aspect. and felt like I got a really good workout.

Overall, much happier with this one methinks.

3/5: 5min Warm Up, Beginner EPIC Day 5, 15min Stretch & Cooldown – Completed 17:55.

Exercise yesterday was a big fat nope from me. In fact, the entirety of yesterday was a big fat nope. I was complete and utterly exhausted, having been lacking in sleep over the past few days and just generally experiencing my body protest at staying awake, let alone move.

I decided to rest, and later realised that my body had been crying out for rest because yesterday was already my 5th day in a row working out (because I finished my Chloe Ting Challenge on Sunday). Suddenly, it all made sense. I am exceedingly glad that I didn’t bother to even try to push my body.

Today, I still didn’t feel well rested, but I had significantly more energy. I was looking forward to finishing the final video and I am really glad I did. As difficult as it was, I felt amazing being able to complete it! I worked hard and, despite a few additional rests, still felt much stronger. Case in point: I was able to do the burpees properly!

When I realised Caroline put in a 30 second break after each set I was thrilled. It just encouraged me to work harder. I was able to sustain a HR at over 170bpm for a decent amount of the workout and my average HR was 158bpm. Not a record, but clearly I was able to do far better today than some of my other workouts this week. Looks like my body just really needed a break.

Jacky joined me today and was jokingly furious that Caroline looked like she wasn’t suffering at all when he was barely able to breathe haha. He did really well given that he doesn’t regularly exercise! He almost quit at one point because he felt like it was just too intense, but in the end he sat out for a short while and joined straight back in.

He did so well! I know for a fact that I would have struggled a lot more if I hadn’t already done days 1-4 before this. All those cobra pushups indeed prepared me, and all those lunges helped me build up a little more strength and stamina. I’m impressed with how well we both did! We both feel very exercised today haha.

This week was great fun. I’m glad I’m back on track after taking a rest day yesterday. I’ll rest again tomorrow, and re-do this starting on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge (except day 3) and am looking forward to seeing if I do any better next week.

Muchos love,


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