Home workouts for the busy student


Graphic illustration by Claire Chiu

Workouts from popular fitness trainers Mary Helen Bowers, Pamela Reif and Chloe Ting and their rating out of five stars.

Claire Chiu, Writer

Quarantine has made it easy to succumb to a sedentary lifestyle and put off exercise. Scrolling through some old pictures made me realize how out of shape I was. I found a convenient solution to this problem to be Youtube indoor workout videos. I convinced myself to commit to exercising for at least an hour a day, and, after experimenting with top videos from popular fitness trainers Chloe Ting, Ballet Beauty and Pamela Reif for almost two weeks, I’ve found my groove with exercise at home.

Chloe Ting is a popular fitness trainer whose quick rise to fame came after several of her videos promising fast, drastic results were deemed effective by teenage girls across the internet. Her most popular video is an abdominal muscle toning challenge guaranteeing defined abdominal muscles within two weeks of training. To put her claim to the test, I decided to attempt the challenge myself, and I continued for 10 days. 

The workout was as rigorous as I expected. For someone whose core is the weakest of their major muscles, it was especially difficult to keep up with the video’s steady tempo and still perform each movement properly. In fact, I made modifications to one or two movements and took a water break during the workout. Even with these changes, my shirt was soaked by the end of the video. 

The day after was brutal too; my muscles were sore and left me a tad paralyzed. I’m not sure if abs can form after two weeks of training, but a flat stomach is definitely achievable. The length of the workout is also convenient for students to do during short breaks in their schedule. This video definitely works; albeit to get abs, one would need to also put themself on a leaner diet at the same time. The workout is rewarding, as you can see progress within a small time period; I personally wouldn’t do this video everyday because it’s very tiring, but I would recommend it to others. Overall, I would give this video four stars out of five for difficulty, three stars for sustainability and two stars for viewer engagement. 

Ballet Beautiful is a program by professional ballerina Mary Helen Bowers. The videos take their inspiration from classic ballerina physique and exercises that dancers use to stay in shape. Evidently, I am no ballerina,  so just reading that part had me bracing myself for the torture — I mean workout — to come. For context, I did Ballet Beautiful simultaneously with the other workouts in this review, essentially taking on a triple load. 

In particular, I chose Ballet Beautiful’s intensive thigh slimming workout. From the start, the pace of the workout was very fast and it wasn’t long before the lactic acid kicked in. Not only that, but I had to perform eight minutes straight of exercise on one leg before switching to the other side. In general, the movements were easy to do, but the number of reps required per leg, all without breaks, was simply unforgiving. “No pain no gain,” I guess. 

My advice — plan for your legs to feel like jelly for at least two days after completing the workout. This was a difficult video that I would only recommend for anyone who meets a basic level of fitness. Naturally, as the body becomes accustomed to the strain, the workout gets easier, but before that, it’s basically the closest thing to hell on earth. I can’t yet visibly tell if my thighs have lost a few centimeters, but I can definitely feel that my thigh muscles are stronger. This video scores five stars for level of difficulty, two stars for sustainability and two stars for viewer engagement.

Pamela Reif is another popular fitness trainer known for incorporating fun and music into her workouts. For her review, I attempted a fun 15-minute dance workout to switch things up a bit. The video itself was very engaging, and I enjoyed the upbeat pop music playing in the background. Having music on while working out was definitely a morale booster. 

I would describe the difficulty of this happy dance workout as beginner to intermediate. It doesn’t give a terrible burn, but it will definitely have you sweating by the end of it. The moves are easy to replicate and are adjusted to match the vibe of each song. For those new to fitness training, Reif’s video may be a great introduction to exercise. Overall, I would do this video again; it’s perfect for everyday exercise that you can squeeze in between study sessions. This video gets one star for difficulty, five for sustainability and four stars for viewer engagement. 

Through the ten days of testing out these videos, I’ve come to understand what workout works best for me and gets me going. In truth, these videos all have different effects on different body types and people. Out of all those workouts I tried, I like Ting’s workout the most for its promising results.