(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Series: Chloe Ting

Where You Can Stream It: YouTube

The Pitch: Pint-sized (she’s only 5’1!) but remarkably strong fitness vlogger Chloe Ting guides you through a series of free two- to four-week workout programs she calls “challenges,” which are made up of a combination of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and pilates, to “help you get closer to those defined abs.”

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: I’m the last person to willingly work out. During PE in school, I was one of those who would rather walk around the track than run the mile. I avoid the gym (unless it’s a yoga class) like the plague. But four months into quarantine, and on my second meal of ramen that week, I was starting to feel the weight I had put on by not stepping outside in days. I had actually begun quarantine with a goal to be productive, and one of those goals was fitness — I had even researched a few fitness videos on YouTube and watched them wistfully while lying on my couch. But after going through several videos by Chloe Ting, the most popular fitness vlogger in lockdown thanks to a viral TikTok trend, and thinking, “I could do that,” I decided to suck it up and do her fastest two-week workout, during which I found out that I could, in fact, not. But three days away from finishing her “2 Weeks Shred,” I find myself feeling the impossible: motivated to work out and excited to try more.

Based in Australia, Chloe Ting is a Brunei-born fitness influencer who has been posting workout videos for the past two years, but she really blew up with the “2 Weeks Shred” program, which featured a video somewhat optimistically titled, “Get Abs in 2 WEEKS.” Ting doesn’t promise that you’ll get the same carved abs that she has (which she achieves through a combination of her workouts, cardio, and lifting), but there’s a chirpy, can-do attitude to Ting’s videos which make you believe, maybe you can.

But Ting’s cheerful greeting, in which she always declares “let’s smash this,” gives way to relentless pain, as her simple-looking exercises — which range from squats, to burpees, to bicycle crunches, and (the bane of my existence) up-and-down planks — hit you like a truck within the first three minutes. Her videos are often 10 to 15 minutes long, consisting of exercises done in 30 to 50 second intervals with five second breaks (which she sometimes skips, to my torment). While they’re not challenging for fitness enthusiasts, many of whom have taken to criticizing Ting recently, and they do get repetitive after a while, they are a perfectly challenging but achievable set of exercises for beginners like me.

Best of all, they’re free. Ting uploads several videos a month, most of which are part of her free programs listed on her website which target specific parts of the body. I recommend following one of those programs instead of just doing her “Get Abs in 2 WEEKS” video for two weeks straight, and getting disappointed that you don’t have abs.

I don’t expect to have abs after her two-week shred. Ting, despite her enthusiastic video titles, doesn’t promise any miracles either, with most of her videos coming with a disclaimer that one cannot expect to see results by just doing the exercise alone. But neither did I expect to become so motivated to work out every day that I would begin to peruse other Ting videos to plan my next challenge. Ting’s cheery attitude and gently encouraging tone in her videos have made me feel affectionate toward her (maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome, because she put me through so much torture, maybe not) and even a little protective. She’s not an expert fitness trainer and she doesn’t offer the most intense workouts, but she does offer them for free and with a smile.

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