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The summer of Chloe Ting: How quarantine changed fitness for Mercer students 

Blossom Onunekwu (left) and Keyana Boone (right) get in position to perform squats in the UC gym.
Blossom Onunekwu (left) and Keyana Boone (right) get in position to perform squats in the UC gym.

In the early days of quarantine, Chloe Ting became a social media juggernaut. She skyrocketed to acclaim with her Two Week Shred Challenge, a fitness program promising ab development and weight loss in two weeks. Fourteen million YouTube subscribers flocked to Ting. 

TikTok’s #chloetingchallenge, which is composed of a host of sweaty post-workout videos, has been viewed upwards of 450 million times. The culture that developed around Ting’s workouts parallels the larger home fitness movement that began in March. Alongside at least 14 million others, Mercer students joined the home fitness craze that Ting represents. 

Whether trying to fend off boredom or to maintain a small piece of normalcy, fitness became a new priority.

In quarantine’s abundance of free time, senior global health and global development major Sally Deitchman committed to Ting’s Two Week Shred Challenge. For Deitchman, this meant working out with greater regularity than in a typical school year. 

“Following a regimen is what makes you have those noticeable results,” she said.

Deitchman praised the challenge.

“It’s really approachable,” she said. “You only needed an exercise mat and access to YouTube.” 

Although she enjoyed the challenge, Deitchman did have a warning.  

“Just because it worked for me doesn’t mean it will work for everybody,” she said. 

Instead, she urged fitness beginners to prioritize regularity and a sufficient diet to support their activity. 

Sophomore business major Emma Duncan and junior neuroscience major Theresia Jahja similarly worked out with greater consistency because of quarantine. 

As she added daily runs to her routine, Duncan transitioned from her “no pain, no gain” mindset to focus on “listening to your body and understanding you have to be a little nicer to it.” 

“For me,” Duncan said, “if I were only looking at the scale, I wouldn’t have any results. I was feeling so good, though.” 

Jahja adjusted her routine to include more frequent runs and high intensity interval training. 

For both Duncan and Jahja, fitness has become a way to feel good. 

“Exercise is a great stress reliever for me,” Jahja said. “It makes me feel better and more focused on academics.” 

Alexis Quarcoo, a senior marketing major, maintained a quarantine fitness routine that was comparable to her usual one. Quarcoo took advantage of existing online workout programs alongside the virtual content Orangetheory Fitness released.

 She said transitioning to online workouts was not entirely negative.  

“It’s helped me learn to be more adaptable and handle change more,” Quarcoo said. 

Because she continued her pre-COVID routine digitally, Quarcoo felt that she had very similar results. To get the best results, she encouraged beginners to “know their body type and what their body responds best to.” 

In the uncertainty of COVID, the Two Week Shred Challenge and similar fitness regimens restored a sense of normalcy by helping people maintain a schedule and boost their energy. Being part of a massive online movement towards home fitness was an unexpected bonus. We can thank Chloe Ting for that. 

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