Watching this personal trainer is like doing a workout class with your BFF

As a personal trainer, I’m often asked, “How do you get your booty?” But exercise for me is about feeling good, not trying to be thin. A good workout for me is measured by how I feel afterward, not how many calories I burn.

That’s why I immediately liked QiQi, a certified personal trainer and the founder and creator of “The Qii to Fitness.” With almost 400,000 followers on Instagram, she’s making waves in the health and fitness world with her personalized style and down-to-earth approach to fitness and body image. Her focus is on working out to feel strong and healthy — she even wrote in her bio on Instagram that her thighs aren’t going anywhere!

I started following QiQi on Instagram and YouTube to put her training style to the test. Her workouts focus on strength training and HIIT to get your heart rate up and build muscle. While some exercises require workout equipment, others only need basic items to follow along.

She doesn’t use any special background songs or fancy editing to go along with the routine, which some people may not like, but I actually prefer. I could hear her breathing throughout the exercise, which encouraged me to breathe louder.

Related: When COVID-19 hit and the gyms closed, I decided to give P.Volve a try and recently tried an in-gym workout in my hometown of Chicago.

In addition to her workout routines, she also talks to you as if you’re best friends eating brunch together. In one video, she talks about weight gain in her own life and the weight gain many of us have experienced during COVID-19 all while eating her weekly French toast. A fitness trainer who publicly shares (and enjoys) brunch, complete with maple syrup? High five!

For this core workout, QiQi lead us through an every minute on the minute (EMOM) routine. First, we laid down on the mat and did half roll-ups for 20 seconds and then rested until we got to the next minute. The next exercise was holding in a boat pose for 30 seconds, and then rested for the next 30 seconds.

Holding a boat pose for 30 seconds is harder than it looks. (Courtesy Stephanie Mansour)
Holding a boat pose for 30 seconds is harder than it looks. (Courtesy Stephanie Mansour)

The third exercise was a dead bug, reaching the opposite arm and leg toward and away from each other for 16 reps, and then rested. Next up were crunches, toe taps and a variety of other exercises that worked the core.

I loved this quick workout because it was only 10 minutes, and QiQi talked to us before and after the routine to give us cues. I felt the burn in my abs, but wasn’t sweating too much.

This workout took a bit of creativity. Since I’m not going to the gym yet, I modified the exercises in my apartment. For the deadlifts, I held a broom. For the rows on the gym bench, I used my ottoman. And when it came to the walking and jogging portion at the end, I went outside to the park.

I love QiQi’s description of the workout and how she pays attention to form. Each move feels fresh and, for a newbie, it’s also helpful to hear which muscles each exercise works.

Broom or gym equipment? Same thing! (Courtesy Stephanie Mansour)
Broom or gym equipment? Same thing! (Courtesy Stephanie Mansour)

As a personal trainer, I am one of those people who has an exercise ball lying around so I was able to do this workout at home. I loved all four exercises in this routine and how she ordered them.

We started with pikes, forearms resting on the ball. Then moved to the ground, back up onto the ball and finally back onto the ground. Her routines are quick yet effective, and I repeated this one three times for 10 reps with each exercise.

OK, maybe everyone doesn't have an exercise ball at home, but I'd say it's worth it. (Courtesy Stephanie Mansour)
OK, maybe everyone doesn’t have an exercise ball at home, but I’d say it’s worth it. (Courtesy Stephanie Mansour)

This routine was all visual — so I would watch the exercise, then perform it. Take a pause and then watch the next exercise, and so on. According to the description of her four-week program, this is a good preview of what that’s like. She provides a video and explanation for each workout move, and the workouts are like a circuit moving from one exercise to the next.

As an experienced trainer and fitness professional, I love these workouts. However, if you’re a newbie to fitness or a HIIT rookie, proceed with caution. Doing these types of exercises requires focus, precision and a slow pace in order to maintain proper form without injury. Always listen to your body and remember that you know your body best. This HIIT workout is amazing to get your heart rate up and squeeze in a fast, full-body workout, but feel free to do the moves slower, eliminate the jumps and do push-ups on your knees if you need to adjust to your level.

Related: One fitness writer put the seven-day trial to the test. Here’s what she found out.

This workout really motivated me feel strong and empowered after I repeated it four times, like QiQi suggested. I love how she combined the moves so that I worked on cardio, building leg muscles and strengthening my core all at once.

This video was similar to the other HIIT circuit except it was filmed outside. (I was too lazy to head outdoors to do this one, plus, I had already gone on a one-hour walk and wanted to stay inside in my air conditioning!) There are only five moves, but they’re all complex exercises which means they work multiple muscle groups.

I technically did the outdoor exercise inside, but that's OK too. (Courtesy Stephanie Mansour)
I technically did the outdoor exercise inside, but that’s OK too. (Courtesy Stephanie Mansour)

If you’re ready to commit to four weeks, check out the high intensity interval training program for $30. There are three workouts per week that only take 20 minutes to complete. The guide is for all levels, and it also includes a simple grocery list and general nutritional guidance.

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