"It's actually quite nice to see a fitness influencer red and sweating"Posy Putnam

Much like many others, lockdown has been a period of relative inactivity for me. To go from cycling to and from Sidgwick Site most days a week (Seeley Library, I miss you!) and being an active member of my college boat club (did you know I row?) to alternating between my bed, my desk, and, if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, the sofa, is quite a shift. Whilst I am in no means a fan of my phone tracking my every movement, the fact that my step count is lucky to hit 2,000 a day is not a great sign.

I have flirted a bit with running in the past, and had tried to get back into it during lockdown, but after falling flat on my face and skinning both knees, I decided a new, safer alternative was needed. It was also the case that, as my sleep schedule was increasingly deteriorating, I wanted to explore workouts that could be done beyond the six hours of sunlight I was awake for. So, I turned to YouTube.

However, my foray into quarantine home workouts was not one borne out of any form of guilt. We’re living through exceptional times, as we are constantly reminded, so it’s so important to cut yourself, and your body, a bit of slack.

What motivated me was missing the feeling of properly moving my body, rather than being a few kilograms lighter. If you want to exercise – great! And if you don’t, feel free to read this in your pyjamas from the comfort of your bed – which is exactly where I am writing this.

Natacha Océane is an online fitness influencer, with 850,000 subscribers on YouTube and close to 900,000 followers on Instagram. Her accounts are filled with pictures and videos of brightly-coloured leggings and white, well-lit, minimalist backgrounds – with a few plants thrown in there for interest. In that sense, she appears to be your quintessential workout guru, with the requisite abs, tan and Gym Shark partnership.

"The exercises themselves were unique enough to be interesting"Posy Putnam

However, she does seem to make more of an effort to explain the science and logic behind her work-out programmes than some other influencers, and is clearly quite bright, with a genuine grasp on the subject – she has an MPhil in Biophysics from UCL.

Hence, Natacha Oceane’s “15 MIN HOME HIIT WORKOUT // No equipment, no noise, no impact” seemed as good a place as any to begin my journey into the rabbit hole of YouTube workout videos. 15 minutes felt like a doable length of time to commit to exercising for, whilst the promise of HIIT (high intensity interval training) suggested I would still be getting a good, tiring workout into that time.

Similarly, I had no exercise equipment (bar a yoga mat) on hand, and didn’t quite fancy alerting the rest of my household to my new exercise regimen through loud thuds and repeated jumping squats or burpees. Clearly, Natacha knew her audience when titling the video.

The workout itself was relatively simple – five exercises per set of the circuit, repeated three times. The exercises were timed, with forty seconds spent completing the movements, and twenty seconds of rest in between.

Although the exercises as they were listed in the description box - squats to opposite toe taps, chameleon sit backs with tap, lateral knee to squat, travelling bears to kick sits and curtsey lunge switches - seemed confusing, once we had gotten into it, Natacha was clear and precise, demonstrating each upcoming move during the twenty seconds of rest.

Before and after the workoutPosy Putnam

The exercises themselves were unique enough to be interesting, with no simple squats or lunges in sight, whilst still being familiar and doable – just! Natacha stayed silent during the workout itself, letting the surprisingly decent music choice be the only motivation. I might have liked a few words of encouragement at times, but, generally, the music was enough for me.

By the time I had completed the three sets of the circuit, I was drenched with sweat. The forty/twenty split meant that during the routine it was just about possible to continue, but when the 15 minutes were over, me and the floor of my room became well acquainted as I immediately decided to have a bit of a lie down.



Mountain View

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The workout was definitely more focused on the glutes and quads, with some core stability, and I could really feel the effects the next day. The 15-minute video didn’t include any warm up, warm down or stretching, but my first experience with the routine showed how much of a mistake it is to skip those parts!

After having extremely tight quads for two days afterwards, the next time I attempted the workout I spent a good five to ten minutes warming up beforehand (some jogging, high knees, jumping jacks and squats, before adding in a few dynamic stretches) and had a full cool down and stretch at the end. These additions made both the workout and walking up the stairs the next day far easier.

This is also the kind of workout that gets easier with time. For my first attempt, I had to take at least a minute’s break in between sets. However, the second time, I completed two sets before pausing the video, and the third time I got all the way through.

It’s okay to take it slow, and, in fact, Natacha says as much at the beginning of the video. It’s actually quite nice to see a fitness influencer red and sweating having completed the workout, and to begin the video by encouraging you to pause the routine if needed to catch your breath.

Is this 15-minute workout enough to compensate for 24 hours of inactivity? No, probably not. However, is it enough to leave you panting, sore and in desperate need of shower? Certainly. For a quick burst of activity, with some more unique exercises, Natacha has nailed this workout – just make sure you remember to stretch!