By Hilary Sheinbaum
Not everything you see online is the real deal. Case in point: TikTok fitness trends.
One minute, you’re scrolling through your For You page and getting great advice from a certified expert. And the next video: an opinionated post — and rant — about an exercise that won’t ever do what it preaches. Oof.
Sometimes it’s easy to tell what’s complete B.S. And, other times, we wonder: could this miraculously be true?
Getting to the bottom of this, we asked TK of our favorite fitness coaches and instructors to talk about the workout trends they’ve seen on the app — the ones that work and the ones that, well, don’t.
Also known as the “mental toughness program”, this TikTok trend requires participants to follow a strict diet (no cheat days and no alcohol), workout for at least 45 minutes twice a day, drink a gallon of water daily, read 10 pages of nonfiction a day, take a cold shower for five minutes per day and take progress photos every day, says Carter Foxworth, a co-founder of The Works Cycle in Charleston.
“The 75 Hard Challenge is a no for me,” says Carter.
“I definitely believe yes, it’s important to move our bodies everyday, drink plenty of water, eat foods that nourish us, read and there are definitely benefits to cold showers, however the strict diet and progress photos are not something I stand behind.”
Carter adds that there are other ways to achieve desired results. “I have found in my body and seen in so many others that the results come without beating yourself down or adhering to these strict rules. When we can focus on the heart work and mentally challenging ourselves, everything else falls into place.”
During this trending exercise, there’s a series of plank-choreography strung together to the beat of a 15 second trending song.
It encourages users to try it themselves and take the challenge of planking and choreography at once, says Miami-based Sydney Miller, Founder of HOUSEWORK .
“I love the idea of a plank challenge and using choreography to make you feel like you’re dancing,” says Sydney. “It feels so much more mentally doable than holding a timed solid plank.
The hope is that concentrating on the choreography/music will make you maintain a plank longer and that’s why this trend works!”
Sydney has one hot tip to consider before partaking in this trend: ensure that the choreography you’re following is safe and accessible to your fitness level.
“Many of the plank challenges that have gone viral on Tiktok are often super fast, complex, and not doable for most people without a risk of injury,” she says.
“I’ve even struggled to maintain good form when recreating the popular ones! Plank challenges will only be effective if you are maintaining safe and proper form — engaged core, elbows right below shoulders, neutral neck/spine.”
“Of course everyone is not going to have the most perfect form when it comes to these challenges, but that is for the fitness professionals to use as a way to demonstrate proper form while showing their audience a good time,” she says.
“I am always finding ways to intertwine my passions for both dance and fitness. These challenges are the perfect combo of both.”
As the name suggests, doing 60 crunches a day for 12 days is what this TikTok trend is all about.
Australia-based Jacqui Kingswell, co-founder of The Pilates Class, says having a consistent routine that you enjoy and look forward to is the key to having a sustainable and well-rounded wellness routine, but variety is best.
“Setting goals and daily targets are great, but everyday is different, she says. “It’s important to tune into what your body needs on each particular day and mix up your fitness routine. That may be working out your abs one day and glutes the next or doing a high intensity workout when you’re feeling energized, and a stretch class when you need something more grounding.”
“Well-rounded and sustainable ab routines, coupled with a healthy diet are the key to achieving results.”
During a 45 minute walk, you’re practicing mindful meditations at the same time. Participants can listen to a podcast that makes them feel good (we suggest Lipstick on the Rim), a relaxing playlist, or an empowering speech — the only rule is to keep it happy and positive.
“This trend definitely works,” says Christina. “The 45 minute commitment can be tough, so adding the extra positive mindful mantras will help create positive associations with exercise. The more we like it, the more likely we are to do it and commit. If you finish feeling better, then consider it a win.”
With this informational insight, from here on out we’ll only be trying trainer-approved fitness trends.