(Disclaimer: I did not follow J.Lo's diet during this experiment. I'm not a sadist.)
Day One: J.Lo's Abs Circuit
According to J.Lo's trainer Dodd Romero, the actress has a pretty intense abs routine. That being said, I played soccer in college, have lifted a ton over the years and, ~not to brag~, but I've pretty much been an athlete all my life. TLDR; I was more than confident that I could handle the task, no matter how "hard." Psh.
So yeah, I thought I'd be fine. I was not fine. I didn't get past five or six reps of the hanging abs raises, which requires you to hang from a bar and lift your legs up to hip height using just your core strength, before I was severely struggling. (My! Abs! Were! *Burning*!) It's safe to say my expectations for myself being able to knock out a circuit J.Lo's been working up to for years were waaay too high, and so I reduced each set by 10-15 reps. Even then, I had to take long-ass breaks in order to finish the whole thing.
Basically, an abs routine that I thought wouldn't take me more than 25 or 30 minutes took me an hour, if not more...and I only did about half as many reps as J.Lo does on the reg. The next day, I felt like I'd been punched in the gut *multiple times*. It was only the first day of my exercise experiment, and thus far it wasn't looking good, lol.
Day Two: Intro To Pole Dancing
Kk, so we all know that J.Lo is pretty sick at pole dancing. She had to practice sooo much for her movie Hustlers (obv) and for her half-time Super Bowl performance. It was only fair that I, too, tried to pole dance, so I took my skills (or, um, lack thereof?) to Body & Pole located in Manhattan's Flatiron District (don't worry folks, this was all pre-quarantine!). One of the studio's own trainers, Irmingard Mayer, actually performed alongside J.Lo during the pole portion of her halftime show (goals). She said that training for the ensemble could only be described as intense.
That being said, Irmingard assured me that when it comes to beginner-level classes (I was enrolled in "Intro to Pole"), there was mostly a focus on basic body coordination like "figuring out your weight distribution and knowing how to engage different muscle groups," she explained. Okay!
Engage different muscle groups, I did. Me and my already-sore abdominals took to learning a bunch of different core-focused moves like how to sexily grind my body along the floor (hah), saunter around the pole (it's not intuitive, lol), and jump into an airborne "spin" around the metal bar then land gracefully on your knees. Was it easy? Nope. Was it fun? Very.
At one point in the class, I was asked to demo said aerial spin...in front of everyone. I did my best to channel J.Lo in all her Hustlers glory, but what really happened was that I wound up circling the pole with a cringe-y AF screech as my skin rubbed against the metal. My "jump" failed and my stomach hit the floor, making a ~loud slap noise~. I handle embarrassment like a pro, though, and I proceeded to loudly laugh in a not-at-all-awkward way while my face got super red.
So TBH, pole workouts are hard as hell. It def takes someone who is super-comfortable in their body to gyrate on a metal pole in front of strangers for a 90-minute-long class. It also takes a LOT of core and arm strength. Do you know how hard it is to hold up your own body weight? Hint: my body was *shaking*. I can't even imagine having to look sexy during this, too. I could barely crack a smile while the beads of sweat dripped down my face.
Day Three: Hot Yoga
When I woke up the morning after pole dancing, my abs were shot. They told me to lie TF down and go back to sleep. But alas, I had somewhere to be, specifically a hot yoga studio, since apparently that's what J.Lo does on her active recovery days.
I walked over to the Y7 Yoga Studio in the East Village and rolled out my mat to take a "WeFlowHard Vinyasa" session. I hadn't done hot yoga (or any kind of yoga) in years, but the Y7 studio itself was *chef's kiss* beautiful, and everything was decorated in an aesthetically pleasing black and white colour combo, so I felt very (breathe in) at peace (breathe out).
I entered the dark, hot, candle-lit classroom and the vibes seemed V chill. Everyone was lying down flat on their backs and just breathing. Kk, I could get on board with this. But then the instructor walked in and ran us through pose after pose while A Tribe Called Quest bumped in the background.
That. Sh*t. Was. Hard. My already-dead core throbbed with every chaturanga push-up. Downward dog felt like taking a knife to my hamstrings. But the part that was actually the hardest? Grappling with the fact that this was supposed to be J.Lo's "off-day" form of exercise. Hot yoga (for me) was easily the hardest workout yet!!! WTF!
That said, I walked out of the class Zen, at least. (I had no other choice. I could barely think, let alone move, lol). I woke up the next morning more sore than I'd felt in months.
Day Four: J.Lo TikTok Challenge
After three days of absolute intensity, it's safe to say that me and my abs needed a day to recoup. I looked in the mirror. Sadly, no six-pack yet. What could I do that would still give me J.Lo vibes but didn't make me, um, die? The answer: TikTok.
I was drawn to the #JLoSuperBowlChallenge videos gracing the app, which consisted of people trying to mimic one part of her "On The Floor" song during the Super Bowl routine—if you don't think dancing counts as fitness, watching J.Lo's halftime show will set you straight. There's a lot of jumping involved. A lot of hand-waving. A ton of cardio. I thought hey, I can do this! I'm in my 20s! Life's short baby!
Well, if anyone's ever tried to tell you that learning TikTok dances isn't hard, they're freaking lying to you. I. Was. Sweating.
TikTok is a skill. You have to practice the dance a million different times to make sure that you're doing the right moves and doing them on beat. I also attempted other "J.Lo TIkTok Challenges" that consisted of different moves, but they were even harder than the one I settled on, so I won't be gracing the internet with those cringe-worthy videos.
Basically, after about 300 tries and getting my boyfriend's 15-year-old sister to walk me through how to create video effects, I gave up and accepted that I'm not Charli D'Amelio nor will I ever be. My final product was pretty rough, but also #wholesome. Success?
Day Five: J.Lo's Abs Circuit Round Two
On my last day it was time for me to test out my abs one last time by repeating the circuit from day one. Would I improve?
I'll admit that I dreaded this moment all week, and the best way that I can sum up that final abs workout is as follows: It wasn't pretty. I was so sore from the previous days that I had even more trouble finishing this circuit than I did the first time. Mid-round two, I decided to just give up. I have nothing to prove!!!!
In conclusion, J.Lo's abs routine is very hard. I'd say it's actually near impossible, unless you have an abundance of time and money to expertly plan your workouts so you can train consistently enough to build her baseline of core strength. I have none of those things, but it's okay, being J.Lo for a few days was good enough.
TTYL my bbs, I'm gonna go plan my abs' funeral.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.