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I Worked Out Like Dua Lipa For A Week — Here's What Happened

Ray Bass, NASM-CPT
mbg Associate Movement & Wellness Editor By Ray Bass, NASM-CPT
mbg Associate Movement & Wellness Editor

Ray Bass is the associate movement and wellness editor at mindbodygreen and a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Pennsylvania, with honors in nonfiction.

Dua Lipa over geometric background

Dua Lipa is a two-time Grammy-winning British artist whose synthy pop songs and sultry voice have gotten into our heads and made us all dance. Between taking home Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording, as well as a Brit award, Dua has (literally) had her hands full the past few months, including performances like her iconic duet with St. Vincent and her stage-stealing performance at the American Music Awards late last year.

As a fitness editor who has watched the "Electricity" music video dozens of times, I wanted to know more about (and try out) her workout routine. It's clear that she makes her health a priority, but how does she stay in such great shape while touring?

Unsurprisingly, Dua doesn't have a ton of time on her hands. While she loves to do yoga, pilates, and even boxing, those types of long workouts aren't always an option for her, what with being on a tour bus and having early wake-up calls. Instead, she swears by a good 15-minute HIIT workout.

"I love doing something that's really fast and quick, like a 15-minute HIIT session, which I can do before I start my day," she said in an interview with Viva. "If I've got a really early call time, I don't want to be waking up hours before I need to, to go and do a workout." Albeit short in duration, Dua's HIIT sessions make her feel grounded and ready for the day–which, given that we're all about the mental health benefits of exercise, we can get behind. She even told Vogue a few of her go-to moves: jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and burpees.

Being a ClassPass devotee, boxer, and runner, I was skeptical about how effective a 15-minute HIIT workout could really be. Could it leave me as stress-free as a long run or 60-minute class? I decided to give Dua's workouts a try for a week. Here's what happened.

The workouts

Given that Dua made no mention of equipment and spends most of her time on a tour bus or in hotel rooms, I felt it safe to assume that she does her HIIT workouts using only her body weight. I put together two circuits, each totaling 15 minutes, that incorporated her favorite moves.

Here's what they looked like:

Circuit 1 (repeat 3x through)

  • 1 minute jumping jacks
  • 1 minute high knees
  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 1 minute burpees
  • 1 minute bodyweight squats

Circuit 2 (repeat 3x through)

  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 1 minute pushups
  • 1 minute forearm plank
  • 1 minute bodyweight squats
  • 1 minute bodyweight lunges

These two circuits felt cohesive enough that if I alternated between them I wouldn't die of boredom or be focusing too much on one muscle group (the first being much more likely).


What happened

The first realization I had was that these workouts were harder than I thought they would be, and that makes sense. HIIT is not something I'm consistently integrating into my workouts, so my body wasn't used to it. The second realization was that one minute can feel way longer than the next, especially when you're doing an exercise you don't like–which, for me, is pushups.

That said, getting a workout in every day was incredibly gratifying, both physically and mentally. I woke up each morning not dreading my workout because, like Dua said, it would be over before I knew it. And because I wasn't doing something prohibitively intense that would leave me sore for days, I woke up feeling healed and energized, not sore and sluggish. In terms of the physical results, I did feel tighter and leaner but not wildly different. I find that whenever I start my day with a workout, I'm more likely to make healthier food choices that support my body, so that probably played a role in how I felt physically. In terms of the mental benefits, I started each day feeling accomplished and still energized, as opposed to some workouts that leave me feeling depleted.

The one downside is that I didn't find these shorter workouts to be quite as stress-relieving as more intense ones, but I feel noticeably better than I would have had I done nothing at all—which is a pretty incredible benefit to reap in just 15 minutes. I'm definitely going to work these circuits into my routine on days I don't feel like trekking to a class, or maybe even while I'm on vacation. So if you're wondering whether there's a case for the 15-minute workout, and whether or not you should give it a try, consider the case closed. I say go for it!

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