I worked out like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle for two weeks - and Markle's routine is better
- I tried workouts inspired by Kate Middleton's reported routine for a week and workouts inspired by Meghan Markle's routine for a week and then compared the two.
- Middleton's fitness routine is reportedly a mix of cycling, yoga, and a lot of core-focused exercises.
- Markle's routine consists of pilates exercises, workout DVDs, and strength training.
- After following these workout plans, I confirmed my dislike for running and felt very sore.
- If I had to choose between the two workout plans, I'd pick Markle's because I found it to be more doable for the average person and more fun than I imagined it'd be.
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Both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle seem to be in killer shape.
I'm always looking for ways to spice up my personal workout routine, so I decided to spend one week training like Middleton, then a week training like Markle.
I couldn't find a clearly defined workout plan for either of them, so I devised my own adapted version of Middleton and Markle's gym routines based on the type of exercises each of them seem to favor.
Keep scrolling to read what it was like working out like Middleton and Markle for a week each, plus which routine I preferred.
Day one: I started my experiment with a Middleton-inspired routine.
According to a 2016 report from the Daily Mail, Middleton enjoys yoga to "calm her mind and stretch her body" so I figured a 15-minute routine would be a great way to kick off this week.
I found a yoga video on YouTube that consisted of moves such as a downward-facing dog, standing forward bend, and reverse warrior.
Although my body felt stretched, it was hard to consider that quick routine a real workout.
Later that day, I went for a bike ride.
The Daily Mail also reported that Middleton loves cycling as a form of cardio.
Since I didn't feel like this morning's yoga routine was much of a workout, I ended the day with a long bike ride.
I enjoy going on a leisurely bike ride every once in a while, but I usually don't treat it as my main form of exercise for the day. By the end of my 1.5-mile (2km) bike ride, though, I was out of breath and my legs felt like jelly.
I underestimated how tough this bike ride would be.
Day two: I worked on my abs and did bodyweight exercises.
I woke up with sore legs this morning, which made me believe riding that bike was a tougher workout than I'd thought.
I decided I would focus on my abs today since, according to a Harper's Bazaar from 2019, Middleton is a fan of doing ab exercises on a stability ball. Luckily, I had one that I'd purchased years ago.
I wanted to choose exercises that targeted each part of my core so I did regular crunches, oblique crunches, and I attempted knee-tuck crunches on the stability ball, which were a bit of a fail.
I was quickly reminded of why I usually avoid using a stability ball: Any ab exercise performed on it is very challenging.
I did my best to get through three sets of 20 for each exercise and my abs were burning by the time I was done with my third set.
But day two wasn't over yet — I did some bodyweight exercises next.
A royal insider told the Daily Mail in 2016 that Middleton often does bodyweight exercises, so I knew I had to follow suit.
Once I was done with the ab exercises, I did a sequence of bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, jump squats, shoulder taps, and crab walks.
I challenged myself to do each exercise for 30 seconds so I could really get my heart rate up and feel the burn. I was panting after just the first round.
By the end, I was drenched in sweat and looking forward to a cool shower.
Day three: A Middleton-inspired run allowed me to enjoy the outdoors.
According to Harper's Bazaar, Middleton is an avid runner, so I laced up my running sneakers today and challenged myself to run for 25 minutes.
I didn't want to put pressure on myself to run a certain distance, so running for a specified time seemed like a better idea.
Since I'm not typically a fan of running, I sought outside assistance and downloaded a running app that talked me through the run to keep me motivated.
Between the app and my cardio playlist, I found a good pace and actually enjoyed this cardio session.
I was also happy with my choice to head out early in the morning because it made for a peaceful and quiet jog before the rest of my neighbourhood woke up.
Although I was originally dreading this particular Middleton-inspired exercise, I ended up really enjoying this time outside when I was just blasting some music and clearing my mind.
After my jog, I did a few more exercises to wrap up my routine.
Once I got back from my jog, I went right into doing some lower-body exercises.
The Daily Mail has reported that the Duchess of Cambridge favours squats and calf raises for lean legs, so I did bodyweight squats and calf raises while holding a dumbbell for an added push.
By the second set of these exercises, I was ready to throw in the towel. I pushed through a few more reps and then had to lay down to let my heart rate come down because this day's workout was a tough one.
Day four: I did another yoga routine to stretch my sore body and added some planks in at the end.
Today, my body was the sorest it's been all week so I opted for another yoga routine to help stretch my tired muscles.
This routine was similar to the other yoga one I did a few days ago, with moves consisting of a downward-facing dog and a few warrior poses.
I appreciated today's yoga practice more than I did the other one because aside from it feeling good to relax my body, I also used this time to quiet my mind and de-stress the same way Middleton reportedly uses yoga to relax.
To cap off day four, I did a plank.
According to the Daily Mail, one of Middleton's go-to exercises is the plank and the Duchess of Cambridge often incorporates the traditional front plank and side plank into her workout routine.
So, after my yoga routine, I attempted Middleton's reported variation of planks - holding each plank for 45 seconds or more and repeating the sequences at least 10 times each.
Since this was supposed to be a light workout day for me, I decided to hold each plank for 45 seconds and repeat the sequence twice.
Like Middleton reportedly is, I'm also a fan of planks because I love the feeling of all my muscles working together with this one exercise.
But as much as I love a good plank, I don't know how Middleton can supposedly hold that many planks back-to-back 10 times each. Holding each plank for a total of 90 seconds was enough for me to feel the burn.
Although it wasn't a strenuous workout day, my abs felt really strong.
Day five: My muscles felt much better today, so I was ready for another intense Middleton-inspired workout.
Since Middleton is also reportedly a fan of interval training - which is alternating between high-intensity exercise and recovery periods - I decided to turn today's run into an interval-training workout.
I started at a slow pace and then picked up the intensity to turn my jog into a sprint. I did that alternating pace for a minute, switching between a 30-second jog and a 30-second sprint.
I challenged myself to keep up these intervals for 30 minutes. I was pleased with how easy it was to create my own interval-training workout and I think it's a challenging yet doable routine for the average person to do on their own without the help of a trainer.
After 30 minutes, I did a slow jog home to slowly bring my heart rate down.
After that, I finished day five with some bodyweight exercises.
I was feeling ambitious today so, after my jog, I did some more interval training but this time with bodyweight exercises.
I set my timer for one minute to do 30 seconds of jump squats followed by 30 seconds of rest.
I repeated that circuit 10 times and was honestly feeling better than I expected to after that intense run.
Today consisted of more cardio than I'm used to but I actually didn't mind it.
Day six: My muscles were in pain after trying a CrossFit-inspired workout.
The Duchess of Cambridge is reportedly a fan of CrossFit, which is described as a strength and conditioning workout performed at a high-intensity level, as fitness coach Stephanie Mansour explained for NBC.
I once did a CrossFit workout with a friend and it was a grueling and intimidating experience so I'm impressed to learn that Middleton is reportedly a fan.
I used my 15-pound dumbbells for my CrossFit-inspired workout today that consisted of walking lunges, shoulder presses, push-ups, and dumbbell swings, which is hinging at the hips and swinging a dumbbell to shoulder-level height.
I did a few more moves before ending the day with a plank.
At this point, I felt like my muscles were fatiguing pretty quickly. After the first round of these exercises, I dropped my 15-pound weights and instead used the 10-pound ones.
I blasted some dance music and gave myself a pep talk to keep going. I complete four rounds of these exercises and then set my timer for 45 seconds to hold a Middleton-style plank.
I was tired but excited to see if I see I noticed any muscle definition by tomorrow, which would be the last day of my Middleton-inspired workout plan.
Day seven: The last day of this week-long challenge consisted of a run and a bike ride.
My muscles were relieved that this was the last day of the Middleton-inspired workouts.
I woke up sore so I let myself have a lazy morning, but decided to make this a cardio-focused day. By noon, I put on my sneakers and embarked on my last run of the week.
I challenged myself to finish strong and commit to a 2-mile (3km) run. After my run, I did a few stretches in my driveway before hopping on my bike to do a 1.5-mile (2km) ride. The run and bike ride combo was a great finish to this week-long challenge.
I was pretty tired from the week of workouts but excited to have a much-needed rest day before getting started with my Markle-inspired workouts.
Day one: To kick off the first day of my Markle-inspired workout routine, I did a Pilates-inspired workout.
Since I don't have access to a reformer machine, I got creative for day one of my Markle-inspired workout routine.
I ended up using sliding plates in my exercises to imitate the motion of the springs on the reformer machine.
I also did some Pilates-inspired moves.
Since I'd taken a Pilates class before, I already knew some of the exercises typically performed in one and decided to do a few of those.
To get a full-body workout, I did 10 sliding reverse lunges on each leg and 10 side lunges on each leg. The sliding motion in these exercises really made my legs burn.
After doing one set of each exercise, I moved on to work my upper body and core. To emulate a Pilates-esque core move, I put both my feet on the sliders and held a plank position.
From there, I lifted my hips and slid my feet in to bring my body into a pike position. I repeated that move 10 times and my abs were on fire.
I kept my feet on the sliders and, from there, I did one push up and then slid my feet into a tuck position to work both my upper body and abs at the same time. This move was brutal and I was only able to get through six of them before dropping to my knees for a much-needed break.
Day two: A hot yoga workout had me drenched in sweat.
I was really hurting from yesterday's intense Pilates routine so I decided to show my body some love with some yoga.
In 2018, Markle told Women's Health magazine that she's a big fan of Vinyasa-style yoga - a type of yoga that flows from one pose to another - especially in classes set to hip-hop music in a hot, candlelit setting.
I was excited to learn this because I'm also a big fan of hot Vinyasa classes.
To capture the intimate setting of a Vinyasa class, I turned off the lights, laid out my yoga mat, turned on my space heater, and even lit a candle nearby. I found a 50-minute yoga workout on Instagram that I did with soft hip-hop music playing in the background.
The routine was fast-paced and the yoga poses flowed quickly into one another. I did my best to not slip on my sweaty mat as I moved from warrior pose to downward facing dog to a plank hold.
By the end of the 50 minutes, I was drenched in sweat. I felt like I got a great workout in from this Vinyasa routine because it was nonstop and my heater helped crank up the intensity.
Day three: Today's lower-body workout was brutal.
Even though my body was sore, I was actually excited for today's leg and butt workout.
Craig McNamee, Markle's former personal trainer, told Women's Health magazine that Markle typically starts her workouts with dynamic stretching, which is stretching as you're moving.
Plus Markle is apparently a fan of incorporating a resistance band into her lower-body workout, so I dug my band out for today's routine.
Inspired by this info, I did knee-to-chest and high-kick stretches to warm up my legs.
I finished my day with more lower-body moves.
From there, I put a resistance band around my thighs and did squats for three sets of 10 each. My lower body was quickly on fire but it actually felt really good.
After the squats, I went into a plank position and did three sets of 10 leg lifts on each leg. I rested for a minute to catch my breath and wipe my sweat.
Then I laid on my back and did glute bridges. I really challenged myself to do the glute bridges slow and controlled to feel my muscles activating.
My legs were shaking by this point but, to finish this lower body routine and bring my heart rate up, I did 20 banded jump squats.
Once I finished the jump squats, I plopped down on my mat and couldn't move for a few minutes. I knew I'd definitely feel this tomorrow.
Day four: My legs were sore but I attempted to go on a jog.
I was so sore, but I felt like my butt was looking pretty toned - and this motivated me to finish this week strong.
Although I needed to give my legs a break today, I still wanted to get up and move. Since Markle once told Shape that she loves going on long runs, I opted for a light jog.
I was getting bored of these runs and my legs hurt, but I was still disappointed in myself because I stopped to walk a few times. I figured this was still better than nothing.
Once I was back from my jog, I took time to stretch and foam roll to relieve some of my soreness. I was pretty tired of running at this point and couldn't wait to take a break from it.
Day five: I followed an online workout that left me sweating.
I woke up feeling strong and ready to pick up the intensity again with this workout challenge.
I learned that the former Duchess of Sussex apparently follows exercise DVDs at home to self-motivate - so I did an online workout, which seemed like the next best thing.
The workout I followed was from one of the Rumble boxing gym's trainers, and it focused on some boxing-inspired moves.
The workout consisted of shadowboxing, plenty of push-ups, jump squats, and an intense ab routine toward the end.
I was drenched in sweat but very impressed with my stamina and how well I kept up with this 45-minute workout.
Day six: Markle's high-rep, low weight approach made my muscles burn.
According to Women's Health, when Markle weight trains she uses a high-rep, low-weight strategy and focuses on specific body parts, such as her glutes, back, hamstrings, and core for good posture.
For day six, I picked up my 10-pound dumbbells and did exercises that targeted those same areas. For my glutes, l laid on my back and did single-leg glute bridges on each leg. By the second set of 15, my glutes were burning.
I did one more set and then moved onto a hamstring exercise. With a dumbbell in each hand, I did deadlifts.
I usually do some of these exercises with heavier weight, but I have to admit that the high-rep, low-weight approach was tougher than I expected it to be.
After my last set of deadlifts, I gave my glutes and hamstrings a break and moved on to work my back. I did the same rep count as the other exercises for my bent-over rows.
To target my lower back, I laid on my stomach and did the superman exercise which is lifting your arms overhead and legs off the ground at the same time.
I finished today's workout by doing oblique twists, leg lifts, and traditional crunches to work my core. By the end of the workout, I was hurting a little but I felt satisfied with the work I did.
Day seven: My goal was to finish this challenge by getting in a 3-mile (4km) run — half of what Markle has said she typically runs.
In 2015, Markle told The Chalkboard that one of her favourite workouts is a 6-mile (9km) run with a friend. I'm nowhere near being able to run 6 miles (9km) but I wanted to end this week with a personal challenge.
Although I was really over the royal-inspired runs at this point, I forced myself to run for 3 miles (4km) around my neighbourhood. I headed out early in the morning before it got really hot out, which would only give me another excuse to cut my run short.
For this last run, I even made a special playlist to keep myself motivated. By the time my Apple watch clocked three miles (4km), I walked the rest of the way home.
It might not have been 6 miles (9km), but it felt amazing to push myself and accomplish something outside of my comfort zone.
After reflecting on the two weeks, I preferred Markle's fitness routine over Middleton's.
Despite feeling sore and tired almost every day during this two-week workout challenge, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the different exercises I tried.
With both routines, I felt the burn and I worked muscles I often don't focus on. I also went on more runs than I ever have in my life.
Middleton's routine pushed me out of my comfort zone - I don't typically turn to biking and running as part of my daily exercise, but it was nice to enjoy some fresh air and have a change of scenery. That said, her reported ab routine left me sore for days and it took me so long to get through that I don't think I'd do it again.
On the other hand, my Markle-inspired routine was even better than I expected.
Her love for hot yoga classes is right up my alley, so I enjoyed doing my own at-home versions of those workouts. I also found Markle's workout routine to be very doable for those who either belong to a gym or those who want to workout in the comfort of their home.
Her routine also inspired my own, and I plan to continue doing a few of her go-to moves moving forward.
Ultimately, after both routines, I felt strong and like I'd gained more stamina. Plus I think I looked more toned, which made me feel like these two weeks of soreness was well worth it.
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