Why Lucy Wyndham-Read's 7-minute workout was the hit of lockdown

Too busy to exercise? Not anymore, with Lucy Wyndham-Read's 7-minute workout

A young woman exercises at home using a laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As fitness gurus go, a few names come to mind—but have you tried Lucy Wyndham-Read's 7-minute workout? The YouTube workout has racked up millions of views over the past two years, peaking when the pandemic shut down gyms all over the world, and the trend is not slowing down anytime soon.

Her 7-minute workout videos were the hit of lockdown workouts and views are continuing to climb even after the world has opened up thanks to her smart home workout tips and time-saving hacks.

Fitness trainer Lucy Wyndham-Read’s 7-minute workout surged in popularity during the pandemic, and her most-watched video helping people lose belly fat has had more than 100 million views on YouTube.

Lucy Wyndham-Read is the UK’s most popular fitness expert on YouTube, according to Ofcom. In their August 2020 Media Nation report, Ofcom confirms that the ex-army corporal’s page is “the most-watched British fitness channel,” mainly due to her 7-minute workout routines. Wyndham-Read’s channel has a massive 1.82 million subscribers and nearly 260,000,000 views.

So what’s pulling viewers into Wyndham-Read’s 7-minute workout videos?

The home workout requires viewers to devote seven days to a quick and effective 7-minute fitness routine. Wyndham-Read, a personal trainer of 25 years, claims you can lose up to one to two inches from your waist—as long as you follow it exactly and work on your nutrition. 

On the first try, you can see the lure of this exercise routine. After all, it’s just seven minutes—you can just about hard boil an egg in that time—which is super easy to fit into your workout schedule, leaving you a whole lot of space to complete your ever-growing to-do list. Yet, there’s not much you can achieve physically in seven minutes, surely? Or so you'd think! Turns out, thousands back Wyndham-Read’s quick and easy method and have witnessed real-deal results.

On YouTube, one fan writes: ”This is working for me at 60 yrs. I do three of her routines and am her biggest fan! Thanks for making exercise so much fun and easy to continue with... so inspired with the great results so far. Please keep the routines coming.”

The 7-minute workout confronts the idea that exercise routines need to be long and extremely tiresome to be effective. It is a deceptively challenging routine, featuring popular moves such as bear crawls, knee lifts, bicycle crunches, and more. Naturally, there are no rests, and, depending on your efforts, you’ll certainly see a spike in your heart rate. 

The workouts are accessible for all ages and abilities, so good news for those who haven’t spent lockdown far from the sofa.

How did Lucy Wyndham-Read start her fitness journey?

Despite the workout’s phenomenal popularity, Lucy Wyndham-Read is quietly successful. Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, she explains: “In the beginning, I would be lucky if I got 10 views. It took years to take off but I just never gave up.”

Clearly, consistency is key in more ways than one for the trainer, who launched her YouTube channel in 2012. 

“I remember uploading the seven-minute workout—I thought it was a good workout but it was just another standard video and never, ever could I have imagined this. Then I started noticing, 'wow, that’s getting a lot more views.' And then it just went viral,” Wyndham-Read explained.

Wyndham-Read’s journey to fitness success began after her husband was killed in a tragic accident. She told You Magazine that exercise helped her cope with grief: “I’d run for miles, and before anyone was doing HIIT [high-intensity interval training], I was creating my own routines in my barracks room. Exercise became a release, helping to lift the sadness that enveloped me. I slept better, it gave me a focus and it was time alone to come to terms with what had happened.”

It seems Lucy Wyndham-Read’s approach to exercise has helped many learn to deal with the uncertainty of the pandemic and conquer their fitness and health—even with just seven minutes of work!

L'Oréal Blackett

L’Oréal Blackett is a journalist, presenter, and magazine editor specialising in women’s lifestyle (BBC Radio, Bustle UK, Body Confidential, Daily Mirror). She also hosts popular podcast The Edit. Fuelled on coffee and a hip hop soundtrack, you can find L’Oréal sprinting a daily 5K or trying the latest HIIT class. L’Oréal also credits interviewing fitness guru Shaun T in his underwear (long story). She's currently training for her first marathon.