I’m going to try to wade through the sea of gimmicks and false promises to see which ones come out on top – or in reality, the ones I’ll actually want to do more than once. And there seems to be an obvious place to start: Jillian Michaels. She’s the trainer you love to hate, but the one that hates you enough to love you back. You may have seen her on The Biggest Loser for the past gazillion seasons and she also happens to have five out of the top ten best-selling workout DVDs on Amazon. Who knew? Well, probably most of you, but whatevs. Let’s get down to it with her flagship workout: 30 Day Shred.
The Basics: This is a pretty low maintenance workout. You just need some hand weights and a mat. Also, the DVD costs less than ten bucks. Now you can splurge on that overpriced workout top you had your eye on.
The Workout: Jillian wants you to feel like you are going to die. She said it, not me. And she’s not kidding, this workout packs a serious punch – pun intended? It’s broken down into three self contained levels, each one about 25 minutes (closer to 30 with warm ups and cool downs.) Each level is broken down into three segments, and each segment divided into circuits. This description is quickly turning into some math lesson I didn’t pay attention to in high school. Anyway, this is supposedly her exclusive 3-2-1 system of strength-cardio-abs. Whatever. I like the segments, they help break it up and move this quick little workout right along.
The moves are easy to follow and Jillian is even kind enough to offer the exercise newb adjustments to make things a little easier, until one is more adequately “shredded.” Donning shorts and only a sports bra so you can’t ignore her abs, she explains that the moves combine muscle groups so you’re burning more calories at once. She uses her two faithful servants to demonstrate the moves and also illustrate how awesome you can look if you just work out hard! Sorry, I’ll never be the 5’11” Amazonian with legs up to here, but thanks for trying to encourage me, Jill! Niceties aside, expect more of the Jillian you know and love, the one reminding you that you won’t get results by “phoning it in at the gym” (how does she know I do this?!) And that you aren’t allowed to take breaks during a twenty minute workout, okay? So grin and bear it. And that is just what you’ll have to do. By the time you get to levels two and three the intensity is kicked into high gear. With moves like mountain climbers and walking planks, my heart rate was sky high and I was dripping more sweat than Whitney Houston in concert.
The Bottom Line: I love this DVD! The price is right and the short intense workouts are awesome. Jillian does a pretty good job of keeping you moving and engaging you and I found that her “no excuses” rants actually helped me work out harder. While this tough love approach may not be for everyone, it’s a helpful reminder that working out hard has its benefits. I’m not sure if I would do the whole 30 day thing, but it would be a nice addition to running or the elliptical. I’d love to hear if anyone has actually done it for 30 days. I’m sure you’d feel pretty awesome. Bottom line, I’m definitely keeping this in the rotation. We all need a little voice in our head to kick things into high gear sometimes, and Jillian’s sounds pretty good. Even when she’s yelling.
I should probably note that I am in no way a fitness expert. I’m also not affiliated with Jillian or any other exercise person/method/etc. I’m just a girl who is trying to burn off the fro yo I ate last night.