Before and After the 30-Day Shred with Jillian Michaels
I Needed the Perfect Workout
I once considered myself athletic and often referred to my track days in high school to prove it. In college, a friend chuckled and said, “Ah, the glory days,” but I was still in my twenties, and knew that a jog around the block would get me right back into shape. Things changed when I hit mylate thirties and my son could outpace me on the way to school. Next thing I knew, the glory days are exactly where my athleticism went to die.
Since my son was born, I had a hard time exercising. For a year, I diligently met with a friend at Zumba, at least once a week. I was impressed with the boost in stamina and endurance I experienced. But when my friend found a new passion, it was harder for me to go on my own, and for my family to work around it. I considered at-home exercise regimens, but I knew those would require at least an hour’s time. I had tried committing time before. I woke up before my then-husband and son to drive five minutes to a gym, but when I got home, the house was in upheaval. It wasn’t convenient for my family to not have me there in the morning. Later in the morning proved impossible. My son was still clinging to my leg if I wanted to get the mail without him, so leaving him to work out was not going to work out.
I gave up the gym. I wanted to take walks or go running, but found that I had to schedule that time around other schedules, and it was more stress and resentment than I felt was healthy. It hardly seemed fair, but it’s the pattern I had let my family create. I needed to take the bull by the horns and follow the advice others have been giving mothers for years: Only you can take care of you. I soon got a kick in the pants, the hard way.
In the middle of spring, I became ill. It was debilitating, and for a few days, I had pain when I walked. I slept through an entire day, stayed awake for four hours, and slept again through the night. After getting well with the strongest antibiotics I’d ever taken in my life, I decided I needed to do more than chase my son around the house, pick up after him, cut out dairy, and walk from the parking lot to my office.
Jillian Michaels Inspired Me
I have a great friend who looks amazing, with arms any woman would kill for, and a figure that most forty-year-old women dream of having. She has religiously been following The Firm workouts for years, at least five times a week in the morning. Around that time, Groupon offered a complete The Firm set for $18. When I went to buy my own program, determined to carve out an hour for exercise, they were sold out. In reading the comments on Amazon, I learned more about Jillian Michaels than I did about The Firm. Afraid I’d lose my resolve, I made a decision.
Each workout was a short, sweet, and effective, 20 minutes. I could easily spend 20 minutes in the shower, so no matter what time of day, I could put in a 20 mi
What keeps you from starting a new exercise regimen?
I Needed Convenience
After pouring through reviews, I decided to start with what was most convenient. I had to admit to myself that to make changes, but I needed convenience. Yes, yes. There are plenty of speeches I could give myself, and others gave me, about making time, about the importance of exercise, about just doing it, but reality had other plans for me. I needed to be practical. So convenience was going to be key.
I was not going to change my diet. I eat healthfully, though I go a little crazy on potato chips. I was not going to add any limitations. Carving out a half hour a day was going to be my small achievement to overcome and that was enough for me to start.
Here's why I chose the 30-Day Shred:
- The program is a workout available on Amazon Prime. As a subscriber, that meant I could start immediately. No excuses like “Target was sold out,” or “Shipping will take two days.”
- The “episodes” were only $2 each, and there were only three, so I didn’t run the risk of “If I don’t follow through, that’s $14, $15, $20, $30 down the drain.” We’re not rich, but I can afford $6; and if not all at once, $2 every 10 days.
- Each workout was a short, sweet, and effective, 20 minutes. I could do anything for 20 minutes without my son or then-husband missing me. I could convince myself that I don’t have to justify that time (as was my habit, of my own doing). I could easily spend 20 minutes in the shower, so no matter what time of day, I could put in a 20 minute workout. If it had to wait until 9:30 at night, that’s fine. I’d be done by 10:00.
This was definitely doable.
How the Shred Works
The is made up of three different levels, all following what has been repeated over and over as “Jillian’s typical circuit training.” That means that you complete three circuits in one workout, each circuit with different exercises. She has two other people working the exercises while she gives instruction (and does them herself). The two back ups perform the exercises with modifications for those that need them, and an advanced version for those who are doing better than I was (ha!). 30-Day Shred
What Are Circuits?
For each circuit, you do the following:
- 3 minutes, strength training: In each level, she performs two exercises for 45 seconds each, twice.
- 2 minutes, cardio: Again, you do two exercises for 30 seconds each, twice.
- 1 minute abs: Two exercises for 30 seconds each, or the same exercise when working only one side, switching sides halfway through.
I did not cause any injuries or damage because I continued to do the exercises properly, following good form and YouTube videos when I was not sure.
Fast Workouts That Made Me Sweat
With a breakdown like this, and each exercises being under a minute, this workout is over FAST. And you sweat! A lot! When I started, my husband thought the walls were going to fall down. My breathing was heavy, my legs felt like jelly, but it was over in 20 minutes.
For those concerned about knees, which I know is a common worry for those looking to begin exercising again: my knees did hurt at first. But after doing some research, I knew that was going to happen. I had not worked out in quite some time. Things were going to hurt. Muscles around my knees were going to shift, get strong, and pull the tendons surrounding other bones and muscles. It was unavoidable, and if I wanted to exercise and make my body strong and healthy, I was going to have to endure a little pain.
I pushed through. I did not cause any injuries or damage because I continued to do the exercises properly, following good form, looking at YouTube videos when I was not sure my body was doing it correctly. I work out on a carpet (not great for my carpet), and felt so good about the workouts, I eventually did them without shoes. To this day, I work out barefoot in my TV room.
So what happened? Well, exercises I struggled with in level one, were mastered by day 9 of level three. I was amazed how strong my body had become!
Because I wanted to be sure to not only write about my experience, but feel encouragement, I decided to take before and after photos. I did not change my diet, and I was feeling discouraged because my weight did not change—not at all. My pants were still tight. Though I was feeling strong (and what a good feeling that is!), I wanted to see changes. It was only after I put my photos side by side that I really did see them.
I moved on to Ripped in 30 after I finished my 30 days of the Shred. I continued to get results.
Eating to Get Results
I still did not change my diet at all. It changed on its own. I believe that the act of working out made me eat differently. I wanted to drink more water. My water intake more than doubled. I went to bed a little earlier and as a result, stopped eating late at night. I planned when to do my workout. I ate breakfast and wait at 30-60 minutes to workout.
This system made me more mindful of when I ate and how much, because I wanted to avoid cramping. Some foods I ate more of because they never led to cramps after working out:
- kale salads
- greek yogurt with honey, pecans, and shredded coconut
- apples and almond butter
Tips to Make Jillian Michaels' Program Work for You
Some quick tips before you start:
- Never work out on an empty stomach! Per Jillian's advice in her book , always eat within a half hour of waking. Master Your Metabolism
- Hydrate. Be sure you drink at least two glasses of water before you consider working out that day. You don't want to make your body feel so wasted that you don't continue the next day, especially if you haven't exercised in a while.
- Go at your own pace! If you feel the workouts are moving too quickly, then slow down. There are no rules, except don't stop moving. Your muscles can cramp up, and the point is to keep your heart rate up, so slow down if you need, but do not stop moving.
Next is the Body Revolution. I’ve loved Jillian’s workouts, her attitude, her convenience, and I am going to keep on keeping on. Give it a try, and tell me how it goes!
© 2014 Christen Roberts Comer