Before and After the 30-Day Shred with Jillian Michaels
Why I Need Jillian
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 change when you hit your late thirties and your son can outpace you on the way to school. Next thing I know, 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, and was impressed with my boost in stamina and endurance. But when my friend found a new passion, it was harder for me to go, and for my family to work around it. I considered at-home exercise regimens, but knew it 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. It was requested that I go later in the morning, which was 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 to handle. 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.
Inspiration and Choices
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.
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.
After pouring through reviews, I decided to start with what was most convenient. I had to admit to myself that to make changes, I needed convenience. Yes, yes. There are plenty of speeches I can give myself, and others can give me, about making time, about the importance of exercise, about just doing it - but reality has other plans for me, and I need to be practical and respond to it. 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.
Convenience 1: The 30-Day Shred 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.”
Convenience 2: 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.
Convenience 3: Each workout was a short and sweet, but 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.
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.
The 30-Day Shred 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!).
Getting It Done!
With a breakdown like this, and each exercises being under a minute, this workout is over FAST. And you sweat! 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 learn why my knees were going to hurt. 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.
Last Minute Tips
Amazing, right? My ass is back!
I moved on to Ripped in 30 after I finished my 30 days of the Shred. I continued to get results.
Next is The Body Revolution. I’ve loved Jillian’s workouts, her attitude, her convenience, and I am going to keep on keeping on.
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. Also: HYDRATE. Be sure you drink at least 2 glasses of water before you consider working out that day. You don't want to make your body feel so wasted because of skipping these two simple things, that you don't continue the next day. Your body will feel the neglect, especially if you haven't exercised in a while. And lastly: go at your own pace! If you feel she or her back ups 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. Master Your Metabolism
Give it a try, and tell me how it was!
© 2014 Christen Roberts Comer