Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jillian Michaels's "30-Day Shred" Video

I found it too cumbersome (and a little too challenging) to do the Level 1 workouts on Jillian Michaels's website from a computer printout. There were something like 5 weight-and-cardio circuits, 3 times each. I need to work up to Level 1, it seems. And this is from someone who considers herself moderately fit. I've been running on my own for several months, but that didn't prepare me for the intensity of these workouts.

I ordered the "30-Day Shred" video around the same time I signed up for the online program. I have done it 4 times now, twice at Level 1 (using all the beginner modifications) and twice at Level 2 (ditto). My plan is to do this 20-minute video workout three times a week, do cardio three times a week, and take one rest day. On the days that I do the video, I've been following with something to cool down like a walk or a yoga video. Today, I decided to pull out some flowers that have taken over their beds. So I usually end up with a 40-45 minute workout on that day. It's early but I already feel a little extra muscle definition in my upper arms (which have been getting flabby).

The video works like this: 3 minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. You are usually switching back and forth between two different moves during each of the segments. The strength moves generally combine upper- and lower-body training. It's easy to learn the movements, but not so easy to keep up. There are three separate workouts: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each is 20 minutes including a very short warmup and cooldown. There are two other fitness models doing the moves along with Jillian, one who demonstrates beginner modifications and another who demonstrates a more challenging version of the workout. I have tried Level 1 and Level 2 and they are tough. I really suspect that for Level 3, Jillian just sends a hitman to your house.

I would recommend the video for people who like an intense, short workout without a lot of choreography. Jillian says that you could lose 20 pounds if you do the workout every day for 30 days. I think that using the video every day would get a bit boring. I like doing running, biking, and other outdoor activities enough that I'd rather have a balance.

This is not a good video for people who have knee problems. My knees are always sore for a while after the workout because there are lots of lunges, squats, and other knee-intensive moves. You're also switching between standing and prone moves (mostly for abs). It seems to be designed for someone who is already moderately fit but doesn't have a lot of time to exercise.

I'll keep you posted on my results. So far I don't think I'm restricting my calories enough to get actual weight loss, but I'm working on it. The video seems to be pretty popular: I just found out that a friend of mine started using this video around the same time that I did.


  1. Thanks for the review, Jen. I'd wondered how it was structured and if it was something I should consider doing -- knowing that it's not for people with knee problems eliminates that idea! I'm glad you have other options such as biking and running to provide some variety, and the time now to actually do this stuff again.

  2. I really love this DVD, mainly because there is NO DANCING!! I can not dance no matter how many times the instructor shows me. This DVD is short but tough, really makes me sweat. I love how Jillian isn't all cheerful and peppy, she's honest that it's a tough workout!


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07