Ripped in 30 proved to be a good challenge this month. The majority of the moves used were new to me - while I had seen some of them before, I'd never tried them - and I worked up a really good sweat and soreness. My abs were dead by the end of each week, too, but in fairness they're not endurance muscles so they're going to get torn apart when they're worked every day. Taking Sundays off as I always do helped, but it was a bit much in the end.
I said in my last update 2 weeks ago that I was a bit nervous about moving on to week 3 because Jillian stated in week 1 that the first two weeks were going to hammer in form and week 3 and 4 would be a step up in difficulty.
I didn't really find week 3 much harder than week 2, but the moves offered in week 3 were quite different from anything she'd given before and they were difficult to complete a set of, but it was no harder to complete the full workout every day than it usually was. I did feel a greater sense of satisfaction each day, however, and given that I was changing up the workouts every week my mind wasn't given the chance to stop. By the time I learned a move properly over the course of a few days it was time to move on to the next week. It was pretty mad, really.
Week 4 was only a little harder than week 3 - at least, that's how it felt. The moves were all different, as they had been throughout the whole DVD, but none of them felt any harder than anything else I'd done. Challenging, yes, but only on a slightly higher level to week 3. But in a way, that was nice. It was hard enough to push me out of my comfort zone, but all of Jillian Michaels' workouts are like that, and it didn't push me so hard that I was left clueless and frustrated.
Despite all that, this month was still a little bit hellish in the end. The workouts were good and intense and they did pose a challenge - like I said, the majority of the moves were alien to me - but while they weren't easy to complete a full set of, the workouts themselves escalated in difficulty at a steady pace that was easy enough to keep up with. What you learned from one week was adapted and built upon in the next.
I got some good results as well - better than usual, in fact, but I can't tell if that was because of the week I took off around the beginning of May. I maintain that it was needed, but it does mean that I can't tell how much credit that should get or the DVD should get. I've also finally starting eating really, really well again for the first time since Easter, so that doubtlessly had an effect, too. But regardless, I saw a greater drop in weight and fat this month than the last three and I know that this DVD played a big part, so I would definitely recommend this DVD to anyone who has used the 30 Day Shred in the past and wants the next level, something similar to the 30 Day Shred but harder.
I did finally give up and buy some new weights. 2.5kg (5lbs) were the heaviest dumbbells I'd had for a long time and while they used to be impossible, they've become too easy - so much so that I'd ended up using two weights in one hand at once. They increased the weight perfectly but my form was off because I was having trouble holding on to the two weights at once, and if your form is off you're not getting as much out of a movement as you could be. So I bought some 4kg (8lbs) dumbbells and they arrived just in time to start week 4. Unfortunately there weren't too many weight-based moves in week 4 so I didn't get any real chance to use them, but they're ready for next month and I'm really happy to have them. The few weighted moves there were did show me that 4kg is where I should be.
So it was a good month, and though taking the week off near the beginning of the month was strange - the first real week I've had away from exercise in about 2 years - I know it was necessary and I'll probably make a habit of it every couple of months and see if it helps at all.