Monday 5 May 2014

30 Day Shred - Level 3

Fun Rating: ★★☆☆☆    Difficulty Rating: ★★★★☆     Results Rating: ★★★★☆

   Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred was difficult, I'll say that right now, but I will also go on to say that, for me, it was possibly the easiest level as far as strength and abs went. The only reason for this, however, was that the majority of the moves were already very familiar to me from my normal weight training. The cardio section was still very hard - the hardest yet - and I did struggle with it. Of course, that wasn't to say that I felt the whole level was ineffective, because I didn't. I usually do around 8 sets of 5 reps per side with my weights per move, but in the shred you're looking at about 30 seconds of reps on one side alone, which is certainly far more than 5, and so very taxing.
   The whole thing was a load of fun, though, and because of my familiarity, I was able to increase the weights as well. But I recognise for someone who doesn't really do much, if any, strength training outside of the shred, it's seriously no joke, and it will be hard. But the results are totally worth it.

   And so I now move onto that. The DVD says you can lose up to 20lbs in 30 days. Bare in mind that that is if you 1) stick to the shred, 2) stick to the diet plan (which I couldn't actually find anywhere), 3) are relatively inexperienced. For someone of a more experienced fitness level it won't be quite as taxing (but that doesn't mean less effective), but you also have to realise that you need to have weight to lose. I'm not boasting, I promise you, but I do not have 20lbs to lose, and so I knew from the beginning that I wouldn't manage to shed even a quarter of that, and I was right. And it's also important to remember that the less weight you have to lose, the harder it is to get it off. The bigger you are, the bigger the results you'll see, but over time, as you slim down, the results are smaller, too. So you have to work harder and do harder things. But it can all be shed.
   There is one very important thing to remember if you're concerned about how people see you (but really, who the hell cares what a stranger thinks?): people don't walk past and pick you up. They look at you. And I do enough weight training to not give a damn what the scales say anymore because they mess with my head. I'm far more interested in my tape measure.

   I have an endomorphic body type, which, sadly, means I gain muscle easily, but gain fat even easier, and it's very difficult to get that fat off. It's a real nuisance, but I'm doing the right things about it. For my body type, I need to mix a lot of cardio and strength, and watch my calorie intake. But that also means that the shred is perfect for me.
   Along with the shred, however, which is only 20 minutes long, I also added an extra 20-30 minutes of cardio onto the end of it with a mixture of high intensity dance DVDs, and I also did about 45 minutes of strength training very other evening as well, but this was all stuff I did anyway, meaning the increased results I gained were down to the shred.
   Now, as I suggested above, I didn't lose 20 lbs. I didn't lose 10, in fact, I only lost 4. That might seem off-putting to a lot of people, but as I've said, while I do have jiggle, I don't have 20lbs of it. There is a very real and noticable difference to my body, which is also a lot firmer, which I am so, so happy about. My legs are flipping incredible, and I think they got the hardest workout of all.
   I struggle big time to lose inches, despite everything I do about it, and it's taken me three years - yes, three years - to lose three inches. I only lost half an inch over this past month, and that might also seem off putting to others. "Why did you even bother?" you might be asking. Well, to have spent 3 years losing 3 inches, and then to see half an inch drop off in a month - that's pretty freaking awesome. I had only actually expected to lose one inch at most, and while that means that I technically only got half as far as I had wanted, I'm not knocking the progress at all. It's amazing for me.

   My loss in context:
• My face is slimmer. Rather than my cheeks being a straight line, there are cheekbones now.
• I used to be able to draw my elbows against my waistline and I can't anymore.
• My sides are firmer and the squish on my tummy has considerably lessened.
• My thighs are far firmer and narrower than they were.
• My back is more toned and very firm.

   My results might seem small compared to what other people of other body types have gained, but I know my body, and I know that those results are awesome. I will do the shred again, most certainly, but I'm going to take a few weeks off of it. I've also got a couple more Jillian Michaels DVDs, because I am simply in love with her right now, but for May I do have something...a little different in mind.


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