Wednesday 7 May 2014

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred Review

Price: £5/ $8
Length: 3x 20 minutes
Workouts: All-over body (cardio, abs, strength)
Suitable for: everyone
Rating:   ★★★★★
Based on 30 days of use.

   As you all know, I just completed the 30 Day Shred. Now it's time for my review of the DVD. Calm down, I know, it's terribly exciting, but please try to contain yourselves.
   The shred is made up of 3 levels. Each level lasts 25 minutes, 5 minutes of which are warm-ups and cool-downs, and the workout itself lasts for 20 minutes. You spend at least 10 days on the first level, after which point you move onto the next and spend another 10 days on that, then you move on again. Each level is progressively harder, but after the first couple of days on each level, you will find it easier. There are two demonstrators behind Jillian who are also doing the moves, but one of them is high-intensity for those who are more experienced, looking for a challenge, or have already spent about 5 days on that level. The other is for people who are new to it, have injuries, or simply can't keep up. Jillian talks you through everything while the others are doing the moves, but she does of course, get involved too. Some people say she's annoying, and I thought so too at first, but in the end you come to rely on her motivation, and I quite like her now.

   Unlike most workout DVDs, I actually found the warm-up to be really very adequate - perfect in fact - and it really got you warmed up and stretched, ready to go. Trying to use weights without having done that first is foolish.

   I did make two mistakes on the first day of level 1: I used weights that were too heavy because I was a little too overconfident, and I also followed the harder instructor for the same reason. I pulled muscles and was in pain for a few days (I didn't quit, though, and I did stick to the shred, stretching my muscles out and subsequently eliminating the pain), and on day 2 I went for my lightest weights, which were 3lbs, and followed the easier instructor for a few days. Once the ache had passed, by day 4 I think it was, I was able to follow the harder instructor, but I stuck to small weights.
   During level 2 I found a few moves to be too easy even under high intensity, so then I was able to increase my weights, and the same again in level 3, increasing some of my weights right the way up to 8lbs for some of the moves I was most familiar with. The trick isn't to show off, but to push your body and keep it difficult, but not so difficult that you can't move the next day.
   There are a few moves that, even by the end of level 3 I was still following the easier instructor, the most obvious of which to me was the push-ups. I struggled bigtime initially even with my knees on the floor, but while I now have them down, and all the variations from the 3 levels, I haven't tried it on the balls of my feet yet. I plan to do the shred again, and this time I'm going to try to do push-ups that way.

   I've known a few people who have tried the shred. Some gave up immediately after one day at level 1, claiming it was too hard. Others went right through to the end and got incredible results. I knew it was going to be hard, and when it comes to workouts, I don't quit. Which is funny since I quit at almost everything else! So even when I began the DVD at level 1, knowing it would be hard, and feeling like death the next day because of my own mistakes, I kept going.

   There is a long introduction to the DVD which you can't skip the chapter of, and I don't remember if you can fast forward it, but that's more than enough time to set up your mat and weights - that's all you need. If you have handweights of varying weight, I'd suggest making sure you had two different ones on hand when you hit the half-way mark of level 1.
   She doesn't give you the chance to stop and take a drink of water, but I would recommend having a bottle on hand and when you really need to, stop and take a drink. It's for the best.

   I definitely, certainly, hugely, whole-heartedly recommend this DVD. I know many people do, and Amazon's reviews speak for themselves, but if you're wondering whether or not to try it, try it. There is a very good reason for all the hype. Yes, it will be hard, most certainly, but you'll adjust and each level will become a little more managable, your stamina will increase surprisingly quickly, and the results at the end are amazing. Workouts are not going to be easy if they're going to be effective, and the shred is effective. Buy it. It's only 20 minutes a day, and the satisfaction at the end beats a chocolate cake. Although I admit that a chocolate cake sounds mighty good right now.


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