Friday 10 April 2015

Jillian Michaels Hard Body DVD Review

Price: £9/ $15
Length: 2x 45 minute workouts
Workouts: Full body
Suitable for: Intermediate-Advanced
Rating:   ★★★★★
Based on 4 weeks of use.

   Hard Body is one of Jillian Michaels' much tougher DVDs. Made up of two 45-minute workouts that grow progressively more difficult, it's a truly effective DVD. The DVD uses her usual method of combining strength, body weight and cardio into short circuits, with little to no rest in between. There are four women with her who perform the exercises for the full workout as you are expected to, while Jillian explains the moves and talks you through the beginner and advanced modifications, as demonstrated by two pre-appointed individuals.

   If you're new to exercise in general, I can't recommend this DVD. All of Jillian Michaels' DVDs are tough but this one takes the biscuit, so if you're new to it all but want to try one of Jillian Michaels' amazing DVDs, trust me when I say that they're all incredibly effective. Choosing a DVD with three 20-minute workouts is still going to get results. The reason I say this is because I've become quite familiar with lots of different movements both in and outside of her DVDs, and while my stamina has also improved massively, I still struggled with this DVD.

   As mentioned before, the DVD has two 45-minute workouts: level 1 and level 2. They're both made up of a dynamic warm-up, 6 circuits made up of strength, cardio and body weight which you then repeat from the beginning after completing all six, and a nice, calming cool-down. This isn't a 30-day commitment, so you need only move on to level 2 when you're ready.
   All you'll need are dumbbells/hand weights in a number of sizes, ideally 1.5kg, 2.5kg and 4kg (3lb, 5lb, 8lb), however you can use whatever you have. If you're not that good with weights then you can use lighter. The key is to use a weight that is light enough for you to control (not wobble with, not drop, and you can complete a rep with), but heavy enough to challenge you (for example you can't manage more than 10 reps). Jillian reminds you that big and heavy weights won't make you bulky. Men and women respond to weight-training in very different ways; it's testosterone that is responsible for bulk, and as women produce only 10% of the testosterone that men do, bulk isn't a worry. An exercise mat is also recommended if you're working out on, say, hard wood floors, but it's not a requirement.

Level Differences
   The two levels are different. Both consist of compound moves to challenge your whole body all the time, but the second level does consist of more advanced moves. Even the easier modifications are tough. You should always try to push yourself, but if you can't complete the workout using just the beginner modifications, either move back to level 1 or try another DVD until your stamina, flexibility and strength has increased enough to endure it.
   I can't really say in any certain terms what the difference is beyond difficulty, but that difference in itself is obvious. Realise, however, that you're supposed to struggle - if you're not struggling, your body isn't being challenged enough, and if your body isn't challenged, the results will be minimal. It's when you get out of your comfort zone that you start to achieve things - and that goes for everything in life, not just weight-loss.

   The DVD is, at the end of the day, very straight forward, but with Jillian's method of targeting all muscles, keeping your heart rate up and building lean muscle at the same time, following the DVD will yield results. She recommends using the DVD 5-6 days a week, but it's important you realise that those 1-2 remaining days are not for other exercise. These days should be used to recover as, though it certainly feels counter-productive, your body needs that rest to rebuild itself. I have always found that I weigh and measure more right after several days of solid exercise, but after a single day off both measurements drop massively. It also doesn't take your body long to recharge, so one day is enough. I would say it was best to workout 2 days and 3 days, taking Wednesday and Sunday off, for example. This way you don't go 5 or 6 days straight, gradually growing more exhausted and your body more and more worn down to the point that you can't complete the last workout of the week, instead you go 2/3 or 3/3, giving your body a chance to recharge half way through the week so you can go back in the next day like it was Monday all over again.
   Also be sure to use weights heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy that you can't get half way through a set. You should be struggling towards the end of each set, and you'll be grateful when you move on to the next move as they rarely target the same areas consecutively.
   Listen to your body. If you find this DVD too hard, try another. There's no shame in that. But also remember, as I mentioned above, that you're supposed to struggle. It's when you struggle that you're forced to adapt, and that's when change happens.

   It's not easy, not at all. If you're new to Jillian Michaels, I wouldn't try this DVD just yet; it's not for the faint-hearted, and I've marked it as intermediate to advanced for that reason. I'm all for pushing yourself, but if you can't complete the workout or if you even begin to stop half way through sets then you're just not going to reap the benefits. Far better to choose an easier DVD that you can complete with a struggle than to choose one you won't be able to reach the half-way point in.
   But for those who do use it, you'll feel incredible when you complete it because it's so hard. I got great results from this DVD, and while I can't say I'm in a hurry to use it again, I do highly, highly recommend it.


  1. Hello! What were your results from this and how long did you do it?

    1. Hi Bridgette! I just realised I never included a link in this post to my progress! I used it for 4 weeks and lost half an inch from my waist. You can read my 2-week update, where I give my impressions and struggles at the half-way mark, and my 4-week update where I give my overall impression and results.

      Keep in mind, though, that results vary for everyone. So many factors affect it, including how and what you eat, how many calories and so on, how much rest you get, how advanced you are with the movements, how often you use it, and so on and so forth. That said, I used this DVD in 2015, and even now, half way through 2016, I still return to it every now and then and get an amazing burn.

      You can find full info on the original workout post.

  2. Thank you for writing this informative review. I do enjoy Jillian Michaels' workouts and have several of her DVDs. I concur, she's tough. Your concise and detailed review is just what I was looking for before deciding to buy it. I've been warned.


I do read every single comment, and I will try to respond where I can. If you have an important question about my blog or my shop, however, then you might be better off contacting me directly by email. Thanks so much for reading my blog!