Everybody has their own approach to exercise and fitness. Some like to get outdoors and hike, cycle, or jog; others go to the gym or group yoga sessions. I like to exercise at home, alone. I prefer spending the least amount of time possible working out (45 min. max) and therefore I tend to go for high intensity workouts such as HIIT (high intensity interval training), because they’re the most effective. In this post, I review the 30 Day Shred workout by Jillian Michaels, which is a month long HIIT programme comprising 30 minute workouts.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links
I’m going to be completely honest and tell you that I fell off the exercise wagon, hard. When I started my job in publishing June 2017 I had a grueling commute and fairly inflexible hours, which resulted in not having time to do anything. Combine this with being miserable and emotional eating, and the result was gaining about 20 lbs and losing any remaining muscle definition and strength that I’d worked so hard for. You can see in My Fitness Journey: Exercises that work for me, and those that don’t from May 2017 where I was at just before I started that crazy job.
Fast forward to June 2018
My new job is fantastic for work life balance. It gets pretty intense during the 8 week terms at Oxford and I end up working longer hours and some Saturdays, but I get that time back. Now that we’re in the long summer vacation, I’m taking back my overtime, and using up some of my holidays. We’re also fairly quiet, so that means I can leave on time and get home to do a workout. It therefore makes perfect sense that I’d kickstart my fitness by doing a 30 day challenge, because I actually have the time!
I didn’t have to start “from scratch”, but it was pretty close. As an example, in my peak fitness I could easily do a 40 min jog and a fair few push ups on my feet. Yeah, no. At the start of 30 Day Shred, I could do about 30 seconds of cardio and about 5 push ups on my knees — you get the idea of how unfit I let myself get.
*At the end of 30 Day Shred I’m about a third of the way back to my peak fitness!
Why I love Jillian Michaels
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Jillian Michaels is the best trainer. I find her motivational and sassy, and I’m proof that her workouts are effective. They’re no-nonsense and even though some of the workouts are marketed as “for beginners”, they are still challenging! But, as I’ve mentioned before, I really like that her assistants do modified and advanced moves. This means I can work up to a harder level, and also adapt the moves to avoid injuring my back and knees.
I’ve done 30 Day Shred a few times, so it’s like visiting an old friend. I’ve also done Ripped in 30, Six Week 6 Pack, Yoga Meltdown, No More Trouble Zones, and the easier levels of Body Shred. Here’s a link to a list of her videos with their difficulty levels. I’d really like to try her new Killer Cardio, I’ve need to try my copy of Banish Fat, Boot Metabolism, and maybe do Six Week 6 Pack again [note: I did not get a six pack last time :(].
How I approached 30 Day Shred
I didn’t start from square one with 30 Day Shred. From late May to late June I did 1-2 workouts a week, just to get a bit of fitness back. These were primarily level 1 of Yoga Meltdown and level 1 of 30 Day Shred.
Day 1 was June 25th and day 30 was August 3rd (the day this post went live!). I decided it was more realistic for me to do 5 days a week for 6 weeks than 6 workouts a week. I tended to take Wednesday and Sunday as my rest days. This is the great thing about home workout challenges, there is still an element of accountability in the “30 day” timeframe, but there’s also flexibility with my schedule.
My added accountability is that I posted a funny/inspirational meme about fitness after every workout. You can find these on Instagram (raspberrythriller62).
Jillian’s workouts are based on the 3, 2, 1 system; that is 3 circuits with three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, and one minute of abs. There is a quick warm up and cool down, but generally I can be done my workout in just under 30 minutes — perfect for after work and before I start dinner!
*I really struggled with my confidence to post pics of myself like this, but I figured I can represent an “average, slightly overweight” body type rockin’ the moves! I shouldn’t have to put this disclaimer, but just in case, these photos are my property and cannot be used by anyone else.
Level 1: This is all about laying the ground work. It focuses on push ups and standing cardio, and also gives you proper technique for crunches.
Level 2: Planks planks planks. This is my least favourite level because planks hurt my wrists. Walking planks, plank jacks, and plank twists…
Level 3: Focuses on plyometrics including: sumo hops, jump squats, rock star jumps, and jumping lunges. Definitely hard on my joints, but if I do the modified versions I actually find it easier than level 2.
Bearing in mind that I didn’t change my diet at all, I see a noticeable change in my physique. (Read: I eat fairly healthy meals but love to eat chocolate and other snacks in the evening, which is essentially delicious sabotage.) I’ve toned a fair amount and feel a lot stronger. My cardio endurance has also significantly improved. I think I’m most pleased with the slight definition in my arms, and a stronger butt, which equals less back pain!
I’ve haven’t lost any weight… in fact I might have gained a pound or two. But, I’ve lost about an inch on my chest, and inch on my middle, and half an inch on my hips. Annoyingly, I didn’t measure my arms and legs at the start so I don’t know the measurement loss, but they are smaller and more toned. I’m somewhat disappointed that I didn’t lose any weight but pleased with the inches loss. I shall persevere!
Most importantly, I feel better about myself and I know I’m healthier. It’s a step in the right direction.
Going forwards, I can see the summer being a key time for me to do longer workout challenges. There will be periods where I can’t workout regularly, and then the rest of the year I’ll try to do 2-3x a week – wish me luck!
I’m now happy and healthy in mind, so it’s time to focus on getting healthy in body. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on my progress!
Update: As of summer 2020 I still do Jillian’s workouts on occasion, but my main form of exercise is walking.