Tag Archives: Jillian Michaels

A Real Ass Kicker

As you know, I love the Shred.  After a few weeks of doing it consistently, I felt pretty damn buff.   But the truth is that I’m not much of a weight-training kind of person, and I really prefer straight up cardio and resistance training that doesn’t use weights.  So I tried this:

jm metabolismAnd I really like it.  It’s got the usual jumping business that Jillian seems to love, but it’s also got a lot of kickboxing moves, which I really enjoy.  There’s a lot of oblique work, as well as standing ab stuff, which is a nice change from Pilates.  A major bonus is that it’s a full 40 minutes (not including warm up/cool down), which, if you’ve done any Jillian Michaels videos in the past, you know is a LONG time to be working out.  It’s a great way to mix up the Shred workouts (which, to be honest, I haven’t done in a long while) and to give the ol’ quads a break (though be warned, there is one circuit that just might kill your quads – I sometimes skip it).

This is my favorite workout right now, as it gives me that calm/endorphin rush feeling I used to get after running long distances.  And let’s be honest, I enjoy all the punching, kicking, and knee-thrusts.


Shred: Week 7

I’ve been doing the Shred for nearly two months.  Here are my stats:

  • Level 1: 16 times
  • Level 2: 12 times
  • Level 3: 3 times
  • Shred-type-workout, on my own, to music: 3 times

That’s 34 strength workouts over the last seven weeks, or about five workouts per week. I’ve mixed in a few runs and bike rides as well.  The results?  Well, I can’t say I look like this:

biggest-loser2-jillian21And I can’t tell you if I’ve lost weight, because I don’t own a scale (and weight loss wasn’t really my goal anyhow).  What I CAN tell you is that I’ve gotten a lot stronger.  I can do squats for a minute straight with no problem.  I’ve noticed muscles in my arms that I hadn’t seen in quite a while.  And my abs, though they will probably never ever look like Jillian’s (I love my carbs far too much) feel very strong.  I don’t know if I’ve lost weight or just am more toned all over, but I notice a difference when I look in the mirror.  My real dream, though, is to be able to do this.  Maybe not in this lifetime, but I can hope, right?

Here are my tips for making the Shred a little bit more interesting:

  • Mix up the moves.  If I get tired of doing Level 1, I’ll do Level 3 and just substitute some of the cardio sequences for those in Level 1 or 2 to make it easier.  I’ve also added harder moves to Level 1 to make it more difficult.
  • Once you know the sequences, set a timer, put on some music, and do them without the video.  This is nice for a change of pace, but I still rely on the video to push me into that higher sphere of performance (i.e. pain)
  • Take time off.  If you notice muscle fatigue, take a day (or two) off.  Go for a run, a hike, or just give yourself a day off of exercise.  I know you’re supposed to be able to do the Shred everyday (since it’s mostly using the resistance of your own body plus light weights) but muscles can get run down all the same.  I noticed my biceps aching today when I was doing curls – it’s time for a day off.
  • Eat a high-protein snack after your workout.  I learned this from marathon training.  It helps build muscle, so you can look like this:


    Mixing it Up

    After doing the Shred for the last six weeks, most of the workouts are ingrained in my head, so I’ve been setting a timer, picking an artist, doing my exercises to YouTube playlists for about 30 minutes.  Yesterday was the Kinks; today was Beyoncé.

    I can’t seem to embed today, so click on the images below for two of my favorite videos.  The common thread seems to be pets.



    Added benefit: though I’m not usually one to be ‘inspired’ by other people’s bodies, I have to fess up that Beyoncé has helped me get through a few workouts.  The fact that she’s curvy but incredibly fit is at once impossible to achieve (it’s called genetics) and somehow inspiring to me, as someone with a curvy frame.  Maybe it’s just that she’s one of the few celebrities out there that I think embodies true sexiness and glamour.  Yes, I’m probably overthinking this, but isn’t she pretty much the queen of glam?  Even when she’s riding around on a cat?

    p.s. on a stalker-esque note, I happened upon a site that told me Beyoncé’s height and weight, which happen to be almost exactly my own dimensions.  Hm, then why don’t I look like her?

    Things I DO Understand. And Love.

    Now that we’ve covered what perplexes me,  onto a list of things I love.  We’re talking superficial, fleeting love here — i.e. stuff I am loving at the moment —  not the kind of love I reserve for my husband, dogs, Bee Gees, or self.

    Orchids.  I received a yellow orchid plant for my birthday, and I’m gonna try with all my might to keep it alive, even it means taking it with me on road trips that may or may not be in my future.

    80’s and 90’s Movies.  I’ve been on a kick lately, watching everything from Short Circuit to My Best Friend is a Vampire, to Beethoven’s Second.

    The Sunday New York Times.  I got a print subscription (also for my birthday) and I am in love. I’m pretty sure I fit their target demographic squarely in the eye, so this is no surprise, and probably no great insight into my personality, but my enthusiasm knows no bounds.

    Country Music.  I’m not talking Top 40, per se (I can’t name a single Carrie Underwood or Tim McGraw song), but I have a real affection for certain stuff from the 90’s that my husband introduced me to, like Dwight Yoakam, Alabama and Clay Walker.  The latter has a song called “Jesus Was a Country Boy” that we both really dig in a partly ironic/partly sincere kind of way.  I also love “cooler” artists like Townes Van Zandt and Gram Parsons.  I think it’s sad when people say they like “any kind of music but country,” and it makes me assume they are boring.

    Benjamin Percy.  This guy is such a good writer, it’s scary.  And he’s only 30 (young geniuses always give me an inferiority complex).  I’m currently reading
    Refresh, Refresh.

    Laughing Cow Cheese.  When I first tried it in Africa, I wasn’t convinced. In the last year I’ve fallen for it hard, and it’s one of my staples.  I eat it with baguettes, make tofurkey-laughing-cow-spinach wraps, and even mix it in with pasta sauce to make it creamy.  

    Ritter Sport – Dark Chocolate with Hazelnuts.  I’m a chocolate kind of person.  I can usually take or leave cookies, cake or pie (unless it’s frozen lime pie), but I kinda have to have chocolate everyday, sometimes multiple times a day.  All those cheesy theories about women and orgasms and chocolate are probably true.

    Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.  Yes, I’ve written about it before.  And I’ll probably tire of doing it five times a week in another month or so, but I really like being strong and this is one of the few strength training programs I’ve been happy to stick with.  There is something about having a “trainer” that makes me work so much harder than I would ever work on my own.  I truly enjoy letting her kick my ass daily.

    Google.  It’s hackneyed, but it’s true.  I use at least four Google products a day, usually chat/email, calendar, search and reader, though often checkout, video, news, igoogle, books, and Youtube (duh).  Just as I’m thankful to live in the Internet age, I’m thankful to live in the age of Google.  As a future librarian, I’m excited to see what happens with Google Book Search.

    Blogs.  I could (and often do, given my current employment state) read other people’s blogs for hours.  I try to keep track of the ones I like in Google Reader, but often get a little enthusiastic clicking on blog rolls and forget to go back to the original blog I was reading.  I also like writing this blog.

    Libraries.  Every time I’m in a library, it makes me excited to be in library school.  Libraries are sacred spaces to me, imbued with a kind of magic of possibility.  

    Cleaning and Organizing. I don’t like to admit to it, especially in front of my husband, but I take great pleasure in cleaning our apartment, and even greater pleasure in filing and putting things away in boxes.  If I feel depressed, I will usually clean the kitchen.

    Hosting Dinners.  Gawd, I’m sounding like such a little 50’s housewife.  I love gathering people together and cooking with or for them.  Now that nice restaurants are officially financially ruinous to my bank account, I strongly prefer making a nice home-cooked meal to eating out.

    30 Day Shred: Day 25

    Sorta. I’ve been doing the Shred about five times a week, and taking one day off on the weekends, and running the other day. My overall goal is increased strength, and though my muscles aren’t exactly rippling, I definitely notice a difference.

    The first week was one of sore quads. There are so many damned squats in this workout. I managed to push through the pain, and after a while the only thing holding me back was my pure level of fitness. I’m a fairly fit person, being a pretty regular runner and dancer most of my life. However the intensity of the Shred workout is such that level 2 is still kicking my ass hardcore after three and a half weeks.

    I tried level 3 once when I was feeling brave and that shit was INSANE. I was sweating out of every pore in my body at the same time. The good thing about these workouts though, once you’re accustomed to them, is that they don’t wipe you out for the rest of the day. You still have energy to go on a hike, walk, or even a run if you’re ambitious.

    The upshot of it all? When I went for my usual run on Friday, I felt like a gazelle. My legs had so much spring and energy to them, I felt like I could run ten miles. And I wasn’t feeling that muscle heaviness I normally feel at the end of a run. That in itself is reason enough for me to continue to let Jillian kick my ass.

    Also, I noticed Exercise TV has posted some of Jillian’s mini workouts on Hulu.  I don’t have the discipline to do the reps on my own (without her doing them alongside me, warning me against “phoning it in”) but if you do, check it out: http://www.hulu.com/videos/search?query=jillian+michaels.


    As I mentioned in my brief post about my love for challah, upon which I am masticating as I type this, I’ve started a new workout regimen. An ordinary week of exercise for me usually involves a few runs, a dance class, and if I’m lucky, a hike. I used to incorporate strength training at my gym, but since my work was the entity that paid for the membership, that has been axed. I read about some workout DVDs on Weddingbee months ago, and the other day I decided I’d look some of them up on YouTube. There is a ton of good stuff out there, but I am now completely committed to a monogamous Internet video trainer-trainee relationship with none other than:
    Yes, Jillian Michaels and her 30 Day Shred. I had no idea who she was until a few days ago. Now I know she’s the hardass bitch from a show I’ve never seen called The Biggest Loser, which apparently everyone has heard of. I’m not usually into hardass bitches telling me to feel the burn, but it seems she’s a lot nicer in her videos than she was on the show. She runs a tight ship — no breaks or complaining allowed (but how does she really know?) — but also keeps a pretty sane pace and keeps reminding you *why* the pain of the static lunge bicep curl is gonna translate into a hot bod. The best part is the efficiency. The 20-minute workout alternates through strength, cardio, and abs, and leaves you feeling like you just ran for an hour.

    I feel morally okay writing about it because I just bought it on Amazon.  It’s a ridiculous steal at $8.49, and that includes all three levels of workouts, 20 minutes a piece.  As a reasonably fit person, I’m at day 5 of level one and it’s still challenging, in part because my muscles are still sore.  But I can already feel myself getting stronger, though whether or not I develop that mannish V that is carved into Jillian’s hips is yet to be seen.