Category Archives: FITNESS

30 Day Shred update: Level 2 (who needs arms, anyway?)

I’ve never lost all feeling in my arms before. Until now.

Level 2 of Jillian Michael’s “30 Day Shred” dvd is widely considered to be the most challenging level and I was nervous about attempting it during my fitness odyssey.

Compared to Level 1, it was definitely more challenging. But by being harder, it also feels more rewarding. The part which I found the hardest was the emphasis on planks.

Not those kind of planks

A lot of the moves were done while in a plank position, which is incredibly hard on the arms after a while. For someone who has the upper body strength of a kitten, this was an issue.

It does get easier over time and (like Level 1) I think this is a well laid-out workout which is veery efficient in its use of time.

Even if this...

 

...eventually turned into this.

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Who would have thought it, a fitness post…

This is not a post I thought I would ever make. I’m not into “gym” fitness. When you’re at the gym, I’m the person loitering by the water cooler while inconspicuously trying to figure out how to work one of the weight machines. I like to run or dance or swim, etc. For some time now, I’ve been hearing good things about Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred” DVD. It’s a very short (approx 20/25min) daily workout consisting of circuit training using weights with 3 levels that you move through as your body adjusts.

I’ve always been very wary of fitness dvds because they can be horrific. Too wishy-washy, not clear enough or too many distractions in the form of crazy leotards (some things can not be unseen) or cringey elevator music. Then you have the instructor. They make or break the dvd.

I bit the bullet and got the dvd. Then some embarrassingly pink weights (seriously, I would rather ANY other colour) that were on sale.

So...pink...

According to Amazon reviews and several other sources, this dvd was going to kill me. Not figuratively, literally. People attested to not being able to walk after day 1, not being able to lift their phone or their kid. I envisaged people talking about my early demise with trepidation:

“I heard it was the squats that got her in the end. She never,*sob*…made it back up again…”

I decided to take my life in my hands. It was a go. Besides, I’ve always liked “challenge” fitness regimes. Couch to 5k being the most notable. I thrive on the structure. The idea behind the “30 Day” bit of the shred is that you spend about 10 days on each level. I started Level 1 dubious as to the effectiveness of such a short workout. I didn’t find it too bad, although I seem to be in minority in this. I definitely worked up a sweat but was able to do most of the section (except those damn push-ups!) with ease. I do a couple of dance classes a week so I guess I had a head-start on the cardio aspect of the circuit but I found the strength and ab-work sections okay too. I went to bed on Day1 scoffing at the internet weaklings who had found it so hard.

Waking up on Day 2 was…interesting. Overnight my abs had tightened up uncomfortably so it felt like someone was perched on my stomach in order to help me ring in the new day. I was flummoxed because I felt like I’d barely done any ab-work. Apart from a bit of tiredness, I was okay. And alive!

Day 2 was a repeat of Level 1 and it was easier overall, despite still being tragically bad at push-ups. I can’t even do a sissy push-up properly. Yet.

Some nice things about the dvd (so far):

  • It’s really short. No matter how busy you are, you must have 20 minutes to kill at some point of the day.
  • Unlike every other fitness dvd I’ve ever owned, the warm-up is effective.
  • As well as Jillian, there’s a “beginner” instructor with modified easier moves and an “advanced” instructor if you’re Chuck Norris’ child.
  • No wasted time. No breaks or messing around with useless chatter.
  • Background, outfits and music are all unobtrusive and not a distraction.
  • It’s a well-designed workout. Jillian has obviously put a lot of thought into the layout of the workout and there are no wasted movements when you could add a weight on to it, etc.
  • Jillian is good. I wasn’t sure if I would like her “tough” style but it works well. She’s encouraging, but firm. She also is quite diligent in pointing out mistakes in form or execution that rookies could make and become injured from.

Here’s a taster:

As suggested by “shredheads” (fans of the shred), I’ve taken various measurements of appendages that will have mysteriously shrunk after the 30 days. While not too convinced about this aspect of it, we shall see!

In other news: the Mother has requested I find a local 10km running race for us both to take part in. Now that will be comedy.