Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cometh the Shredder

For the last two days, I've been "shredding". A fellow blogger put me onto a workout DVD called the "30 Day Shred" from Jillian Michaels, the "kick ass" trainer from the reality tv show "The Biggest Loser". We already own another of her workout series - "The Biggest Winner" - and it really does kick my ass, so I had high hopes for this one.

The dvd includes three high-intensity 20 minute workouts - level 1, 2 and 3. You start at level 1 (easiest), progress to level 2 and eventually to level 3 (hardest). Each of the workouts is based on Jillian's 3-2-1 interval system - 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs, the whole lot done three times per workout (with different routines each circuit). Add on a two minute warmup and two minute cooldown, and each workout theoretically lasts 22 minutes. In actual fact, each workout is just shy of 30 minutes. And it is 30 minutes of nonstop work.

The only equipment you need is a set of dumbells and a mat (as opposed to her other dvds which also require a step). I knew from prior experience that there would be no resting or recovery time, and there isn't. So far I've only done the level 1, but it's no cakewalk. The cardio part is fairly easy and I'm good at abs (crunches, reverse crunches and bicycles - all of which I do regularly), but I found the strength portion challenging. Lots of lovely weighted squats and lunges (both static and side) combined with upper body work (you can vary the intensity by adding extra weights). Put it all together and it's a great runner's workout - I had a good sweat going. You would have thought it would be no problem with all the running I'm doing, but I'm a little sore today. I took a quick sneak peak at level 2**, and it looks like quite a step up. I think I'll keep that one until after Thursday's marathon.

Downsides
There is a fairly lengthy introduction that there appears to be no way to bypass. The dvd itself is very basic - not much in the way of extras (not necessarily a bad thing). You have a choice of three workouts, and that's it. Then again, what else do you really need?

I was mildly annoyed that Jillian does not do all the exercises, but at least she's not as annoying as she was in "The Biggest Winner" workouts. I enjoyed hurling abuse at the TV while banging out side lunge/lateral raise combos (all part of the fun, and heckling somehow helps make the time go by a lot faster), but never got to the "I want to put my foot through the screen" stage.

Summary
I liked it. It does exactly what it says on the box - gives you a good, old fashioned "you'll feel it in the morning" workout in less than 30 minutes. Highly recommended for those of you who don't have the time (or the inclination) to spend hours at the gym, and are willing to work really hard for 30 minutes nonstop. As with any of these workouts, you get out what you put in. Jillian just asks for a bit more than most.

** Gavin caught me lying on the sofa watching the level 2 workout and told me off - "daddy, you should be working out, not watching".

1 comment:

steve said...

Ah, another Welsh Shredder. Nice one!

I finally stepped it up to Level 2 today. Wasn't as big a leap as I expected, but it was still a toughie. My coordination is really bad on some of the exercises though - very embarrassing!

The only way we've found to bypass the intro is to play the DVD on the PC. Annoying that you can't "fast forward" to the action.

Well done to Gavin for keeping you in check!

Keep up the great work and good luck in the marathon.

--Steve