I’m such a fan of Jillian Michaels’ approach to exercise, health and wellbeing, it is surprising I’ve not already written several posts about her since this blog launched a few months ago. Perhaps it’s because I just find her to be such a part of my day-to-day routine, I presume that everyone knows about her already.
But I’m still discovering people who’ve never heard of Jillian, and I know they will benefit enormously from her whole lifestyle approach, not just her workouts. And it made me wonder how many other people are unaware of her. And, because I really do credit this woman with changing both my physique and my approach to exercise, the least I can do is give her a fabfitand40something post (after all, she is now one of us 40-somethings too – and she definitely epitomises both ‘fab’ and ‘fit’).
For any of you who don’t know her, Jillian Michaels really became famous through appearing as the personal trainer on the US weight loss TV show, Biggest Loser. She has her own range of fitness workout DVDs, with her 30 Day Shred becoming something of a classic – and this was my first experience of her approach. She’s also had books published and has a website full of exercise advice and motivational info, so she’s something of a life coach too. She is the only trainer I find to be completely inspiring. I’ve stuck with her workouts for the last three years and really have seen great results.
So, what’s the deal?
If you’ve never exercised before, or not for a long time, the 30 Day Shred is the perfect way to kick-start your engagement with getting your body moving again. The first obvious benefit is that each of these workouts takes just 30 minutes, so you can’t complain you don’t have the time. And, because you do them at home with just a mat and some hand weights, there’s no excuse about not being able to get to the gym – but also no pressure to do your workout in front of other people (which is my biggest hate – in fact I just can’t do it).
There are three levels to progress through, but at each level all of the exercises are adaptable depending on your own fitness level (or even how you’re feeling that day), so they really do work for everyone. Each level consists of a warm up, three different circuits combining a few minutes of toning, a few minutes of cardio, and a few minutes focusing on your core muscles, and finally, a cool down. It is impossible to get bored because the intervals fly by and you can put as little or as much effort into this as you want – but you will push yourself – believe me. You can also increase the intensity by upping your hand weights – I started out with 1.5kg weights but now use 3kg. It doesn’t sound a lot, but after 30 minutes of reps, they get heavy!
I still use the level two workout from this DVD as the basis for my circuit workouts – so, effectively, I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred for three years! I enjoy this workout, whereas I did find level three too stressful for my knees to do for a long time. You will really push yourself through the exercises – and burn loads of calories (and remember, fitness is an ongoing journey, not a destination).
I then combine my Shred session with some of the sessions from Jillian’s No More Trouble Zones DVD.
Jillian’s No More Trouble Zones sections the exercises by the area of your body they work on, so you can just do the sections focusing on the areas you want to target, if you don’t want to do the whole DVD or don’t have the time. And once you get to know these exercises (which use just hand weights and your own body weight to tone) you can add onto the Shred so you’re getting maximum calorie burn and toning.
This has really delivered for me (and everyone I’ve recommended it to has seen results too.) I’ve seen improvements in the shape and definition of my arms, toned thighs and a lifted bum. I’ve also noticed that my increased upper body strength helps me power my runs when I’d normally start to flag – so it’s also benefitting my other workouts.
But, more than anything, Jillian’s motivational presence on-screen inspires me to work hard every session. Whenever she talks about exercising, she always states she hates it, and I like this because she seems more like one of us. But the feeling of achievement afterwards – and the longer-term benefits to your health and your appearance (and, therefore, your confidence) are so worth the effort.
And if you do need more motivation or support, and even healthy eating ideas, sign up to her website www.jillianmichaels.com for a daily dose of inspo via the daily ‘Losing it with Jillian’ newsletter. She also has an app (of course) and you can sign up for a personal diet and exercise plan if you need a really structured approach.
She is basically on a one-woman crusade to whip us all into shape and help us achieve in life, not just at exercise (her Maximise Your Life tour earlier this year was all about empowerment.)
As she says, the stronger and more fit you become physically, the more this benefits and empowers you in every aspect of your life.
She’s not wrong either – please do check her out.