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Confessions of a Not-Fat but Not-Fit Girl: Day 7 of The 30 Day Shred

30 Day Shred

I am sweaty but not panting today, and as you can see, I am smiling: I just finished my 7th workout this week, as I test out Jillian Michaels (of Biggest Loser fame) 30 Day Shred Workout.

I am one of those women people consider lucky because I don’t tend to naturally carry a lot of extra body weight. I’m pretty average build- 5’5″, 129lbs. Diagnosed with ADD long ago and having struggled off and on with depression and anxiety, I’ve been told a million times how much I’d benefit from exercise. In reality, other than walking long distances because I don’t drive a car, I have not ever consistently worked out or played sports at any point in my life. I quickly get winded on hikes, despite my size 0 hiking shorts.

In a burst of adult-like productivity about six years ago, I bought this Jillian Michaels DVD. I kept with it for about four days, and then collapsed under the weight of trying to make too many changes at once, a bad habit of mine. Allie Brosch of Hyperbole and a Half (which you should definitely check out if you need a good laugh) summed up this common occurrence very accurately in this graph:responsibility1I have shoved this DVD inside books to protect it as I’ve moved more than six times. I even once destroyed a malfunctioning external DVD player to rescue it. I have done the first 6 minutes and then sat down, many times. Or done it once and then not again for several months, but for whatever reason for years I was unwilling to give it up entirely. I chose this workout in particular because Jillian Michael’s fame stems from working with extremely obese people; my logic was that if it was a workout for extremely obese people, I would not be asked to do complicated dance moves as part of it, which is definitely a recipe for my personal failure. (I really wish I could find the video of the episode of 30 Rock when Liz Lemon goes to Hip Hop Cardio class, because it would make explaining the epic level of fail and awkwardness I experience when attempting dance-exercise so much easier.)

Inspired by my recent progress in physical therapy, last week I decided I was going to really see if this program worked; I am going to do the workout for all 30 days and see how it goes. Here’s my observations after the first week:

  1. This is a great workout for uncoordinated (clumsy) people- the cardio stays simple, jumping jacks, punching the air, stuff I can totally handle.
  2. Jillian Michaels is really good at her job- at every moment that I feel like sitting down, she says something genuinely motivational that makes me feel like it would be ridiculous to quit now.
  3. By day 5, my cardio had noticeably improved, and the workout felt much shorter. It’s only 25 minutes with warm up and cool down, but if you are out of shape that feels like a long time!
  4. If you are out of shape, this workout will make you sore. I skipped day 3 and did two workouts on day 4 because my gastrocnemius muscles were just too sore on day 3!
  5. The circuit system she has is very well designed. Each circuit is made up of three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, and one minute of abs- and you do three of these circuits, each with different exercises. When you feel like you can’t breathe anymore from cardio, you get to lie down and do abs- really, it’s a great system designed to get you to work out hard but realistically be able to keep going.
  6. I like that I can do this in my living room, in total privacy; the only equipment you really need are some small hand weights (mine are 2lbs), and something on the floor so you don’t grind your back into it when you’re doing ab stuff.
  7. It’s a great workout for people with limited time. As Jillian Michaels says it “takes the place of hours of phoning it in at the gym.” If you don’t want to be a fitness nut, if you’re not into drinking the Crossfit Kool-Aid, but you want to get in shape, I think this might be a good option for you.

I’ll check back in at the end of the 30 days, but I’m feeling good about this! If you want to do the 30 Day Shred at home along with me, here it is!

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