Because of my surgery and my inability to eat a ton of food, my metabolism can easily drop to the point where I’m not losing weight or I’m even gaining; my body adapts its expenditure to match my consumption. To keep that from happening, it’s important that I work out regularly, and vigorously.
Thanks to a change in the weather, and maybe a bit of a change in my attitude (I’ve been lazy), getting out for my regular runs has been harder than it used to be. There’s probably a bit of a burnout factor at play, and some “race letdown” after finishing my first half marathon and feeling good about it. I have more races scheduled for the next few months, so running isn’t going to go away. But there’s definitely room for some other workouts to help break up the monotony and keep me motivated and interested in exercising.
I have a big 90-day challenge kicking off at this end of this month with a brand-new, never-done-before exercise program. But until then, I’ve got Jillian Michaels to get my blood pumping.
The “Ripped in 30” video contains four complete workouts that get progressively more difficult, each one done for a single week (5-6 times with a rest day or two) before moving on to the next. If you’re the type of person that gets board with a workout video, this one would work great for you; you learn the routine, do it for a few days, and then you get to change it up with a different routine (they even switch up the outfit colors and background exercisers). Jillian also makes sure to show modifications for most moves (both to make them easier and more challenging), so you can start this workout at most any fitness level. I wouldn’t recommend this as a “basic” video for beginners, but if you have a little bit of a workout history that’s been inconsistent or not challenging, this video will give you a plan to follow.
The foundation of Jillian’s workouts is her 3-2-1 method (which you’ll recognize if you did 30-Day Shred) – three minutes of strength training, two minutes of cardio (to keep your hart rate up – it’s a little HIIT-y) and then one minute of ab work. For the entire video, you’ll need two sets of hand weights, one in the 2-5 lb range and one in the 6-10 lb range. You’ll also want to have a yoga mat handy to protect your back for moves on the floor. You’ll start each workout with a warm-up to get your heart rate up and your muscles warn before jumping into the week’s exercises, and at the end a stretching segment helps loosen the muscles you just worked. Including the warm-up and stretching, each week’s workout takes about 35 minutes so you can get in and out quickly.
After the warm-up, week one kicked right off with the bane of my existence – push-ups. I seem to have no upper body/chest strength. I can do free weight movements – overhead press, curls, tricep kickbacks, etc. – without a problem, but that stuff doesn’t translate to the groups of muscles required in a push up. So this is definitely an area I hope will improve.
The three-minute strength segments repeat three exercises twice, for 30 second each. Each exercise uses multiple multiple muscle groups and combines the hand weights with lower-body moves. Once you do the exercise twice, it doesn’t pop up again later in the video, so you can avoid some of the boredom of doing endless circuits of the same motion. The cardio segments, though shorter, follow a similar structure: 30 seconds of two different movements, done twice. I don’t know about you, but… I can do anything for 30 seconds.
One thing I noticed was that some of the hand weight moves are similar to kettlebell moves. So if like kettlebells (and I do), you’ll like these movements. Jillian also spends a lot of time talking about and demonstrating proper form, which is something that’s often missing from mass-market workout videos.
Week Two definitely kicks things up a notch. The cardio leaves you more out of breath, the strength exercises leave you more sore, and the ab exercises, if you’re like me with minimal core strength, leave you a little doubled over and reluctant to laugh or cough.
Week Two also really challenged my balance. Some of the movement transitions required pausing on one foot, and I always seem to wobble and fall over – one more thing to add to my list of things to work on.
Week Three. The week of the duck walk. This thing hurt, friends. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had to modify this move. My knees were all over the place. And then doing jumping jacks from a squat position during cardio? Yeah, this week’s workout upped the ante. Even Jillian was huffing and puffing a bit through the workout, which made me feel stronger, strangely enough. It’s tough for Jillian and I’m getting it done? Awesome!
Week Three is also when Jillian says she wants to bounce a quarter off your butt. A girl can dream.
Week Four… I can’t even. I went through each week once to see the workout, and this one is the one where I said, “I might be able to do this after three weeks of the other stuff, but certainly not now.” Jillian asks if you’re crying. Yes, Jillian – I was. Burpees and plie jumps and JUMPING FROM A PLANK POSITION – oh my! There were also full sit-ups in Week Four, which I can’t do yet. I modified pretty much this entire week’s workout just to get through it.
So yeah – it’s tough. Definitely not for beginners, but easy enough to modify if you have a bit of working out under your belt. Now that I’ve done each week’s workout once, I need to go back through and follow Jillian’s schedule. Maybe then the later weeks won’t feel quite so hard. Then again, if they do – thank you, Jillian.
If you like the program, Jillian has made it easy for you to succeed. She even has a downloadable meal plan on her website to use along with the video. The DVD can be purchased just about any way – including Amazon and Jillian’s website – for about $10. And if you’re tech-savvy like me and want to take Jillian with you wherever you go, the entire series of workouts if available through Amazon Instant Video.
Does Ripped in 30 look like your cup of tea? What are some of your favorite workout videos?