The LD staff decided it was high time we all made health a priority. Enter Wellness Wednesdays, a series of weekly health challenges by LD writers (and editors!) where we commit to seven days of healthy habits and share the results with our readers. This week’s challenge: Jillian Michaels’s One-Week Shred DVD.
This Week’s Participant: Kelly
I’d say I’m in fairly decent shape. I run a few miles a day during the week at an average pace. I do kickboxing once a week from the comfort of my living room and, every once in a while, I stick to a monthly ab challenge. I’m 100% sure that the Shred DVD will be much harder than any workout I’ve done. I don’t know a lot about Jillian Michaels’s workouts, but I did see her yell a lot at people on “The Biggest Loser.” My goals for this challenge are to do some intense workouts as a stress reliever and muscle builder, and to hopefully up my exercise game. I’d also like to not be so sore that I can’t walk, but that may be a pipe dream.
I started off optimistic. That was gone by the end of minute one. This was easily the hardest workout I’ve ever done and I wasn’t prepared. First, I did not realize that there were two workouts a day and that you were supposed to spread them out. I did not have time for that and I did them in a row. Mistake. I did not realize that I needed three pound weights and I only had five pound weights. Mistake. The multiple circuits were quick and intense, moving from one position to the next like the wind. I sweated like I’ve never sweated before and realized that I have no balance. Thankfully, there is a “beginner” (lies) woman who demonstrates the modified workout. I followed her for the majority of the time. There were a lot of moves that I wasn’t familiar with, so it took me a few extra seconds to adjust to the unfamiliar movement like “bear” something, “cauldron,” and that chop with the weights. For the cardio, I was slightly more comfortable and it went by much faster. However, breathing was difficult since I did them back to back and I felt sorry for my downstairs neighbors since there was a lot of jumping and in place running.
After the workout, I sat for 30 minutes in my sweatiness, just to try to return to normal. I felt sore only an hour later, which makes me nervous for tomorrow’s workout. The DVD comes with a meal plan, but I have decided to do my own. For today, cantaloupe for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch and Panera soup for dinner. For tomorrow, I’m going to spread out the workouts and hope that makes it a little easier.
I was sore from yesterday, but I went into the strength and cardio section with more knowledge about the workouts, making it easier to transition between movements. I also actually listened to the DVD and did strength in the morning and cardio in the evening, right before dinner. Most importantly, I knew when I was closer to the end of the workouts. Spreading out the workouts definitely made it a lot easier. My only question of the day: Why is Dahlia smiling the ENTIRE time?
Dare I say it—the workouts are getting easier…? It could be because I have learned what to expect and pace myself accordingly, which probably is not the point of the exercises. I will give myself some praise because now I’m venturing out to do the non-modified (i.e. harder) version of the workouts. I already can feel a difference. That Jillian, she’s good. I can feel my core tightening. My only concern at this point is spreading out the two workouts a day; while the workouts are only 30 minutes each, I’m now showering and getting re-dressed twice a day. It’s exhausting. I’m going to round up here and say that I am half-way through the week!
Today was the day that I did NOT want to work out. On top of the many things I was balancing today, I did not want to add an hour long workout with Jillian… especially since I knew I’d have to do them back to back. However, I did. The workouts are getting smoother, as I can hear the workout and know what it is now without having to watch it being done on the screen. The cardio is getting noticeably easier, while the strength part is still my biggest struggle.
I knocked out the workout early in the morning, again clumping them together and going back to back. While spreading the workouts out morning and evening was easier, it is difficult to manage with my schedule. With the exercises that I struggle with — anything involving balance — I stick to the modified, easier version. However, I’m branching out and trying the harder version with the exercises I feel decently comfortable with. I felt pretty good until I went bowling later in the night and realized that lifting a bowling ball was very similar to bicep curls. Let’s just say that I got my butt kicked in bowling as I feebly tossed the ball down the lane.
Weekends are the hardest days for me to work out. My typical workout schedule pre-Shred was always Monday – Fridays with weekends off to recover and enjoy life. It was a monumental struggle to skip my Saturday morning donut trip to do a quick workout. Afterwards, I felt more awake and ready to start the day with a major accomplishment done already. Will this continue throughout the weekend? Unlikely, but it was a good start.
Ah, the last day. Because I was excited to be done, I flew through the exercises with unusual vigor. I tried to push hard, knowing that it would be a long time before I came back to a workout quite as difficult as this one. I did wait to work out until the afternoon, which seemed to be a better fit than my usual morning routine. I even began to like Jillian and her no-nonsense, push-it attitude.
I definitely understand why this is only a week long. It is not easy and a serious time commitment. Two workouts a day requires drive and a goal. I can’t imagine that it could be healthy to maintain this workout routine for more than seven days. However, I’m glad I did it. Completing the challenge gave me a sense of accomplishment and a (potentially false) impression that I’m now in good shape. I did not follow the diet, but I really committed to the workouts. I switched between knocking them out at once and spreading them throughout the day—if you’re going to spread them throughout the day, prepare for the workouts to be a little more manageable, but with more time needed for two showers a day. I’d highly recommend this challenge to anyone that is trying to shape up quickly for an event, but would also add the caveat that it is not easy and requires considerable mental and physical toughness.