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After a long winter, which was packed full of lazy days and lots of food, I decided I would attempt to shed the pounds that I had gained over the winter. After reading plenty of positive reviews and knowing that Jillian is a very successful trainer, I thought this would be ideal.
-- The main menu --
30 day meal plan
And more from Jillian
-- Equipment/tools you will need --
A set of light hand weights
A set of heavy hand weights
-- The workouts --
The DVD consists of four 24 minute workouts. You do these workouts over a period of 30 days, starting at Level one and progressing onto the next level each week until all have been completed. Each workout includes two other exercisers one being Shelly who modifies each move for beginners and the second being Bashira who intensifies each move for the more advanced users. The exercises get harder and move creative as you work through the different workouts.
Each segment Jillian uses her 3-2-1 interval system, 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs, to ensure you really push yourself and achieve the best possible results. Each workout begins with dynamic stretching using exercises such as forward bends, squats and arm circles. Jillian likes to use moves that work multiple muscle groups at a time, which personally I think is really effective and you get the most out of your workout.
Jillian promises that you will never see the same move twice throughout the 4 workouts. I believe this to be true, even though she may use a move again, usually she incorporates it with another move. This makes the exercise different, as its working different muscle groups.
-- Layouts of each workout --
Circuit 1 (3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs)
Circuit 2 (3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs)
Circuit 3 (3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs)
-- Examples of moves in each level --
Level 1 - Fast feet, planks and squats with arm presses.
This level tends to prepare you for the other levels by building on your muscles, strength and skills.
Level 2 - Chest press with single leg press, Circle kicks and Mountain climbers.
Level 3 - Sledge hammer, Crab walk, Duck walk.
This level tends to have move stabilising moves than level 2
Level 4 - Power yoga, Scissor kicks and Burpees with jumps.
Jillian describes this level as the 'mother of all workouts' funnily enough, I would have to agree!
-- Jillians recommendations --
Jillians recommends working out 5-6 days a week. Personally I think this is very unrealistic, not because I don't think I wouldn't be able to find the motivation to do it this often, but because of the pain you endure as you start each new workout. The first time I did each level, I had pulled quite a few muscles, simply because these are muscles I never knew existed. Also because if you want to build muscles/strength without doing any damaged, you need to let your muscles repair themselves to get stronger. I tend to only do the workout 3 day a week, leaving a day in between to let my body heal.
She also recommends to have a days rest each week, although I do agree, I think you should enable yourself to have 2-3 days of rest to let your muscles repair themselves in order to build muscle and strength.
-- The 30 day meal plan --
Included in this workout is the 30 day meal plan which you can either access through the DVD or you can download it from her website. http://www.jillianmichaels.com/
The meal plan is fairly restrictive and I found it hard to stick to. The reason for this being that as I live with three other people in my household, I find it easier to have the same as they do instead of cooking separately. So instead of following the meal plan, I decided to just cut saturated fats and sugar from my diet and eat more fresh fruit, vegetables, protein and drink plenty of water.
I believe the meal plan would work for most people, but for users that have a busy schedule this may be tricky to stick to, as you may need to be a little more flexible. If your very organised, you may be able to get away with preparing the larger meals in advanced.
-- My experience --
I've never been very keen on workout DVD's, as I'm not very good at sticking to them and get bored fairly quickly. But this one was an absolute delight to do, due to the fact there are a variety of four workouts, consisting of different exercises which kept me entertained throughout each workout. After completing the first workout, working muscles that I never knew existed, I was extremely sore and ached everywhere. This lead me to believe that it was going to be worth it and motivated me to complete all levels to the maximum.
It took me about 1-2 weeks to move on the next level, as I wanted to do so when I felt I had achieved the best I could from each workout. Jillian does mention that it doesn't matter how long it takes for you to progress onto the next level. I completed all the workouts within about 2 months.. I find it very easy to loose weight as I have a fast metabolism, I also wanted this DVD for the fitness benefits, as I recently stopped going to the gym.
I found the workouts were brilliant at relieving stress and I feel a lot better for it. I have a lot more energy and motivation to do things. The combined exercises that are shown, have really effected the shape of my body, looking more toned and making me look slender. My bum and breasts look firmer and more lifted, my thighs and legs tighter and more toned and slight indents shown on my stomach.
I tend to do the Level 3 and 4 workout 2 times a week, mostly for the fitness benefits but also to maintain my strength and muscle. The workouts are roughly 30 minutes long, which I find easy to fit around my busy week.
I did find that the meal plan was hard to get on with, as I live with my family and found it inconvenient to cook at separate times which either meant changing my daily routine to fit around when my parents cook and also costing more money to buy the ingredients I needed. I think it would work brilliantly for people who are more organised, as you could easily prepare the larger meals in advanced.
I also found that attempting to workout 5-6 days a week as Jullian recommended was very difficult, as when first doing the workouts of each Level, I had strained a lot of muscles and found it difficult to workout whilst my muscles were aching. As you need to let your muscles repair after a strenuous workout, to build muscle and preventing any further damage, I only completed the workouts 3 days a week leaving a day in-between to let my muscles rest.
Jillian provides a lot of motivational comments throughout the workouts, which encourages you to work out to your maximum until the end. The hardest workout for me would be the 4th Level, this really puts you to the test and It took me about 2 weeks, for me to be able to complete it without having to pause a take a quick break to catch my breath. Having the option whether to follow Shelly or Bashira and bend the moves your capabilities, to enable the most from your workouts is absolutely fantastic.
I would recommend this to a lot of people, especially if you are like me and have let yourself go over the winter holidays. This will definitely get you back into shape, with the intensive workouts and continuous motivation from Jillian.
-- Price and Availability --
This is widely available online and some supermarkets and stores such as HMV and WHSmiths. The price can vary from £6 - £12. I picked my up from Play.com for £10. I believe the price is very reasonable for the quality you get, plus you can re-use this as many times as you like.
If you want a fully loaded, jam packed, effective workout than this is definitely worth the small price. You can't go wrong!