Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 20 - Level 2

Just finished Level 2. And Day 20 - that means I'm 2/3 done the challenge!!

Another thing that is improving is my flexibility. On the stretches at the end I can now touch my forehead to my knees - just barely, but I can!

So, I had emailed the Jillian Michaels website to ask about consecutive day muscle training in the Shred and this is the response I got today...
With the 30-day Shred, I do believe that you should have 2 resting days, not right in a row. But, I do know that it is suggested to workout for 5 days out of a week. I hope that answers your question.
This still isn't every other day, but it does kinda make sense. It would also work out to doing 2 weeks (5 days per week) on Level 1, 2 weeks on Level 2 and 2 weeks on Level 3 for a total of 6 weeks (30 days). You know, if I was following the actual program, which I'm not.

So, now I'm not sure what I should do - if I should add a couple rest days to my workout schedule. It would sure make it easier! I just don't want it to seem like a cop out or that I'm giving up or not able to do it.

In some ways, I'm thinking I really should though. Today I was absolutely exhausted doing this workout. I had to do just legs and drop the arms on a couple of the reps for biceps and the front arm raises. My guess is this is likely because my muscles are not getting the proper 48 hr rest and recovery period that they need.

What do you think?

I'm leaning towards making tomorrow my first rest day in 3 weeks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 19 - Level 3

Another day of Level 3 complete.

Man, this is a tough workout. Seriously. Dude.

You should try it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 18 - Level 1

Today was Level 1 again.

I can definitely tell I'm getting stronger. I can now do both sets of the front arm raises fairly comfortably with my 5lb weights which means I should really increase them, at least for the first set, next time. Going to 8lbs is going to be a killer though - I'm gonna be wishing for 6's or 7's that's for sure!

I made the chest flies harder by only lifting my 8lbers just over half way up - this makes a huge difference!

I'm going to finish off this rotation (1,3,2,3) one more time and then switch things up again. I hope I'm not going to bite off more than I can chew. I'll leave you in suspense for the time being - stay tuned!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 17 - Level 3

Managed (gasp) to finish (panting) Level 3 (drip, drip) one more time!

My legs are feeling the burn.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 16 - Level 2

Today was Level 2 again. For some reason I was sweating virtually as much as I do for Level 3. It was really tough. Biceps I had to drop from 8lbs down to 5 lbs for the 2nd set. I really need some weights in between those two. Plus heavier ones for the chest flies and some of the back rows.

There is one thing that I don't quite get about these workouts. All I've ever heard and read (including Jillian Michaels' book Making the Cut) says to perform muscle conditioning workouts every other day, allowing time for your muscles to recover and rebuild, getting bigger and stronger. And if you want to weight train every day you need to use train different muscle groups on different days. But in this workout DVD you're supposed to train every single day, and you're definitely using the same muscle groups every day. So what's the deal? Anybody have any ideas?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Measure-in Wednesday

I decided to take Brooke's suggestion and measure myself.

I had purchased Jillian Michael's book Making the Cut awhile back and had done the measuring as per her instructions. So, my original measurements were taken Feb 20th, but I think that would still be pretty accurate numbers to use for how I likely was at the beginning of this challenge.

Hallelujah there's a difference!!

Bust - down 0.5"
Chest - down 2"!!
Waist (just above belly button) - down 1.5"!!
Hips - same
Right Thigh - same
Left Thigh - down 0.25"

Total inches lost - 4.25"!!!!

The thigh measurements I'm not 100% sure are accurate as it's a little more subjective measuring and I don't remember exactly where I took them.

I also measured my belly this time. The waist measurement isn't overly helpful anyway, it's not like we're buying pants that fit around the waist. They fit around the belly - you know, so it can push your post-pregnancy belly up and over into the muffin top look. Unfortunately my belly measurement is 3" bigger than my waist measurement.

I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't shrunk in the hip/thigh department - both important jean fit measurements. Hopefully by the end of the Shred there will be some improvement there.

Anyway, I am very encouraged by those numbers and I look forward to measuring again at the end of this torture shredding.

Day 15 - Level 3

I am half done!!! Woohoo!!

Today was Level 3 again - nothing much new to report.

The last circuit is by far the hardest one. I've noticed that I've been cheating on the strength training portion of this one.

Travelling pushups and then row and leg lift from a plank position. As you get tired you'll notice your butt sticking further and further up into the air - making it much easier on your core. I noticed that I've been doing that especially on the row and leg lift exercise. So, today I focused on keeping my butt straight, totally engaging the core muscles - very difficult! I was not able to do it perfectly the whole time.

Weigh-in Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Well, apparently last week's 1 pound weight loss was normal weight fluctuation as I'm virtually right back where I started, bringing my total weight loss to .2lb which is, in reality, nothing.

However, I know that my body is getting stronger, and I know that muscle weighs more than fat, and I know that all this work isn't for nothing.... but it still feels like it.

It's a lot harder to keep torturing myself with The Shred when I'm not seeing the results I want to be seeing. But I will keep at it. And hope for better next week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 14 - Level 1

Today was Level 1 of the 30 Day Shred workout.

A refresher for those just joining me. There are 3 workouts on the 30 Day Shred DVD. The first workout is called Level 1 and you can see my full review of this workout here. The 2nd workout is called Level 2 because it is harder than than the first workout (Level 1). You can get the scoop on this workout here. And finally there's the torturous Level 3 which is (as I'm sure you've guessed by now) harder than either of the first two workouts. You can get the cold hard facts of Level 3 here.

After progressing from Level 1 all the way through to Level 3, you may think Level 1 would be easy. But no, it's not. All the workouts are different and use different muscles. So, even if your body is used to doing Level 3, when you switch back to Level 1 your muscles have forgotten what you did back then, so it's going to be tough. That's why I've decide to switch up my exercise routine every day. Instead of doing 10 days in a row of each level (how the Shred is "supposed" to done), I'm changing them every day. I first did them in order two times through (1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3) and now I'm switching things up again and doing Level 3 the most as it's the hardest. So, my new pattern is 1,3,2,3,1,3,2,3.

Note: the only reason I'm able to do this is because I've already progressed through all the workouts. If you're just starting the Shred for the first time, please don't try this - you may kill yourself :) Stick with Level 1 for the full 10 days, or until you can do the entire workout with Natalie whichever comes first, then move on to Level 2 for 10 days or until you can do the whole thing (with good form!) with Natalie, and then proceed to Level 3. If this is your second run at the 30 Day shred then have at it!

I can definitely tell that Level 1 is easier than Level 3. Don't get me wrong - this is one tough workout still. In fact, I admit to resting for 2 reps on the bicep curl portion of the last set of circuit 2 (still kept doing the lunges). But even though the sweat is running, it's not as reminiscent of the Niagara Falls that Level 3 produces. It's tough, but I don't have to mentally tough it out as much as I have to in Level 3. Mind over matter and all that.

One thing I find a little funny in this workout. During Circuit 3 Jillian compliments Natalie and Anita on not cheating when she's up in front and can't see them. The reason that's funny is that Natalie did cheat during the previous circuit, Jillian just didn't catch her! Ha!

I'm planning to mow the lawn this afternoon yet. I would be going out to do it right now, but we had to get it fixed and Nathan's only bringing it back around lunch time - and then I have to wait for Jacob's next nap. The lawn is so long already, it's going to be like my own Level 3 workout! :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 13 - Level 3

Well, I've managed to complete Level 3 once again. Seriously, I didn't even know I could sweat as much as I do in this workout. It's literally running off me. And dripping onto the floor as I'm exercising, especially during the last circuit of this workout - so brutal.

2 more days till the next weigh in. I'm being cautiously optimistic, but we'll see. According to my normal scale (it's not digital) I think I've lost another pound, but I have to wait for my official digital weigh in using my Wii Fit.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 12 - Level 2

Why does this just not get any easier?!

Managed to finish Level 2 again. For some reason the middle circuit was really hard for me today (static lunge with row and pendulum lunges with hammer curls).

Off to have breakfast with the family! See you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 11 - Level 3

Well, I've managed to peel myself up off the floor after completing Level 3 again.

The only part that seems even a little bit easier is the cardio with weights section. I can actually perform the moves properly and at the same speed as her using my 5lb weights. At first I had to go way slower with my punches, but now I can do it!

Everything else seems just as hard though, but if I'm improving in one area, I'm likely also improving in another and just not noticing it.

Go me!

Tomorrow is Sunday so another tough day. There's no Sunday School so that's good, but it is Father's Day, so it would be good if I could be done exercising and showered in time to make breakfast instead of Nathan making it like he usually does on the weekends. I have a fabulous husband!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 10 - Level 1

Whew! Day 10 is complete - that means I'm 1/3 done this 30 day challenge!

Today was Level 1 again. I found the first circuit of strength training to be really hard again, but I managed to push through it (pushups and squats with arm presses using 5lb weights).

I managed to do the lunges with bicep curls using 8lb weights for both sets for the second circuit of strength training.

And for circuit 3 of strength - I'm actually finding that those anterior raises (raise arms straight up in front of you to eye level) are finally starting to get easier. Well, not so much easier as less torturous. LOL

Tomorrow is going to be Level 3 again. See ya then.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 9 - Level 3

Level 3 done. So now I've completed 3 rotations of Levels 1 - 3 and I'm going to switch it up again.

Now I'm going to alternative Levels 1 and 2 with Level 3. Tomorrow will be Level 1, then the next day Level 3, then Level 2, then 3, 1,3,2,3. As Level 3 is the hardest, this should kick it up another notch.

I'm a bit discouraged though. OK, that's probably an understatement. I weighed myself again today and I was back up 1.3lbs. How did that happen in 1 day?! I'm frustrated.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 8 - Level 2

Just finished Level 2.

Dripping wet and gasping for breath - pretty standard.

The only move I made harder is the same as always - the pushups. Instead of just doing walking pushups, I do 5 in a row before walking back up.

Got a little break near the end when I had to deal with a discipline issue - guess which one that was? :) LOL

See you tomorrow! Over and out.

Weigh-in Wednesday!

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

This is my first weigh-in Wednesday and I am thrilled to report a loss of 1.1 pounds! Hopefully that's a for real weight loss (and not just a monthly shift in weight, if you get my drift). Guess we'll find out next week. But for now - I'm pumped! I also think that my tummy appears flatter than it did before. I really should've taken before and after pictures.

Of course, it doesn't matter how flat my tummy gets - my skin is forever changed by my pregnancies. We're talking the 80 yr old wrinkle look. Basically the result of my first pregnancy. I gained about 40 lbs with each pregnancy, but with Emma especially it was mostly amniotic fluid. We're talking Niagara Falls when my water broke in bed. I weighed myself and I had instantly lost 5lbs and it kept coming steady for about 24 hrs. Two weeks after she was born I had lost 35 of the 40 lbs I had gained. Skin just does not re-elasticize that fast, as least not mine. And so I now have a very wrinkly stomach - not stretch marks (well I have a few of those, but those are minor), and not just that lean-over-saggy-stomach that every woman that's ever been pregnant gets - I mean actual wrinkles. It's very flattering. :) Honestly, if it wasn't so expensive and if it didn't requite such a long recovery, I'd seriously look into getting that fixed. But it's worth it for my four sweet babes!

Anyway, that was a tangent.

Back to the point - I've lost 1.1 lbs after one week of shredding consistently. Hopefully next week will yield similar results! Here's to hoping anyway. Off to do level 2 now.

I Shred with the Sisterhood!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 7 - Level 1

As you may have noticed, I've decided to rotate through levels 1 - 3. I'm going to do this 3 times and then I will change things up again. Today was Level 1, the first day of Round 3!

For some reason the shoulder presses in Circuit 1 (following the full pushups) were really difficult for me today. I barely managed to make it through them - and I definitely could not keep my arms at 90 degrees the whole time. I did, however, manager to force myself to use 8lb weights for both sets of bicep curls in Circuit 2, instead of going down to 5 lbers on the 2nd set.

I decided to up the ante on the ab moves - I find them so easy in Level 1. So, I simply did the moves on my Bender ball. Yup, that did it. Killer. I highly recommend this ball. The workouts themselves are boring. The set is boring, the leader is boring - it's quite brutal. But the moves themselves are very effective. That ball makes a crunch at least 10 times more difficult than just doing it on the floor. Trust me - it works!

Also - I need to get some heavier weights for some of the moves - the arm rows and chest flies in particular. However, until then, there are ways to make the moves more difficult.

For arm rows concentrate on keeping your shoulder blades pulled together throughout the whole move. Don't release the contraction when you lower your arms out of the row. This will increase the difficulty level substantially!

For the chest flies simply do not bring your arms all the way up to the top. The move gets easier as you bring the weights up, so by stopping the movement before you reach the top, you keep the contraction going, therefore making it harder.

Do not try any of these suggestions and do not increase your weights, until you can do the moves with good form comfortably.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 6 - Level 3

Whew - another day done. I was interrupted in between the jumping lunges circuit for about 5 minutes by Nathan for a business related phone call. And a couple times by my littlest - so I "punished" myself by doing all but 2 of the rock star jumps. Gasp!

6 out of 30, that's 20% done! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 5 - Level 2

I did it!

It took me a few minutes to drag myself out of bed this morning (especially since I stayed up too late last night blogging!) and I know for a fact I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't told y'all I would. So, thanks for being here for me!

To use a Jillian Michael's expression, I admit to "phoning it in" just slightly on the last cardio circuit - though I'm not sure if it's considered phoning it in if you're still exhausted and still moving, but I digress. To make the oblique twists slightly easier, you land on your feet not exactly at the same time, but with your weight more on one foot than the other. To make it harder, you land on both feet at exactly the same time. And I only single jump roped, instead of double.

But, hey, you're still getting dripped on by my sweat so I think it's all good.

Yeah me!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 4 - Level 1

Just completed Level 1. Why does this never feel any easier?

My legs felt like rubber today - from yesterday's torture I assume. Quite frankly, I'm surprised I was able to complete the workout following Natalie.

Day 1 of the weekend accomplished. Tomorrow will be the biggie...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 3 - Level 3

Can you hear me gasping for breath right now? Yeah, sorry for dripping sweat on you while you're sitting there reading this - I know that's not what you signed up for when you agreed to help keep me accountable during these 30 days of torture shredding.

Excuse me while I make a mental note....

Mental note: Do not mow the lawn immediately after shredding. Especially if you also have to move a wheelbarrow full of weeds that happens to have a completely flat wheel a far distance over grass that is way too long. Basically don't let grass get so long that it's a workout trying to move the trampoline to the mowed section. End mental note.

On to today's workout....

Circuit 1
Strength: 30 seconds of a walking plank move (going from a plank on your forearms to a plank with straight arms, one arm at a time - walking) followed by 1 minute of Supermans (stretch out on the floor in a Superman pose, lift arms and legs simultaneously as high as you can - you can cheat on this move pretty easily, so don't!). Repeat.
Cardio: 30 seconds each mountain climbers (in plank position bring legs in to the chest one at a time, quickly) and sumo squat jumps (squat jumps but with feet really wide and toes pointed out in a plie position)
Abs: 30 seconds of pike crunches (lie on your back with legs and arms fully extended, use your abs to simultaneously lift your legs and arms up and touch your toes, ok maybe your shins) followed by 30 seconds of torture scissor-kick abs. With hands tucked under your low back/butt, raise extended legs 3" off the floor (good luck with that - more like 2') and scissor kick your legs - move them wide apart and then together crossing right leg under left leg, then back out, then crossing right leg over left leg, repeat.

The ab moves are supposed to be 30 seconds each, but I'm always dying on this scissor-kick move so I decided to time that one - and it ended up being 45 seconds! That's 50% longer than promised. She's evil I tell you.

Circuit 2
Strength: 30 seconds dumbbell cleans using 8lb weight in right hand (come into deep squat position while bringing dumbbell down to the floor, quickly push up with hamstrings while quickly lifting dumbbell and punching it up to the ceiling). I don't find this move particularly difficult (guess I need to get some 10lb weights) but that's a good thing because next we have 1 minute of alternating jumping lunges (pretty self explanatory I think). These are torturous. Repeat with dumbbell in left hand for dumbbell cleans, and starting on opposite leg for jumping lunges.
Cardio: 30 seconds each of punches, butt kicks, punches again, and jumping jacks. Here's the killer - you're using weights! I used 5 lbers. Anyone who thought the punches in Level 1 was the easiest cardio move, will change their mind on this one!
Abs: 1 minute of full-blown Rocky style situps

Circuit 3
Strength: 30 seconds of walking pushups (in pushup position, keep left hand at the centre, walk right hand out to the side and perform pushup, walk both hands over to the left and repeat) followed by 1 minute of plank rows and leg raises (come into a full plank position on your weights - I used 8lbers, mainly because they're hexagon instead of round, so I'm less likely to fall on my face - bring your right hand up into a row and back down, then lift fully extended right leg up, switch to the left side and repeat). Repeat
Cardio: 30 seconds each of jumping squats and rock star jumps and repeat. Rock star jumps are brutal. It's like a butt kick only you kick your butt with both feet at the same time! I admit to only being able to do 8 rock stars the first round and 3 on the second round - Anita's looking more attractive at this point.
Abs: 30 seconds of side plank lifts on the right side, then 30 seconds on the left side. The kicker is that she surprises you at the end with a "hold for 5 seconds" on the last rep! Yeah, not nice Jillian. Due to this extra goodie, I try to remember to switch the side I start these on, so I'm not always working one side more than the other.

I took at least 2 one-minute water breaks. I had to after the strength moves on Circuit 3 otherwise I would've simply collapsed on the floor in utter exhaustion, never to get up again. I even made by 4 yr old (yes, she just turned 4!) go refill my water bottle for me cause I didn't think I'd made it up the stairs the way my legs were burning - you know, from the scissor-kick abs, jumping sumo squats and jumping lunges. Not sure how I survived doing the jumping squats on jelly legs.

3 down, 27 more to go. And here we are at the weekend. I'm determined to do it though! At least I think I am. No, really - I am. Guess you'll soon find out, huh?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 2 - Level 2

Today I did Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred. My armpits were totally feeling it from yesterday's workout. I find that Level 3 is overall easier on the upper body than Level 1 or 2, so that's why I'm feeling it more today. Confirms my decisions to switch up the levels every day.

I followed Natalie for the workout unless otherwise noted.

Level 2
Circuit 1
Strength: 30 seconds of walking pushups. I find this actually easier than constant pushups, so I modified it to make it harder (yes, I am officially insane). I walked out to the pushup position and then did 5 full pushups before walking back up, and repeat for 30 seconds. 1 minute of a static squat with front row using 5 lb weights. Repeat.
Cardio: 30 seconds of high knees followed by 30 seconds of squat thrusts (brutal!) and repeat.
Abs: crunch with one leg raise for 30 seconds, then switch legs for another 30 seconds

Circuit 2
Strength: 30 seconds of static lunge with medium grip row followed by 1 minute of pendulum lunges with hammer curls using 8 lb weights. Repeat using opposite leg and went down to 5lb weights on the hammer curls.
Cardio: 30 seconds each of oblique twists and then skaters and repeat.
Abs: with 5lb dumbells raised straight over head, extend legs fully and then lift them up and over to the side for 30 seconds. Then 30 seconds of double crunches (regular crunch and reverse crunch combined)

Circuit 3
Strength: 30 seconds of military press with leg extensions followed by 1 minute of chair squats with v-raise using 5 lb weights. Repeat. I admit to only being able to follow Anita on the v-raises, I just cannot raise my arms to eye level on this one.
Cardio: 30 seconds each of plank jacks and double jump rope. Repeat. I admit to only being able to do Anita's single jump rope on this today.
Abs: plank twists for 1 minute

Also - one benefit to trying to workout with small children around - I got a 1 minute break having to deal with "issues". LOL

Now that I have just barely stopped sweating, I'm going outside to mow the lawn!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 1 of the 30 Day Shred Challenge - Level 1

So, today I did Level 1 of my personalized version of the 30 Day Shred Challenge. Unless otherwise noted, I follow Natalie.

Circuit 1
Weight training: 30 seconds of pushups followed by 1 minute of squats combined with dumbbell presses using 5 lb weights, repeat - I am quite proud to say that I can do full pushups the entire time. This is of course, from my work on the One Hundred Pushups Challenge awhile back.
Cardio: 30 seconds of jumping jacks alternating with 30 seconds of skipping rope and repeat. I admit to going so hard core on the jumping jacks (after all - I've done Level 3 so this will be easy - not) that I overdid it and actually had to march in place for 5 seconds of the cardio section to recover.
Abs: 30 seconds of crunches and then 30 seconds of reverse crunches

Circuit 2
Weight training: 30 seconds of dumbbell rows using 8 lb weights followed by one minute of lunges with bicep curls (used 8 lbs on set 1 and 5 lbs on set 2 for biceps) and repeat
Cardio: 30 seconds of butt kicks followed by 30 seconds of punches and repeat
Abs: 1 minute of side crunches

Circuit 3
Weight training: 30 seconds of chest flies using 8 lb weights (I could use heavier ones for this but don't have any) followed by 1 minutes of side lunges with front raises using 5 lb weights (this one's a killer!) and repeat
Cardio: 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, punches, butt kicks and jump rope
Abs: 1 minute of bicycle crunches

Tammy's 30 Day Shred Challenge

Although I have been amazed at the 30 Day Shred workouts, I've been less than impressed with the movement on my scale - or rather the lack thereof. In fact, zero. Nada. Zilch. Yep, I've been putting myself through almost pure torture for nothing apparently. My brain knows that's not true. I know I am stronger, and therefore have likely lost pounds in fat, and gained pounds in muscle.

But I'd like to see a little more results.

My resolve to limit chips has been working - but again, no results that I can tell. Course, going to The Keg once and The Olive Garden twice during same time frame probably didn't help. Ya think?

So, I've made a decision.

I'm going to do the 30 Day Shred Challenge ..... for real.

How can I make it more real than I've been doing it?

Well, the challenge is to do the workout 30 days. in. a. row.

I've been doing it probably 4 times a week. Considering I should be doing it 7 times a week means that I'm doing it almost half as much as I should be. Which also means, that if I up the ante, kick myself in the butt, and really giver for 30 days straight - almost doubling the amount of killer exercise workouts that I'm doing - I should also see better results.

Sounds good in theory anyway.

It better prove good in reality or I'm not going to be overly impressed. :)

Weekdays will not be hard to commit to. It's the weekends that are gonna be tough - especially Sundays! However, there's only 1 more week of Sunday School left before summer, which means that soon I won't have to get up quite as early for church - which will make getting up early to exercise a realistic possibility. Just gotta make it through one Sunday!!!

Since I've already done all 3 levels of the Shred, I'm not going to do the Challenge in the conventional way. The conventional way would be (I assume anyway!) to do Level 1 for 10 days, Level 2 for 10 days and then Level 3 for 10 days.

What I'm going to do is do a different Level every day to switch things up. My theory is that it won't give my body time to adapt to any one workout, which should also get me better results. Here's to hoping anyway. So, I'm either going to simply rotate through Levels 1 - 3, or I'm going to go one step farther and alternate Levels 1 or 2 with Level 3 - in other words, every other day I'll be torturing myself with Level 3 - and the other days will alternate between 1 and 2.

Clear as mud? I thought so.

So, I'm going to be tracking my progress on this here blog - basically to keep me accountable. Please comment along the way - so I know people are actually reading this - helpful for the accountability factor and all that.

Feel free to join me in shredding!! Here goes nothin'.

Original Review of The 30 Day Shred - Level 3!

Originally posted on my "real" blog on May 25th. Reposted for your benefit here...

Awhile back I reviewed Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, Levels 1 & 2. I've progressed to Level 3 now so I thought I'd post a review.

I just finished the workout and I'm sitting here still sweating away! No point in showering till you're done sweating right?

This. Is. One. Tough. Workout!

The toughest thing about this workout is that so many of the moves qualify as both muscle conditioning AND cardio. Sometimes abs are also kicked in for a triple killer.

For example - one cardio circuit included doing butt kicks, jumping jacks and punches - WITH weights. Wow, talk about an arm workout while getting that heart pumping. Another cardio circuit had mountain climbers (tough move totally involving abs) and sumo squats (which obviously work the thighs - inner thighs specifically).

Other tough moves in this workout include travelling pushups, jumping lunges, jumping squats and rock stars. I'm exhausted just typing that out.

I found that Level 1 had quite easy ab moves. Level 2 was slightly harder, and Level 3 does kick it up a notch in this area as well. Pike situps, full situps, double leg raise with scissor kicks (add a LOT of inner thigh on that one!) and side lifts are a few of the delicacies you will experience in Level 3.

Edited to add: My reviews seem to be scaring people away from this workout - and that is not my intention! This workout is awesome!! It is customizable to varying fitness levels. One of the girls always demonstrates an easier version of all the moves, so you can definitely follow her. You can also simply use lighter weights - or even no weights at all if necessary. You can customize it to your fitness level. Just do it!

The actually purpose of this workout is to workout 30 days in a row without fail. I have not done that, and I'm sure if you did you would see more impressive results. I have definitely noticed an increase in strength. I have not noticed any movement on the scale - however, I'm trying to keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat and I've definitely been gaining muscle and losing fat, so that's a good thing.

If I could be more disciplined with my eating (or should I say snacking!) that would probably help a lot. My plan with that is to avoid chips. I've recently developed this awful habit of having some chips with my sandwhich virtually every day for lunch during the week. Even though I am keeping the portion size under control, having it every day is definitely adding to my calorie intake! So, no chips at home. Chips and desserts are only allowed when we go to someone's house, or have people over, and even then I'm going to pick and choose. For ex - yesterday we had my family over for Mother's Day/Father's Day and I was able to pass on the ice cream sandwiches fairly easily. Though I like ice cream sandwiches, it's not a weakness and if I'm going to say no, that's an easier one for me. On Saturday we had Pam's family over for supper, and then we had ice cream sundaes - which I was able to at least limit to ice cream and strawberries (I CAN'T pass up ice cream and strawberries!). So, hopefully these decisions will help. Making a fairly specific plan like this helps me to make better food choices, much better than just generically saying I'm planning to eat better. What does that mean exactly anyway?

Why are those last 7 pounds so hard to lose?! Grrr.

Original Review of The 30 Day Shred

Originally posted at my "real" blog on February 19th. Reposted for your benefit here..

I've been getting frustrated at my lack of progress with the Push Up Challenge (still can't move past week 4), so I've decided to shake things up a bit. I had heard good things about The 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels (Biggest Loser fitness guru) so I decided to give it a whirl.

People - I have exercised at least 4 days a week for the past 10 years - and I found this TOUGH! You can tone it down a bit (there are 2 girls showing beginner and advance versions of the exercises) - you're just not allowed to stop! Well, maybe if you pass out you can stop for a few seconds. This is a very short workout - not counting warmup and cool down it is 18 mins of pure torture! She does 3 minutes of strength, then 2 minutes of cardio and then 1 minute of abs - and then does that same circuit over again three times in total, changing up the moves each time. There are 3 different workouts on the dvd (3 different levels). I have tried both level 1 and 2 so far.

I will keep you updated on how things are going, but I have a feeling this is going to get some results. This has got to be one of the most time effective, tough workouts I have ever done.

She is tough, no nonsense and brutally honest. Here are a few of her phrases.....
"I want you to feel like you're gargalling your heart"
"I want you to feel like you are going to die"

And, yes..... you do!

Edited to add: Just thought I should add on a little more info about the types of exercises performed during the workouts.

Strength moves: these usually incorporate lower and upper body moves simultaneously - such as bicep curls while doing lunges, or shoulder presses and squats, or front lateral raise with side squat, etc - and pushups of course!

Cardio: not for those with knee problems as there's a lot of jumping going on. Jumping jacks, butt kicks, high knee runs, "fake" jumping rope, etc - yep, brutal I tell ya.

Abs: pretty traditional moves - crunches, reverse crunches, both together, bicycles, ab moves from the plank position, etc.

There ya have it!

Taking it up a notch!

I've decided to take things up a notch in regards to The 30 Day Shred. So, I have started this new blog to track my reviews and, more importantly, to log my shredding days!

Please - help me out by commenting on my posts - thereby keeping me accountable!