Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blast it out!, or, the tale of my journey to Jillian Michaels...

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm in the 16th week of a new (and serious-er) workout routine.  The fast that I haven't done it this week since Tuesday is something we'll overlook for the present...  *cough*

What's my fitness background?  Well, I'm no workout junkie, that's for sure.  But I have been a Pilates fan since the birth of second child (now 8yo), and always tried to maintain stints of between giving birth over and over again.  Last year I was feeling the itch for something more intense, because the fourth baby really took it's toll on my body.  Right around when she turned 2, I'd had it.  I was done feeling physically weak.  I wanted something different, yet I'm so not an "aerobics" fan, having grown up on Denise Austin.  And reach!  And reach! 

So a friend and I were visiting one day and she pulled out her never-been-used Basic Tae Bo videotape by Billy Blanks.  Apparently it was a door prize she won at prom, back in 1998 - ha!  I learned and began doing the workout and loved it, feeling stronger after only a few months.  But being only the Basic level, it wasn't even a year before it was hardly a challenge anymore...I had woken up my ex-muscles, but not really changed them yet.

Shortly after New Year's Day, however, mentions of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred began circulating the social networks. know who you are.  *eyebrow*  Curious, I looked her up, and found out she was one of The Biggest Loser trainers.  Intriguing!  (I know, I know...and we really don't live in a cave, but we might be one of the last few on earth who neither receive nor care about television channels.)

Which brings me to sixteen weeks and three days ago, when I purchased No More Trouble Zones at Target for $9.  I also bought two 2-lb. dumbbells to use, instead of the 3's they use in the program, partly because they were so cheap, and partly because I knew I didn't have enough muscle remaining to handle the 3's!  I watched it the next day, and then I went for it.  That was a Friday and on Sunday my legs were so sore that I could scarcely hobble across the church parking lot in my 4-inch heels.  And how!  The soreness lasted for about 5 days, so I didn't reattempt the workout till the following Tuesday.  Five days of learning that I really did have muscles attached to my bones...because they screamed at me if I even thought about moving.  Welcome to the wonderful world of Circuit Training.  It's that effective!

Since then - barring the three weeks when my sister-in-law visited from the UK - I've been faithful to do the workout 2-4 times a week, and even graduated to 3-lb. weights last week.  Boo-ya!  Overall, I feel stronger, better balanced, and am truly seeing whole-body results.  Personally, my main motivation was not weight loss, but to add some muscle to my chicken legs and some toning to my flat bum.  That's definitely happening, but with an unexpected twist - my waist is leaner and the lovehandle area is almost gone.  I mean, core strength is always something I've sought after, but I didn't think there was any hope of losing that extra post-4 babies "stuff" around my middle.  Who knew?!

So that's a definite bonus, and really helps me stay motivated to continue advancing through the workout.  Why did I choose the No More Trouble Zones over the (in)famous 30 Day Shred?  Because it's longer, and composed of seven circuits, which you can mix and match, working through at your own level.  A couple of the moves ("The Surrender", anyone?!) I still cannot do, and a couple of them I modify to favor my knees, but the point is that I can get through the entire workout - sometimes completing entire circuits, sometimes not - and that feels great!  It's terrific thing that by adding just 2-lbs. to my weights, I've reached a all-new, challenging level of intensity.  The possibilities are endless...I suppose I could literally go the rest of my life working through this particular set of circuits.  ha!

Would I recommend this workout for beginners?  Not really.  I would call this an Intermediate level program.  I'd highly recommend Ana Caban's Beginning Mat Workout to any moms out there who aren't doing anything.  Unfortunately, chasing toddlers and going without sleep don't count as working out.  So sorry!  Get some core strength and flexibility going, then move up to this one, bringing into what you've learned (and toned!) from the Pilates work.

The only advice I have to offer anyone wanting to jump into this workout is to really focus on your abs while doing the moves.  Keep them tight!  Make that mental connection of pulling your belly button into the spine.  It doesn't seem that Jillian make this a priority until you've seen and listened to all the circuits numerous times, and this frustrated me at the beginning.  But...sometimes we miss out on what our TV trainers are saying until we've been using their tape for 6 months, right?  This is the primary reason I promote the Beginning Mat Workout, especially for women who've been pregnant.  The unique emphasis of Pilates exercises is using your "powerhouse" (which includes your abs) while moving other parts of the body. 

Do you need something new in your routine?  Check out No More Trouble Zones.  It's killer, and Jillian is a great trainer who makes you look forward to the workout...even when you try to wriggle yourself out of doing it.

But don't take my word for it - see this review from The Dietgirl, whose amazing adventures saw her go from a size 24 to a size 12, and lose a total of 175.5 lbs.  My favorite bit is when she references being "pleasantly crippled" the next day.  heh

Blast it out!  :-D


  1. Well done. I have exercised pretty consistently since the beginning of this year. I have lost some weight and am looking more lean. I started with aerobic exercise and have progressed to running and can managed 30 minutes without stopping. I will keep going as I do feel better (sometimes mid-run I ask myself why on earth I am putting myself through this torture.)

    I would love to do Pilates but all the classes clash with when I have something else to do.

  2. That is so great! I think I can run for about...3 minutes without stopping. (rofl)

    And try out a Pilates DVD! I've always wanted to do a class but can't find the time...or babysitting.

  3. Oh, what an inspiration! And I've never heard of the dietgirl before, but find her very inspiring too!

  4. Lies! Chasing a toddler and going without sleep DOES count as a workout! ;)