Review: Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred – 20 Minutes for a “Gym Quality” Workout?

Image of Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred

There are a ton of different workout DVDs out there and a lot of them have pretty steep promises. Is it really possible to get a workout in just 20 minutes that will burn the calories of a gym workout? Can a workout DVD really be what you need to lose weight?

You may have heard of Jillian Michaels, she’s the tough no-nonsense trainer from “The Biggest Loser” and the creator of the “30 Day Shred.” Her workouts are known to be tough but life changing. If you have the willpower to just take 20 minutes to really work out you’ll start seeing changes in your body in as little as days.

What makes Jillian’s workouts so powerful? They’re a version of high intensity interval training. You’re alternating between strength, cardio, and abs. It gets you a full body workout in less time because while you’re resting one part of your body you’re working out another.

The big issue with a lot of Jillian’s videos is that they aren’t very beginner friendly, but the 30 Day Shred is a nice change of pace in that respect.

The biggest thing that’s going to be helpful if you’re newer to working out (or even if you’ve just never done something this high intensity) is that there are three levels of workout. You start at level 1 and work your way up to level 3. Jillian also offers some modified versions of certain parts of the workouts for absolute beginners.

There are two complaints with this DVD to be aware of though. The first is that there is only one workout for each level so it can get a bit repetitive. The best way to deal that is once you get to level 3 don’t only do level 3. Skip around and go back to levels 1 and 2 for a day or two if you’re getting bored, or pick up some of Jillian’s more advanced DVDs if you get bored of level 3.

The other complaint is that it can be hard on knees. A lot of high impact workouts like this are hard on your knees. The reason is that you’re doing squat and lunge movements quickly. If you have bad knees you should make sure to talk to your doctor before starting this workout. When going through the movements you need to focus on your form. The main cause of injury in any workout is bad form.

A word of warning: I personally tried this program for over three weeks. My exercise was stopped quickly by a terrible pain in the neck. I was just doing mountain climbers when it hit. The rest of the evening I was lying gasping on the floor, suffering from agonizing neck pain. No painkiller or muscle relaxant helped. Also physiotherapy during the following days was complete waste of time. The pain relieved little by little, after a few weeks.

I still suffer from that neck pain occasionally, and I doubt I’m ever able to do mountain climbers again. I never had that condition before, just after doing the 30 Day Shred. For me, the workout was too repetitive and that caused the injury on my neck. However, as we all are individuals, this workout could work very well for you. I just wanted to tell my experience with this workout.

If you’re looking for a workout that’s going to burn a lot of calories quickly and is really going to make you work, Jillian’s DVD is it. It’s not going to be easy but it’s going to be effective, especially if you can’t set aside more than 20 minutes to workout.


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