I’m going to create a mailing list so we can motivate each other. You don’t have to start the challenge on my Day 1 (March 4) to participate.
I’ve added a 30 Day Shred Challenge widget on the right hand corner of the blog. If you click on this image, it will take you directly to this post, which I will update on a daily basis as I complete the 30 Day Shred.
Many of you have recommended I take before and after photos and measurements to compare my progress. At first, I was hesitant to do this. I don’t normally post my weight or measurements because I feel each woman is different, and we should not compare ourselves to others. But since this challenge requires a comparison of my own improvements, I decided it’s truly the best way for me (and you!) to tell if the 30 Day Shred really works or if the improvements are just in my head! Basically, I like measurable results.
Note: I am not doing this challenge because I feel like there is something wrong with the way I currently look — I am completely satisfied with the aesthetics of my physical appearance. I do NOT want to lose any weight. But I’d like to increase my strength and tone up to make me a better runner! I notice my arms get tired and my abs often feel sore after running very long distances — signs that I am weak in those areas.
30 Days Challenge Progress Report
- Day 1 - I was SO excited to try the 30 Day Shred today!. I began at Level 1, and I must say… it is really hard, and I know I’m going to see results after 30 days of this workout! I was panting and sweating after only 5 minutes. Also, I can tell I need to be very careful with the lunges and be sure my knee stays at a 90 degree angle. I love how Jillian breaks the workouts into 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. It made the 20 minute routine fly by! However, I need to invest in light hand weights — I think the maximum I could use in this routine is 2 lbs. I used soup cans today because all I have are 5 lb. dumbbells.
- Day 2 – I woke up SORE AS ALL HELL. Jillian Michaels, you are a crazy woman. Luckily, I did the “Warm Up” and that got my blood moving. The areas around my knees were the most sore, so I switched the moves I knew would irritate me the most (the static lunges), and I did astatic squat instead. Also, today was the first day with real hand weights (3 lbs) and boy oh boy… I felt the difference!
- Day 3 - I coupled the 30 Day Shred with a 10K run this morning. Many people have asked if the Shred is going to replace my normal workouts. NO! I have a 15 mile trail run in 1 month, and although I do believe this is a great workout, I also know it does not replace running 20 – 25 miles a week. So, I view the Shred as a “supplement” to my training. However, I think it could be an excellent stand-alone workout for others! I had a great time this morning “shredding.” Jillian, you are truly growing on me…I just love the “You can do it!” attitude. However, the fitness models irritate me. Anita, you make it look too easy. I can’t even breathe during the modified workouts and there you are, bouncing around like you’re on crack. Oh, Anita!! I’m still doing modified push-ups for most of the push-ups, but I’m trying to slowly switch to the real thing.
- Day 4 – I woke and my knees were KILLING me this morning. All the squats and lunges in the 30 Day Shed are hard for me because I never do that type of exericse — it irritates my knees. I’m trying to build my knee muscles and slowly work my way into doing squats and lunges. But today, I was just too sore. So I did a modified version of the 30 Day Shred Level 1 — no squats or lunges. I just kept my legs in a soft knee bend position and focused on abs and arms. I was proud of myself for doing the video even though I wasn’t 100% — after all, something is better than nothing!
- Day 5 - Today I did Level 1 of the Shred following a 14.1 mile bike ride. My legs were still pretty sore so I did the modified squats and lunges again. I also listened to my iPod while watching Jillian on the TV — it made the work out so much faster but I did have to pay attention! I feel like my abs are already stronger, as are my arms! This is probably all in my head, but it feels good regardless.
- Day 6 – My shoulders were killing me this morning (due to yesterday’s bike ride, methinks!) so I skipped shredding in the morning and did it after my 5K run tonight. I was pretty excited the Husband wanted to do the Shred with me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do a jumping jack (he’s so BOUNCY) and it was fun to have a workout partner. He used my 3 lb hand weights, which were WAY too light for him. I used soup cans instead. Husband said he thought Level 1 of the Shred was wayyy too easy for him (I hate how he hardly works out and finds the Shred easy). He said that using 15 – 20 lb. weights would make it harder. I think his legs are burning, though!
- Day 7 – I woke up early to shred. I’m really loving the morning workouts. I’m not typically a morning person, but Jillian’s Shred gets me going and I feel so much more awake at work. Plus, it’s only 20 minutes, so it’s over before I know it. I did the Shred to music again, and it’s really fun that way. I can feel my arms getting stronger!!!
- Day 8 - I skipped Day 8 of the 30 Day Shred. I did go for a 5.0 mile run, though.
- Day 9 – Like the good Shredder I am, I woke up a little early and did Level 1. I contemplated skipping the Level 2 today, actually, but I do feel like I’m getting stronger. And I swear — I also think my abs look a little tighter. Look — someone caught me shredding this morning! Jillian, you are a QUEEN.
- Day 10 – Today was my last day at Level 1. I am excited and nervous to move onto Level 2. I think I have every word Jillian says from Level 1 memorized. She’s really motivating, but I have to admit that I HATE it when she says, “This is going to take the place of hours of phoning it in at the gym!” UHHH… NO! Sorry, Jillian! At the of Level 1, I must say… my arms and abs feel and look stronger. My friend Harry even commented that my triceps look stronger yesterday! If someone else is noticing, it must be working.
- Day 11 - WHOA! Level 2 is WAY harder than Level 1! It was so fun to do something different — The walking plank push ups were especially hard. PS – Jillian’s sports bra sucks in Level 2 — why didn’t someone tell her???
- Day 12 - No Shred. But I did run a 5K!
- Day 13 - Shredded again at Level 2. So HARD, but it’s fun to do something different after 10 days at Level 1. I think the walking plank/push up move is definitely the most challenging, and I also like the one-leg military press combo because I can feel it working my abs.
- Day 14 - Nearly halfway through with the Shred challenge. I did Level 2 again this morning. I really did NOT feel like shredding, but I reminded myself it is only 20 minutes… and before I knew it, I was done. The walk-out plank push up is the hardest move, as are the plank squat thrusts! Killer.
- Day 15 - Traveling to North Carolina – No Shred
- Day 16 – No Shred
- Day 17 - After running 4.0 miles on the hotel treadmill, I came back to our suite and shredded in our room. I packed the DVD plus my hand weights and used a hotel towel as a mat. Level 2 of the Shred is SOOO hard. I was sweating my butt off! I have to admit, after my 4.0 mile run I felt really drained. But after the Shred, I feel invigorated!
- Day 18 - I did Level 2 in my hotel room with my mom. As you can see, I can’t squat very far down because of my crappy knees. It’s still a killer workout and I was all sorts of sweaty when I was done.
- Day 19 - No Shred… driving back from North Carolina.
- Day 20 - I attacked my training schedule by doing a 4.0 mile run and Level 2 of the Shred after work — and now I feel STRONG and PROUD! After I came home, I popped in the 30 Day Shred and completed Level 2. I literally scream at Jillian when I am shredding sometimes! Stuff like, “Jillian! YOU ARE A CRAZY LADY!”
- Day 21 – Level 3 is SOOOO much harder than Level 1 or Level 2. I was literally SWEATING all over my yoga mat by the middle of the 2nd Circuit. Nutso! I looked like I had just sprinted a 5K. Although I cannot do most of the squat- or lunge-based exercises fully, so many of the moves are creative verisons of a plank and they KILL my arms and arms. Work it out, Jillian!
- Day 22 – No Shred… I did skip Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred. I didn’t slack out of laziness though — my arms and abs were totally sore! I do the 30 Day Shred multiple days in a row as long as my muscles don’t hurt. But Level 3 crushed me yesterday… it’s crazy hard!
- Day 23 – I actually woke up on time to do Level 3 of the Shred. Level 3 is truly a killer, everyone! But it’s a great workout and I’m so glad I’ve managed to stick with it pretty consistently for the month. Only a few more days to go of the 30 Day Shred.
- Day 24 - As I mentioned a few days ago, my life is getting busier and busier and I have less time to dilly-dally in the mornings. I’m making a real effort to just wake up and get it done instead of lounging around. With bleary eyes and bed head, I popped in the 30 Day Shred. I must’ve been shredding within 10 minutes of waking up! Level 3 is such a killer, but there are so many unique moves I (and my knees) love…. like walking push-ups and the up-and-down planks.
- Day 25 – No Shred – After a 4.0 mile run, I came home and popped the 30 Day Shred into the DVD player… but the 1st circuit DRAGGED on and every time I jumped up and down I could feel the blood throbbing against my temples. I turned off Jillian 5 minutes into exercise. Maybe I’ll try again later.
- Day 26 – No Shred – 13 mile run
- Day 27 – I did Level 3 of the Shred after work + washing the car. Is it OK for me to admit that I am SOOOOO over the Shred? I just want this challenge to be over! Plus, I like Level 2 the most.
- Day 28 - After my run I did some shredding (Level 3). I didn’t actually do the whole workout, I just did some of my favorite moves for about 5 minutes. Loads of crunches and walking push-ups (gulp!)
- Day 29 – No Shred.
- Day 30 - Last day of the shred! I ran a 5K and then came home to do Level 2. I wanted to end on Level 2 because I really love this Level.
To summarize my feelings about the challenge:
- My initial plan was to shred everyday for 30 days. I ended up shredding 21 out of 30 days, which I think is pretty good. For a girl who NEVER strength trained on a regular basis, 5 days per week is a miracle.
- I did each level of the shred for a 10-day period and then switched to the next level. I usedtwo 3-lb hand weights for the strength moves. If I were to do the shred again, I would buy a variety of weights (a set of 5 pounders would’ve been nice) so I could challenge myself more on some of the moves).
- In general, Level 1 was too easy, Level 3 was too hard, and Level 2 was juuuuust right. (I’m like Goldielocks, what!)
- If you have knee issues like I do, you will not be able to do ANY of the levels in their entirety, even the modified moves. There’s a lot of lunges and squats, which are simply out of the question for me. I substituted lunges or squats with jogging in place or doing sit-ups.
- Jillian is crazy.
The big question on everyone’s mind is, of course, did the 30-Day Shred WORK? Well, here are my before and after pictures and measurements (there is no sucking-in involved, I promise):
Front View Before:
Front View After:
Side View Before:
Front View After:
Back View Before:
Back View After:
|Hips||35 inches (at widest part)||34.25 inches||- 0.75 inch|
|Waist||26.25 inches (at narrowest part)||25.75||-0.5 inch|
|Biceps||10.25 (at widest part)||10.75||+0.5 inch|
|Thighs of Steel||22 inches (at widest part)||22||No Change|
Honestly, I cannot believe that I lost 1.25 inch from my hips and waist AND I gained a half inch on my biceps (that’s a good thing!). Interestingly enough, my weight did not change at all. I just got more “shredded!” I think the measurements speak more to my improvements than the pictures do.
The one area I can see a difference is in my arms — dozens of push-ups each week will do that to a girl! I also feel a lot stronger when running. Running used to be very tiring on my upper body, but lately my arms do not hurt when I run at all. Also, I asked the Husband last night if he thought I looked any different, and he said the one area where he can really tell is my arms as well. Woo goo! Biceps of steel, here I come!
All in all, I think the 30 Day Shred is AMAZING. It WORKS! And it taught me that strength training doesn’t have to be this big “thing.” I will definitely stick to shredding in the future.
Have you shredded? Do you love it?