Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution Kickstart, Days 1-2

It’s the end of the second day of Jillian’s seven day kickstart to the Body Revolution, and I am really, really tired. I cheated and jump started the workouts on Wednesday, when I got my kit through, but I had to wait until Friday to get all my groceries. So, I decided to do an extra couple of days of doubled-up exercise before I actually began the programme, and I’m really feeling it today – my fourth day of hour-long exercises. I did not want to get up today, but I did, because I had to go into town with my parents to help my mum pick out some new clothes. Then, I got back and did workout 2 and cardio 1. I have to do them back to back, otherwise there’s just no psyching me up for it! I was totally prepared to half ass it, but Jillian managed to shout me out of that idea, and I gave it as much as I had.

So, that’s where I am with exercises – I thought it was a bit of a pushover at the start, to be honest, but now I’m rethinking slightly! I think a lot of Jillian ‘veterans’ find the first couple of workouts to be fairly easy, but I know she’ll be stepping it up a notch towards the end of this month. I was particularly unhappy to hear the phrase ‘jump lunges’ – probably my least favourite exercise bar cardio in plank (mountain climbers and the like!).

Food wise, it’s going really well actually. I started off on Friday with some delicious bacon, eggs, tomatoes and… avocado…
Nitrate free bacon
Jillian demands nitrate free bacon, so that’s what I got. Very expensive, and thick cut too. I much prefer thin cut bacon, but weirdly it seems like the more expensive the bacon, the thicker the cut. I’d happily pay for thin cut fancy bacon but you can never seem to find it! This was hard enough to find anyway, I had to search through all the product details to find one that’s nitrate free. An unfortunate side effect of this is that the bacon comes out slightly grey when you cook it – the pinkness is mostly due to the addition of nitrates.
Bacon, Avocado and eggs
Still, I’d eat it… wouldn’t you? I added some delicious lemon pepper that we bought on holiday in Cornwall last year. I knew that would come in handy! I wasn’t just buying it willy nilly, promise!
Halzephron Lemon Pepper
Even though there’s not really much reason to do this, I’ve been logging my calories with MyFitnessPal as well as following the diet. I was fairly concerned when my breakfast came up as 343 calories, rather than the 269 calories it was listed as. Yikes! Luckily, it seems as though the rest of the recipes come in way under the estimates given… Or at least, my versions do!
Lunch was the grilled salmon citrus salad – loved this. I really love salmon!
Salmon citrus salad
I probably shouldn’t have, as sodium is a bloater if ever there was one, but I used a simple Japanese recipe to perk this up and really bring out the flavour of the fish. I salted it 15 minutes before eating, then right before cooking, just wiped the salt away, and grilled it. The flavour is amazing.
Salmon citrus salad 2
I have to confess, I slightly overcooked this, so I’ll keep the cooking time to a minimum the next time I make it! It came in at just 184 calories, which is amazing – and I felt full until dinner. Well, the story there is that I didn’t get to eat breakfast until 1pm, so lunch was at 5… Let’s say, I broke Jillian’s ‘no eating after 9pm’ rule right out of the gate, and I also managed to end up eating my snack *after* dinner. I only have myself to blame! I had an epic cleaning session with my mum on the Friday morning, so I just didn’t eat until late. Oh well – you can’t always control the circumstances, but you can control the damage, right? Right!
Dinner was more fish, this time, tilapia!
Raw tilipia
I really like fish, and capers, and rosemary… So this was delicious! The rocket was pretty ropey, though – wild stuff from Ocado, it was absolutely full of insects and had to be washed several times and picked over leaf by leaf before I was happy to eat it. I wasn’t so crazy about having to do this, but there was no way I was chucking it all out!
Rosemary citrus Tilapia
It came with the now-familiar salad with dressing and tomatoes – something makes me think I’ll be sick of lettuce by the end of the week! I tried to buy plenty of varieties, so let’s hope I can stave off the boredom. I also bought Waitrose’s low fat essential vinaigrette, which I quite like, and some low-fat Caesar dressing (in place of Ranch, which really isn’t common in the UK) for the Chef’s Salad later in the week. Again, the calorie count for this was much lower than was listed, at just 184 calories. Then, after that, I had my snack of hummus and veggies.
I am cheating somewhat here, because I just can’t give up tea. I have milk in it, which amounts to a serving of dairy, which on the days where I also have yogurt, is not recommended in the plan. I also have a couple of sugars and some sweetner along the way… GASP! No one’s perfect. That’s right, not even me – I just seem perfect. Big distinction! Needless to say, any failures as a result of this are squarely on me. No one can say I wasn’t warned. I am prepared to face the consequences of my tea drinking like a true Englishwoman – with a stiff upper lip!
Today was Saturday – I cheated again a little bit with my breakfast and had the Greek yogurt, cinnamon and almonds – WITH HONEY! Yes, a teaspoon of honey. I’m so sorry… No, I’m not, because sour Greek yogurt actually makes me feel a tiny bit sick, and I can’t eat bacon and smoked salmon all week long, as much as I’d love to.
Lunch had to be out, because I was in town all day, but luckily, Pret a Manger came to my rescue with their tuna salad, a fair substitute for the Chef’s Salad:
Pret tuna salad
It does help that I *love* this salad, and it’s only about 315 calories with the dressing included.
Now, another confession – I had a cappuccino when I was out. I counted this as my snack, does that make you happy? I sure hope so, because by the time I got home I was starving and exhausted, but I had to grit my teeth, knuckle down, and exercise until I felt like I was going to black out. It was 8pm before I ate, but if that’s okay with Jillian, then I’m counting it as a minor victory. It did help that dinner was steak.
Peppercorn steak on wilted spinach with tomato salad
Mmm, steak! I put steak seasoning on some sirloin and fried it with cooking spray. I’m not grilling a steak in our grill – it’s a pathetic, fake grill and I only honour steak with the mightiest of kitchen utensils – the frying pan. The salad of tomatoes and olives was delicious, and the spinach was pretty good too. Although the recipe title says it comes with wilted spinach, the recipe itself doesn’t really get you to wilt the leaves (other than with the heat of the steak sitting on top), so I took the liberty of wilting them in the pan while the steak was resting. Calorie count: 299 calories.
So, two days down. I’m definitely missing puddings and Coca Cola Zero, although I’m not missing carbs that much. I could eat some fries and bread, but I’m not going to kill my cat to get them. I can’t believe how satisfied I’ve felt just eating various types of salad and a protein portion every meal, it’s really eye-opening. Having the recipes has definitely helped me stay on track in that respect, but then it’s still early in the process and I’ve not had to repeat any meals yet… So, we’ll see! But so far, other than my weary body and aching muscles, I’m feeling very positive and motivated to continue!

Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution: Preview

I finally ordered Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution! I’ve been hankering after this for a long time, and I’m so pleased that I finally got around to getting it. It’s very pricey compared to Jillian’s other products (at £99), but I think it’s a worthwhile investment…

Collection

The programme lasts for 90 days, and contains 12 different weight workouts and three cardio workouts. The reason I was keen to try this particular programme is that it alternates muscle groups – something which Jillian’s other DVDs don’t do. The idea is that you work one group of muscles, and then give them time to rest so that they can rebuild stronger. As I understand it, when you lift weights, you create tiny tears in your muscles, and it’s the rebuilding process, when your body repairs itself, that actually makes your muscles stronger. With more intensive workouts like the 30 Day Shred, you don’t stop to rest between working out groups. I hope that the Body Revolution actually tones my muscles more than I’ve experienced in the past – but first of all, of course, I need to do the workouts first!

The kit comes with three cardboard sleeves, pictured above, which have the DVD collection inside. There are also various booklets that go with it, including a meal guide for her 7-day kickstart programme.

Kickstart cover

Inside are a range of meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for you to eat during a week-long period at the start. Jillian is very clear that you only do this once during the 90 days, as the diet is restrictive, and the exercise schedule is pretty intensive.

Kickstart menu

This is the diet plan I’ll be starting tomorrow, along with the exercise plan. I’m waiting for my shopping to arrive! I’ve bought items to make most of the things listed – the recipes are in the back of the book – so we’ll see how I go from tomorrow… The hardest thing will be avoiding tempting Easter treats! The recipes aren’t low in calories, but I do think they’re very low in carbohydrates. Hopefully there’s enough protein in there to keep me going!

Kickstart workouts

Here’s the workout plan for the first week – I’ve cheated a little bit and I already started yesterday, doing cardio 1 and workout 1. But I aim to start properly tomorrow and then work through until next Friday. Over the weekend I’ll perhaps do cardio again and rest on Sunday, so that I can then start Phase One as it should be on the Monday after Easter.

Here’s what the first month of work outs looks like:

Phase 1 workouts

As you can see, it follows a neat pattern which is pretty easy to understand! I really want to make sure I start it on a Monday, because having a real, set in stone schedule is very important to my ability to stick to it. I think that if I alter the schedule in some way, I’ll start making excuses as to why I can put off doing one of the work outs, so I want to eliminate that risk before I even start! Anyway, each block of exercise is approx 30 minutes, which really isn’t a lot to ask in a day!

Phase 1 discs

This is what I’ll be staring at for the next month! This is the inside of the cardboard sleeve for Phase One.

Here’s the explanation of what exercises are on each disc:

Phase 1

I’ll be back tomorrow to review the first day on the Kickstart plan!

Fitness DVD review: Inch Loss Pilates with Lynne Robinson

Pilates has definitely been a buzz-word since the Royal wedding, when Pippa Middleton’s famous bum was said to be a result of following this exercise plan. It’s one of those regimes that I’ve been aware of for ages, but never really investigated. I know that it’s something like yoga, was invented by a guy called Pilates, and there’s also some vague notions of it being to do with the war, or soldiers, or something like that. It was always filed in my brain under the heading ‘something to look into at some point’. When I got a press release about the launch of Inch Loss Pilates with Lynne Robinson last month, it became apparent that ‘at some point’ had arrived.

Inch Loss Pilates

This isn’t going to be a proper review of the DVD yet, as after a viewing today I realised that there was a whole post to be written just about my initial observations of the programme, before I’d even tried it out. For the record, I intend to give this a proper trial during January, so keep posted on that!

First of all, Lynne Robinson is something of a Pilates guru – I guess that’s stealing a word from yoga, but hey… It’s nearly Christmas, so I’ll say it was a present. The Times has dubbed her ‘The Queen of Pilates’, and her prolific output on the subject certainly goes some way to proving that. She’s worked with numerous celebs like Sophie Dahl, Holly Willoughby, Liz Hurley – and even the Chelsea football team and England Cricket. Those latter two should help convince you that Pilates isn’t just airy fairy stuff – this is proper, physical work.

However, in the introduction video, Lynne points out that this isn’t a hugely calorie burning endeavour. I guess that’s what had steered me away from exercises like this and yoga over the years. I love high impact cardio workouts – basically pretty much anything that Jillian Michaels has released on DVD. This is the polar opposite to that, really. Whilst Jillian’s 30 Day Shred will have you screaming and pushing your body to its physical limit, Pilates is about really centring yourself, connecting your mind and body together, and sculpting your form through deliberate and mindful movements.

My ears really pricked up when Lynne mentioned that Pilates is really what helped her with her pear-shape – I never realised until I lost a lot of weight for my wedding which shape I was, because when I looked in the mirror, frankly, all I saw was a blob. Since then my self-esteem and exercise regime has allowed me to see my body properly, and the difficulties I’ve had losing weight from my bum and thighs has made it obvious – like many British women, I am in fact a pear-shape. So, I guess I’m the perfect candidate to test Lynne’s theory that Pilates can help with that. She recommends that you do about three hours of Pilates a week – on average, I guess, 30 minutes a day with one day off (that was MENTAL MATHS!). She also suggests you get in some cardio for your overall health, and add in incidental exercise like walking. Of course, you need to watch your diet, as well.

The DVD has four sections, an introduction, a section entitled Fundamentals 1, then two workouts. Workout one is for a top-to-toe exercising, and workout two is shorter, and more targeted to problem areas. This is not an exercise DVD you can pop in and get started on right away – you need to watch the Fundamentals section first (which is around 27 minutes long), so you can understand more about Pilates, what it tries to achieve, and how to do the poses. You also need some equipment – but nothing you might not have lying around the house already, particularly if you’ve done some home exercising before. You’ll need a flat cushion or folded towel for your head, a fatter cushion to hold between your legs and the like, a chair, a stretch band or long scarf, hand weights (no more than 3 kilos) and ankle weights (no more than 1 kilo).

I’ll be challenging myself to do three hours of this DVD every week during January. Why not join me? You can purchase Inch Loss Pilates from www.bodycontrolpilates.com or www.amazon.co.uk – RRP £14.99, due out 31 December. You can also download a digital version for £9.99.

This post is based on a complimentary product supplied to me for the purposes of review in this blog.

Kickbox Fastfix: A Review

If you’re a Jillian fan, or have used her 30 Day Shred or Ripped in 30 videos, you’re probably really used to Jillian’s 3, 2, 1 method, where the circuits are all very structured around strength, cardio and core, and involve a set number of each before circling back around for a second set. This structure is one of my favourite aspects of the workouts – because you always know where you are and what you’re supposed to be working on – but it also means that very often, her workouts can seem stale or samey, as they’re based on the same general principles.

Kickbox Fastfix really throws something new into the mix with kickboxing moves and a new approach to the workouts that left me feeling energised and ready to commit to a new workout style – at least, for a while! There’s a fairly hefty introduction, explaining the form for all of the kickboxing moves, which I reckon could be the downfall of quite a few impatient would-be kickboxers. It’s a little frustrating having to work your way through this tutorial – burning no calories, really – before you can get stuck in with your workout, but you really can’t skip this as you’ll have no idea what’s going on when you eventually begin! I’ve only watched it once, but I managed to pick up the moves easily just from this first run through.

The second point is that you need some body co-ordination to be able to pull this off without a lot of practice. I personally do not consider myself to be the most coordinated person in the world, but I can get the hang of workout sequences and rhythms after a few goes – my husband is not so lucky, and spent a good few minutes of his workout staring at the TV in puzzlement. The sequences can be very long, involving multiple styles of punches and kicks before starting back at the beginning, and I also found that some of them could be simplified rather easily, which made me wonder whether there was a reason Jillian had set them up the way she did to start with. For example, it’s much easier to memorise on the fly ‘jab, jab, hook, hook’ than it is ‘jab, hook, hook, jab’ – and if you’re repeating on a loop, there’s no real difference – or is there? Regardless, I reckon anyone can master these eventually, but it might take a little longer for some people.

I definitely enjoyed this new approach from Jillian – it’s nice to have something in my collection that doesn’t fall back on the old 3, 2, 1 approach, which I can bust out if things are feeling stale. Davina’s kickboxing DVD was always a favourite in our house anyway, so I’m glad I’ve got Jillian’s version, too! The workout consists of three levels, each about 25 minutes long, which means there’s a decent amount of variation – and it’s not too taxing to tack one level onto the next to create a longer workout, either.

Let’s face it, nothing makes you feel more bad-ass than a bit of kickboxing – and Jillian is certainly the queen of fitness bad-assery!

Kickbox Fastfix is currently available in region 1 only, from Amazon.co.uk.

30 Day Shred: A Review

It seems to me that there’s only a very finite amount of ways to exercise. There are hundreds of types, yes, but the way you do exercise is limited to certain scenarios. Obviously, if you’re a builder or do a physical job, that’s your exercise. You can take a class. You can go to the gym. You can go jogging or swimming. You can workout in a home gym. You can do exercise DVDs. You can play games on your computer. I’ve tried most of these things – except the physical job stuff. I think learning a trade so I can fit exercise into my daily routine is taking it a bit far… Of all the methods you can use to get fit, exercise DVDs are by far and away the best method for me. I don’t have to leave the house, adding travel time onto my workout sessions. I don’t have to wait for people to be finished with workout equipment. I don’t have to buy extra equipment. I don’t have to keep to other people’s schedules.

Before I tried Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, I’d honestly not done a workout DVD before. I had no idea what to expect. I’d done a few months of exercise regimes on the Wii (EA Sports, Wii Fit, etc), and they were fairly hard work, but you usually had to wait in between exercises, and thusly everything took longer. One thing you can say about 30DS is that there is NO waiting around between exercises.

I think I picked the 30DS DVD up at the beginning of January 2010. Not as a ‘New Year Resolution’, but just to keep my routine fresh, as I was losing weight for my wedding that year (August). In the space of a month, I lost 8lbs, by combining the 30DS with a calorie restriction of 1200 calories a day. It was completely amazing, and gave me so much confidence. With results like that, it’s easy to see why I am such a huge fan of Jillian Michaels!

So, that’s the results out of the way (hmm, maybe I should have kept that until the end?), so I’ll talk more about how the workout is structured. There are three 30 minute workouts (she says 20 minutes, but has since admitted this was a little fib to get people motivated – if you include warm ups and cool downs, they’re closer to 30 mins each), and the idea is that you start at level one, do that for 10 days, then level two for 10 days, then level three for 10 days, throughout the month. You can stop and have a break if you want to, obviously! I think the most rewarding aspect of the programme for me was being able to tell that you were getting gradually better with each repetition of the level. When you start level one, you’ll probably feel like you’re going to die. When you’ve finished level three, and go back to level one, you’ll feel like you’re on holiday. The progression you make in just a month is really amazing.

Since trying this DVD, I’ve only bought three other workout DVDs from other trainers or celebrities. One was a joke gift for my husband, which was the workout DVD of a Corrie star, which took about 45 minutes and felt like waiting for the bus – not hard, not tiring, just very, very boring. One was Davina’s workout (love Davina!), which again, I didn’t feel was efficient, but was okay. I liked the kick boxing elements, but other parts just didn’t feel like a real workout. Then I did Tracey Anderson – but the least said about that the better, really… I’ve since given up on other trainers, because I’d rather work my butt off for half an hour and do some real exercise, than fanny about for 45 minutes and not even get a sweat on. I also really like the structure and progression of 30DS. You have a set amount of time to do it in, you can measure your results, you progress through, and you have an end point. With other DVDs, it seems like you continue until you’re bored, or just lose motivation.

Oh, and Jillian also gets bonus points for her hilarious commentary. I know some people don’t like being yelled at from the telly, but I find it actually really motivated me to work harder. I’d rather watch Jillian telling me to kick my own butt than watch a celebrity tell me that the workout was hard and their legs ached.

You can purchase 30 Day Shred from Amazon (currently £4.99): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jillian-Michaels-Day-Shred-DVD/dp/B002RNOS2Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346329577&sr=8-1. Or, you can download it from iTunes – which is actually really handy. I’ve downloaded it to my phone, so if I go on holiday I can do the workout that way with water bottles or cans as my weights! And, once you’ve completed 30DS, you can move on to Ripped in 30!

GOOD LUCK! – And, let me know if you’ve tried 30 Day Shred, and what you thought of it!