This post will follow my progress as I complete the 30 Day Shred Challenge. Shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you will be joining me for the 30 Day Shred Challenge! 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 a static 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 used two 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?