30 Day Shred: DVD review

I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred workout off and on for over three months now, and I am here to tell you this DVD is the best investment I have ever made in my fitness, bar none. Why is it so awesome? Let me tell you:

• It is short. Each level is only 20 minutes long, not including a few extra minutes for warmup and cooldown. Each level is broken down into three sets of different areas of focus, so there are three segments that go like this: strength interval, cardio interval, abs interval. Each interval is only a few minutes long. That means no matter what god-awful routine you are in the middle of (jumping jacks with HAND WEIGHTS, for instance, or squats combined with overhead presses), you only have to do it for a short period of time. 

• Some moves can be modified, but not all. This pushes me beyond what I think I can do, while still giving me some options to make it through the hardest segments. 

• The instructor, Jillian Michaels, offers a tough love approach. I have always sort of hated/enjoyed how the instructor of Turbo Jam tries to make the whole thing enjoyable, and chirpily reminds you how she bets you don’t even feel like you’re exercising because you’re having so much fun, but Jillian pulls no punches. “This SUCKS, I KNOW,” she says. “You can get THROUGH this, but I want you to be GARGLING YOUR HEART. You want a 20 minute workout, you have to work HARD the WHOLE TIME.” It makes me whimper, but I like it. I can’t go back to the Chirpy, now that I’ve experienced the Badass.

• You will see results. I call B.S. on the way she wraps up each level by reminding you that by the end of 30 days, you’ll be totally shredded (come on), but I cannot imagine anyone doing this workout for even a couple weeks without seeing some improvements. I have more definition in my shoulders, my arms, my legs, and my belly. I have visible obliques, you guys. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE.

• Did I mention that it’s short? This is so, so great for people trying to fit exercise into their busy lives — between my kids and work and freelance and everything else, this routine is working really well for me right now. Lately my husband and I have been doing the workout together after the baby goes to sleep, while our 3-year-old either pretends to do it with us (which is awesome, BTW), or sits nearby and watches a short video on a portable DVD player. (Note: you don’t need a lot of floor space to do this, if you can take a big step forward and back, you’re good.)

It is HARD, I won’t lie. You will hurt the first time you do it. If you’re like me, you’ll be so sore afterwards it will be challenging to do such activities as walking, and sitting on the toilet without issuing a little shriek of pain. But: it gets easier. You will get stronger. And pretty soon you’ll be doing actual, no-shit pushups like some kind of JOCK.

I guess the idea is that you’re supposed to do the workouts every day for 30 days, working your way up through the levels. I didn’t do that, I just cycle through the different levels so I don’t get too bored of any one segment — your mileage may vary on that approach. Also, I know it’s good to get longer amounts of exercise when possible, so my feeling is that this workout is extra awesome when mixed in with other activities. I take a kickboxing class a couple days a week, and that combo seems perfect.

If you’re looking for something that will really challenge you without eating up all of your free time, I can’t recommend it enough. And, as of this writing, the DVD is $7.50 on Amazon. SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. I’m telling you: best investment ever.

(Original article posted at Balanced Living.)

26 Responses to “30 Day Shred: DVD review”

  1. Lori Says:

    I love, love, love Jillian. Well, love to hate her anyway. “You don’t get to work out for 20 minutes and take a break.” Man, she’s tough.

    30 Day Shred is great – and levels 1 & 2 are free on Exercise On Demand right now (if you have Comcast). BTW – her “Biggest Winner” DVD set is also good. And just 30 min each.

  2. Krissy Says:

    I love this DVD. On day 1 I barely made it through and almost threw up when I was done, but I have been doing it three weeks and have seen results. I am shocked that I can do pushups now, on day one I really couldn’t even do one pushup – not even one modified push up. This is the first DVD I have done that I can stick with and am actually seeing results.

  3. Lesley Says:

    I hope she makes more of these interval training-themed videos because the idea of doing a hard move for one or two minutes at a time rocks. It works for the brain (i.e. is persuasive) and the body (stresses it to change). Also, a twenty minute workout that achieves results is one I can handle no matter how tired or discouraged I feel in advance. Forty minutes of a so-so workout is a much harder sell.

    A few of the moves I still have real difficulty with, like the squat/overhead press combo after pushups using 8 lb weights. By the second round I’m worried one of those weights is going to crash into my skull because I’m loopy from the strain. I really need to vary my weights but I’m stuck on this 8 lb obsession for some reason.

    The Biggest Loser videos Jillian participates in aren’t so good. I’ve bought two and rarely use them. Reasons boil down to poor cueing and instruction, and a lack of co-ordination and synergy of the participants (all Biggest Loser contestants). In one video, one of the contestants – in love with Bob and her own blather – is intensely annoying. I find myself pumping iron and screaming inside for that bitch to STFU. Not a good experience.

  4. Jennifer Says:

    OK I just ordered it! Pretty good price given all the great reviews. Don’t you guys think that Jillian looks like Linda Hamilton in T2? So I watched the little 2 minute intro video that’s on the Amazon page and I didn’t get why she was saying that there’s no easy way to do jumping jacks. Without the hand weights you mentioned, what’s hard about jumping jacks? Pushups on the other hand, ooooo. Looking forward to trying it out, I hope I can stick with it.

  5. Joanne Says:

    Hands down best work out dvd EVER. And her pep talks are awesome too – ‘You’re strong – this is EASY for you’ – ‘You’ve worked up to full blown rockie style situps’ – and every time I think to myself ‘Yeah I have’
    And the feeling when you finish is great – a combination of I’m so glad I did that with thank god I can stop now.
    I was doing this with some Kick boxing and a small bit of turbojam for about 4 months while I couldn’t run – I went back to running recently and have been able consistently crank out 3-4 miles three time a week.

    Jennifer – I think her point is that if you’re not fit that jumping jacks (especially continuous ones) can be hard. Like skipping. It seems easy until you’re doing sets of it, then you wish for death.

  6. Micki Says:

    How long did you do the lowest level before you moved to the next one? Did you try them all? I’m sort of intimidated to move to Level 2? thanks.

  7. Stephanie Says:

    I must be the only person in the world that hated this DVD. I don’t watch TBL so I didn’t know who Jillian was before this DVD. I bought it because everyone in the blogosphere was talking about it. I was bored with it after the first 10 minutes. Even though it was only 20 minutes.. it felt like it was an hour long because all she does the whole time is her ‘tough love’ routine and there isn’t much that’s ‘exciting’ or ‘entertaining’ about that. I guess, I prefer the ‘fun’ workout to the utilitarian workout. Was the workout hard? Technically no…. but physically OH MY GAWD Yes… and I was sore afterward…..but I just couldn’t make myself do it again. Bored.to.tears.

  8. Linda Says:

    Micki: I can’t remember — maybe a week? Yes, I do them all, I cycle through them. If I do three workouts a week, I might do 1, 2, then 3, or 2, 3, 2, something like that.

    Stephanie: I have a friend who feels exactly the same way, she finds 30DS WAY too boring. You’re right in that it’s not entertaining the way some exercise DVDs are, I definitely wouldn’t say this is a “fun” workout.

  9. JK Says:

    Linda, I just wanted to say, for the benefit of other “fat skinny” readers out there that crossfit is a great workout too. It follows a similar premise of the 20 minute, fast paced, high heart-rate workout. They have a website: http://www.crossfit.com and there are even little movie clips of the harder exercises.

    I have been doing this for several months now, and I have had dramatic results. I’m finally in better shape than I have ever been–at age 34! Don’t let the harder exercises intimidate you–there are many substitutions.

    Thanks for this site–I love it!


  10. ikate Says:

    I started 30DS a few months ago and did 10 straight days of level 1 and was amazed at how strong I got. But then I got sick (like in the hospital sick) and had to stop for several weeks. I’m back into it now and have to say I LOVE the 30DS! I am so, so bored with it the routine but it’s short so who cares. And my god I love how I feel when it’s done – like I should go run around town like Rocky. I’ve done mostly level 1 – for about 3 weeks straight (6 days a week) with my hubby. We ventured up to level 2 a few nights ago and after THAT delicious torture was over quickly decided we weren’t ready for level 2 yet. For weights, I use 5 and 8 lbs while he uses 8 and 10 lbs dumbbells (he wants to go heavier but 10 is the heaviest we own).

  11. Meredith Says:

    Linda, Thank you so much for your reviews. I have been waiting months to try out these DVD’s due to my pregnancy. I just got my 6 week post-baby all clear and can start on the road back to fitness. I did 30DS and almost died. But, felt great the next day and the next time was easier. Yes, it’s boring. But you can really judge your improvement over time. And again, it’s only 20 min. Loved the pre- and post pictures from the other post. Now that’s motivation.

  12. Carrie Says:

    I have been hearing about this DVD for a while and wanting to try it. one problem…I live on the second floor of my apartment building. how much jumping around, making noise is involved? Linda you look great!

  13. pseudostoops Says:

    Carrie, I live on the second floor, too, and there are some moves (hello, rock star jumps!) that I modify for the sake of my neighbors, but if you do it on carpet or on a mat, or barefoot (particularly level 1 is not too bad barefoot, not too much lunging) it seems not too noisy- my neighbors haven’t complained yet. (Not to my face, at least. They may, for all I know, be plotting my demise.)

  14. Lovetheocean2004 Says:

    Thanks for getting me motivated Linda or at least acknowledging the fact that I need to get motivated. I don’t have an exact plan at this moment. I just know that I need to do something because I am tired of feeling like crap. I too have two boys (I followed you here from Sundry) ages 3 and 12 months and I need to get healthy for me, but also for them. See, I need to lose 70 pounds. God that was hard to type. I was checking out the 30-day shred video on Amazon yesterday but didn’t hit the “checkout” button. This morning I was checking out the workout shows on the cable guide, looking for something that I thought I could handle and was VERY excited to discover that our cable company offers on demand three 30-day Shred programs for FREE!!!! You can do them whenever you want! I know that I am not going to be able to do the entire workout without keeling over, but I need to try, and maybe some day I will be able to make through an entire program. Now I just have to figure out if I can do it at night, in the living room, without shaking the whole house and waking up the boys. I’ll continue to come back here to Bodies in Motivation for more advice and support.

  15. Heather B. Says:

    Have I ever thanked you for turning me onto this DVD??? It’s an obsession and perfect with the full time job/incessant time spent in airports/writing. Seriously, 20 freaking minutes between getting home and flopping on the couch. I love it.

    Thank you a million times over.

  16. Siorai Says:

    I’m the lone other person in the world that hated this DVD, but I accept that my experience is very subjective. I have a bad back (scoliosis), and this DVD just absolutely killed me. I felt like if I kept doing it, I was going to destroy my back even more. I wanted to like it, because it was so short and really seemed like it was working my muscles, but oh my God. I still need to be able to stand up straight at the end of 30 days.

  17. missbanshee Says:

    Ordered it from Netflix today! I am petrified, as I can’t do pushups to save my life, but I am determined to do it. But yeah, Jillian scares me. And there’s the whole “oh god, is my heart going to explode” thing as well.

  18. Thursday Says:

    I’ve just ordered this DVD having double-checked it’ll work on our player in Britain (some US DVD’s dont’). I’m excited but afraid. Very afraid.

  19. Jenny Says:

    I just bought this. I work out cardio 60 minutes 5 days per week, but have hit my limit and don’t see improvement.

    I like the idea of the short interval amounts.

    I did it yesterday without hand weights (I’m getting those tonight). I’m sore today, but I’m excited to keep working at it.

  20. Crystal Says:

    You convinced me to buy this DVD. I am full swing into a new lifestyle that will give me a new and better me. I have 100 lbs to lose, and I’ve managed to drop 12 lbs so far!

    The DVD came in the mail, from Amazon, and I was excited and totally terrified.

    I had been doing a Cardio Bootcamp, Taebo and Yoga. I needed a change. And it was hard to squeeze 45 mins of exercise into my busy life.

    This DVD KICKED MY ASS. Whimpering is putting it lightly. My husband and I did lvl 1. And I am so very impressed.

    Not being able to walk after only 20 minutes of working out…Oh yes, this is FANTASTIC.

    I felt like I was going to throw up and/or die. But it was totally worth it. Cant wait to see myself in 30 days!

  21. No Pasa Nada » Blog Archive » There’s the tiniest sliver of hope at the end of this tunnel Says:

    [...] a nurse practitioner still scratching her head about this one. Then I went home and ran and did the 30 Day Shred and felt my heart ‘garggling’ in my throat. Then I cried again and realized that part [...]

  22. Debbie Says:

    I got this for Christmas after reading about it on your blog and LOVE IT. I’ve been running long distance and doing yoga for a while and it is obvious after two Shreds there are a LOT of muscles I’ve not been exercising. I am so excited to add this to the mix. Thanks again for the suggestion.

  23. JMH Says:

    Question: How heavy are the weights that you use? Currently, I am doing the Shred with 5 pound weights. Should I be using more? Generally, when I use free weights, I use 8 or 10 pound dumbells. Any thoughts?

  24. thenoonguide.com » Blog Archive » Fit Fridays Says:

    [...] working to shed the last few pregnancy pounds by following many of my favorite bloggers’ advice and starting the 30-Day Shred DVD. It really is great for the unpredictability of baby nap times, [...]

  25. Brooke Says:

    I know I’m a little late on the shred bandwagon…but after reading this yesterday I thought I would give it a try. It is being offered for free on my local cable’s on demand thingy. I’ve been working out 5 days a week- 20-45 minutes a day: jogging, 20 min. strength training, yoga, pilates (a big fat workout cocktail) for the past 13 months (go me). I read all the comments about how you want to die after the first workout and thought “pfft, it can’t be that hard.”

    Well, about 16 minutes in, I was cursing at Jillian and telling her that she is short and stubby and I don’t want to look like her anyway. Real mature. Today, my body is aching. This morning, I thought I’d be real tough and jog anyway. In the shower, I swear I heard my shins crying.

    Kudos to those of you who made it through. I might try it again tomorrow.

  26. Shredding « Must Be Motherhood Says:

    [...] first heard about it from Linda, who has posted a great review of the program at her new fitness website, Bodies in [...]

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