Why am I telling you this? Well mostly to point out that I used to be fitter than I am now. I know what it's like to do a hard workout, to have trainers yelling at you, and to have your muscles ache so you can't walk downstairs... but I also know how good it feels afterwards. I have never been happier than I have been after a workout. I know my body has done a good job. I feel pumped, energized, but most of all, happy. I cannot recommend exercise enough for people with depression.* After strenuous exercise, your body releases endorphins which increase feelings of happiness. As Wikipedia says,
"A publicized effect of endorphin production is the so-called "runner's high", which is said to occur when strenuous exercise takes a person over a threshold that activates endorphin production."
Since taking a break from skating I've been feeling like I needed to do more to keep my fitness levels up. The 30 Day Shred DVD by Jillian Michaels has been recommended on many blogs recently so I thought I would give it a go. I have never done a fitness DVD before (besides Wii Fit), but I have done many different aerobics classes.
The 30 Day Shred
The 30 Day Shred is a fitness DVD by Jillian Michaels, an American TV fitness trainer, which consists of three different level workouts. One 20 minute workout is to be completed every day for 30 consecutive days, and you have a choice of which level you want to work at. The workouts themselves operate on a 3-2-1 basis: 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of ab work with a short warm up and cool down. You will need hand weights and a floor matt to do the exercises.
I started working at Level 1 to ease myself into it but I expect to move to Level 2 within the month. I found Jillian a really positive trainer; she talks through all the exercises as she's doing them, & has two girls either side, demonstrating easier/harder modifications of the moves. It's easy to push yourself, but the easier modifications aren't a walk in the park!
I found some exercises easier than others, such as the squats (I have good thigh muscles). The ones I found hardest were the press ups and sit up twists (pictured above). The exercises are approx 30 seconds long but Jillian does them in rotation so you do multiple sets of each exercise. I find the hardest part of the workout for me is towards the beginning of the session, but once you pass that part you know you can push yourself as far as you like for the rest of the workout.
One slight criticism is that the cool down exercises were too short. They are your basic quad stretches (pictured left). I felt like she didn't hold the stretches long enough for them to really count. I felt like some of my old coaches would not have been impressed. However as these are one of the last exercises it's only a minor criticism as you are free to hold them as long as you like if you want to improve your flexibility.
After two days of the 30 Day Shred my muscles are aching a fair bit. More specifically: the front of my thighs, my chest, my stomach and triceps.
The 30 Day Shred claims that you can loose up to 20 pounds in 30 days which I can't personally comment on as I'm neither weighing nor measuring myself. At my fittest I was just over 8 stone and as far as I'm concerned being fit and toned (and happy!) is my main goal.
Have any of you tried the 30 Day Shred? How did you find it? Do you have any recommendations for other fitness DVDs?
*I am not an expert. Based on personal experience.