I've been doing Jillian Michael's famous 30 Day Shred for about... oh, 30 days now, though I have to admit those days have not been precisely consecutive. And it seems to be working.
Jillian performs twenty-two minutes of exercises along with her assistants: Natalie, who models the hard version of the exercise, and Anita, who models the beginning version. These women are like sharks. I mean, there is nothing to them but muscle and a vestigial skeletal structure. Usually I roll with Natalie, but when it comes to push-ups I hang back with Anita.
I must say that for a professional trainer, Jillian is shockingly demotivating. Here are some of the things she says: "I know you want to quit;" "Don't quit on me;" "We don't quit at the end;" "I know you want to shut off this DVD, but don't."
These reminders that you could at any time simply turn off the TV, kick back in your sweat-soaked shorts, and have a beer are a constant theme of hers. She also lies about the number of reps, frequently saying "A couple more," when she really means "ten more." And then there's the part where she says if you do the Shred, you'll look like Natalie in no time -- and then the two of them share a sarcastic chuckle.
But when I ignore what she says and just do what she does, I have to admit that I get results.
A brief record:
Day 3: I am already beginning to see results. Nothing dramatic, just a slight tightening up of my abdomen. I haven't lost weight, I don't look substantially different, but I can see that something is beginning to happen.
Day 10: I notice that my stamina is significantly higher than it used to be: i.e., I can do the Shred without spending the next half hour draped over my bed and wanting to die. This is a plus.
Day 15: My upper abs look pretty sweet now: tight and muscular, with a distinct line of definition down the middle. There follows many days of slow, slow progress, as the definition creeps from the top of my abs downward. My weight on the scale still hasn't moved, but that's ok: I know muscle weighs more than fat.
Day 30: I notice a sexy dent of definition between the ball of my shoulder and my trapezuis muscle, the one that stretches along the top of the shoulder to the neck. This is also the day when the scale miraculously jumps down by five pounds, and I pull up my shirt, look at myself in the mirror and decide that I am officially more Hot than Not.
So, after 30 days I don't feel as dramatically "shredded" as Jillian suggested I might be. That's fine, though; I like my new look enough to stick with it for at least another 30.