Sunday, 5 May 2013

Fit and healthy

I've never been a person who has to watch what I eat or actively try to diet but as I get nearer 30 I have noticed I feel sluggish more often, my posture isn't great and I just know I can feel better. When I lived in Aberdeen I walked 3 miles to work and 3 miles home every day. I worked in a ski centre so I was on my feet and moving around a lot.

In London I still walk to and from work and almost everywhere that takes less than 45 minutes to get to. Except now I work at a desk so I sit down all day and within a year of living in London I'd put on almost two stone without making any real lifestyle changes. I think wine also played a part in this increased weight gain as in Scotland I rarely drank whereas now I have a bottle or two over most weekends.

So with all this in mind, in January this year I decided to do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout. I had two motivations.
  1. Lots of people were banging out about doing the 30 Day Shred but most seemed to give up after less than a week. That seemed like a challenge to me!
  2. I wanted to do something that didn't cost me any money and that I could do at home.
To do the 30 Day Shred all you need is a floor mat, two small weights (about 1.5kg) and some clear space to throw yourself around a bit. Luckily I already had this stuff.

The 30 Day Shred is an intense circuit training workout that lasts about 20 minutes (30 with warm up and cool down). You do three circuits and each one contains 3 minutes of strength exercise, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs work. The DVD has three levels of workout and the aim is to do each level for 10 days before moving onto the next. The exercises do get harder as you go along but I actually found that the first level was hardest because I was so out of shape! Jillian's manner is quite tough, it's not like being barked at but she doesn't let up. However, there is a modified version of most exercises that you can do if they feel a bit tough. Generally I did the modified version for a few days before moving on to the full version.

I'm not going to lie, the first few days were BRUTAL. There was a lot of grunting and cussing. It hurt to walk up and down stairs but I quickly got into the habit of doing it as soon as I got home from work. Within a week I'd noticed a huge difference in my strength and cardio stamina. By the end of Level 2 I'd toned up all over and had noticeable abs for the first time ever. I took a few rest days throughout but eventually completed all three levels in 34 days.

I didn't take before and after pics, weights or measurements (I don't actually own scales) because for me this was all about how it made me feel. And I felt stronger both physically and mentally, proud that I'd finished what seemed like an impossible challenge. Naturally since finishing I've fallen a little out of shape again so I've bought Jillian's Ripped in 30 DVD which is a similar workout at a slightly more advanced level and will be starting this next week.

Support was a really big motivator and I was lucky that my sister did the 30 Day Shred at the same time so we could cheer each other on. If anyone is planning to do it let me know here or on Twitter!

I should mention that the three levels of 30 Day Shred are available on YouTube if you want to search it out and see if it's for you!

This post is part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge


  1. This sounds great! Congrats for completing it - you must feel good!
    If they're on Youtube is there any need to actually buy the dvd then?