Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: Jillian Michaels BodyShred (Part 1)

This is an overview of my thoughts and observations of Jillian Michael's BodyShred program.  I will post Part 2 (the workout breakdowns) and Part 3 (that batsh#t crazy Opus workout) in the coming days. Note: I did not perform any of these workouts (hell no!).

UPDATE: Part 2&3 should be up next week.
This crappy photos are courtesy of my Samsung phone, on it's death bed

As my muscles ache from three days of Jillian's other system, Body Revolution (BR) -- Phase 3, to be exact -- I dared to preview what was yet to come.  I admit I was initially frightened of getting BodyShred (BS) when I saw that promo, but previewing them did put my mind at ease.  But by no means am I implying it is easy; it is anything but easy.  This is Jillian's most strategically sequenced program yet.  It isn't just going to make you sweat, but work your muscles like nothing else.  I am sensing lots of DOMS on the horizon.  Lots and lots of DOMS.


Like BR, BS alternates between two strength workouts throughout the week,  with a cardio workout done every third day; the schedule changes every two weeks. And like BR, strength workout A concentrates on push muscles (chest, triceps, shoulders, along with quads), while workout B works the pull muscles (back and biceps) and the back of the lower body (glutes and hamstrings).

The schedule is after the pic.

Everything included in the set: a meal plan, fitness guide, workout calendar and the DVDs.

WEEKS 1 & 2:
Monday & Thursdays - Launch (workout 1)
Tuesdays & Fridays - Rise (workout 2)
Wednesdays & Saturdays - Fire Up (cardio)
WEEKS 3 & 4:
Monday & Thursdays - Amplify (workout 3)
Tuesdays & Fridays - Escalate (workout 4)
Wednesdays & Saturdays - Fire Up (cardio)
WEEKS 5 & 6
Monday & Thursdays - Conquer (workout 5)
Tuesdays & Fridays - Triumph (workout 6)
Wednesdays & Saturdays - Ignite (cardio)
WEEKS 7 & 8
Monday & Thursdays - Zenith (workout 7)
Tuesdays & Fridays - Apex (workout 8)
Wednesdays & Saturdays - Ignite (cardio)


The main difference is that Jillian brings back her 3-2-1 Method, made famous in her 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30.  In BR, Jillian performed 4 exercises (2x), with a cardio interval in between rounds.  Her 3-2-1 method (if you are not familiar) entails 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs.  In BS, Jillian uses 3 strength moves ( performed for 30 seconds each, 2x), 2 cardio moves (also performed 30 sec each, 2x) and 2 core exercises (or one move repeated on both sides of the body). 
I also want to note that BS uses more body weight exercises and less reliance on equipment (although 3-10 lb weights are still necessary).  On the push muscle days, in particular, there are tons of variations of pushups and plank exercises.  I think she employs superset muscle work here more so than her previous fare, including even BR.  I could already feel the soreness through my TV screen. 
The cardio is intense and high-impact, but I think Phase 3 of BR for prepares you for this.  The high-impact moves are just used more liberally this time around.  BR does transition you better by building on each phase, whereas BS has only two modes: intense and batsh*t crazy intense. 
Oh, and the BS packaging is smaller, more compact than the BR packaging.  I think I even joked in my BR review that Jillian was trying to destroy the environment with all the additional packing material and supplemental literature that came with the set.  Thankfully everything is kept to a minimum this time around.

Based on everything I have seen so far, I am excited to get started on this program.  As I previously mentioned, this program is extremely well-thought out and her most strategic set of workouts to date.  Besides the intensity, what makes this program tough is the sequencing of moves and use of supersets. 
Jillian has usually been thorough with how she works the muscles, but a minor gripe I have always had with her workouts is that she doesn't fatigue the muscles enough, or at least in her full-body workouts (she does have individual DVDs for abs and lower body).  Understandably, she has a diverse audience and she has to cater to the masses, so short workouts with a broad approach to fitness is what sells.  BR did a good job of addressing this; BS does it even better.
I also have to admit another bias I had against her workouts: I found Jillian's workouts to be good for weight/fat loss, but I never saw them as the type of workout you could get a great body from doing.   For me it was "get back into an old pair of jeans" or "look good in clothes" than "look good naked".  But I think BS can get you a hot body.  It might take two rounds -- it is only 60 days -- or maybe a prep phase like I am doing, but couple this with a lifestyle overhaul and I think you can achieve major aesthetic changes in your body.  Shallow, I know, but let's not pretend looking good isn't part of our motivation to exercise. 
As for the program's production, the set and lighting are much darker, gloomier than BR.  Just an FYI if you don't like darker sets.  Her cast consists of some newbies -- like the fabulous Zuzka Light!  She also brings back some veteran background exercisers, like Kenta and Omar, the man with the most beautiful scorpion pushups I have ever seen.  The music is an improvement from her previous stuff.  Overall, the production is well-done.
I can't say I have any major gripes since I won't officially start until the week of January 26th (we may revisit my thoughts at that time).  I have noticed a bit less diversity with her repertoire of exercises when working the pull muscles.  You repeat a lot of the same moves through the 8 weeks, like stork or crescent pose while doing back rows, or biceps with lunges; however, even Jillian admits in a later workout that the pull muscles just don't have the ability to be modified with unique and different variations the way the pull muscles can. 
Some people who have done her previous workouts might find she is rehashing too much old material, but I personally think she does balance this with new twists on old moves and adding in new material.  Again, some might find this redundant.  You can check out my breakdown post tomorrow to see if it will be fresh and fun for you, or too redundant.
And finally, you are probably wondering who I can recommend this set for.  Note: I am working with the assumption you have medical clearance.  People with joint or mobility issues should obviously seek the advice of a medical provider over mine.
For starters, Jillian's hardcore fans will love this.  Very athletic, well-conditioned exercisers, who found her previous fare too remedial and easy for their tastes,  might find this fun. Hell, you guys might even be able to do that mythical Opus workout only Greek Gods can complete!  I think intermediate exercisers could do this and learn to modify or go at their own pace; however, I am less certain about beginners, especially those coming off the couch.  Obviously, everyone knows their own body better and there are people who have completed Insanity after being sedentary for a long time, but I still err on the side of caution if you are easing back into fitness. If you want to get an idea of what to expect beforehand, either do a round of BR, or check out 30 Day Shred/Ripped in 30 and familiarize yourself with the more advanced levels. 
If anyone is doing the set now or starting soon, I would love to hear your thoughts.  Check back tomorrow for Part 2.  In the meantime, have a safe and wonderful New Years!  Cheers!


Ladybug said...

Really helpful review. Thank you!

J Beaman said...

Great review and great detail! Very helpful! Thank you!

J Beaman said...

Great review and great detail! Very helpful! Thank you!