Thursday, May 5, 2011

30 Day Shred: Day 30

I'm in plank pose.  I'm doing alternating rows and leg lefts with my five pound weights.  It's the last set of strength moves of the last circuit of my last day in the 30 Day Shred challenge, and all I want to do is drop to my knees and do the modified version of the move.  I do, for about half a second, and then I shout to myself---I think out loud---NO.  NO!  This was my LAST DAY of the challenge and I wanted to finish like a warrior.

This post will serve as a discussion forum for our overall experiences with the 30 Day Shred! A link to this post has been posted on the top right side of the website under "30 Day Shred Challenge---Resources." Feel free to pop back in here to talk about the successes and challenges you're facing in working out.

For those unfamiliar with the shred, the basic premise is that you do 18 minutes of intense activity, cycling between strength (3 minutes), cardio (2 minutes), and abs (1 minute). Within each unit, you do two exercises that are repeated once. Strength exercises in level one all involve weights except for two sets of about 15-20 push-ups. Cardio exercises involve jumping and punching. Abs involve crunches of various kinds. You can read some background on the challenge here.  To catch up on the other weeks of the Shred, read level one, level two, and level three.

Level 3 Assessment
  • Use the DVD for 8 out of 10 days (all ten if possible) -- YES!
  • Go for two runs -- NO!  But I did go for one run and one very long walk.
  • Stick to Weight Watchers points - YES!


I don't think my pictures or measurements are particularly dramatic.  I did not change my diet very much during this 30 days as weight loss was not my main goal.  I also allowed myself to take a few rest days (and I was forced to take two rest days in Level 2 when I was sidelined by a neck sprain).  I completed about 24 of the 30 days.  I was surprised to add this up...taking two days off in every level added up to almost a WEEK of shredding lost.  If I could do the challenge over again, I would do my best to avoid taking rest days unless it was utterly, absolutely unavoidable.  As Jillian would say, if you only have 30 days, you have to make every day count.

The biggest results for me this time around are the differences I'm feeling in my mind and body.  Now at the end of the Shred, I am feeling a lot stronger and more toned than I was at the start.  I got to the point about halfway through where I would get my motivation to use the DVD from that brief glance I'd cast in the mirror when I woke up in the morning.  I felt like I could see and feel the changes in my body; sometimes my casual touches of my own body cause me to come up short because something feels different, harder, tighter, stronger.

Like Christiana (you'll read her results after the cut, too---how awesome does she look, BTW??!), I particularly loved that this DVD lasted less than half an hour.  I don't think I could have committed to much more than that.  The DVD reinforces your hard work because you can see, day after day, that you get stronger.  You can do more push ups.  Suddenly things feel easy where once they were nearly impossible.  It's an incredibly satisfying feeling!

Photos (a LOT of belly decide if it's NSFW...) and results after the jump...

Final Measurements
(numbers in parentheses are the change from my starting measurements)

Weight: 141 (+0.6)

Chest: 31.5 (-1)
Waist: 31 (0)
Hips: 36 (0)
Arm: 11.5 (-0.5)
Thigh: 21.5 (-0.5)

Overall: -2.0

I'm inclined to put less stock in my measurements since the changes have been small all throughout the challenge; some weeks I lose half an inch, other weeks I don't.  I'm not sure if I'm not measuring myself accurately or what, because I feel a difference when I put my hands on my hips!

Before/After Shots

Progress Shots

(Click the photos to enlarge the set)

Random Muscle Shots

As I shredded, I started to notice muscles developing in some places I didn't expect.  I don't have before photos for these muscles, since I didn't think I'd ever grow a muscle there!

I like to think of my little fledgling six-pack as a penguin egg, whose penguin parents are trying to protect it from the harsh Arctic environment so it can have a chance to survive.  (I don't yet know whether I play the role of the parents or the Arctic.)

I LOVE those muscles in my shoulders!  This is what Jillian is talking about when she recommends doing punches with our hand weights in order to get "those grooves in the tops of your shoulders."  Hell yeah!

I like that my back is a bit tighter and more toned.  The back is an oft-neglected part of our bodies, but it needs to be worked out, too!  Before starting the shred, Roxy took a candid photo of my back here.  Admittedly, I'm not at ALL flexing in that photo, but I like to think there'd be a difference in that photo today.  :-)

What's Next?

As someone who finished the Shred, felt great, and then lost all her strength due to inactivity, I plan to keep up with my strength training this time around.  I won't shred everyday, but my plan is to run more frequently and do a full shred two or three times a week.  I also plan to do a few sets of strength exercises and ab exercises on running days, too.

I hope you enjoyed the challenge!  I'm thinking of running another challenge at the end of the summer featuring another Jillian DVD, so stay tuned for that one.  For now, if you'd like to buy your own copy of the Shred, click here.

Reader Results


On Saturday I was at the La Times Festival of Books working at the Penguin Booth (I work for an org that partners with Penguin for this event), and we were directly facing the LA Times stage. Mid-afternoon an exceptionally large crowd started gathering by the stage to hear none other than Jillian Michaels. I cynically sat in my booth thinking that I certainly didn’t need Jillian to tell me about how to live my life or whatever. Just getting her assistance on working out was enough, thankyouverymuch. But in all fairness, she was AWESOME. The crowd loved her. They went nuts. And she deserved it.

Jillian is easy enough to mock (my husband has been doing so *while* I work out for almost the whole experiment), but I am really grateful for her. She got me doing a workout every night. I dropped a few pounds. I look far better. And best of all I am sleeping better and have loads more energy. That I can work out for less than 30 minutes and get these results is what makes it possible for me to work out at all. I did not miss a day. Some days, I had to give myself permission to be Anita, and I never even tried to do anything with more than my wimpy 3lb weights, but I made it all the way through.

My passion is organic cooking - - but my guilty pleasure is Anthropologie blogs, especially ones with giveaways. That's how I got started with the shred. And I'm pretty happy with the results (though I discovered that taking a halfway decent pic of your abs is HARD). Do you suppose that if I send Jillian my "after" shot she'll give me a gig on her new TV show? Maybe something to do with organic cooking?

Got results of your own to share?  Send me an email or leave them in the comments!

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