Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Does Jillian Michaels Lie?

For anyone who's not familiar, Jillian Michaels is one of the trainers on the popular weight loss reality show, The Biggest Loser. I'm not a huge fan of hers but I think she's sincere and dedicated.

Some time ago she came out with a workout video called The 30 Day Shred. The concept of The 30 Day Shred is that by mixing cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and an intense focus on the abs you can noticeably change your body in 30 days.

There are three fitness levels but I'm still stuck on level one. I can't imagine how many deceptions I'll find in levels two and three considering all her truth stretching in level one.

I'm sure she means well and I suppose there's an issue of my hearing what I want to hear or just hearing the first part of a statement and embracing it only to have my high hopes dashed seconds later.

Jillian starts out the video introducing her two 'best' girls - Anita for the beginners to watch and Natalie for the more accomplished exercise buffs to follow. Jillian tells us if we want to look like Natalie, just keep our eyes on what she does and do the same thing. Now I know for sure no matter how much I watch Natalie, I'll never be as tall as her or have the same complexion; but, I know that's not what she means.

The fibs I'm talking about crop up all through the video. The video starts with arm crosses and a windmill type exercise to warm up and we go right into 30 seconds of jumping jacks. There are a couple more easy warm up exercises and then another 30 seconds of jumping jacks. The good news about this second set is that Jillian clearly states that that's it for jumping jacks. And in the next 20 minutes of this video, we're going to do jumping jacks THREE more times! Deep down I know she means that that's it for jumping jacks during the warm up but I can't help it. I get excited when she says last set of jumping jacks and even though I know they're coming, I feel betrayed during the next three sets.

And then there are the lies of expectation. There's a time during the squat and press when she says "remember, if this is too hard for you....." and you're expecting "don't do it" but instead you get, "watch Anita". That's a little disappointing.

Also there's a time during butt kicks when she says "if you think you're going to die," and you're already hearing, "stop for today" or "take a nap" when she disappoints you again by saying, "stick with Anita".

Or how about after an ab muscle exercise that she ends with the word, rest. The st is barely out of her mouth when she says okay guys, jump up, grab your weights...... without skipping a beat. There's no room for rest in there.

Somewhere in the middle of the side lunge with shoulder raises she announces that we're almost done with strength. This is going to be it for workout one. So I think workout one is almost done but she meant that the strength part of workout one is almost done. Sure I might be looking for cues that aren't there but she's giving them to me too.

But in all honesty there are things that Jillian says that I do take as gospel.

Like when we're doing push ups, she reminds us that there's no resting here. You don't get to work out for twenty minutes and take a break if you want to see results.

And when we're jumping an imaginary rope she admonishes us that so often people don't think they're strong enough. That they are told just take the stairs. Jillian says that's a false message of lethargy that's not doing you any favors. You are capable of working out!

And the ultimate truth of this workout is that when you finish, your heart rate is up and you're sweating profusely. I don't care how old you are, that's got to be good for you.

Tomorrow I will have done level one of The Shred ten days in a row and that's the goal I told myself I had to reach before I could peek at level two. And I'm going to eventually get through all three levels because ultimately I love the Shred.

I love that it's twenty minutes and in our heart of hearts we know we can do anything for twenty minutes. I love that it changes exercises constantly and covers cardio which we need and strength which we want.

And if truth be told, I think it's Jillian's little deceptions that keep my mind slightly distracted so that I finish the whole workout every time.

I think maybe Jillian Michaels knows exactly what she's doing throughout the entire video.


  1. I have to agree with you on this one. I always disagreed with her when she said she had 400 lb people that could do that jumping jacks that we are doing, I always think, NO WAY! But if you ever find a version where she says if you're having trouble doing this, take a nap, etc., let me know...I'm buying it! LOL

  2. What a great post and not one lie in the whole thing. You hit the nail on the head. Jillian is the girl you love to hate. Maybe that's why we keep doing it. And I'm with Amy...if you find the workout that says take a nap, buy one for me when you buy yours.

  3. You are absolutely crazy or delusional. The job of the DVD is to get you working and she is not going to say rest or whatever she is trying to get you to work. Also shy yacht you moved on to level two? After 7 days you should move on you obviously are not committed to this so why bother. Get a fishing DVD or even a good movie. Why don't you just suck it up and get on with it instead of analyzing every word she says.

  4. Ouch! I guess SOMEBODY didn't appreciate my tongue-in-cheek post about the 30 Day Shred. Sorry you took it so literally. I was actually trying to be amusing, and if you'd really read the post, you'd see that I completely endorsed the program and Jillian Michaels.

  5. I love people who have no life and have NOTHING better to do than go online and judge people. Miserable people, I swear.

  6. There is one real lie in there. I can't believe you missed it!

    When they're doing the static lung with bicep curl, Jillian first goes over Natalie's technique. Then she moves on to Anita, and in the background, you see that Natalie stops doing the lunge twice while only doing bicep curls. Later, Jillian makes a comment about how they don't even cheat when she's not looking....obviously, Natalie does!!!

  7. Oh my gosh can I marry this blog entry <333

  8. My wife picked up this video and I started doing it with her, I was skeptical of a workout video but it's a solid routine. I noticed the same thing, even though she lays out the workout, and you know it's going to be 20 minutes, when she says that's it for workout 1 I was annoyed that it kept going.


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