Looking for a Shred-start

Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 in Blog, Health | 0 comments

At the end of September, I decided to figure out a way to kickstart my workout routine. Little did I know that my inspiration would be found at the Watertown Public Library. I knew Jillian Michaels from season seven of “The Biggest Loser.” My first image of her is perched on the arm of an elliptical, screaming at this sobbing woman like a howler monkey. As I kept watching, though, I realized that there was more to her methods then sheer intimidation. She also took interest in the personal/emotional issues of each her team members, helping them overcome these issues to change their lives. This is where my initial horror turned to respect. As I kept watching her throughout the next season, I remember my sister, Christine, talking about Jillian’s new 30-day Shred DVD. Through Facebook, she was doing it with a bunch of friends and they were having a ball. So, when I saw the DVD on the shelf in the library, I figured I’d give it a shot.

What I found is this: never underestimate the power of a jumping jack. It may be old school, but I hadn’t done one in ages and found that neither my pecs nor my quads could keep up with the movement. I also had trouble with that other classic, the push up. Perhaps if I were making it to yoga more often, this would not be the case. But, alas, the reality was that even with my knees on the floor, I was struggling. As I got reacquainted with my old friends during the first week, I realized that there were some things I really enjoyed about this new regiment – take for instance, the 20-minute format. My legs have always been the strongest part of my body, but even foam rolling wasn’t enough to fight the additional challenge of extra weight on my knees. I felt I could still do cardio stuff, but not in the context of a typical 60-minute class. Jillian’s classes are set up with varied repetitions of her “3-2-1 philosophy” (three minutes of cardio, two minutes of strength work, and one minute of abs). This means that before my knees would start to squeal, I’d be working on something else – which totally worked for me. I’ve never had a lot of strength training with weights either so being led through the routine brought a whole different kind of sore on that intrigued me.

Another thing I liked about the 20-minute format is that I could squeeze it into my day instead of having to build my day around a set class. My work hours are all over the place so this format helped me build something I haven’t had with a workout routine in a long time: consistency. Have I done it every day since I started? I’m on Day 26 and have missed doing the program a couple of times, but they were on days where I was doing other longer activities such as yoga, water aerobics and, yes, zumba. So I felt that I wasn’t exactly cheating myself out of the benefits. Have there been times when I didn’t want to do it otherwise? Sure. After the blush of the first two weeks, I felt my resolve slipping. But, on those days, I’d take a tug at my loosening jeans or a poke at my emerging obliques to remind myself that this was actually working. After the first round of jumping jacks I would always be back on board.

I never expected to reach the “30 pounds in 30 days” goal written on the outside of the box. What I hoped for was to shed a couple of pounds and the lethargy I had been feeling for awhile…and I accomplished that. In addition, I managed to start keeping track of my food intake again with MyFitnessPal.com — something I’ve been meaning to do again for a very long time. It’s a little horrifying when you realize that your eating habits rival Templeton the Rat in the animated version of “Charlotte’s Web.” But if this is all a work in mindfulness in order to move forward, you gotta take the ugly truths with the victories. Here’s to a kickstart that lasts far beyond 30 days!

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