30 Day Shred Review

I’m a little behind on writing this review, as I finished the 30 Day Shred on Friday, but here it is!


How it works:  The Break Down

  • 3 Videos – each one a different Level
  • Each level is progressively harder than the last
  • Each video is broken into three 6-minute circuits, plus a warm up and cool down, for about a 30 minute workout.
  • Each 6-minute circuit is broken up into 3 intervals:  3 minutes of strength moves, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of ab work.
  • Most intervals repeat 2 movements.  So for 3 minutes of strength, there are 2 movements that you do twice (or two sets of each movement for a total of 4 sets).  There is at least one cardio interval where there are 4 different movements (which are all repeats from the other intervals) and a couple of ab intervals that you do the same thing for the whole minute.
  • Each video has a modified “beginner’s” version of the movements and a “bad-ass” version.
  • Each video works your whole body, not just a portion of it.
  • You do each level for 10 days then move to the next.

My Thoughts:

  • I love the set up of these workouts – the 3-2-1 intervals.  I love that in one workout, I get legs, arms, back, and chest worked out – plus cardio – plus abs.
  • When I was looking to start the 30 Day Shred, I compared it to P90X and why I thought I’d like it more.  I stand by that comparison.
  • I think Level 2 and Level 3 workouts were equally challenging – both much more than Level 1.
  • I got a little tired of the videos – particularly Jillian’s voice and habits and the background music (one nice thing about the P90X dvds is that there is the option to play without the background music and I think even without most of the talking.  Love that feature).  I got so tired of the videos I did the last few days of Level 3 from memory, without the video.  I think I actually did a few more reps of most movements that way.
  • I got a little tired of the repetition.  On one hand, for some of the movements, I needed the 10  days to get better at them (and a few of the movements I never got beyond the modified the version).  On the other hand, it’s the same thing for 10 days.  Like I said – I had it memorized.
  • Even though it’s “just” a 30 minute workout, it takes up more than 30 minutes of your day – unless you can stay sweaty for a while.  Maybe I sweat more than normal, but for me, the 30 Day Shred involved washing my sweat-soaked hair right afterwards.  There was no, “I’ll work this in really quickly before I go out for drinks” or anything like that.


I need to start by saying I didn’t follow any nutrition plan lined out by Jillian.  I tracked my food following my old original Weight Watchers Points material…but I could have done better – both with tracking and with choices.

AND  I took rest days.  I did not work out on the weekends; life is hectic and I believe in rest days to heal your body, not matter what Jillian says.  So it took me 45 days to do the workouts 30 times.

AND I have no pictures to show.

Here’s my final numbers:

  • Weight:  Lost 5 pounds (from 156 down to 151)
  • Bust:  Lost 3 inches (37” down to 34″) 😦
  • Under bust:  stayed the same at 30″
  • Waist:  Lost 1 inch (30” down to 29″)
  • Abdomen (aka “pooch”): Lost 2″ (39.5” down to 37.5)
  • Hips:  Lost 1.25″ (41.25” down to 40″)
  • Largest part of thigh:  Lost 1.5 inch (24.25” down to 23.75″)
  • Bicep:  lost 1/4 of an inch (12.25” down to 12″)
  • Total inches lost:  9

Not all that impressive.  Plus, I took my measurements halfway through, and my transformation was definitely a positive split (lost more in the first half than the second half).  I know these lackluster results have to do with food – reaffirming the whole “abs are made in the kitchen”.

But all is not lost.  9″ and 5 pounds is better than nothing.  I feel as though I have more energy and less stress.  I’ve come to really enjoy getting up early and working out in the morning.  And even though the weight and measurements didn’t change as drastically as I might have hoped, I can see some toning, and clothes that were a little too tight are fitting better.

This month, I am moving on to Ripped in 30, and I have modified the a nutrition plan that goes a long with the workout into something I can follow.  More on that later.

Would I recommend the 30-Day Shred?  First of all, I’m no doctor, and you should always talk to your doctor about what exercise is right for you (and we all do that, don’t we…).  I liked the workout.  It was challenging, and yet not so much so that I couldn’t do the moves.  If you like HIIT (or are wanting to get in to it) and you need a set routine to follow, this is a good place to start.


One more 30 Day Shred Workout

Tomorrow will be my last day of the 30 Day Shred.  Whew!!!

I’m excited to take my measurements again – even though I don’t think I am seeing any difference than when I took them midway through.  I’ll save all that for a 30 Day Shred review post later though.

I’d like to start my next workout routine April 1st, taking the weekend off (like usual), and I think I’ve finally decided what I’ll do:  I’m going to stay faithful to Jillian and do Ripped in 30.


Even though I’ve gotten a little annoyed with Jillian’s voice and the horrible background music,  I really like the way she has set up these workouts.  I like the circuits that combine strength, cardio, and abs – and the exercises focus on multiple muscle groups (as opposed to workouts that target upper body one day and lower body the next).  I’ve done a little looking for other workouts, but I didn’t find anything (for free) that I wanted to try more than this (I mention “for free” because I did find several that I would have to buy that looked interesting, but I like to preview before I buy).  I’m picking up the Ripped in 30 from the library this afternoon, and will be doing this in the mornings Monday-Saturday (yes, I am giving myself one day of rest between levels).  As a bonus, there’s a 30-day meal plan which I have downloaded and will be considering.

I’d also like to continue walking during my lunch breaks – or rather turn it into an everyday routine rather than just randomly.

So that’s my plan as of now.  That and FINISH THE 30 DAY SHRED TOMORROW!

DietBet: An Honest Review After Participating

Quick Recap:  A friend who knew I was trying to lose some weight invited me to join a Dietbet game with her, which was the first I had ever heard of this.  I thought it sounded like it would make all this hard work a little more fun, so I signed up.

How It Works – (mostly) Just the Facts:  Players have 4 weeks (28 days) to lose 4% of their body weight, and anyone who achieves this is a winner.  There is usually a buy-in (ours was $10), and the money is split between all the winners at the end of the game.  It’s not the one person who loses the most wins all the money; anyone who loses 4% wins.

Sometime during the two days before the game begins, players have to take two pictures of themselves on the scale – one full body shot and one showing the number on the scale.  Players can set up their profile to either show their weight, or it can be kept private, but no one except the rulers of the Dietbet world will ever see those pictures.  When the game ends, winners have 48 hours to submit pictures again.

During the 4 weeks, players can self-report weight loss as they like, though Dietbet send emails encouraging players to weigh-in often (too often in my opinion).  No pictures are needed for self-reporting.  Players can post updates on the game’s wall (looks like a Facebook wall), cheer each other on, ask questions, etc.  They call this “social dieting”, encouraging players to be active about it.  Our group wasn’t overly social, just a few people here and there posting that they had worked out or drank lots of water that day.

The game I participated in had 16 winners out of 54 players.  Winners received a little over $30 (so $20 on top of the $10 buy-in).  264.5 pounds were lost – and that is awesome.

My Thoughts:  Everyone knows weight fluctuates throughout the day.  Since I joined the game the day before it began, my initial weigh-in was done at the end of the day (heaviest part of the day).  I got on the scale the next morning, already a few pounds lighter than the evening before.  I don’t consider this weight loss; however, on Day 1, many players were reporting major losses since their initial weigh-in.  I’m talking, people had already hit 100% of what they needed to lose.  Cheating?

Now let me talk about healthy weight loss for a minute.  There are tons of sources that say healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week.  4% for me was 6.4 pounds, which averages to 1.6 pounds a week.  This is in the healthy range, but I’m sure that’s not the case for every player.  While it is possible to lose more than 2 pounds a week, expecting that kind of weight loss 4 weeks in a row is not healthy.  What would  have to be done to lose that kind of weight each week?

And then what happens after the 4 weeks are over and someone who was “detoxing” , fad dieting, etc to lose the necessary weight starts eating normally again?

So that leads me to wonder what some of the players were doing to lose weight.  Is Dietbet really encouraging HEALTHY weight loss, or are players making extreme decisions to win money?

I noticed people weighing in every day.  Maybe it’s just that Weight Watchers ingrained in my head that you should only weigh once a week, but I think getting on the scale every day can be detrimental – and can lead people to do some of those extreme measures just to see some movement…particularly players who are just trying to lose a few “vanity pounds”.  I know I should not judge any one else because I don’t know their situations, but there were a few players (who made their weight public) who seemed like they didn’t have 4% to lose…and they would weigh everyday…and a few of them would write how frustrated they were that there was no movement.  I Judged.

Also, I feel like this is giving the scale too much power.  Yes, I want to lose weight, and I have more than 4% a couple of times that I’d like to lose.  BUT, I don’t exactly have an ideal weight that I want to get to (if you think my “Visual Motivation” goes against everything I’m saying now, read this post when I first made it).  There are so many other ways to visualize what’s healthy that what the scale says to you.

I was also a little disappointed that the group wasn’t a little more social.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to discuss healthy weight loss, encourage others, share tips that work for you, and get support when you’re struggling – but it didn’t develop in to that.  No one really shared tips.

So all of that has been a little negative:  I worry that Dietbet fosters people to take extremes to lose weight because there’s money involved, and I feel like it is a missed opportunity to share and support.   I REALLY FEEL THAT DIETBET IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, but it does have some positives.  I did have a lot of discussions about healthy weight loss with a couple of my friends who joined the game which I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.  So even though all 54 players weren’t involved, it did foster a social aspect for me.  It did help to keep me motivated – particularly in keeping up with the 30 Day Shred.  It’s awesome to see the total pounds lost (imagining that people did it in a healthy way…).  And I did win a little extra money (turned $10 into $30 – not much, but a little).

Would I do it again?  Maybe.  Probably.  Okay – honestly –  since I “won” and I can use my winnings,  Yes.

Would I recommend it?

  • Can you afford to lose the money it takes to buy-in?
  • Do you really HONESTLY have 4% to lose?
  • Is 4% in 4 weeks in the healthy weight loss range of 1-2 lbs per week?
  • Can you handle the pressure of a deadline and competition in a healthy way?
  • Are you willing to keep doing what you have to do over the 4 weeks (meaning it’s a lifestyle, not a diet) to maintain your end weight (or continue to your goal)?
  • Do you realize that there are MANY other measures of health, beauty, self-worth, etc than what the scale reads?

If you answer no to any one of those questions, then NO, I would not recommend it. In all honesty, I would never just go out and say, “If you’re wanting to lose weight, you should join a Dietbet”.  I like the idea of Dietbet more than the actual realization of it and what I feel like it fosters:  an unhealthy idea about weight loss and the scale.

Does that make me a hypocrite because I would do it again but not recommend it?  Maybe.  But there’s too many factors, especially psychological, for me to recommend it.  Only you know your situation, and only you can make the decision for yourself.


Week 5 Weigh-In

Weekly weigh-in and final Dietbet weigh-in was Friday:  down another .8 pounds to 151 for a total lost so far of 5 pounds!  Averaging a pound a week; hope to keep that up, though I had (another) indulgent weekend.

My initial Dietbet weigh-in was a little heavier than the weigh-in that I’ve been reporting here – because I weigh in the morning and had to weigh in the evening for Dietbet.  According to the game, I lost 6.4 pounds, which was .1 pound more than the 4% I needed to lose to be a winner – so I am a winner!

I’ll post a Dietbet review soon.  I’ve found lots of reviews by people when they sign up, but I’d like to give an honest review, having completed the “game”.  I found both positives and negatives about it.


Update:  Here’s a link to my Dietbet Review.

Day 34 – Thinking about what’s next…

Like a good girl, I went home yesterday after work, put some rice in the rice cooker to go along with the leftovers we were having for dinner, and did the morning’s missed Level 3 workout.  Sometime during the day, I got sore.  It was sometime after I snuck in a 3 mile walk over my lunch hour that I noticed my hip flexors, glutes, and lats were stiff.  Between that and being tired, the workout was even more challenging.  I really began to question what I was thinking, saying the third circuit was the hardest, as I was struggling with the first circuit.  I spent the rest of the evening walking around like a zombie before crawling in bed at 9.

This morning I fought through my desire to sleep as much as I could, pulled myself out of bed, and did the workout again.  The workout went much better – as I rocked the up and down planks that started me off struggling yesterday – and even managed the regular version of the plank rows w/ leg raises that I had previously been modifying.

Foodwise – I’ve been staying on track so far this week, even though I haven’t been reporting it here.  Monday and Tuesday were good days, and I have a plan to make the rest of the week follow suit.

Having completed the 23rd workout, with only 7 left, I have started thinking about what comes next.  I’ve been thinking about sticking with Jillian and trying “Ripped in 30” or “6 Week Six Pack”, but then I’ve also found a couple of other routines I’d like to try out – just for the sake of doing something different and not getting bored.  This P90X inspired 14 day workout looks interesting, as well as this adaptation of the Two-Week Total Body Turnaround.  The strength part of the later almost seems a little too easy, but I like the inclusion of the walking plan, which I could do over lunch.   In the next few days I plan to develop a workout plan to take me at least through Memorial Weekend – when we are going to the lake and I will have to get into a swimsuit.

Oh, Swimsuit:  you are the ultimate motivation, aren't you?

Oh, Swimsuit: you are the ultimate motivation, aren’t you?

PS – The above image is from an article about the best swimsuits for pear shaped bodies.  Lots of good tips for ladies with hips!

That bad C word: Cravings

Some Ideas for Managing Cravings:

Step 1:  Know the difference between “Hunger” and “Craving”

Step 2: Identify WHY you are craving a certain food

Step 3:  Try a healthier version of the food to satisfy the desire.

Step 4:  Eat a small portion of the food you are craving.  PORTION CONTROL is the key.

Image from McDonalds.com

Image from McDonalds.com

This morning, I woke up with a huge craving for a McDonalds’ Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit.  In truth, I’ve been fighting this craving for two weeks, as I remember making biscuits one Saturday morning in an attempt to appease it in a mindful way.  It didn’t work.

Cravings that last two weeks…I fear what I will be like pregnant.

This is the last week of the Dietbet that I’m participating in, and I had a pretty indulgent weekend visiting some friends, so I wanted to really focus on eating healthy this week.  I need to lose .7 pounds for Dietbet.

Yesterday, I had a great day, both with food and fitness:  ate lots of fruits and veggies; drank lots of water; snuck in some extra activity by walking for 50 minutes during lunch.  Then last night, I didn’t sleep well.  I woke up at 2:30 and could not fall back asleep until after 4.  Needless to say, I opted to sleep a little more rather do the 30-Day Shred this morning (but I WILL do it first thing when I get home from work).

I almost ran by McDonalds this morning on my way to work, but was able to talk myself out of it – for a couple of reasons.  While I don’t believe that any food is off limits, as long as I practice portion control, I realize I want it today just because I am not feeling my best.  I want to eat my sleep deprivation – but eating crap will just make me feel crappier.  Another reason I didn’t give in is because I know that nothing I could eat will be as good as I’ve got it built up to be in my mind.  Not only will I be disappointed in how it tastes, I will then be disappointed that I wasted those calories.  And then the final reason is because its 420 calories, 23 grams of fat (12 of which are the bad saturated fat), and 1130 mg of sodium.  That’s a ton of saturated fat and sodium for one little biscuit.  I can buy the frozen kind with a third less of all of those things – calories, fat, and sodium.

I pretty sure that just destroyed the craving…at least for today.

If you have any tips or advice on how to fight cravings, PLEASE SHARE!!

First Day of Level 3 – 30 Day Shred

Just to recap – I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred workouts Monday through Friday mornings and taking the weekends off (for various reasons, but I won’t go in to that).  I completed Level 2 on Friday, and really needed the rest this weekend, as I had tweaked my right shoulder.  This morning was my first Level 3 workout.

My shoulder felt normal again, but in an attempt to take it easy on the shoulder, I had decided ahead of time that I would only use 3 pound weights.  I had previewed the workout and knew that the weights were used during some of the cardio, but the majority of the strength exercises are done using body weight.  I did use a 5 pound dumbbell on the dumbbell cleans, but I could not imagine doing jumping jacks with 5 pounds in each hand.

Superman:  my favorite move.  Image found on Google.

Superman: my favorite move. Image found on Google.

In general, I felt like Level 3 was not really a step up from Level 2; I’d almost say it was easier, but admittedly, I did the modified version of quite a few of the moves (sumo hops, jumping lunges, jump squats, and the entire circuit 3).

Here’s my theory on why it seems easier:  In both Level 1 and Level 2 workouts, I personally felt like the first circuit was the hardest.  Starting out with the hardest circuit makes everything that comes after a little harder because I’m tired from the start.  In the Level 3 workout, I felt like the last circuit was the hardest.  The first two, I can do all the “badass” moves (except the jumping moves, because this girl cannot jump; I get no air). But that last circuit comes, and I have to do the modified version of all of them.  I feel like if this were the first circuit, I probably would have been modifying more moves on the other two.

That’s just my initial thoughts.  We’ll see how I feel about this workout at the end.

On a somewhat-related-yet-still-random-tangent, I mentioned that I cannot jump and thought of a somewhat funny antidote.  The hubs and I were doing Crossfit workouts before the wedding last summer, and some of the workouts included “box jumps” – where you jump from the ground onto a “box” or platform of some sorts, stand up straight, then jump off and repeat multiple times.  I think the boxes that the workouts call for are usually 30″ or taller.  Knowing I get no air, I started on one that was 18″…with the husband holding my hands, half pulling my up as I jumped.  When it became clear to him that I was really making the jumps by myself, he went tough love on me and told me he wasn’t holding my hands anymore – literally (figuratively, he was still supportive).  Without his hands, every time I wanted to make a jump, I had to psych myself up – even after I had just done it a few times.  Before EVERY jump, I would have to tell myself, “You can do this.  You just did this with no problem.  You can do it again.”  It’s pretty pathetic…especially when you’re supposed to be doing 50 in a row…and I have to take 10 seconds between each one to work myself up to do it again.  Amazingly though, box jumps are still not my least favorite exercise.

One day...maybe...Image from Crossfitroots.com

One day…maybe…Image from Crossfitroots.com