Tuesday, July 23, 2013
As I mentioned yesterday, I have been somewhat frustrated by the fitness videos I have. Some are great, some are okay and some are good but aren't as they were advertised. So, I figured I'd share with Spark People what I think of the ones I buy. I'm going to do one review a day.
To start off with, I use fitness videos in part because when I first decided to get more healthy and more fit, I lived in a tiny apartment in NYC. Anyone familiar with NYC is aware that gym memberships are a small fortune, so joining a gym for me was not an option. While I could have joined the NYC Parks and Recreation gyms, the closest one was closed for renovations and the next two were 70 blocks away from where I lived. (As an aside, if you do live in NYC and money is an issue, I encourage you to look up the Parks and Recreation gyms. They are generally in good care, and the membership costs between $100 and $125 a year... or they were when I looked it up last year.)
At any rate, fitness videos were a savior because by and large it meant I could workout in my home without having to buy a lot of space destroying equipment. Now that I live outside of NY, I continue with the videos because the gym I have access to isn't quite what I want.
Onto the review:
Jillian Michaels is a fitness trainer who is probably most famous for the Biggest Loser. I confess I had no idea who she was when I bought the video; I had done an Amazon search for fitness videos and this one got some good reviews. Overall, it is good video and a good workout.
There are three 20 minute workouts on this video. The workouts are all circuit workouts: 3 cycles of 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs, with a warmup and cool down built into the workout. You are meant to work up to each of the workouts. That is, start with level 1 and when you are comfortable with that, switch to level 2 which will be easier to do than level 3.
If you are familiar with JM, then you are aware that she is acerbic. She doesn't take excuses and pushes you to finish each circuit. While she says you can take a breather if you need to, it's preferable not to if you want to achieve the maximum benefits of the workout.
There are two assistants in each workout; one does the modified versions of the poses and one does the full poses. JM points out the modifications as well as the full poses and how to do it. She also demonstrates what you're not supposed to do so that you do not get injured while doing them. This is helpful since you can then adjust your stance if need be.
The workouts are fast paced, with little to no breathers between each segment. JM switches up each exercise as well; you're not going to be doing the same strength workouts in circuit 2 that do in circuit 1 or circuit 3. It makes for a nice variety in each circuit and keeps you going.
I would not suggest using this video if you're just starting out. Otherwise, you will be frustrated. The first time I did this video, I had zero strength training up until that point. Even with 3 lbs weights, I couldn't complete the whole 3 minutes of strength. I would have to pause to catch my breath for 5 seconds. I was sloppy with my weights and my positions because my arms ached and my legs were burning. I found it very frustrating.
However, now that I'm trying to get fit again, I put off doing this workout until I had gotten about a month of fitness in that had included some strength training. This time around, I was able to keep up. Yes, my arms hurt and burned and my thighs were less than happy at times, but I could finish the workouts and my forms were a lot less sloppy.
Overall, I would give this video an A/A-. JM's attitude can be a bit much, which can be detrimental to the fitness process. She focuses on losing weight rather than getting healthy, which may not be what some people want to hear. Also, as I mentioned above, I would not suggest it if you haven't done any fitness training. It is, however, a good workout and you will feel it.