Almost a month ago, I gave up my membership at my local YMCA. The gym itself was somewhat crummy, and it annoyed me that I paid the same price as the people who went to the sparkling brand-new facilities also in the Local Y Network. Yes, I could go to those facilities, but it meant driving twice as far and hardly seemed worth it. The Y also raises your rates when you turn 25, so instead of paying the stomachable $38 a month I paid when I joined, I was suddenly paying $50 for a gym with unreliable equipment, smelly locker rooms, and soaking wet bathrooms. This, coupled with the fact that in my unemployment and the fact that it was increasingly hard to motivate myself to go to the gym, made quitting the logical choice.
So I’ve been working out on my own. Which normally would mean running, and maybe some at-home yoga, and some weight lifting. But it’s 19 degrees outside today, and I’m getting over a cold. So no running. Not today, and possibly not for a little while. At least not until it warms back up to the thirties. Right now, I’m not even walking. So for me, right now, it means back to my old standby:
That’s right. The 30-day-shred. I’ve been starting slowly, back down on Level 1, but later this week I plan to move up to Level 2. For people with a regular fitness regime, Level 1 is about the equivalent of 30 minutes on the elliptical. You can get through it, more or less, and you are unlikely to die. In Level 2, you will seriously begin to question your mortality and whether your heart can take it through any more double-jump-ropes.
I’ve returned to the Shred more often than any other fitness workout DVD that I own (and I own a lot) for a few reasons.
1. It’s very basic but very effective. It is a routine circuit training video. Jillian doesn’t make you learn any ridiculous kickboxing sequences – it’s strength, cardio, abs, three times. This is the only workout DVD I’ve been able to stick with long enough to see real results – and I mean real results, like abs and impressive back muscles.
2. I don’t look stupid. Let’s not discuss how white I look when I do my Cardio Salsa Party DVD. Even when I’m alone, I know how stupid I look and it distracts me from getting a good workout.
3. It’s only 30 minutes. It’s billed as a 20 minute workout, but the first workout is definitely 27 minutes. Nonetheless, I know that I can either sit around whining about how I don’t want to work out, or I can get it done with. Most of my other DVDs are closer to 45 minutes, or they are segments of 10-minute workouts.
4. Jillian talks about getting stronger and working harder and transforming yourself. Other than a bizarre line about bathing suit shopping in Workout 2, she mostly does not talk about how she knows I want great arms/abs/buns and that I bought this DVD because I don’t want to diet. (I swear, I have a workout video from the late 90s that says, “isn’t this better than dieting?” during a series of lunges.) I like language from a trainer that makes me feel like a badass.
5. I find that I get less injured and am able to train better when I’ve been doing the Shred. When I combine the Shred with triathlon training, I have less shoulder issues and generally have more energy.
I returned to the Shred for almost a full week, and then was set back a week because I got sick. Usually I don’t let sickness set me back, but I think I’m getting old because whenever I did anything physically taxing I would break into a coughing fit. So I’m happy to be feeling better and continuing with the Shred.