Review: Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred

51qlqi3yaolOK so you ladies (and gents) know I’m a gym-rat and I love fitness and working out. But I gotta say, Jillian Michaels kicked my ASS! And on Level One no less!

I do think I need lighter weights than the 8 lb. ones I have because I was struggling with some exercises and form is more important than the amount of weights being lifted.

I like how Jillian talks to you, and found her encouraging, not annoying like some fitness instructors are. I genuinely felt like I didn’t want to (ha!) let her down.

And what I like best is it’s under 25 minutes so I can do it start-to-finish three times a week without necessarily needing to go to the gym at the crack of dawn.

That said, I only burned 125 calories with the workout (Mon and Tues) per my HRM, so not sure how one can “lose 20 lbs in 30 days” doing it as the DVD cover claims. I mean, it’s definitely not something I see myself personally doing as a stand-alone workout since I do love the gym still and don’t have little ones at home demanding attention.

But combined with my usual cardio, it could be a nice complement … and because it’s a total body workout, it will probably be more effective than my trainer’s super-setting routine.

In fact, soon I’ll be doing P90X (once it arrives, “on or around April 27” according to the estimated shipment date), so I won’t be doing Cristi’s training routine anyway, which is quite time-consuming and means I need to be at the gym to do it.

Now that it’s getting nicer out, it’ll be nice to do these workouts at home whenever/wherever I want to, plus still have the freedom to work out outside biking/running/walking and/or the gym (where my beloved Precor lies). And when my hubby doesn’t have class, he can join me.

In the meantime, I’m excited to do a few more sessions of shredding at Level One, and then bump up to Level Two and, eventually, Level Three.

I don’t see how anyone can “lose up to 20 lbs in 30 days” on her plan — like I said, I only burned 125 calories doing it — but I do think it dovetails nicely with the cardio I already do.

All I need now is some lighter hand weights, which will probably come in handy anyway for P90X. πŸ˜‰

42 thoughts on “Review: Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred

  1. Im not trying to be rude, but why does it matter how many calories you are burning- especially if you feel like you had a heart-pumping, kick-a$$ workout?? With this DVD you are increasing your strength overall- and yes while there is a bit of cardio- I’d say for 25 minutes- you have yourself a deal. I know you are trying to lose weight, as am I, but steering away from “how many kcals did I burn???” and switching more to, “Wow that was great!” might be a better way to look at it. Our society is so consumed with numbers- kcals, the number on the scale, how tall I am in order to be X weight, pounds to go, the number of ounces of meat I can have for a portion…etc.” What if we all just went by how we FELT, not by the numbers?? ( I realize not all people can do this because some of us would surely be overeating to cure some feelings, but in the grand scheme….)
    Just a thought.

  2. The first time I did Level 1, it kicked my butt too! But it gets easier. I still need to do “real push ups” before I go to Level 2!

  3. Hi AllisonLeigh, I was just using it as a reference point for my usual gym sessions; burning 125 is not a workout for me, personally –for lifting, maybe. IT’s a great workout and I didn’t mean to imply it wasn’t.

    It feels good, sure, and someday it might be enough, but for me personally, I like to get in 400-500 a day. And even by how I felt after … I wasn’t sweating and for me, I need to sweat to feel like it’s “worth it.” I see your point and admittedly I am someone who likes numbers, knowing … and maybe on Levels 2 or 3 I will feel like it’s “enough” but for me, it’s a great complement to what I already do. And maybe someday it will be all I can fit in time for. We’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

    I need to do real push-ups too. I still do them on my knees, but am working on engaging my core.

  4. Also, she says on the front, “Lose up to 20 lbs in 30 days” and burning 125-150 a session … that’s pretty impossible (unless someone is nearly starving themselves)

    1. I just wanted to say that it’s not just the calories that are being burned by the exercise. In the 30 day shred, you are building muscle too, and that muscles burns more calories than fat- even while you are not exercising. So maybe this is how you can lose 20lbs in 30days… this and the fact that you should be drinking plenty of water and eating right… πŸ™‚

  5. Level 1 in the beginning never got me to work up a real sweat either. Levels 2 and 3 though, they get you sweating. I find myself now switching back and forth between 2 and 3, though I have to say I like level 3 the best because I really get a great sweat going with that one.

  6. I completely agree – while it’s a GREAT workout, I don’t think it should be advertised as a rapid weight loss plan! I try to Shred 3-4 days a week (I’m still at Level 2), on top of my normal workouts. I really do feel stronger since starting, and I’m up to “real” push-ups! (Although my guy friend informs me I’m not going “low enough,” hell, I’ll take it).

    I’ve heard her other (1 hour) videos are good, too. Might have to work up to those!

  7. (I edited my post a little) I am thinking I’ll do another couple days at level 1 and then switch to 2. πŸ™‚ I need to sweat!!

    Way to go Holly, real push-ups! I admire that!

  8. Thanks for your thoughts Melissa- I appreciate the feedback and I understand what you were trying to say now!
    Have a great night!

  9. I’m excited to hear that you are going to be trying P90X. I have heard so many great things about it and will be curious to hear what you have to say!

  10. I’m scared of Jillian but this review was helpful. From what I’ve heard, it’s definitely more of a strength workout than cardio, so I see what you mean about 125 kcals. I’m suer it would still kick my @$$ though!

  11. Thanks, Allison — and I tried to modify my post; I forget that not everyone feels the same way about fitness as I do and for some, 125 might be plenty or not counting might be better for some.

    Thanks Sara — will let you know!

    Lara, don’t be afraid, she’s a sweetie πŸ˜‰ (HA!) I’m still only on Level One and it’s not cardio like I’m used to — but I love the 3-2-1 method she uses (3 min strength, 2 cardio, 1 abs).

  12. Been out of town and just getting caught up on your blog now!
    One thing to keep in mind–you shouldn’t exercise to burn x amount of calories per se. You diet to put yourself in a calorie deficit and you exercise for health and well being. trying to burn a lot of calories through exercise can actually be counterproductive. Weight loss is 90% about diet. HRM calorie counts aren’t even all that accurate. Bottom line, the amount of calories burned is not a good measure of a workout’s effectiveness and exercise should not be used as the main wayof creating a calorie deficit for weight loss.

  13. Hey Lara and welcome back. I was just using the cal burn as a comparison for my traditional workouts. So many people have commented about this and I guess I didn’t make it clear enough; I do realize weight loss is more about diet than exercise, but I tend to still eat at my RMR and cut calories through exercise, something I need to work on.

  14. I was trying to figure out how many calories are burned during her workouts too, and I stumbled upon this blog. πŸ™‚

    I started at Level 2, because that’s what my friend introduced me to. I’ve never tried Level 1, and I dare not go to Level 3 yet! I definitely sweat like crazy at Level 2–more than when I go for a 3 mile run (at ~8:30/mile)!

    In regards to calories, I’m bummed to hear that we burn so few calories during that workout, and I’m sure the number is higher at Level 2 or 3. But I’m also keeping in mind that having more muscle means 1) I’ll have a higher metabolism and 2) I’ll burn more calories when I’m simply at rest. Kinda like free calories burned–yay for muscle!

    So, while the workout itself may not burn that many calories, the strengthening effects of it make my heart and my body feel good, but it also helps in the overall picture of weight management because of the muscle it produces.

  15. Hi Audrey, calorie burn is specific to each person; I wear a HRM and don’t really sweat a ton during this workout, though I feel like I am working hard. I have noticed positive changes in my body and consider that a victory — it was hard to not think of it in terms of calories burned, but it’s a great strength workout for sure, with bursts of cardio and abs. I like Level 3- I didn’t at first, but I’ve surprised myself with my ability to do push-ups now!! Not ALL of them, but a lot of them not on my knees!

  16. I got this video in September 2008 and have been doing it since. I try to do it every day (or at least every other day) but have had a few slip up months where I just wasnt doing it much at all. With that being said, I have stayed on level 1 for the most part (venturing off onto level 2 here and there) and have switched to only eating whole grains, limiting sugar intake, and counting calories and have lost 40 pounds! I have went from a size 16 to a 12 and keeping it up! The biggest thing about this video that I noticed is that it truly TRANSFORMS the shape of your body. My body shape has changed so much!! I love this video and am looking forward to getting more of her DVDs. Jillian Michaels kicks my ass!!

  17. Hi Casey, congrats on your losses so far!!! That’s awesome! I have modified some moves to make them harder in the lower levels (1 &2) but Level 3 is pretty kick-ass on its own for sure πŸ™‚

    I love Jillian, too, and I never even watch the BL!

    1. I was searching for calories burned doing the workout too when I found this blog πŸ™‚

      I just wanted to add that I loved Jillian before I started watching the BL and I love her even more after I began watching it which was this season, 2010!

      I also wanted to add that my body has definitely started changing since starting the shred just about a month ago now. I started on level one, and just recently moved to level 2. I still can’t do regular pushups, but I like the “sweat” I get from level 2.

  18. So I just had a baby in June of this year and was at my heaviest weighing 238 lbs. By the time I started using the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred video I was at 215. I started using the video in September and I am extremely happy with the starting results. I am currently 196 lbs and am on week 4 of using the video as of today. I also use the website that she has to add on the fitness plans that she has and I jump rope about 4 times a week for 20 minutes. Along with the weight loss I have also seen the change in my body shape. I am proud to say that I am around 200 lbs with no love handles and I have lost 2 pants sizes going from 19 to 17. It is indeed a start and I am truly happy with the results and will continue to use her DVD. I am planning on purchasing an elliptical since I can’t go to a gym just yet since my daughter is still so young. I know that will make a big change in the weight loss when I do get it but in the end the website along with the DVD are very helpful and are very beneficial to conditioning the body.

  19. I did the shred for a while and was seeing awesome results and then my knees started to really bother me. i might go back to it tomorrow morning and just try to modify the lunge moves, especially in level 2, but be careful of your knees- eek!

  20. If you check out the 30 day shred plan on it will show you the actual plan which includes not just the 30 day shred dvd but, no more troble zones ,boost your matabolism, quick trouble zones and also 30 day shred L2. Also she has you working 6 days a week not 3. And the intense 30 shred level 1 is the easiest of them all btw. They are all available on exercise tv (on demand) hope this helps! here is the website…

  21. Hi! i really like Jillian Michael’s workout. Im a doctor, and i agree that cardio and strength exercises are best combined. Actually, before i do the jillian michaels video, i use the cardio party zumba video, then jillian michaels, then either yoga or something else. Combining these with diet, i already lost 1 kg in 5 days. πŸ™‚ isnt that nice?

  22. Hi. I’d really like to ask anyone who tried Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and didn’t think it was tough enough (because they didn’t sweat, or didn’t hurt enough) to try it again. And this time, really try it! I thought the same thing at first and then I realized, I was doing the modified push ups. I was not squatting deep enough. I wasn’t able to lunge far enough or as deep as Natalie. I tried it again and this time really tried to put my all into every move with no breaks as she says- really following along with her- and I was sweating, my muscles were shaking and aching. I was getting a workout. And I even felt that euphoric aerobic high and this is on Level 1!! So give it another shot guys. Because if it’s tough just to do military push ups in her video,she’s already doing something right!

    1. Hey again, Just to re-cap for those skeptics, I posted on April 27 and completed the 30 day shred in 45 days (my schedule interrupted consecutive workouts) and I lost 10 full pounds. I am already an active person and I follow a very healthy, heavy produce and lean protein diet. I already walk 7 miles a day and practice bikram yoga 4-5 times a week but the new tone and shape I see in my body is definitely from Jillian. So keep it up everyone and like I said in April, if you don’t feel the burn from this dvd, work HARDER!!! That’s the only way to see results. GOOD LUCK.

  23. some of you guys need to do some more research before you set into these things. firstly there was a comment somewhere in here that said youd need to starve yourself with this work out to loose any weight. when you starve yourself your body goes into survival mode and stores fat, you need to eat continuously throughout the day, you need to eat SLOWLY so you feel when your full, so you take a mouthful, put your forks etc down, chew and then take another bite, chewing each bite about 20 times, and as soon as you feel yourself getting full, STOP it doesnt matter what you think your wasting, you stop! you can loose weight just by eating like this, you metabolism goes into super drive. back to jillian, the work out works multiple muscles, it isnt about heart rate with this work out, using multiple muscles simultaniously burns more fat, this exercise is twice as effective as a 20 minute run. if you eat like the technique above, do the work out and eat healthly you will drop the weight. but its not a quick fix, it is a life style. if yor not sweating at level one, more to level two, but make sure your doing the exercises correctly. iv moved up 2 weight classes in 2 weeks at the gym, i can run longer and iv dropped a stone. even her trainers in the video sweat in this workout, so if your not theres something your not doing. this woman is a renowned trainer with a huge reputation, she would not put her name or herself on a product that couldnt deliver, this is her livelyhood, she is a fitness instructor not a fad celebrity telling you to feel the burn for some extra cash. congrats to everyone whos doing well with the shred, stick with it, it works and youl start to notice big changes within the first week if your really dedicated to it.

  24. No, I believe if you starve yourself you will lose weight even if your body goes into survival mode because you are not consuming anything for your body to store. Now, the minute you crash from the awful “diet” that is when you can quickly gain the weight back.

    As for the 20 pounds in 30 days that depends on how big you are in the beginning. Someone overweight person living a sedentary life could feasibly lose that much weight because about half will be water weight and that will be gone within a week (assuming you eat a proper and low sodium diet). Then, introduce full body workouts meant to tone and build some muscle. The body will be burning more calories to keep up with the increased muscle.

  25. Hi Lissa,
    I have Jillian’s 30 Day Shred too, and as a weight-training junkie I think it’s an amazing work out for what it’s worth. In regards to the calories burned, keep in mind that you not only burn calories during your session; based on the type of exercise (weight training, cardio or both) we continue to burn even more calories throughout the day as our muscles and metabolism change.


  26. i just recently had a baby. and am trying to lose the 25 pounds i gained. i am using the jm 30 shred. i started on monday. wasnt real strict with my diet. by wed morning i had gained 4 pounds. after seeing i gained 4 pounds in 2 days i decided to change my diet. im only eating 20 carbs aday and 1200 calories. most of the time im noticing that im actually only taking in 800 calories. i woke up this morning and i had lost 3 pounds. nothing noticable other then on the scale. i will keep up with jm. as i have a friend that does the dvd as well and has lost 36 inches. i have use my elliptical but right now i only do 15 minutes.

    1. I know i’m replying really late to this post and you’ll probably never eat it – but your calorie intake is way too low and actually counterproductive to your weight loss and your health. Check out websites like Girls Gone Strong for more info. 1200 is too low – 800 is way too low. Up your calories, up your weight training. Good luck!

  27. I think the thing to keep in mind is that the workouts are 20 minutes so it makes it easy to get a full body workout in a short amount of time on top of your activities. I am a runner, vegetarian and several years ago lost over 100 pounds and have kept it off. I was not sedentary and in good shape and have to say 30 day Shred really changed my body. The calorie burn of course does not compare to 10 mile runs but for a 20 minute workout it definitely packs a punch.

  28. For the more advanced folks- do two levels back to back. I didn’t think doing just one level was enough- so I do two levels back to back or do one level in the am and another level in the pm. I have noticed small changes and I eat every clean. I think my endurance is better and I can do a regular push up now with no problem. I DO think she needs to add more toning for the rear in these videos- same thing with triceps.. I def think if u are doing two levels back to back you are getting a great 50 min workout- with about 500 calories burned.. Just a though

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