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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kick-Abs Workout

Do you watch "The Biggest Loser"? Personally, I couldn't stomach more than 2 minutes of this show. But there is no denying its popularity and Jillian Michaels, the female trainer on the show, has become a big celeb.

The New Year has me craving change and, along with carrots, I find myself completely sick of Pilates. Unfortunately, I have to keep up my core training to rehab my pelvis/hamstring injury, and I am finally starting to feel some improvement (I can actually sit at my desk or in the car for more than 10 minutes without pain!). Starting next week, I will be teaching a core/Pilates class at a Goodlife club for a few months on Thursdays so I will be forced to keep my training up once a week. But for other days of the week I simply can't handle any of my Pilates DVDs, I am totally bored of all of them. In December I must have rented a dozen Pilates DVDs from our library to see if I could find any worth buying but none were: they were either too easy or too similar to what I already have. So I decided to branch out from traditional Pilates to more modern core training. I ordered 3 new DVDs from Amazon.ca: Jillian Michaels 6 Week Six-Pack, Xtreme Abs with Jackie Warner, and Balanceball Core Cross Train with Tanja Djelevic.

I tried out the Jillian Michaels workout this week and all I can say is: Holy @#$%! This is quite the workout!

I was feeling this workout immediately after I finished it and I don't remember the last time that's happened. It is divided into 2-35 minute segments, Levels 1 and 2. I did both. Although she bills Level 1 as being the "beginner" level, this is NOT for beginners. I don't think this DVD is suitable for previously sedentary, inexperienced exercisers.

Unlike most DVDs that claim to be "fat burning", this one is legit. Michaels incorporates intervals of very high intensity exercises, like burpees and the mountain climber, which get your heart rate up and are extremely challenging. I was sweating like crazy after just the first 20 minutes (which was a bit annoying as I hadn't planned on taking a second shower). But it was also a lot of fun.

She recommends using a 3-8 lb weight for the workout, although this is optional. I used a 5 lb weight and that was more than enough. Somehow while previewing the DVD on my computer, I cracked it badly (like WTF?). So it will now only play on my computer, and not on either of our DVD players. Fortunately, you don't need a huge amount of space, so I was able to do the whole workout in our bedroom with the DVD on my computer.

My exercise of the week is one of my favorites from the workout. Holding weight over your head (or simply clasping your hands together if you don't have a weight), start with your feet shoulder distance apart. Squat to the left, bending the left knee and bend your torso, bringing your left elbow as low as you can to the left side (aiming to eventually touch the left elbow to your left knee). Repeat to the right side. Try to work up to 15 reps on each side. This is a great exercise that targets your oblique muscles.

If you want a great physical challenge that is effective and fun, I highly recommend this DVD. Here is a link to video excerps: