This week, I've been working out with Jillian Michaels' (of Biggest Loser fame) DVD "Shred It With Weights" and I want to give you some feedback about things that jump out at me about the purchase.
I'd like to tell you there was a grand plan in why I am starting with this DVD review first, but really it was just at the top of my pile of DVDs I bought at Walmart last week as part of my Allie to Rocky transformation. I haven't really purchased a lot of fitness DVDs in the past and I don't know who's-who in the video workout world. But I knew Jillian's name and the DVD was on sale for $7, so, boom, let's go.
(Full review after the jump)
My level of fitness: Beginner/Intermediate (I work at a desk job, have previously done weight training with light free-weights but have not worked out steadily in a few months (or maybe more, shh, don't judge me))
What's on the DVD: Kettlebell Instructional Guide, Level 1 Workout (approx 30 mins), Level 2 Workout (approx 30 mins).
If you've never used kettlebells, let me tell you, you're in for a treat. They are lots of fun and use your entire body. That makes it easier to do the move while you're doing it, but trust me, you will still get a great workout and really feel it the next day in a way that will surprise you.
The KEY to kettlebells is proper form. Watch the instructional first before you do anything. Even if you have used them before, make sure you watch to hear what Jillian calls some of the moves because some of the names she comes up with are NOTHING like what traditional k-bellers use. But, odd names aside, her form is excellent and it's a great way to learn the basics. You might want to YouTube a few kettlebell videos as well, just to see more people's forms. I did this because when I was first starting out with them, it took me a few tries to get it right.
The basic structure for both workouts is a warm up, three circuits, a cool down and stretch. Both are 30-min workouts.
Level 1 is a great workout for beginners because there is an option to do the moves without a bell and with a light free-weight. If you're just starting, that's important. The workout is challenging, but not impossible, even for a beginner. For those of you looking for a little more intense of a workout, don't think that just because it's level one that it's easy. There are definitely some moves to get your heart rate up, especially towards the end (that Turkish get-up move is NO JOKE).
If you're looking for a really challenging workout and feel that Level 1 is too easy, then Level 2 should definitely satisfy your needs. I'm still working through Level 1, so it's going to take me some time to work up to that level. Bc that thing looks intense. When I get there, I'll let you know.
What you'll need: A kettlebell is recommended but not necessary. There is room for substitution with a 3-8lb free-weight. Jillian is using her own kettlebell in the DVD, but folks, that thing is $$$$. Like more than $100 expensive. Now, ALL kettlebells are a bit pricey, but if you're just starting out, you can buy a 10 or 15lb one for around $15-$30, depending on the brand you choose. I purchased a Danskin 10lb ball from Walmart for around $20. I have also seen them at Target. You'll want to buy a standard size bell, not the tiny ones, as you need to be able to maneuver it with both of your hands.
The pros about buying Jillian's kettlebell is that it is adjustable. You can click the different plates into place to increase/decrease your weight, so as you get stronger, it's beneficial. But honestly, the clinking sound it makes (which you even hear in the video) is really annoying. And the major con is that even with the sale price, you're still looking at paying at least $60 for hers. But to each his own.
How much space you'll need: I live in an apartment building and I pushed my coffee table and chair aside in my living room to give myself a space of around 5'X8''. You can work with less, but there is a lot of swinging involved, some jumping (but not enough to piss off my downstairs neighbors - at least I don't think) and one move where you are lying down fully with your arms extended. So you'll want some space. Also, don't use kettlebells near anything that can break. You don't wanna drop this thing on your glassware. No bueno.
Other Important Things to Note: If you have a bad back, you should probably work your way into this video slowly. Most of the strength you're using in kettlebells comes from hip thrusts and your core, so you want to MAKE SURE you are keeping proper form. Kettlebell workouts are explosive moves, with a lot of locking of the knees and elbows, which is important to do to avoid injury. It is performed differently than it appears to be, so listen to what she says in terms of the form. The locking is something to be aware of if you have joint issues. It's not impossible to do, but you should always consult your doc (as if you didn't know that) and ease yourself into it if you're concerned.
At my current size, I tend to have light knee problems, meaning I get some soreness and pain with some squat moves, but I am able to get through the moves without problems. There is a jump squat move, but it's brief and, while hard, didn't give me knee issues afterward.
Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with this DVD. It's too early to tell about results, but I will keep you updated, as I plan to do it a few times a week for the next few weeks as my main source of strength training. It's a challenging workout that I think will appeal to many different fitness and age levels. Plus doing it at home means I can work out in a sports bra and leggings like Jillian and no one has to judge my jiggle. #Winning.