Its about that time! The final recap for Jillian Michaels Body Revolution. If you have been following me since November, you know that I committed to this new program for about two months. (Here are my Weekly Recaps: W1, W2, W3, W4, W5, W6). The entire program is supposed to be 90 days but, as I mentioned earlier, I had a Groupon to a local gym that expired on 12/31 so I needed to cut short the Body Revolution Plan a bit. Not to worry though! The structure of the plan provides to two workouts and one cardio a week to be repeated 3x for a total of 2 weeks. You then move on to the next set of workout DVDs. So for instance, Workouts 1 and 2 and Cardio 1 should carry you through Weeks 1 and 2. Since I had to shorten things a bit I only repeated the DVDs 1x, meaning that I spent one week on each set of workouts DVDs instead of two! Actually, depending upon your goals, this may work better for you! Anyways, without further adieu, here’s my final recap:
Jillian designed this program for all levels so even beginners can ease into the workouts, build strength and endurance and then progress on to more challenging workouts. If you follow the program as prescribed, you will perform the workouts in three phases.
Phase 1 consists of Workouts 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Cardio 1. Your schedule (as I described above) is Week 1- Workout 1, Workout 2, Cardio 1, Workout 1, Workout 2, Cardio 1. You then repeat this schedule for Week 2. In Weeks 3 and 4, you replace Workouts 1 and 2 with Workouts 3 and 4 but stick with Cardio 1 on your cardio day. This is your beginner phase. The workouts are easier and Jillian is looking for you to build up strength and endurance during this phase before kicking your butt in the following phases.
Phase 2 consists of Workouts 5, 6, 7, and 8 and Cardio 2. For weeks 5-8 the schedule is the same as described in Phase 1, Workout 5, Workout 6, Cardio 2 four times in the first two weeks of this phase, then move on to Workouts 7 and 8 for the remaining two weeks. This is your intermediate stage. The workouts get progressively more difficult even between workouts 5 and 6 and 7 and 8. You’ve got a good base going, now Jillian is looking for you to kick it up a notch!
Phase 3 consists of Workouts 9, 10, 11, and 12 and Cardio 3. Again, the schedule is the same as above. This is the most advanced stage. This is when the Jillian from The Biggest Loser comes out. No holds bar. Tough, tough, tough. She busts you through plateaus here.
This program does use equipment! The good news is, you get a complimentary resistance band when you purchase the program. Jillian uses this band throughout the workouts so its a must! But in addition to the band, you will also need weights and a mat (mat is probably optional but you will probably be more comfortable with it!). As far as the weights go, Jillian recommends and I used 3lbs, 5 lbs and 8 lbs. One weight is not going to cut it for these workouts. Some exercises require light weights while others work better with a heavier weight. If you are really strapped for cash though I recommend just getting a pair of fives. You can lose the 5 lbs when Jill uses her 3s or double up when she goes up to 8s. However, if you plan to stick with this long-term, get at least 3 weight options.
So you may be wondering what’s the deal with all the different workout DVDs? Well, first of all each DVD is one 30 minute workout (honestly they range from 25-35). The first workout of your week (i.e. Workout 1, Workout 3, Workout 5, etc), focuses on chest, shoulders, triceps, quads and abs. This is your front of body day. While the second workout of your week (i.e. Workouts 2, 4, 6, etc) is your back of body focusing on back, hamstrings, booty, and triceps and biceps. Your third workout of the week is cardio although don’t let this fool you. There are one minute cardio intervals in EVERY strength DVD. This is important because it ups your heart rate and your calorie burn and helps you burn off more fat than just lifting and just doing cardio.
Each DVD is comprised of circuits. Cardio has 3 circuits and workouts have 4 circuits. You do each move twice in the circuit so you get used to performing the moves. This is great for variety and also good for burning out those muscles you are working! Some of the moves you may recognize from other Jillian DVDs but a lot are brand new to this program. A few signature moves will reappear several times throughout the program, usually with modifications to advance them.
Speaking of advancing, you can expect each workout DVD to get progressively more difficult. For example, Jillian starts off focusing on one muscle group at a time (e.g., bicep curl). She then moves onto two muscle groups at a time (e.g., bicep curl with a squat). Then to super-sets (e.g., bicep curl with squat followed by hammer curl with a plie squat). Then to plyometric training (e.g., bicep curl, squat jump). Sounds scary but really, as you complete each workout you are ready for the next challenge!
Jillian provides you with a detailed menu to accompany this program. We’ve all heard the maxim that flat abs are 30% gym and 70% diet. While you may agree or disagree with this (and I haven’t seen statistical evidence that supports those exact numbers . . .) but the truth is, you aren’t going to get far with the DVDs alone if you don’t change your diet. If you are truly committed to losing weight, the diet is a must.
Jillian gives you a recipe book that has everything in it-breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. There are no excuses! The recipes are taken directly from her cookbook and they actually taste great!
Review & Results
So what were my results after spending two months in Jillian land? Well, if you’ve been tracking my progress you know that I chose sort of a bad time but also the perfect time to do this (over the holidays). It was a great time to do it because the workouts were short, much shorter than my normal routines, and were so easy to commit to. Just 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Also, the DVDs were extremely portable so I never missed a beat even when I traveled over Thanksgiving and Xmas. Also, having a clear schedule drawn out for me took all the guesswork out of my workouts. I never woke up in the a.m. thinking, what should I do today?
But, it was also the worst time to commit to this workout because the holidays meant that sticking with the diet was really tough for me! As you know, I’m all about balance here and I don’t believe in depriving yourself from great moments like turkey and stuffing at Thanksgiving and Mimosas on Xmas. So, clearly I did not follow her plan to a T. Nevertheless, when I was following the plan strictly, I noticed my abs were flatter and my arms were more toned. I had a lot more energy and I felt great! But a problem with this workout is that the meals are somewhat impractical. If you have a job and aren’t around a stove during the day, its going to be really hard to grill up some fish for lunch, as recommended by the program. Almost every meal requires a lot of prep work and unless you have plenty of time to prepare, including cooking your lunch fish the night before or morning of, your not going to be able to stick with the diet. So you may want to consider talking to a registered dietitian to get a plan that will help you lose weight or do some additional research on acceptable replacements.
I should say that I don’t really need to lose weight, so that was not my goal here. But, if you are looking to lose weight, this program will work- guaranteed, provided you stick with it. In fact, if you are looking for a way to Jumpstart your January, give Jillian’s Body Revolution a try. If you are looking to lose weight, you will and if you are just looking to tone up like me, it will work!
One of the best parts of this program is that its totally customizable! Its like having your own personal trainer. Here are a couple of my suggestions for customizing this program. Hopefully you can find one that works for you!*
I’m New to Exercise
So you’re a newbie and your a little nervous about the whole bootcamp, Jillian in your face thing. First of all, its not like that so relax. Yeah she’s a tough trainer but she’s not going to jump through the TV and bite you. She is there to motivate you and push you but you should never work to a level where you will hurt yourself (discomfort is fine but real pain is not o.k.).Now that you are over the mental hurdle, the next step is the physical one. Here’s the deal. Weeks 1 and 2 AREN’T THAT BAD! You can do them. You really can. Even if you have sat on the couch everyday for the past 12 months, even if you’ve never worked out before, even if 3 lbs is your heavy weight. Its o.k. and you will get through them.
If you are new, its totally fine to stick with Workouts 1 and 2 for a whole month before moving on to 3 and 4. You can also intersperse some less intense cardio activity into these workouts like walking or light jogging if you plan on sticking with the workouts for an entire month.Also, if the workouts are seeming too intense, break them up into halves. Do the first two circuits of Workout 1 on Day 1 and then the remaining two circuits of Workout 1 on Day 2. Repeat with Workout 2. Do this until you can get through the entire workout in one sitting.
I’m an Old Pro
You think Phase 1 is too easy. So turn it up a notch! Start with Phase 2 and take EVERY option Jillian gives you. She provides plenty of options for upping the burn, use them. If she doesn’t give you an option here are a few ways that will make any exercise more difficult– add weight, add a plyometric jump, increase your range of motion, focus and visualize the muscles working concentrating on the movement.
If you are starting at Phase 2 and are still looking to do the full 90 days, not just 60, try repeating each workout sets 5x instead of just four (i.e., Workout 5, 6 and Cardio 2 are repeated 5x for two and half weeks instead of just two full weeks).
You can also make the workouts longer by adding in Phase 1 workouts to Phase 2. For example, on Workout 5 day, also do either Workout 3 or Cardio 1. Or pair Cardios 1 and 2 together.
I’ve Done the Whole Program, Now What?
It’s time to maintain. You don’t want to go back to your old habits and gain back any weight you’ve lost. One option is to repeat the program again from the beginning following the same structure as the first time. Or try cutting each workout down to one week, shortening the program but maintaining the benefits.
If you feel that you are now an old pro, check out my advanced suggestions here.
Use the workouts in combination with your other routines. For example, do the workouts 3x per week and also add in two days of running or cycling or yoga.
Try some of Jillian’s other DVDs. I’m a big fan of 6 Week 6 Pack and Shed and Shred. Mix and match the DVDs so you aren’t getting bored.
I Need a Quick Fix, 90 Days is Way too Long
Not to worry, you don’t need 90 days. You can do this in less time if you commit yourself. First of all, Jillian offers a great 7 day kickstart meal plan that you can follow. Additionally, because the workouts are short, you can easily add them together to get more done in less time overall.
If you have a couple of weeks, try adding Workout 1 and 2 together and doing Cardio 1 on the second day instead of the third. Repeat this four times and then move onto Workouts 3 and 4, also combining them. You’ll finish the program in 8 weeks instead of 12.
Or, if you are like me and have about half the time (6 weeks versus 12), do each workout twice or for one week instead of four times/two weeks. You’ll finish the entire program in less time. Your results may not be as great but you’ll still see them!
* This customization is a suggestion and should in no way be construed as professional advice. Seek the consultation of a doctor or fitness professional if you have questions.