Though I've never actually seen The Biggest Loser or completed a Jillian Michaels workout video (ie The 30 Day Shred everyone keeps talking about), I still managed to go ahead and pass judgement. Verdict: I don't like her.
But I'm a big girl and big girls can admit when they're wrong... sometimes. I may not like that Jillian endorses diet pills or that some of her super fake processed food recommendations make me cringe, but that doesn't really change the fact that she's a really damn good trainer. So with this review, I apologize to America's Toughest Trainer. I can only hope she won't make me do pushups with her on my back as punishment.
In this Last Chance Workout--designed to mimic the brutal final workouts contestants on the show endure before weigh ins--Jillian takes you through a 25-minute circuit workout alternating (and sometimes combining) cardio and strength intervals. I liked the main circuit workout, but the real fun came with the Upper Body Sculpt and Lower Body Tone 10-minute target workouts. My arms were screaming.
The DVD comes with a 6-week workout program that arranges the segments on alternating days so as to allow recovery time for different sets of muscles.
In short, it's a quick, effective and enjoyable workout that I will probably do again. Or a one-on-one session with Jillian would be cool too. Call me.
You need one set of light hand weights--probably anywhere from 5-15 pounds. I used one 8-lb medicine ball and made the necessary modifications.
I felt pretty used after this workout--especially the Upper Body Sculpt. Two words: Renegade Rows. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Jillian's method of circuit training kicks up the intensity of the workout by completing strength moves while recovering from cardio blasts so that you can do more in less time. Sure, you could get an effective workout wandering around the gym for 2 hours, but why not make it a really effective workout and do it in 25 minutes? Multitasking is your friend.
One cast member is designated to demonstrate beginner modifications for each move, so if you are just starting out or have kneed problems you'll want to keep an eye on her. Jillian does a thorough job of correcting otherwise unnoticeable problems in alignment on the cast members so that you are constantly reminded to pay attention to your own form.
OK, I admit it. I really like Jillian. She's quite sarcastic and, dare I say, bitchy at times, which sounds a little like someone I know. But if you stalk her Facebook and Twitter accounts (like I do), you know that she is really emotionally invested in the success of her trainees. So it sounds more like playful banter than anything else. And it keeps everyone motivated. I actually found myself grunting and making ridiculous faces to push myself through one more move because she was yelling (at me?) not to stop.
Standard workout video music. Sounds fine. Nothing to write home about.
This is the same set from the 30-Day Jump Start and is just a simple dark room with some Biggest Loser product placement in the back.
The video is 1:78:1 widescreen and looks fine.
The cover of this DVD claims that you can "Lose up to 30 pounds in 6 weeks!" Sorry kids, there is no chance. Unless you are severely overweight, it's not even safe for you to be dropping 5 pounds a week--you want to stay around 1-2 pounds a week for safe weight loss. Just don't get discouraged. It's a workout DVD not a miracle.
As I was doing this workout, I caught myself thinking, "OK, I think I'll do this again Monday... and then maybe Wednesday." There is no telling if I actually will, but that is at least a testament to its enjoyment and effectiveness factors since I wouldn't repeat a workout DVD I didn't enjoy and that didn't kick my butt in some way.
So give this one a try. I think most people will like it or, at the very least, will be able to pull a few favorite moves to incorporate into their own workouts. Again, Renegade Rows. Prepare yourselves.