So as it was my birthday at the beginning of the week, I thought I’d reward myself with a fresh start to the year with a return to Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred challenge. I think it’s fair to say like many of us, I want to lose a bit of “holiday weight” but have now found another motivational reason to keep at it on a more permanent basis.
Last year, my fiance’s birthday present to me was a brand spanking new pair of replacement trainers from Sport Direct, which is great because I got to pick a decent pair in the sales! But by April, I was struck down with a dreaded lower back sports injury which is still sort of here today. This meant easing off the running and mostly focusing on lighter stuff like yoga here and there and walking while I went to Physio sessions and was prodded with acupuncture needles and suction cups, which by the way is a bit of a shock when you leave with alien-like giant love bites. Yet, nothing seemed to be working, nor the specific exercises I’d been given which weren’t intense enough for me, but after getting a copy of Robin McKenzie’s Treat Your Own Back I figured that if I didn’t use my back muscles, I’d lose them. Scary and the only person who could help was me. My posture has never been great and really don’t want to be a hunchback in my old age, so I’ve been making a conscious effort to correct my seating position at my desk, driving, the way I sleep and pick things up. I’ve now got my standing position down to a T; butt clenched, knees locked, relaxed shoulders but not rounded. Try it, it really does work.
Exercises I Recommend:
- A great exercise video I also been doing which is a must to share as it’s so effective is Yoga with Adriene’s ‘Yoga for Back Pain‘. I love how gentle this sesh is and really helped me figure out which stretches gave more impact. Her hip openers have been exactly what I needed. She’s really informative and chilled that I’m always a little sad when the 30 minutes is up. I’ve been a bit wary of diving in to a full on running scene right now, so got in to this before Christmas which gave me encouragement to try something a bit more intense and turn to my 30 Day Shred DVD once more.
- After a few 30 minutes of this high intensity interval training (a real tongue twister), I had a huge back revelation which told me that I needed to work on my core strength. Jillian’s videos are great for this and I’m a real girl when it comes to a push up, yet within a week, my lower back/hip had significantly eased off which is another bonus to wanting to shed a few pounds. Even my physio noticed my movement was so much better and couldn’t really feel any muscle tension. So I’m sticking to it and going to share a few tips that help me with working out from home (see below).
- I’ve also been advised to spice up my routine, so will be revisiting Blogilates free YouTube videos very soon and have my eyes on her Best Stretches to Relieve Low Back Pain to add to the mix. Cassey Ho’s routines are brilliantly intense so don’t be fooled in to thinking these are for wimps. Your obliques will be aching for days and have been advised that pain doesn’t always mean it’s a bad thing. I’m no doctor or physician so please check with your doctor for advise and to understand you limits but in an ideal situation, always follow videos that are created by qualified teachers and in an ideal situation, you would have someone watch over you in case you’re doing things wrong. I prefer exercising at home because it’s quicker, requires no bag packing or driving to the gym; and of course, it’s far cheaper.Here’s a pic from July 2014 with my Before & After completing the 30 Day Shred:
Here’s Some Tips I’ve Learnt for a Good Work Out from Home
- Exercise in the morning if you can.
I usually find I’m easily manipulated in to exercising while I’m half asleep and goes so much quicker. It’s only a short time which I’d otherwise waste while trying to perk me up over a morning coffee or idly flick through facebook and instagram. And the great bonus is once it’s done and dusted, it sets me up for a more productive and positive day.
- Get Yourself a planner or use a diary
It’s a great motivator to tick off each day once you’ve completed it and see it through. 30 days is extremely manageable and less daunting and I got towards the finishing line, I started planning on what my next video was going to be.
- Use different weight dumbbells
When I bought the DVD, I made a mistake buying some of Amazon’s suggested dumbbells. I picked 0.5kg weights which are almost totally pointless. You may as well use a tin of beans they’re that light. But, if you pick heavier set to push your limit (I also have some 2.5kg), then the lighter ones have come in handy when you can’t keep up and need a bit of a break (I don’t think this is really phoning it in). And the more you repeat the videos, the more confident you’ll feel to introduce dumbbells upon your own accord.
- De-clutter a Space For Yourself and Prep Well
What I’ve found is I need to clear a spot just for me so nothing gets in my way and distracts me. You don’t need much more space than a yoga mat takes ups. Also, make sure you’re hair’s up and won’t fall out, don’t wear heavy clothes and wearing a good tight strap bra or sports bra; there is nothing worse than having to stop and start to get comfortable which costs you time and effects your determination.
- Keep Your Exercise Things Visible to You At All Times.
Seeing my trainers is a great reminder to get more use out of them and many times, when I’ve wanted to exercise on a whim and it’s taken me half an hour to find my worout stuff. There’s nothing more frustrating and off putting when you want to get it done and carry one with your day.
- Join a fitness Facebook Support Group for Motivation
One of my favourites has to be the 30 Day Shredders group. You can guarantee at least one out of 11,000 members is on the same day as you where you can check in with each other so say you’ve been a good girl and done your bit. Well, it gives me a bit of a bum kick to get it done and push each other. It’s a great group where like-minded people can motivate and share advice with each other and once you’ve finished the challenge, pick up ideas of what exercise video to do next. You will be able to find a group for most exercise plan you’re following.
- Do Whatever It Takes to Keep You Motivated.
Buy that quirky yoga top with a cheesy slogan if it helps. Buy a pretty new drinking bottle if it excites you. My favourite shop for stuff like this is Sports Direct because they always have a sale and it doesn’t break the bank. You have to be quick though while you’re adding stuff to your basket; quite often I’ve gone to the checkout and found someone else has beaten me to my size. Primark is also fantastic for cheap £5 yoga mats and hard floors and me just don’t go together. Sometimes I’ll also use a cushion or rolled up towel but it can be a bit faffy when you’re alternating reps.
- Log Your Progress
If you want to see results, take before and after pictures and write down your start and end weight and measurements. After completing it back in the summer of 2014, I lost a total of 9.25″ and could see some toning starting to take shape. I know how effective the programme is already so am only measuring the scales this time round, but you need to see the stats to see how it works for your. Well, let’s face it, it must be good if I’m doing it again as my first choice to exercise.
- Don’t Beat Yourself If You Skip a Day
As long as you’re making an effort in some way, you’re heading in the right direction. Things prop up from time to time like appointments, illnesses or you’re just not in the mood. I found the best thing to do is write it off and pick up where you left off tomorrow but don’t overexercise to make up for it. If you’ve not been well, then it’s best to wait until you fully recover re ready because a bad exercise can be off putting and can prevent you from picking up your trainers for good.
And of course, please let me know below your fitness recommendations and what you find motivates you best. I don’t ever want to stop but that’s always easier said than done.
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