Oct 1, 2013

Making the Cut: Ripped in 30

Well, as promised I went back to working out, and for the last four weeks I have been doing Jillian
Michaels's Ripped in 30. This was definitely different than anything I had done before because instead of a couple weeks (2 or 3 depending on how many levels the workout has) per level, it was one week per level meaning it was a four week workout. I'm sure some people have done longer than one week per workout and if I were to do it again maybe I would too. But since I'm not a rule-breaker I decided to do one week per level. And let me tell you that was not easy.

Usually you use the first couple of days to really learn the workout and then by the second (or third week depending), you can really push to the advanced version of the exercises. But with this workout you didn't have time to take that time to get there. You had to push from the beginning. And for someone who hasn't exercised in two months, let me just say ouch! Mega ouch!

The way this workout is designed is just like 30 Day Shred and for those who don't know, it is set up in the 3-2-1 system. 3 minutes of strength, followed by 2 minutes of cardio, then 1 minute of abs. Each level also has three circuits of that 3-2-1, making the entire workout about 30 minutes including warm up and cool down.

Since I can't think of any better way of going through this here is how I felt each week/level that I did during the month of September. Get ready for some exciting reading ahead....

Level One/Week One
I was definitely surprised to find myself able to do more than I thought I could do throughout my first couple days of this workout. However, I paid for it later in soreness. My entire body was sore. Never before had my calves hurt as much as it did during this workout. I hope all that fast feet (tiny hops back and forth like what football players do) pays off giving me some awesome calves because they were definitely hurting. I was pretty much sore until the fourth day when only my quads were still crazy sore. I could push myself a little harder because I could at least move a little easier. However, I felt like I wasn't moving as fast because the beginning of September wasn't the coolest, even with the air on and at 6:30 in the morning, so I was sweating up a storm and getting almost overheated to the point of having to slow my pace.

It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be going back. I was definitely sweating. I was definitely sore. I was definitely fighting to get through, and even had to take an occasional five second break. But I surprised myself. The first week always seems the worst since that's when you're most out of shape, and it is often the hardest to keep going that first week. But the way I looked at it, it was never going to get any better. I felt better when I was exercising. I liked myself a little better. I slept better. I felt better. So going back was the only option and it wasn't going to get any better (as far as hurting) unless I either kept going or stopped. And since stopping wasn't an option, I had to keep going. Keep pushing. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

Level Two/Week Two
This level completely and totally kicked my butt. Maybe the problem was that I breezed through level one easier than I expected so I thought I would do the same with this one and when that wasn't the case, I struggled. And I probably much struggled through all the exercises of level two in the beginning. I grew frustrated and a little dishearten during this level because I struggled so much. All the motivation I had during the first week was gone quickly during this week. I wanted to quit, and I seriously considered it. Horrible I know. But I kept pushing. I pushed through that voice in my head that told me to give up. I pushed through the desire halfway through the workout. I pushed through the desire to go eat something really bad because Jillian (or the one in my head that is actually does care if I do my workout every day and eat healthy) would hate it.

The hardest part of this level was all the exercises in plank. First I discovered - after talking to Rob - that I wasn't doing it quite right and my shoulders were hurting, not my abs. But I had another problem that couldn't be fixed by a simple position adjustment - my wrist was killing me. I don't know if the wrist pain goes back to my tennis days or if it is a more recent development, but I was having trouble holding myself in plank for any amount of time. But by the third day I found my wrist wrap and found that it helped to make things a little easier (Rob and I decided they were both hurting because my left - which is where the wrap ended up - was struggling to hold my weight so I was putting more weight on my right which was causing that to hurt). The exercises really didn't get easier but I was able to keep up better.

2 minutes of cardio in plank is a killer. It's exhausting and there is nothing easy about it. This entire workout was a butt kicker. I was sweating and struggling the entire time. But I guess that's the point of working out, to push yourself because that's how you get better, that's how you see change.

Level Three/Week Three
Believe it or not, I actually liked this level better than the last one. But maybe that's just because I didn't have all the planks from last week. However, this one had a lot of jumping which was definitely hard on the knee. I guess I just can't win. But that's part of working out. Your body gets a beating while working out. All you can do is the best you can. I do as much as I can. I know my own limits.

I didn't feel the best this week so it was a bit harder this week. But I kept up the best I could throughout the workout. I didn't stop. I did it all five days. I struggled with my aches this week too, along with my knees. The third circuit was an absolute killer on the triceps. I could barely get through it without taking breaks.

When I first watched (I always watch the workout before I actually do it so I know the flow of it at least a little bit) this level, I thought it didn't look too bad. It started with a bear crawl up and back then a duck walk, and initially looking at it I doubted that it could be that bad then I did it and realized how hard it really was. Don't believe me? Then I dare you to try yourself now. Even though I liked this level so much more than level two (seems weird to me too), this level is no joke. I was sweating and on the verge of swearing a couple of times my thighs were hurting so bad. At this point I had no idea what to expect of level four - this was the first time JM had ever done a level four - eek!

Level Four/Week Four
Can I just say that I struggled with even balancing during the warm up of this exercise?! I enjoyed the strength exercises during this workout because they weren't just about arms and legs. Abs were also involved, which changed it up a bit. However, the cardio was horrible. Again lots of knee pain, so there was at least one day when I had to march in place during some cardio instead of doing scissor hops because I just didn't think my knees could handle the pain.

I actually liked the ab exercises this level. I was able to do more and push a little harder than I was able to do during the other ab exercises. It didn't mean that it wasn't hard because it definitely was.

I was definitely sweating throughout this entire workout. I just kept trying to drink water throughout to keep hydrated. Honestly, I'm not sure if I really pushed myself hard enough during this level or the last one. I didn't really feel sore after this and the last levels. During this level, my arms were really feeling the pain but the rest of me was not as bad. Looking back I wished I had pushed a little harder, got deeper in my squats, and just tried harder. So I guess I'm a little disappointed about how I did this during this level (and even the last one a bit) because I'm not sure I really gave it my all.


I made it through four weeks of this workout and for that I am proud of myself. But I wish I had given more. I wish I had pushed harder. Because despite doing four weeks of this workout, I have not seen the improvement I would have liked. In fact, I didn't really see any improvement at all. I have my theories on why that is that I won't go into now. But I do question how much of it was because I just didn't push myself as hard as I could have. I didn't hate this workout as a whole, so I definitely plan on returning to this workout at some point, hoping to give more. JM came out in true JM style and found a way to bring the pain. It was nice to have a different level for each week, it helps with boredom at least. Okay, so now on to the next one. Wish me luck.

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