For a long time, my friend Jessica and I would go walking about three times a week to get our fitness (and chit-chat) on. But before too long, it started to get really hot outside and we decided to move our fitness activity indoors. We began doing this workout called "Fluidity" that is actually quite hysterical. It involves a bar and creepy, sheer tights (optional).
We still do this workout on occassion as it's really great for building leg strength. Let's not discuss how I snapped Jessica's resistance band in half during the arm portion of the workout earlier this week, though. Yeesh.
Fluidity is a good strength workout, but it's not cardio. One day last August, I was helping my sister-in-law move into her new home when I came across a Jillian Michaels DVD I had never seen before, called "Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism." Now, I'm not fond of the connotation the word "banish" lends with regard to fat, but I'm all for boosting metabolism. So I asked to borrow this DVD and got to work a few days later.
Let me tell you, this is a HARD workout. I have done CardioX (P90X's cardio workout) before and I think this Jillian workout was just as difficult. It's 45 minutes long and includes a warm-up, seven circuits (two kickboxing, two plyometrics, two calisthenics and one core) and a cool-down. Each circuit is repeated before you move onto the next. She offers some modifications for really difficult moves, but for the most part, it's straightforward.
You start the warm-up and you think, "Oh, this will be fun!" and then you finish the first circuit and your mind immediately shifts to, "What the heck did I get myself into?" The first time I ever tried it, I only got through the second circuit before I had to quit. I was dripping in sweat and my legs were shaking so hard I could barely stand. I couldn't fathom how anyone could do the whole thing all the way through when I had to "phone it in" not even a third of the way in.
But I kept at it. After about two weeks, I could get through four circuits. I was still nearly dead at the end, but I was improving and getting stronger each time. For one thing, I could finally do more than one burpee! I also noticed that my posture improved and most importantly, my pain was all but gone.
I have been doing this workout a couple of times a week since August (had to take a few breaks during periods of illness) and I still can only get through five circuits. But I'm OK with that because I'm satisfied with how I feel at this point. I will say that during my breaks, my pain came back full-force and I didn't feel as good as I had before. That's pretty telling.
The video has its flaws -- Jillian sometimes talks about how a certain move will improve the appearance of a particular body part ("It gets rid of those saddlebags that none of us chicks love") but for the most part, she talks about gaining strength and feeling alive. That, for me, is the whole point of exercise. Not to look a certain way, but to feel better. Jillian is also known for being quite harsh, but I feel like she's not nearly as mean in this video as she is on The Biggest Loser.
Now, why am I writing this post? Well, lucky for you, this entire workout is on the BeFit YouTube channel (BeFit is part of Lionsgate, the company that produces Jillian's workout). So you can do it any time! Check it out.