I don’t think there is a middle ground when it comes to Jillian Michaels. Either you love her or you hate her.
Perhaps “hate” is too strong of a word. Strongly dislike, maybe? I admit I used to be in the dislike camp. My only exposure to her was the character that The Biggest Loser had made her out to be. Then I tried her exercise videos and listened to her podcast. In her own element I found a different side of her. I came to enjoy her uncomplicated workouts and identified with her personal story and fitness philosophy.
Her workouts have become my go-to DVDs when I’d rather work out at home than in the gym. Her catalog is huge and, perhaps, a bit overwhelming. If you would like to work out with television’s toughest trainer, but aren’t sure where to start, here are my five favorite Jillian Michaels workouts:
Banish Fat Boost Metabolism: This was my first Jillian DVD. To this day I still enjoy Banish Fat Boost Metabolism because of its simplicity and scalability. It’s great cardio with no equipment is needed and you can do as much or as little as desired. Beginners please don’t try to do the whole thing. Start with one or two circuits and gradually work your way up to doing all seven. Get it here.
Yoga Meltdown: I love taking yoga moves and adding strength elements for my own clients. Jillian does the same thing here. This is a great no impact workout that increases heart rate, improves flexibility and develops strength. This one is great choice for beginners or someone who wants a less intense workout for an active recovery day. Get it here.
Kickbox Fast Fix: I used to share space with a martial arts studio and I miss having a bag at the gym to punch and kick. This workout is the next best thing. With three separate workouts (Upper, Lower and Abs) you can get in a quick 20 minute high intensity burst or do all three for a sweat drenching power hour. Want to make it even harder? Try 3 lbs. dumbbells for punching exercises. Get it here.
Hard Body: In her signature style, the Hard Body DVD is high intensity strength and cardio in one package. The DVD has two workouts but both are extremely challenging. Level One is modifiable but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone brand new to fitness. Level Two is definitely for the more advanced exerciser. How advanced? Three words: one-armed mountain climber. Get it here.
6 Week Six-Pack: Abs are made in the kitchen but this workout will give you a stronger core and burn calories with high intensity cardio intervals. It will also work your shoulders with many versions of planks. Get it here.
I also want to recommend Jillian Michaels’ book, Slim for Life. It has a lot of great common sense advice you can apply at your own pace. It’s not a diet, but more of a self paced checklist for healthy lifestyle changes. Combined with a couple of the above workouts, you’ll have a solid fitness plan from one of the best known trainers in the country.
Are you Jillian fan? Which workouts would go in your top five?
Top photo by Anton Oparin / Shutterstock.com
March 27th, 2014