I’m a former gym rat. I used to trek to the gym every day to run 4 miles and lift weights. Then my knees decided they didn’t like running every day and bellowed at me in pain pleading me to stop. I finally acquiesced when I found a way to work out without punishing my knees and still getting the sweat and results I craved.
Now my new go-to is workout videos. Don’t worry, my workout videos aren’t the workouts a la Jane Fonda circa 1986 with the colorful leotards and sweatbands. Though those are ah-maze-ing.
The Gateway Video
Once I decided I needed to listen to my knees and stop pounding them daily, I dug out an old Jillian Michaels DVD 6 week 6 pack that I had purchased and tried unsuccessfully in 2011. I had wanted to die after 5 minutes! So I shoved it into a drawer and never thought about it again. Until 2013 when I needed to save my knees. So out it came again and this time I was determined to complete it. All the way through.
Try. Try. Try. Try. And then try again.
The second 1st time I did this DVD I couldn’t finish the entire video without pausing. But I pushed myself to finish it even if I had to hit pause several times to get to the end. I was dying when I finished, but I laid on the floor and had a sweaty, breathy, immobile victory party for one.
I was SO SORE the next day. In a mostly good way, so I continued to do the video. I set incremental goals for myself. First, I slowly decreased the number of times I pressed pause until I could complete the video without stopping. This took a week or two.
Then I added a 3 lb weight. And then increased the weight. This took a couple of weeks. But I loved seeing myself improve. And my core has never been stronger.
6 years later I still love and do this workout video at least once or twice a week. I also have recommended the workout to many others who also have a love/hate relationship with it. Why? Because it’s great, effective core-strengthening video.
Why I love it:
- It’s ~30 minutes that goes by surprisingly quickly. It consists of:
- a 4 minute warmup
- 4 circuits of 5 exercises, each circuit repeated 2 times
- a cool down
- Core exercises are not 30 minutes of a billion crunches on the floor. It’s a nice mix of standing ab exercises, core exercises on the floor, and cardio.
- Each exercise is done for 30 seconds. You can do anything for 30 seconds!
- Equipment isn’t required, so you can do this anywhere. I’ve done it in Canada, Morocco, Cuba, Mexico, China, Japan, Vietnam…LOL.
- Once you are ready to add a weight, only one hand weight is needed – a 3, 5, or 8 lb weight works great.If you’re working out on a hard surface, a mat is nice.
- I honestly love Jillian’s energy. She’s tough, but she makes the hard workout fun.
The Exercises (Level 1)
Warmup (no weight)
- Marching with high knees and swinging arms
- Squats Xs – squats with crossing arms at bottom and open wide at the top
- Jackknives – alternating kicks with toe touches
- Prisoner lunges
- Ab rotations
- Standing ab crunches*
- Rear Lunges with overhead reach*
- Squat with rotations*
- Side lunge with side bend*
* with or w/o hand weight
- Long-lever crunches
- Supermans with lat pulls
- Plank jacks
- Long-lever crunches (opposite leg side)
- Double leg stretch (pilates move)
- Side crunch
- Diagonal getups
- Side crunch (other side)
- Diagonal getups (other side)
- Side plank with knee raise
- Spiderman pushups
- Mountain climbers
- Side plank with knee raise (other side)
- Bridge kicks
Note: There are two women who back up Jillian in the video. Maddie does the beginner version with modifications and no weight. Basheera does the advanced version with a single hand weight and more challenging moves.
There is also a Level 2 workout that’s the same format but harder. It also kicks my butt (abs?) and I love it too.
So many videos. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.
Since I started doing this video, I added other Jillian Michaels videos to my routine and have found other workout videos (I’ll share those too in future posts) that I love. My knees are happier, my core is stronger, and I save money (no more gym membership!) and time (no more trekking to a gym). Plus I have lots of fun because I have so many videos to choose from.
Or share your favorite workout. It doesn’t have to be a workout video. I’m always looking to try something new.