My Love Affair with Workout Videos Started with Jillian Michaels.

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

6 week 6 pack
Ripped abs. I want.

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.

The Workout. 

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

Circuit 1

  • Standing ab crunches*
  • Rear Lunges with overhead reach*
  • Burpees
  • Squat with rotations*
  • Side lunge with side bend*

* with or w/o hand weight

Circuit 2

  • Long-lever crunches
  • Supermans with lat pulls
  • Plank jacks
  • Long-lever crunches (opposite leg side)
  • Double leg stretch (pilates move)

Circuit 3

  • Side crunch
  • Diagonal getups
  • Caterpillars
  • Side crunch (other side)
  • Diagonal getups (other side)

Circuit 4

  • 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.

Okay…I’m off to do this video now. Try it – feel free to pause and pant – and let me know what you think! You can get it on iTunes or Amazon Prime Video.

Or share your favorite workout. It doesn’t have to be a workout video. I’m always looking to try something new.

One thought on “My Love Affair with Workout Videos Started with Jillian Michaels.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s