Archive for the ‘Jillian Michaels’ Category

Comprehensive warm up and cool down guide from Jillian Michaels

Everyone knows that they’re supposed to warm up and cool down before any strenuous exercise.

The problem is that most people haven’t been kept up with the move from static stretching (holding a stretch in place) to dynamic stretching (stretching while in movement).

Or, like I used to, they simply ignore stretching all together because it takes too long, they’ve only got 50 minutes to work out, or they want to get on to the business of burning calories.

Warming up and cooling down have innumerable benefits, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll just give you the top three: they get your body ready to (and recovered from) strenuous activity, they help prevent soreness (which promotes continued activity), and they prevent injury! See more here.

In case you’re like I used to be, check out this very nice warm up/cool down guide from Jillian Michaels. She also has a related article on the dos and don’ts of stretching! Check it out here!

Enjoy! And if you aren’t warming up and cooling down, try it. You might be surprised how much more you enjoy your workout!

Jillian Michael’s Weekly Radio Show


I didn’t realize that Jillian Michael did a weekly radio show.

It’s definitely worth listening to if you need a good kick in the pants about anything. This is not just about weight loss. It’s about self-esteem and identity. It’s about anything that you want to accomplish.

Check it out here, not only because it’s funny, but because it provides you with a ton of information (such as how your identity dictates your reality, how to reduce headaches, how your posture affects your ability to detox your system, the benefits of massage, supplements, etc.). It also provides you with free personal coaching with some serious attitude.

In case you don’t have the hour, think about just this one simple question: “What prison is your mind keeping you in?”

Hint: One way to work this in to your week is to download it and listen to it during a workout!

Perseverance in Weight Loss:Keeping your eye on the prize (as opposed to your gut)

Over the last three or four days, I have really gotten my head around why cultivating perseverance in weight release (more commonly known as weight loss) or any other long term goal really matters.

Essentially, if you have a strong sense of perseverance, you will meet your goals because you’ll be able to 1) face challenging social scenes and still make choices that support you; 2) automatically create solutions when faced with difficult environment (i.e.. packing in a ton of fruit and bringing your own blender to a two day conference!); and 3) maintain your self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem.

When you haven’t cultivated a strong sense of perseverance, you won’t meet your goals because you’ll be more likely to 1) abandon your plans in the face of difficult challenges or upset; 2) fail to see or to create opportunities to succeed; and 3) undermine not only your self-confidence, but also your self-respect and self-esteem. And once you’ve undermined those three puppies, all bets are off!

So what does it actually mean to persevere? Without resorting to, perseverance, to me, means to soldier on in the face of adversity and unwelcome surprises. Remember when you were a kid and your mother made you clean your room? Not just put away the mess, but to really do some massive reorganization and to clean out the gunk and garbage that may have accumulated since last summer? It’s typically the case that it gets a lot worse before it gets better. Same thing with growing out a short hair cut. You can give up during the truly hideous stage or you can persevere until you get the long luxurious mane that you’d been coveting for months.

A few blog posts ago, I told the story of the hapless veterinarian, who essentially asked when I was expecting my first bundle of joy! Needless to say, I was a bit floored. Because not only am I not pregnant, I am actually smaller than I’ve been in my entire life. I weigh less. My waist is smaller. My clothes are smaller. No matter how you slice it, there is less of me to love. Yet, here I am being asked if I’m pregnant! Wtf?!

You may recall that over the last couple of months, I have moved away from my predominantly cardio based exercise regime. Instead, I have introduced a mix of weight training DVDs, including Michelle Khai’s Kettlenetics Slim & Tone Program, as well as Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred and No More Trouble Zones. What this has done, essentially, has caused me to lay on a lot of muscle in my waist and in my upper and middle back, effectively pushing my pudge front and center!

The result, ironically, is that my core is stronger but my stomach looks bigger—bigger, that is, relative to the rest of me! And to make things worse (or better, depending on your perspective) my hips and thighs have also gotten smaller. Not a flattering combination! So, although I was completely thrown by the vet’s question about my impending life changes, it was (unfortunately) completely understandable.

I think it goes without saying that looking three months pregnant was not a goal when I started my weight loss (that is, my weight release) program. It would be very easy for me to justify not persevering and convince myself that it’s better to be a size 10 who doesn’t look preggers than a size six who does. But to do so would not only undermine my health and fitness goals, it would eventually undermine all of the self-confidence, the self-respect, and the self-esteem that I have gleaned from this process so far. It would also cost me a heck of a lot of money since I have sold all of my old clothes!

So my only other choice is to persevere.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still getting rid of the shirt! However, what I really need to go is keep my eye on the prize and not my waist line.

Moving Toward v. Moving Away

I’ve been doing some learning about the way people make transformations or change in their lives. Typically people are motivated by their hopes and aspirations (that is, what they want to happen or that which they are moving toward) or their fears and frustrations (that is, what they don’t want to happen or continue happening, or that from which they are moving away).

As a general rule, people are much more likely to be motivated by their fears than by their aspirations. Part of that may be that they are unable to fully realize or envision their aspirations, whereas it’s much easier to imagine their greatest fears (especially if they are already living them).

When I started my weight release journey three years ago, I had a really hard time envisioning what I wanted to accomplish. Then, one day, I was over at a friend’s house and I was looking at a selection of framed photos of her around her living room.

“See, I was thin once,” she said matter of fact-ly. “When X is over, I will be again.”

I was floored. And jealous. And, in that moment, it hit me why it’d been so hard to visualize what I wanted. I had no pictures of myself as I wanted to be!

Now, when I was in Weight Watchers, my leader used to talk about visualization and about how you should find the body of your dreams from a magazine and then put your face on it. I also remember thinking: Give me a break!

When I realized that part of my inability to visualize had something to do with never having seen it (what can I say, I’m not a visual person), I decided that I was going to take Judi’s advice, albeit some twenty years after I first heard it. But I didn’t do it using magazines and scissors, I did it via modern technology. Five cheers for photo manips!

The first thing I did was find the photo. I ended selecting a stock photo of Jillian Michaels. I then had Michael take a picture of me standing in the same position, with my head tilted just so. He then used Photoshop (or some other similar software) to create a photo that we joking call KJillian!

The first time I looked at the photo, I had to look away. I thought, ‘How embarrassing.’ In fact, it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that it literally hurt to look at it. Seriously, the dissonance was staggering. I literally had to keep it in a manila folder on my kitchen counter. However, over the course of a week, I got used to seeing myself like that. And as the image became more familiar to me, it also became more believable! Eventually, I put it up on the refrigerator.

Just as an aside, my little sister came over, looked at it and then looked at me and said, without batting an eyelash, “How did your head get on Jillian Michael’s body?” I told her. “Cool,” she said. Apparently not so embarrassing after all.

If you don’t have a picture about what you want to achieve (either in reality or in your mind’s eye), create one. Seriously. I’ll admit: thought it was the cheesiest thing in the world when it was first suggested to me, but it was incredibly powerful. In fact, it got to the point that when I would take pictures of myself (in similar clothes and in a similar position), I thought that they looked odd, which motivated me to move my reality towards the image in my head.

The same thing is true, by the way, if you have an image in your head of what you don’t want to be; you will become that. Remember, the one of the strongest human drives is self-consistency! My problem was, previously, that I saw myself as heavy or as someone who was 30 pounds overweight, so that’s what I created (over and over again). Bottom line: get rid of the bad images and bring on the good – even if you have to stoop to using Photoshop to do it!

Now that I have a solid image in my mind of what I want to move towards (that is, my head on Jillian Michael’s body or something similar), I sometimes also use moving away from – especially when I need a good kick in the pants, like a I did the day before yesterday, when I just could not get myself moving.

First, just writing that blog post helped, because I hate to admit that I can’t do something.

Second, I have a pair of pants that I bought at a consignment store. Technically they fit; however, I would never go out in public with them fitting the way they fit at the moment. Ironically, they are the smallest pair of pants that I own, but they make me look huge because they’re so tight.

Essentially, these are the “get leverage on yourself” or the “moving away from” pants. I put those on (to say that I just slipped into them would be a bald faced lie!) and all it took was five minutes standing in front of the mirror to get me down on the NordicTrack, followed up by my moving towards: Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.

Are you a moving towards person or a moving away person? If you are primarily one, I strongly suggest mixing it up when you need a little extra motivation!

And if you don’t have a picture of what you want to achieve, get one – even if, especially if, you have to make it yourself!

Jillian’s version of losing the last ten pounds

Today in my in-box, I received my daily message from Jillian Michaels:


How to Take Off Those Last 10 Pounds
You know what I like to call those last 10 or 15 pounds that won’t come off no matter what you do? Vanity pounds.

The term describes our desire to lose weight that, as far as our bodies are concerned, actually feels healthy. Today’s society pressures us to want to look a certain way, so for aesthetic reasons we try to be thinner than our bodies want us to be. Personally, I have gained and lost the same 8 vanity pounds more times than I care to admit.

Losing your first 50 pounds might have been tough, but believe me, dropping those final few stubborn pounds is a whole different challenge. The body struggles to hold on to that last bit of fat for survival purposes.

Now, don’t get me wrong — you can lose the weight if you want to, but it will require you to muster a tremendous amount of restraint and willpower. If you’re really up for it, do the following for 30 days:

1. Cut your sodium to 1,000 mg a day.
2. Drink at least 80 ounces of water daily.
3. Cut out processed foods.
4. Abstain from alcohol.
5. Train at 85 percent of your MHR (maximum heart rate) for 1 hour 5 times a week.

You can do a lot in 30 days — in fact, I can pretty much guarantee you will lose at least 5 pounds. And you’ll feel like a rock star!

Although I didn’t sign up for the full membership on Jillian’s site, I do find the daily messages to be inspirational and full of good information. If you can put up with a having another message in your in-box, it’s a good resource, not only for food, but also for exercise, and (now) information regarding hormones and their effect on your metabolism.

Mixing it up and toning it (down)

Like most people, I am a creature of habit.

Over the last 30+ weeks, I realize that I have moved through 3 different phases of working out. In other words, whereas most people cross train I tend to do things in 10 week chunks.

Last summer, I was heavily ensconced in P90X. For those of you who haven’t seen the infomercials, it’s a total body program with a focus on upper body strength. I definitely lost inches, but not a lot of weight. In fact, I gained some, which was undoubtedly muscle.

In the fall, I continued on with parts of P90X (especially Yoga X) and added in really high intensity cardio — typically an hour on the tread climber or spinning, holding nothing back. I still didn’t lose weight — well, not much — but I kept the form.

In the winter, I dropped the weights and just went for the serious cardio — again, the tread climber and a spinning bike were my tools of choice. I was definitely in the more calories burned the better mindset. It was nothing for me to go work out an hour before teaching a spinning class! And more often than not, I kept my heart rate at the top of my aerobic zone or above. Indeed, around 3 days a week — at least — I was burning over a 1,000 a day in exercise. Eventually, however, I was also eating close to 2,000 calories a day in order to fuel my exercise habit. It was also easier to fool myself into believing that it was okay if I ate the chocolate croissant, because I had “worked it off”! In fact, what I was doing was starving my body of oxygen at the very times that it needed it the most!

Notably, I actually liked the hard exercise. I liked spending that much time in the gym. I liked the sweat and the stench of hard work. It made me feel like I’d actually accomplished something. What I didn’t like about it was that even with all that work, even with the consistent and often times steep calorie deficits, I still wasn’t losing weight. In fact, if felt like every time I had a glass of wine or anything at all, I’d glob on three pounds before it even got past my taste buds!

During the spring (since mid March), I switched modes. I stopped working out at a break neck speed. I started spending the bulk of my time at the low end of my aerobic training zone and I started implementing real warm ups and cool downs. Essentially, I started doing what people had been telling me for years. 10 minute warm up, 40 minutes in your training zone, and 10 minute cool down. Guess what? I started releasing weight. Not only did I start releasing weight, I did it in about half the time and with less wear and tear on the joints.

At first, when I started working out at 130-150 beats per minute (my real target zone) I thought: What a waste of time. This isn’t doing anything! But I was wrong. It did do something. I released the weight and it’s been easy to keep it from coming back. Granted, there have been minor bumps in the trend line, but nothing major. If you look at the trend line, it’s been slow and steady. In fact, I’m still releasing weight — though not nearly to the degree that I was in March and April. And that’s fine, because I don’t need to release it that fast. Indeed, I am actually at the point where I’m not sure if I need to release any more at all. Never thought I’d be in the position to say that before! (Which is probably why it never happened!)

Which brings me to my next 10 week cycle.

Despite my deep passion for cardio, my plan is to minimize its role in the next phase of my exercise career. I hope that by writing it down, I will commit to an even lower keeled routine for a while. One that includes some cardio (maybe every other day instead of five to six days a week and for maybe 30 minutes instead of an hour) and centers, instead, on a maintenance-oriented routine that includes toning, k-bells, and yoga. I’m thinking that yoga (60 to 90 minutes) and toning every other day would be a good thing.

My inner cardio-queen cries out in agony: Don’t do it!

The shift from weight loss to maintenance and overall fitness is challenging. Psychologically, it just feels wrong to exercise for an hour and a half to only burn 220 calories — my typical results after 90 minutes of flow yoga poses and balance postures. But I’m going to do it. As soon as spinning ends (June 11), it’s me, Michelle, Tony, and Jillian. Talk about changing your peer group!

Consider this my public declaration of commitment.

K-Bell Total Body Blast – Review

As noted previously, I purchased the latest trendy exercise program, K-bells (with “Master Instructor” Michelle Khai) and actually liked it.

I had worked through the introductory package, which has a lot of good instructional material as well as one decent cardio workout and one 50 minute circuit training DVD.

Despite that I liked the idea of a k-bell exercise program, the flowing movements, the knowledge that I was working out micro-muscles, the workout itself, and the instructor, I realized that I just wasn’t doing this workout. Whenever I made a decision about what type of exercise I was going to do, I would go to the gym and hit the Step Mill (which my massage therapist lovingly calls “The Gauntlet”), the Tread Climber, Spinning, or if I stayed at home, I’d more often than not jump on the Nordic Track or do Yoga. So what was going on? If I liked the program, why wasn’t I doing it?

It boiled down to this — the premise of the workout is that you get your heart rate up and you do the bell work and this combination “blasts” the fat from your body!!! Sound good? Sure it does. But there’s only one problem: it was physically impossible for me to get my heart rate up into my fat burning zone doing this workout alone. Thus, I wasn’t burning any calories. It’s not Michelle’s fault, nor is it the fault of the k-bell program. In fact, I have the exact same problem with all of Jillian Michael’s home workout DVDs. I also have the same problem with Tony Horton’s Kenpo X (the kickboxing segment of P90X) and Cardio X. And, for that matter, Billy Blanks Tae-Bo the last time I did it. Essentially, it’s not them; it’s me. They may actually work in terms of toning and building muscle, but psychologically, I feel like I’m wasting my time.

And it’s not that I’m not trying, it’s just that after teaching spinning for 4 years, I have a super low resting heart rate: it’s about 42 first thing in the morning and around 56-60 after I’ve been up a while. It takes a lot of umph to get from 60 to 130 (which is the low end of my target training zone) in a 30 – 45 minute work out tape.

However, I really wanted to do the KB Total Body Blast and I really want to be able to incorporate it into my summer routine without feeling like I’m wasting time. It’s fun; she’s doing a lot of really interesting moves. I can feel the little micro-muscles doing their thing. I feel like my balance will improve if I keep it up. I like the momentum generated by the bell as I swing it across my body. And unlike a lot of newer cardio blast programs, there isn’t a lot of jumping. There is hopping, but that doesn’t bother my knee the way that other more plyo-centric programs do.

So, determined to get a good workout and do KB Total Body Blast, I got up this morning, put on U2’s, “No Line on the Horizon” and jumped on the Nordic Track. This album is a good choice for getting into and staying right in my target zone (between 130-145 beats per minutes) as it has a good mix of fast and slow songs. Also, there is a good mix of tight (or short) notes and loose (or long) notes, lending itself to intervals. It’s also relatively short, clocking in at only 54 minutes. That’s 15 warm-up, 30 minutes in the zone, and the last two songs are slow, which starts a pseudo-cooling off period.

Then, with my heart rate at 100 (instead of 58!) I immediately jumped into KB Total Body Blast — which is only 30 minutes — and it was perfect. I stayed in the zone almost the entire time. I was tired when I was done. I actually worked up a sweat! I only burned 204 calories doing it, but it was only 30 minutes (and when I’d done it without raising my heart rate first, I had only burned 157)!

However, add that to the cardio that I’d done on the Nordic Track (400!), I burned 604 calories. Not to shabby for a leisurely Sunday morning at home. Especially since 1 hour out of that 1 hour and 24 minutes was in my target training zone!

So, bottom line: if you are already fit and you find home workouts to be a waste of time, do something else first to get your heart rate up. I really think that KB Total Body Blast is going to be worth it. Besides that, it’s a lot of fun! This is also going to encourage me to shake the dust off of some of my other programs and give them another go!


Raising your standards (or lowering your threshold)

One of the good things about taking a long time to meet you desired goal weight is that gradually your threshold of acceptability changes.

Back when I weighed 232 pounds, it was enough to be the smallest person in my family.

For the longest time, after Weight Watchers, it was enough to have lost 50 or 60 pounds. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, my threshold was 179. It was not acceptable to get above this number; to do so, in my mind, would have triggered failure. Whenever I thought that I was getting fat again, I thought of the 180 me, not the 232 pound me. The 232 pound me was so far outside of my threshold of acceptability (my new standard for myself) that I no longer even considered it a possibility.

Two and a half years ago, I was creeping back up to 179. I adopted an alkaline diet/lifestyle, did P90x with a friend, and dropped close to 30 pounds. Unfortunately, my standard didn’t change and in a moment — try six months!– of stress, I ended right back where I started: 179 pounds.

Essentially, my standard hadn’t changed. And, consciously or not, I knew that.

The following summer, I tried it again. That time, I started with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, followed by P90x (twice). I got down to 141.8. But again, during the winter months, my resolve started to slip. But last March, when I crept past 150, I said: enough! My standard had changed. 150 — which used to be a goal — had become the standard — the threshold of what I was willing to accept for myself.

Now, you might be thinking that this is just yo-yo dieting, but if you look at the trend line, it’s been moving steadily down. Moreover, I really believe (in retrospect) that all of those starts and stops — not to mention the dreaded plateaus — were actually necessary in order for my standard to change.

When I think of myself as being heavy, I never think of the 232 pound me; I rarely think of the 179 pound me, because I can’t even imagine going back there! And if you can’t imagine it, it won’t happen. Think about it.

And whenever possible, in whatever domain of your life, raise your standards and, in the case of weight loss, lower your threshold!

Jillian Michael’s Time Interview

Some interesting tips in here! Enjoy!

Disrupting Old Patterns and Replacing Them With Something New

I was lecturing the other day on cognitive theories within social psychology and started talking about schema. A schema is, essentially, a set of affective cognitions–or thoughts–that people have about a certain object, a class of people, activities, etc. Generally, these schema can be classified as good or bad. We like them or we don’t.

The interesting thing about a schema is that once you have one, it affects the way you process information: that is, whether or not you even notice something, how quickly it becomes part of your consciousness, and even how long you remember it! And because most humans strive for cognitive consistency, they tend to not notice, disregard, or forget about information that does not fit their schema. This is one reason why culturally held stereotypes are so slow to change.

Anyway, I was trying to come up with an example of a schema that I have and almost immediately, I flashed on the imagine of a cupcake. Let’s be honest: I love cupcakes. Not only do they taste good, they’re the right size, they smell delicious, I like the weight of them in my hand (you can eat them with your hands!), and they bring back fond memories of childhood parties, etc. In other words, I have a positive associations with cupcakes on just about every possible level. In case you’re curious, cupcakes are triggers for me. Or, more to the point, they used to be.

Now, assume that you loved cupcakes as much as I did. Would you stop eating them just because I told you that you should? No, not really. It might work for awhile, but eventually you’d see one and you’d be like, “Oh!” Because when you see them or when you smell them, you associate all of this really good stuff with them–not to mention they taste like cake!

Now, the other day on The Biggest Loser, the coaches had placed covered trays around the gym. Contestants were supposed to work out and every so often they had to pick a tray, which either held a non-food-prize or a food-prize. And the food-prizes weren’t carrots and celery, they were cupcakes and brownies and such! So, think about it, you’re in a gym, you’re working as hard as you possibly can to lose weight so that you can stay in the running, and your coaches are forcing you to eat junk food–on national T.V.

One woman actually consumed 3,500 calories during this exercise! 3,500 calories of junk food which could have immediate and severe consequences on the likelihood of further participation! Do you think she was enjoying those cupcakes? Do you think that she was savoring the smell and thinking about how much her mother must have loved her to make cupcakes once a month for her class? No! She was thinking about how each and every bite was potentially going to get her voted off! She was thinking about how each and every bite was going straight to her hips. And after weeks of only eating healthy food, she was probably thinking about how disgusting all that fat and sugar felt coursing through her system–or rather, sitting in her stomach like a lead balloon.

And at the end of the exercise, do you think Jillian Michaels comforted this poor woman for having blown her diet? No. What she did say was something like this: “I want you to remember this. I want you to remember what it felt like. I want you to remember the sick feeling in your stomach when you ate this junk. Every time you’re confronted with something that used to tempt you, I want you to remember these feelings. I want you to remember what it felt like. I want you remember what you felt like.”

Wow. That Jillian woman is scary, huh? While it may seem like she’s a real witch, she actually gave these people a huge gift. Essentially, she broke their mostly positive schema regarding certain types of food and she replaced it with something negative. She didn’t tell them that it was bad for them, but she got them to know it in their bodies, their emotions, and their identities.

Now this may seem extreme, but I had a similar experience recently. I went out to dinner with Michael and I really, really wanted a hamburger and fries. It had been years since I’d had one and I thought, what’s the big deal? And just to add insult to injury, I also tossed on some blue cheese and bacon! Although Michael paid for the meal at the time, I paid for it all night long. I couldn’t sleep; my stomach was killing me; I felt like I was 9 months pregnant; and I looked it too!

Assuming that I am ever face-to-face with another blue cheese bacon burger and a plate of fries, how tempted do you think I’d be, on a scale from 1 to 10? It’s true that I could focus on how much I liked the restaurant and what a good time that I had with Michael that day and maybe I’d get over it, but why would I want to? Instead, what I will do when I get the urge for a burger or fries, or both, is remember what it felt like the night after I had actually had both. I’ll focus on the bloating. I’ll focus on the inability to sleep. I’ll remember how tired I was the next morning. And, more often than not, I’ll happily order a salad or some nicely broiled piece of salmon!

Have I had a hamburger since? No.

Have I missed it? Not really.

In the coming weeks, I’ll offer some tips and suggestions on how not only to interrupt old cognitive patterns regarding food and exercise, but also how to replace them with something new!