Online workouts on YouTube often come up in conversation with potential clients or people that I meet at social events all the time. And in the past few weeks they enjoyed a surge in popularity as people tried to find things to do at home during the lockdown.

One of the main questions I get is “What do you think of the 30 Day Shred from Jillian Michaels? Is it the best workout to lose weight in 30 days?”.

I must admit I had never heard of it, mostly because I don’t watch TV programs like the Biggest Loser, so I set out to do some research.

Too many words on one page? You can listen to the blogcast instead ☝️☝️☝️☝️

Up to 4 years ago or so, the 30 Day Shred program was available for free on YouTube and accumulated well over 35 million views. This was clearly infringing on the copyright for the program so it was rightly shut down. But I managed to have a looksee before it happened.

The program consists of 3 x 20 minute workouts each made up of a combination of resistance and cardiovascular training for weight loss. Each workout is a level.

Online workout

You can no longer find the 30 Day Shred free online and you either have to buy the DVD, pay for a subscription on Amazon Prime OR watch people on YouTube follow along as they go through the exercises in the video. Not a great way of doing it.

What I liked about the “no longer” free workouts

* The fat loss program is cheap to buy and available on YouTube for £6.99 which means that you can watch it on your mobile devices, laptop, desktop and wherever you go. If you wanted to purchase the whole program you can do so on Amazon for even less: at £5.00 for the DVD it’s really inexpensive. This is great because it allows people to get into exercising at an affordable price and without the need for a gym membership. If you are down on your luck or simply too busy or too self conscious to attend exercise classes this has you covered.

* It seems that Jillian Michaels and I had the same fitness mentors as both the hybrid exercises and the way the workouts are structured are very familiar! 😉

* Each workout only lasts 20 minutes including a short warm up and cool down. If you do these at home they will practically eliminate 95% of the excuses that stop you from going to the gym.

* The 3 levels are progressive: they build on each other meaning that by the time you get to the higher octane moves in level 3 you should be ready to do them safely… with a few caveats (see below)

* She gives clear instructions without fuss and without being hyper and overenthusiastic. I hate that type of trainers. Jillian explains the correct way to perform each exercise in a clear and concise manner. I love this. It’s what I would want and expect from my own trainer.

* The models demonstrate two versions of the same movement: slightly easier and a little bit harder so that you can adapt the 30 Day Shred to your current level of ability.

* The 3-2-1 protocol is a great way to introduce variety within the workouts whilst being effective in building muscle, burning fat and increasing strength.

* You can do the workout without any weights if you wish, but I would recommend using massive weights if you want to see and feel dramatic results.

What I don’t like about the 30 Day Shred

– It’s cheap and easy to access on YouTube or Amazon Prime. This means that despite the disclaimer at the beginning people are likely to overestimate their ability to exercise and follow along safely. Since there is nobody to advise them, they might go for it even if some or all the exercises are not suitable for them. And there is nobody to tell them so.

– I am sure that if you wanted to get a bootleg copy of the workouts you would be able to BUT consider this: when this program was freely available as stand alone videos on YouTube I had no idea how the system worked.

And that is the downfall of bootlegged stuff: you get the video but not the manual. Thankfully that has now been corrected and people MUST purchase the program with all the instructions that come with it.

Plus it’s simply rude to steal somebody else’s work, especially when it’s cheap as chips.

– Again, when the videos were free I didn’t know if there was a nutritional plan to go along with the workouts to support both fat burning and muscle growing. My concern is that someone without any knowledge of how the human metabolism works would be lead to believe that all they have to do to get shredded in 30 days is do the workouts whilst still eating crap all day every day. Or worse, go on a punishing diet.

– Unless you are already fit, all those star jumps, butt kicks and squat jumps could spell trouble for your knee joints. I know she says that she gets her 400lbs clients to do star jumps but in my experience it’s not clever nor sensible to attempt any of this stuff stone cold at your first workout without building up to those moves first slowly and over a period of time.

– Unless you are in your 20s I wouldn’t recommend working out every day and even then if you want to develop muscle you really need to rest to allow the repair and growth processes to unfold naturally. Unless you know that you are genetically predisposed to recover quickly from each workout hitting the same muscles day after day is only going to leave you sore and in fact make you weaker instead of stronger. Trust me, I know this from personal experience and I have been in my 20s over 2.5 times already. Each time I am 20 again the fitness game changes quite drastically.

– Unless you are already slim you will find that at the end of the 30 days you are unlikely to be shredded just from doing the workouts. I can also tell you this from experience working with so many women over the past decade.

Depending on your body type and state of your health you will find that it will take you several months of meticulous nutrition and carefully planned workouts constantly adjusted to changing circumstances to get shredded and stay that way.

– Unless you love doing the same thing over and over again you will die of boredom very quickly. I love it when my clients say this:

Client testimonial for Cristina Alciati

– The models are young and fit. Not necessarily an accurate representation of the 35+ million people who viewed the 30 Day Shred workouts when they were free online. I would like to see normal, overweight and unfit people wearing baggy clothes doing these workouts. I get it that the models are meant to be aspirational but my clients tend to end up being more perspirational as they go through similar workouts. Plus they usually struggle to get down on the floor and back up with feline moves. At least in the beginning.

– I don’t know what type of support is available if you have any questions. I am guessing that at £5.00 there is none. This is also crucial because “off the shelf” online workout videos will work for many straight out of the box but not for everyone. That doesn’t mean that the program is ineffective, it just means that it may not work for you and needs tweaking but there is nobody to come to the rescue. That’s when you need help so let’s talk.

Overall, I still think the 30 Day Shred is great and will give anyone results of some kind: some people will get shredded (but not in 30 days), others will get slimmer, others will get stronger and some will get bored after 5 days and buy a sarong instead.

Plus don’t forget that people who went on the Biggest Loser put all their weight back on and some within months of finishing the program so be careful and don’t be fooled into thinking that getting shredded is as simple as working out for 30 days straight. It really isn’t. It’s more of a marathon than a quick fix.

If you are strapped for cash and can’t afford the personal touch by all means do have a go at these for a fiver but please do bear in mind my comments above.

Adapt the frequency and intensity of these workouts to suit your circumstances and give yourself more than 30 days to get shredded. Remember that after 40 your abs are revealed not just in the kitchen but also while you sleep, so make sure you pay attention to your nutrition and lifestyle.

But now I am curious… did you try the 30 Day Shred (or other free programs out there)? How did it work out for you?

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