Friday, June 27, 2014

Fitness Friday: Jillian Michaels' One Week Shred is the Best Workout DVD Ever! Plus, How Alcohol Makes You Fat...

Jillian Michaels is right now my favourite home workout trainer. I like that her workouts are well-paced with challenging bits weaved in. There are usually interesting moves to keep you coming back, and she pushes you on in a tough but encouraging way. The workouts are also short (30-mins) but not some lazy 7-minute shortcut. Seriously, 30 minutes with her, and your time is well-invested. That's great for busy people!

I really liked her Yoga Meltdown DVD (full workout 1 at the link), so when this One Week Shred came out, I picked it up on Amazon. It's designed to be an intense burst to get fast results when you need to look good urgently - be it a wedding, vacation or crazily special date. I didn't have that urgency, but I was curious what she would put in such a workout.

Well, here's a collage that gives you an idea. The DVD is divided into two half-hour workouts - weights in the morning, and cardio in the evening. Makes good sense. Our bodies normally have more energy at 5pm, so I read somewhere.

And there's Kenta for eye candy and competitive inspiration. He is in the weight-training workout, which, by the way, is awesome and I really like. It's tough but doable, although I did feel like I needed two days to recuperate when I first tried it! The cardio section has me utterly defeated at certain stages, but it does get your heart rate up and going. If you have bad knees, you may want to modify some of the high impact routines.

Anyway, I felt results the very next day. You feel more toned and streamlined already, definitely more energetic. Too bad I could not do the whole workout 7 days in a row, which must give phenomenal results. It's something to work towards! If I ever manage that, I am going to find myself a special event just to treat myself!

She also gives a meal plan you can follow; it includes recipes:

Looks good, well-balanced with lots of lean protein and veg (Jillian is a certified nutritionist). I like the recipes. I'd just use whole eggs instead of egg whites alone. The nutrition from the yolks far outweigh the bit of fat it contains. And it's good fat, which we need anyway.

Here is Jilian with The Rock, another one of my fitness inspirations - his Instagram is real cute. Whenever I am close to giving up, I think, "Geez, this workout would be nothing for The Rock...come on, you sissy!" and miraculously, I can continue. Well, just for five more seconds before I collapse.

The other thing I learned from Jillian is the effect of alcohol on your body. A woman asked about what works to get rid of the stubborn layer of fat over her abs, since crunches don't work. She added that she was not giving up her daily glass of wine.

Well, sorry. The science is clear, especially for women.

Alcohol raises estrogen levels in the body, and this makes the body store more fat. Alcohol is far more sinister than sugar or fat. It has to be metabolised in the liver first. Enemy no.1 when it comes to weight loss, apparently.

Other tips for abs:
1. Quality of diet is key. Cut out processed foods. I like her definition - "If it doesn't have a mother and didn't grow from the ground, it's processed!"
2. Stay hydrated - drink water to lose water. And keep sodium down at 1500mg.
3. Minimal calorie deficit, maybe just 500 calories a day. Don't make body store fat by starving.
4. High intensity training to burn calories. Go for multiple muscle groups, core training, and incorporate body weight in the workouts.

Red wine can still be a superfood but in great moderation.

I love my food but fortunately I've never been fond of alcohol - it sometimes triggers allergy-like reactions in me. I'm one of those Asians lack that critical enzyme and who flush red at the slightest bit of alcohol in the system - which means I'm at greater risk for esophageal cancer.

I also learned that alcohol makes you puffy! It's almost immediate, as I have seen in photos!

So I've pretty much given up drinking. I don't miss it. Occasionally I get curious about how a certain vintage or cocktail tastes like, but a test sip is all I will do.

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