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Published September 19, 2012, 11:30 PM

Thursday review: ‘Ripped in 30’ workout effective, but Michaels’ program not meant for novices

FARGO – If you’re looking for a workout DVD that will gently guide you toward your fitness goals, “Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30” is not for you. This is the toughest DVD I’ve ever tried, but because the workouts are only about 30 minutes (including warm-up and cool-down), it’s doable and it works.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

FARGO – If you’re looking for a workout DVD that will gently guide you toward your fitness goals, “Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30” is not for you.

This is the toughest DVD I’ve ever tried, but because the workouts are only about 30 minutes (including warm-up and cool-down), it’s doable and it works.

I didn’t follow Jillian’s “Ripped in 30” diet, and while she recommended doing the workouts five or six days I week, I usually did them four.

I don’t own a scale so I don’t know how much weight I lost during the four-week workout. But I still lost six and a half inches, three of which came from my problem area – my hips and belly.

I also feel a lot stronger. Push-ups aren’t as difficult. Stairs no longer wind me. And I haven’t thrown out my back while lugging my toddler around since starting “Ripped in 30.”

While it’s effective, I wouldn’t recommend this DVD if you’re new to working out or haven’t exercised in a while. If the extent of your exercise routine has been to walk from the couch to the fridge or to take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, you might want to start with something easier and build up to Jillian’s DVD.

But if you exercise regularly and want a new challenge, this is definitely it.

“Ripped in 30” offers four different workouts – one for each week. They each contain three segments comprised of three minutes of strength exercises, two minutes of cardio and one minute of abdominal exercises, but Jillian often also combines strength, cardio, and ab exercises into the same move.

It’s easy to follow, especially if you’re used to exercising to DVDs, but the moves are tough. Some of them (like the sideways, one-armed push-up) were so difficult I couldn’t do them right away and had to build up to them. But my sense of accomplishment was that much stronger when I could perform the moves.

There are a lot of planks in this DVD. A plank is similar to holding the top of a push-up. But Jillian doesn’t just have you hold a plank, you also have to jump while in plank position – a lot.

There are a lot of moves that involve jumping while standing. I had surgery for a knee injury 17 years ago and found some of the moves to be too hard on my knee, but I could usually handle the modified version of the exercise.

You will need hand weights for the exercises, which do not come with the DVD. I used one- and three-pound weights but would not use any weights when I was learning a new move.

In the DVD’s introduction, Jillian says, “This 30-day plan is going to get you into the sickest, most incredible shape of your entire life.”

That didn’t quite happen for me, but like I said, I did not follow the diet and I did not exercise as often as recommended. I also often followed the modifier instead of the advanced routine.

The diet plan involves three meals and one snack. The meals are around 400 calories and snacks are about 200. You can have any meal option on any day, and there are a variety of healthy recipes to choose from. There are even options for vegans and vegetarians.

Jillian says “you can eat your way through any amount of exercise,” which is probably why I didn’t get into “the sickest, most incredible shape” of my life. But even so, I am still happy with my results from the program and plan to continue using the DVD.

At the end of the fourth workout, Jillian offers some words of wisdom on bringing your best to every aspect of your life.

“You can be anything that you want to be at any time that you chose to be it,” she says at the end of the workout. “Be the best you, always.”

Remember to consult with your doctor before starting any new fitness routine.

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