Not that Jillian was playing before, but in Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30, she certainly isn’t playing. She’s fired up, and in four 30ish-minute workouts that go from slightly hard to “OMG, Jill, why do you hate me and my muscles so?” you’ll get one of the closest experiences to training with Jillian on The Biggest Loser Ranch as you can without really being there. Yep, it’s that good. And it’s that tough.
We’ve reviewed loads of Jillian’s workout DVDs before, but this DVD is definitely the hardest and the most complete of them all. Following her Shred DVD 3-2-1 formula (three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio and one minute of abs), each of the four workouts build in intensity as you go, and each includes a dynamic warm-up and a calming cool down with stretching. She recommends that, starting with the easiest level, you do the workouts five to six times a week for a full week, and then move on to the next level workout. Within four weeks—along with a pretty restrictive diet plan you can download online with purchase—Jillian swears you’ll be ripped. (Notice how the cover is also “ripped.” So, cool.) Although I don’t agree with the recommendation that you should do the exact same workout five to six times a week (especially when its soreness-inducing strength work, as you need time for your muscles to recover!), Jillian does say that it may take you more than a week to progress to the next level, so that’s cool.
And the moves in this DVD are ridiculous. It’s amazing what kind of torture you can endure with just a couple of sets of dumbbells, a mat and your body. Most of the exercises in the DVD are functional in that they test your core strength, balance, agility and power, along with being compound moves (working upper body while you’re working your lower body). From creative moves like bear crawls to sledgehammers to leg squats with corkscrew curls (trust us, they’re hard), no workout features the same moves, and you will be challenged. I’d consider Levels 1 and 2 to be at an intermediate exercise level (especially if you follow the modifications), while Level 3 is advanced and Level 4 is a whole new level of crazy. Even Basheera, who is one of the workout models and is in a number of Jillian’s DVDs, has a hard time doing the whole thing—and I’ve barely seen her sweat in other DVDs. Amazing. In a nutshell, it’s on par with this place, minus the tires and pull-ups.
What’s most interesting for me though is that this is the first DVD where I think Jillian’s full—unedited—personality comes out. Sure, you’ve gotten it here and there in her other workouts, but she really lets loose in this one. A few times she growls, at one point she says she wants to bite one of the girls tushes (for reals) and by Level 4 she’s telling you that your “heart should be gurgling in your throat.” Pretty visceral, but she does it with a giddiness that shows she loves her job and that she’s totally in the zone. Or that she’s a little loco. Which I’m okay with it. Sometimes booties do look good enough to bite…or at least squeeze.
Other bonuses? The music starts out somewhat lame, but increases in intensity and bad-assness as the workouts progress. So do the outfits. And if you make it to Level 4, you’ll get one hell of an empowering pep talk from Jillian right before the cool down while you lay in corpse pose. Seriously, it’s why I love her so much.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Fit Bottom line: If you’re a Jillian fan or need a new challenge, stop reading and just go buy the darn thing. You will not be disappointed!
If you’re looking to get in shape for your wedding or another important event (bikini-season comes to mind), this oughta do it and in rapid time. I can’t imagine how Jillian will top this one. Gosh knows what she’ll bite… —Jenn