Fitness Class Review: BODYSHRED at GoodLife

I woke up half-an-hour earlier than normal this morning to try out GoodLife Fitness‘ newest class, JILLIAN MICHAELS BODYSHRED. Fitness instructors at my gym advised in weeks prior that one half-hour class per day would be enough for a workout and that if you had enough energy to continue after BODYSHRED, then you didn’t do the class properly.

BODYSHRED is a high intensity and endurance based 30-minute workout that uses Jillian Michaels’, known for her role on television show The Biggest Loser,  3-2-1 interval approach. This includes three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio and one minute of abs or active recovery. According to the class’ website, those who practice BODYSHRED will lose fat, define muscle, transform their entire physique and dramatically enhance their overall health and athletic performance.

Some might think that a 30-minute workout is not enough. However, I disagree. Working out well doesn’t mean you must work out for an hour or more. All it means is that you prevent injury and meet your workout goals for that day, whether they be to increase heart rate, balance, weight, etc. Working out well is quality over quantity.

In late 2012, I spent early mornings working out in front of my laptop to Shaun T‘s Insanity and Hip Hop Abs. I also have experience exercising Michaels style. I own numerous workout DVDs that capture The Biggest Loser’s most intense workouts, some with Michaels as the host.

Jillian Michaels, one of the former fitness instructors on The Biggest Loser and BODYSHRED designer.
Jillian Michaels, former fitness instructor on The Biggest Loser and BODYSHRED designer.

Personally, I am not a fan of Michaels’ hard, edgy and negative attitude when she instructs exercises in her videos. I find it to be degrading and anything but encouraging. I own a video called “Last Chance Workout,” and in it, Michaels screams while in the middle of a 30-second mountain climber interval, “You wanna be skinny? Then shut up!”

“No, no,” I sometimes find myself thinking. “You shut up.”

As someone who has struggled with my confidence in regards to my self-image and as someone who has work experience at Eating Disorders of York Region, a non-profit organization that provides support for those struggling with an eating disorder as well as for their families and friends, I didn’t and don’t find comments like this amusing. Working out should be about practicing the healthiest and most balanced lifestyle, which differs for each specific person. Every body is different in terms of its physical ability and weight and pant size differ just the same.

Even though Michaels has left a bitter taste in my mouth, I gave today’s class a try. Michaels isn’t the one teaching the class (obviously. If she was, I think my GoodLife membership would be way more expensive than it already is) and I like to challenge myself and my fitness level.

For starters, I’m most definitely going back to the class again soon. The energy in the room before the class was positive and most people were ready to start taking their fitness to a whole new level. The instructor was informative and helpful from beginning to finish and advised several times that if members were staying for the BODYSTEP class that followed, they probably didn’t work hard enough.

The warm up wasn’t intensely difficult but the movements were simple, dynamic and involved practicing control and increasing heart rate. I felt warmed up by the time the first out of four circuits began.

I work out regularly and felt my heart rate soar before reaching the halfway point of circuit one. Sweat was dripping down my face and while in the middle of squatting with a row, while holding onto light hand weights, I could feel a bead of sweat trickle off the end of my nose and hit the gym floor. Gross? Yes! What I was looking for? Most definitely.

By the time circuit four came around and I heard the instructor say, “You’re on your last circuit,” I was extremely excited to cool down but also intrigued (and somewhat terrified) to find out what last few exercises I would be doing.

From modified jumping jacks to planks with dumbbells to staggered push-ups to rock-star jumps to modified burpees to running squat jumps to tricep kick-backs and to one legged rows, BODYSHRED gave me one heck of a workout. I would say BODYSHRED is either on par or more intense than Insanity.

While doing Insanity, I remember crawling to reach my water bottle at the end of my cool down. My mind was encouraging me to do the same thing, today.

The worst part of going to try a new class is hearing how tough it is but leaving without any sweat stains. At the end of BODYSHRED this morning, I had to blow dry my t-shirt so that on my walk home I didn’t look filthy. As soon as I got in my front door, I downed a bottle of water and jumped in the shower.

Though BODYSHRED is for me, it might not be for everyone. Just like our weights differ, so do our fitness levels and physical abilities. GoodLife Fitness has numerous classes, machines and programs that suit many different physical needs. Each one allowing participants to set goals for their fitness levels and work to attain them at their own pace.

What fitness goals might you have?



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