Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: No More Trouble Zones & Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

In addition to running, I'm a big believer in doing strength work. I don't have any hard science to prove this next statement, but since I started strength training on my days off from running, I've experienced far fewer aches and pains in my hips and knees.
That said, I'm not a fan of regular old weight lifting. You couldn't pay me to lift at the gym with all the sweaty, grunting men who populate the weight area. So, I resort to doing dvds at home. I've tried Workout: One-on-One Training with Jackie, Mari Windsor: Pilates, and my favorite, 30 Day Shred. I love Jillian Michaels and the Shred was great, but I've been doing it on and off for over a year and want a workout longer than 20 minutes without having to do two levels in a row. I'd seen Jillian's newer dvds, No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism but hadn't gotten around to picking them up until I saw both dvds on sale at Target for $10 a piece. It was too good a deal to pass up.

No More Trouble Zones is the strength training video. The work out is set up as a cardio warm-up (5 minutes), 6 strength circuits (40 minutes) and a cool down stretch (5 minutes). When I began the warm-up, I recognized some of the moves from the Shred dvd and was momentarily concerned that I was getting a lengthened version of what I was already burned out on. But, while there were a few repeated moves (plank row, squat/overhead press), there were plenty of different exercises to keep me interested.

I also liked the time break down in each circuit better than the Shred. Each circuit has about 5 moves that you work through twice. I don't have a ton of upper body strength, so it was nice to change moves frequently. It kept me from getting too tired and allowed me to really focus on that move. And, even though there was no cardio interval in this workout, the compound moves (lunges while doing curls, etc.) had my heart rate up, and by the time the cool down rolled around, I was covered in sweat.

One thing I'd recommend, though, that Jillian didn't mention until about half way through the circuit portion, would be to use lighter weights than you normally would. I started the dvd with 10 lb dumbbells and was having real trouble completing each set without resting. Then Jillian notes that she's using 3 lb weights even though she can lift much more because many of the circuits focus on the same muscle group nonstop for 5 minutes. When I heard this, I switched to my 5 lb weights and found it much more doable.

In addition to strength training, I also like to mix up running with a little cross-training. Banish Fat Boost Metabolism was made up of 6 cardio circuits of about 5 moves each repeated twice. Many of the moves were kicks and punches from kick boxing. I have also done Jillian's cardio kick boxing workout, and again there were a few repeated moves but plenty of new stuff I hadn't tried before.

I did this dvd for the first time right after I finished No More Trouble Zones...I was already a little tired, but it took no time at all before my heart was pounding out of my chest. However, Jillian alternated between calisthenic moves like jumping jacks and high knees to punches to kicks so that I felt like I had time to catch my breath and slow my heart rate a little between the harder exercises.

After I completed both dvds, I was dripping sweat and felt tired in the best way possible. The next day I was sore (not in a painful way, just enough to know I'd worked hard); my triceps and lower abs, two places I'm always trying to tone, were especially sore. Thus far, I'd have to say I'd recommend both dvds. I'm excited to see what the combination of these two dvds can do for me. I'm also interested to see how a stronger core and legs will improve my running ability. Two thumbs up, Jillian!

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