At the beginning of the year I started the Jillian Michaels 6-Week 6-Pack because I wanted a tighter core. Having finished it (and then some) I figured I would review it for you all to give you my take on the whole program:
Essentially the program is composed of two levels. Both are 35 minute workouts with a cardio and stretching warm up, the actual abdominal exercises, and the yoga-like stretching cool down. From my understanding you are supposed to do Level One every day for three weeks and then Level Two every day for three weeks.
The exercises include things like static contractions, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), mat/floor work, and standing abdominal work. Jillian mixes it up so you might go from a static contraction into a HIIT or from mat work to standing ab work. This is meant to keep your body guessing and to keep you from getting too fatigued too quickly. Also, the HIIT intervals are to make sure that you’re burning belly fat because as Jillian say you’ve got to burn the fat over the muscles if you want to actually see them.
What I Did
Instead of doing the workouts every single day for six weeks, I planned on doing Level One every other day for three weeks and then keeping the same schedule but switching to Level Two for the last three weeks. I actually ended up doing Level One for three weeks (every other day) and then Level Three for another four to five workouts (approximately 10 days). I then switched back to Level One every other day for the remaining weeks.
Why I Did What I Did
I chose to do the workouts every other day because I have read some articles (found here and here) that say abdominals should be exercised every 48 hours in order for maximal effect. I figured I would only be making myself seriously tired if I did Jillian Michaels every single day. Also, admittedly, it came down to time as well. I always did at least 30 minutes of cardio before doing the ab workout so that added up to at least 60 minutes of exercise time I needed to devote in any given day. I don’t know about you but I honestly don’t have that kind of time every single day after school and work and such.
The reason I changed back to Level One after doing Level Two for a while was due to two things: pain and perceived effectiveness. First off, pain: The first time I did the workout I felt uncomfortable in some of the moves. Two workouts later I think I pulled a muscle in my upper left abdominal quadrant, up around my ribs. It really hurt and basically every single exercise exacerbated it. I was stubborn and did the workout two more times before Jack talked some sense into me. Second, perceived effectiveness: My abs didn’t feel as worked the next morning after a Level Two workout as they did after a Level One. Level two had a lot of lunges and squat-like work so I felt like I got more out of it for my booty than my abs. So, to feel like I was getting the most out of the workouts I stuck to Level One.
How Tough Was It?
I may have cried. Basically, it was hard but you could totally feel it working so it was a “worth it” kind of hard, not a “screw this” kind of hard. Pretty sure I yelled at Jillian Michaels on my computer screen too, a bunch.
I would say that I was pleased with the results. I don’t think they were as drastic as I thought they would be but I totally attribute that to the fact that I didn’t do the workouts every single day but rather every other. Though, given the option of “overtraining” versus the option of “less drastic results”, I’ll take the latter any day. Thanks. Below are my before, during, and after pictures so you can see what I saw every week. If you click on them they get bigger and I will say that the pictures do less justice to the results than being in person.
I will say though that the biggest results for me where how I actually felt after the 7 weeks and how I feel today. My abdominals feel stronger. My whole core feels more “corseted”. The below picture is from a few days ago which means it was approximately 12 weeks after the beginning of the program for me. It is roughly 5 weeks after I stopped doing the workouts every other day. I still do ab workouts, sometime even the Jillian Michaels ones, at least three times a week but I wasn’t doing the full 35 minutes every other day. I think I still look pretty good.
I would recommend the workout, honestly. It was a god experience and I think it worked pretty well. If you’re looking for a stronger core, try it out!
Questions: Have you tried an abdominal workout that you particularly enjoy?
What is your trouble area you’re striving to change?
[I did this on my own. I was not compensated nor was I
encouraged by any party to write this review.
All the opinions I have expressed are my own.]