I just purchased Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred and did my first level 1 workout. Wow! Even with the extra toning and more energy I’m getting from Curves, this workout really makes you work!

I also picked up two books: Winning by Losing: Drop the Weight, Change Your Life and The Biggest Loser Complete Calorie Counter Using the three together, I’m hoping to take my commitment to get in shape and lose weight to the next level.

Jillian’s book is great. She lays out what you need to do in easy to understand terms – and if you’ve watched her coach on the Biggest Loser…you know she can get results! I’ve already used her simple formula to figure out how many calories I need to eat per day, and her easy multiple choice test helped me figure out that I’m a fast oxidizer! She recommends the calorie counter book as a reference when planning meals, so I picked it up last night. It’s not just a list of calories…it breaks down everything into carbs, fat, serving size (yep I’m guilty of eating LARGE servings) calories and more. I’ve never been one to want to count exact calories. Jillian explains that with an eye on what you’re eating and clear goals in mind (plus the commitment to go with them) you can eat what you want, and still get results. I can’t eat HOW I want…that’s got to change, but I don’t have to say goodbye forever to all of my favorite foods.

The first workout was intense. Using the DVD along with the books is going to make a huge difference, I can tell already. After the first 20 minute shred, I feel stretched, tired and pretty sweaty. But I’m looking forward to the next session. I know I can do it, it’s not TOO hard – it’s hard enough to get results. Boy is it hard. There were several places where I just knew I couldn’t do even one more rep…and then Jillian would say, “just two more!” and I powered through (or at least, finished without collapsing). I made it all the way through from warm up to cooldown, and it feels great! I’ve accomplished something.

I chose to begin with the level 1 workout. I also modified a couple things, like the pushups, following the beginner on the DVD as Jillian directed. I look forward to being able to work my way up to doing everything unmodified, and then starting in on the next level workout. Some reviewers suggested trying the hardest workout, or alternating between then, but I think I would just get discouraged if I tried and couldn’t make it through the first time out. This way I can work up to it, knowing I can do the first one until I’m ready to move on. It’s plenty challenging all on it’s own!

I like Jillian as a trainer. She’s no nonsense and tough. She’s in great shape, but she feels like a “real person” – she knows how hard she’s making you work, and talks you through each exercise. I found her workout and book to be highly motivating.

So…this is day 1 of my 30-day shred. Wish me luck!