Review: Jillian Michaels' 'Ripped in 30'

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Me and Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 have a tenuous relationship. Back in November, I committed to doing my bootcamp class Mondays, rest day Tuesdays, and then moving to the next Ripped in 30 level on Wednesday-Sunday. Weeks 1 and 2 went fine, but after doing Week 3, I had terrible tendinitis in my left shoulder. For 1.5 months afterwards, I was forced to go on quick-paced walks and do the 30 Day Abs Challenge rather than the ever-cranky Jillian Michaels. It was a major, serious bummer. And I blame Week 3 of Ripped in 30.

In February I finally got back into these circuit training DVDs for a second go-round with heavier (8lb) dumbbells as an added challenge, while also paying special mind to my shoulder that Jillian destroyed.

For those that aren't familiar with Jillian Michaels' approach (which I wrote about extensively, here), she uses a 3-2-1 method in Ripped in 30 just as she did in 30 Day Shred. {3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs} done 3 times, each time with a different set of exercises. You do each level 5-6 days before moving onto the next one. Her program is more consistent this time around, and you see a sprinkling of moves from 30 Day Shred, but mostly new ones especially after the first level.

JM Ripped in 30 - Week 1 Review
The first week's program focuses mainly on building a foundation of basic moves that will be expanded upon in later levels. This includes moves like basic crunches, military push ups, squat and press, etc. Most of the exercises should be familiar to those who've done 30 Day Shred. The level of difficulty is somewhere between 30 Day Shred's Level 1 and 2. Not too many plank moves, but still challenging cardio (running man, ugh) and moderately difficult strength moves (two types of shoulder flies, no). Much like level one of 30DS, most of the moves are also dynamic, so you pop in and out of them as that's easier than static and plyometric moves. Hollowman started out a bit off for me, and it took until the end of the week for me to be able to handle all the shoulder raises with 8lb weights, but I got there eventually.

JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2 Review
Holy plank workout, Batman! Much like 30 Day Shred week 2 is filled with an ungodly amount of plank-based exercises with a special focus on cardio, like mountain climbers, plank jacks, and squat thrusts. I started out having to take several breaks in the middle of the plank-cardio, and by the end of the week I still didn't have it under control. And I thought my biceps were strong until I attempted the serving biceps with pendulum lunges. Just not doable with 8lb dumbbells. Someday! If I wasn't doing this as by-the-book, I would probably be spending another week or two on this level to work on the form of my squat thrusts, increase the weight of my sumo squats & serving biceps, improve plank cardio endurance, and just focus on form overall. Next time, perhaps I'll skip Level 1 and just do Level 2 twice.

JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3 Review
I largely blame the weird warm-up of this level for my shoulder injury the first time through. Who starts with sledgehammers as a warm-up? No arm wheels or cross body arm swings. Just sledgehammers, lunge and twists, and standing splits. Circuit 3's strength portion also focuses on shoulders: downward dog push ups, single arm push ups, and elevated leg dips. For my second go-through of this level, I added a warm-up from a previous week to the front of this one and I also swapped out Circuit 3's strength for something easier on my shoulder (modified push ups, serving biceps w. pendulum lunges, and cautious tricep dips). I got through it all without any further injury.

One small note: despite being more consistent in this DVD, the last exercise of Level 3 - Circuit 1 - Strength (overhand-underhand rows with chair sit) is only done once. I guess her teleprompters failed to catch it.

JM Ripped in 30 - Week 4 Review
Um. What is with the motivational speech before the cool-down? JM goes on a 3 minute pat-yourself-on-the-back speech before launching into her usual cool down phase, that I always replace with the 30 Day Shred cool down.

Also, this level was the first time I had experienced any sort of muscle soreness since the beginning, entirely due to the appearance of floor flies and superman press outs. Who needs to use their pectoral muscles, anyways?! Otherwise, I thought this was a good standard workout. Almost enjoyable.

JM Ripped in 30 - Results
I'm not posting photos here, because I just don't need the whole world publicly searching for photos of me in athletic spandex. But I will post my measurements. I hit goal weight after the first week (Ri30 was just the last step in a looooong process), and so my numbers wobble up and down as I experimented with adding cookies back into my diet ;) It's also amusing, because I'm at a point where adding inches can be interpreted as a good thing: added muscle.

Weight: (week 0) 142.6 (1) 139.6 (2) 140.4 (3) 140.8 (week 4) 138.2
Waist: (week 0) 29" (1) 29.5" (2) 29" (3) 30" (week 4) 29"
Hips: (week 0) 36" (1) 37" (2) 37.5" (3) 37.5" (week 4) 37"
Thigh: (week 0) 18.5" (1) 17.75" (2) 17" (3) 19.5" (week 4) 19.75"
Upper Arm: (week 0) 9.5" (1) 10.5" (2) 10" (3) 10.25" (week 4) 10.75"

Success: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Most food cooked in a crockpot tends to have this odd appearance in photos. The appearance of mush. But. BUT. Don't let that stop you! This simple Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala from TheKitchn is fantastic. This time I did all the time-intensive steps (soaked the chicken in ricotta overnight, sauteed the onions + spices), but next time I think I'll attempt the lazy approach and see how things turn out. Next time I might also stir in some shredded spinach right before serving.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Tiny Wooden Souvenir Crate

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Carlsbad Caverns Souvenir Improvement (Wooden Box!)

When we were in New Mexico Jim bought himself this little Carslbad Caverns souvenir that lit up the clay replica of the caverns when a light shown through the top. Although, for some unknown reason, he decided to destroy the cardboard box that was responsible for the "light up" effect:

Carlsbad Caverns - Step 1 - Destroy Cardboard Box

And so Jim spent a large portion of his vacation in January on reconstructing the cardboard box out of tiny balsa wood slats. It turned out quite well. And now it's personalized with our names and dates! We're pretty darn fancy around these parts.

Carlsbad Caverns - Step 3 - Cut Balsa
Carlsbad Caverns - Step 5 - Glue Balsa
Carlsbad Caverns - Step 6 - Woodburn Words
Carlsbad Caverns - Step 7 - Sign and Date

Oh, French Bakeries...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Le Succes, Le Pittsburgh & Poppy Macarons

Sometimes it's good to eat someone else's baking. Like this 'Le Succes' [almost] dacquoise (i.e., the most complicated pastry known to mankind) and a 'Le Pittsburgh' and poppy macarons from Gaby et Jules.

How To: Paper Roses

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Magazine Paper Rose adorning a present

Awhile back, I helped a friend assemble a starter set of paper roses for her wedding, based on this DIY storybook paper roses tutorial from 100 Layer Cake. It's a fairly simple concept, although a bit time consuming. It's pretty impressive what you can do with some paper and glue. Anyways, it turns out [unsurprisingly] that you can make these paper roses from lots of different kinds of paper, and use them to adorn whatever. Like a gift for a five year old (above).

Step 0: Supplies
Step 1: Cut petals of different sizes, fold in half
Step 3: Continue gluing petals around previous petals, slowly going up in size
Step 4: While attaching paper petals, bend back some of the edges
Step 5: Continue adding petals until satisfied
Magazine Paper Rose: Side View
Magazine Paper Rose

Success: Swedish Oatmeal Cookies (c/o Susie)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It's been love at first sight with these cookies. After stealing some leftover from friends' game night, I ate them for breakfast. They're not terribly sweet, but in these days of sugar overdose, I think they're absolutely perfect. For breakfast. And every meal of your day.

Swedish Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream butter, margarine, and sugar.
  3. Blend in flour and oatmeal.
  4. Shape into balls and flatten with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in powdered sugar.
  5. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min.
  6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Swedish Oatmeal Cookies

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