Beauty Uncensored: The 30-Day Shred

I’d heard about The 30-Day Shred for weeks before I got up the nerve to try it.

No, it’s not a concerted effort to get rid of old bills and tax forms. The 30-Day Shred is a fitness DVD from "The Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels. She claims that her 20-minute workout over a period of 30 days will turn you into a lean, mean, “shredded” machine.

Or at least, get you well on your way.

Over the last few months, a few dozen of my blogging friends have been doing "the Shred" and documenting their progress online. Led by Kristen Chase from Motherhood Uncensored, they called themselves Shredheads.

I called them crazy.

I mean, look at what they were saying after just one day of the workout?

“ … the first attempt left me so crumpled and sore that I couldn't even roll over in bed without wincing for nearly a week. I seriously wondered if only insane people did this workout, because me? I'm no good at it,” wrote Christina from A Mommy Story.

“... walking back to my office after the workout? I almost fell going down the stairs. i had to literally HOLD ON to the rail,” blogger Jennster announced.

For 30 days I giggled as they moaned and groaned and complained about the difficulty and the pain. And then I read the results of their labors. Weightloss varied, because the shred makes you gain muscle. However, the before and after pictures were pretty incredible. Check out Kristen, after just ten days. And Christina, after 22 days.


Immediately, I ordered the Shred from Amazon (where, incidentally, more than 1,100 reviewers gave it four out of five stars). It was only $8.99, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

A couple of weeks later, DVD and three-pound weights in hand, I prepared to start "Day One, Level One." Despite the claims of intense, mind-numbing pain after the first day of shredding, I wasn’t too worried. I had been working out hard on the elliptical several days a week for months. I was in decent shape.


The Shredheads weren’t kidding when they said it was tough. The Shred consists mainly of old school exercises, like pushups, jumping jacks, lunges and bicycle crunches. You go through three circuits of interval training three different times to complete your 20-minute workout — cardio, strength and abs. By the time I was done, my muscles were burning, and sweat was pouring off of me. I was thrilled that the 20-minute Shred felt even more intense than my hour on the elliptical — and I go hard on the elliptical, people. I stood up from my mat at the end of my workout …

… And then I died.

Seriously, I was in SO MUCH PAIN. Pain that only got worse the next morning when I tried to get out of bed. My legs were in agony. I walked like I was partially paralyzed. Shred Day 2 was out. Moving my legs was out. I stumbled around the house and prayed I’d feel better by the next day, when I was planning to take my kids to the zoo.

The next day, though, I was no better. Resolutely, I packed picnic lunches for the zoo, reasoning that walking it out would help my muscles feel better.


In intense pain, I chased my children around the zoo for hours, using the stroller like a walker. Even worse, every hour or so, my right knee would inexplicably give out. Good times.

I blamed Jillian. Ohhh, did I blame Jillian.

It wasn’t until three full days after my first shredding experience that I finally felt normal again. I decided to attempt the Shred one more time, but I was scared. I couldn’t go through three more days of that kind of pain. With tremendous anxiety, I fired up the DVD player and went through Level One of the Shred again.

And I felt no soreness whatsoever. Not during the workout, and not afterward.

In fact, afterward, I actually felt great. I had tons of energy and felt like I’d had a fabulous workout.

Because I actually wanted to lose pounds while I did the Shred, I decided to alternate my Shred days with elliptical days. After seven days (four days of shred, three days of elliptical), I lost …


I didn’t significantly modify my diet, other than trying to make healthy choices. The weight loss was almost entirely from my new exercise regime.

Even better, on day five, I wore a shirt that had been a smidge too tight on me just a week earlier. And on a date night last night, I actually felt no need to put on Spanx under my little black dress.

Yes. You read me right. No Spanx! Can you even imagine the liberation? Even my husband was thrilled!

“This is great,” he said, after putting his arm around my waist. “I hate that Spank thing. It feels like you’re wearing a bathing suit under your clothes.”

I beamed.

“Thank you, Jillian,” I mouthed, looking up into the sky. I mean, Jillian’s still alive and all, but it helped to think we might be wishing on the same bright star, in that big somewhere out there.

I’ve mentioned my Shred success a couple of times on Twitter since I began, prompting Her Nashville editor, Ashley Haugen to try it out for herself. This is the message she sent me a few days ago, after completing Day One:

“I took a first stab this afternoon, and I'm crippled. CRIPPLED! I try to do something exercise-ish every day (excluding weekends and major holidays, of course!), so I thought I could hack it. I'm really [expletive] scared for the pain that tomorrow will bring. I'm scared of that AND this Jillian chick. She's pretty damn scary. So, I'm not sure if I should thank you or curse the day we ever met!!”

Oops. Let’s hope Ashley sticks with the Shred. Otherwise, I may not have a job here anymore.



ClassyFabSarah's picture

I have fallen off the Shred bandwagon 3 times. I just hope that I can stick it through soon - because holy heck check out those results!

SoMo's picture

After seeing the results on so many, especially Kristen, I am so doing this after this baby. I have set it for 2 months after. The hubsand has even decided to do it, too, although I am not on board with his 4am wake up call. Then again, I might be up, anyway.

It is nice to know that things went better after the first workout, that it is only 20 minutes and people have stopped and started. It gives me hope.

laura's picture

i remember back in february when you stopped by my blog and turned me on to Kristen's whole crazy shredhead cult. thanks!

Lindsay Ferrier's picture

This is so exciting. It's fun when everyone's doing it. Someone said she was doing Shred two days a week and it wasn't doing anything for her, but it's the type of workout that I think you have to do at least 4 or 5 days a week to see results, particularly since it's only 20 minutes.

And SoMo, if I had a 4am wake up call, I'd NEVER get in shape! :D

ClassyFabSarah's picture

With a wedding coming up, I am most definitely back on the Shredding bandwagon. This is only the 3rd day but I swear my pants feel looser (if only in the mind...). But I'm sticking to it this time!!

Lindsay Ferrier's picture

You go, girl! I definitely felt looser pants, too, almost immediately. Soon I will have Anita's abs. (A certain someone told me Jillian looked a little "beefy.")

Kira's picture

I'll try it. Just had my fourth baby, and somehow the weight isn't falling off me like it...oh, wait. It never did that.
So I'll Shred. BUT LET IT BE KNOWN: I'm already cranky about it.

krsmith1's picture

Ok, well I am not from Nashville, but this looked like a good post to join. I started the 30 day shred. Today was day 2. I just want to say that I really hate jumping jacks and pushups. I mean HATE them!! But I already feel like I have more energy and it is great to have that after work out sore. I tried out for the biggest loser and didn't make it, so I figured I would let Jullian kick my butt on dvd instead. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Lindsay Ferrier's picture

Let us know how it goes!

kent-csimines's picture

My only concern is the fact that often people buy a book that covers a particular time-frame (in this case 30 days) and when the time-frame has ended they simply go back to the unhealthy lifestyle that got them fat in the first place. Just bear that in mind.

mrs_russell's picture

I bought the dvd months ago and was really faithful for about 10 days, which is basically a record for me:) I think my problem is I want a quick fix but never really change my mentality about eating right and staying healthy. I joined this website b/c hopefully I will find some encouragement from real people. Thanks, everyone! I love reading the blogs:)

rpierce77's picture

Im on day 8 of the Shred. Im loving it, but my only problem is that Im not losing weight yet. I have noticed that my thighs are getting bulkier with muscle, which I guess is good, but I dont like the tightness in my pants. Im hoping that the weight will start to fall off soon, especially since Im working by butt off during each workout. My goal is 10 days level 1, 10 days level 2 and 10 days level 3. But I do feel great after each workout.

Dirk Augustine's picture

I was also surprised when I saw the results. The first link didn't show any pictures, so I thought this can't be possible. But when I saw Christine, the way she looked after only 22 days of workout, I was left numb. The strange part about this weight loss training is that she has indeed some muscles that are showing pretty hard. I'm not sure if I want that, because I don't think my Raquel Welch wigs would match the strong abdomen.

Dona hulin's picture

My son went to the gym and the second day he could not move. He had pain in his neck, arms, shoulders, legs. I got worried so I called a doctor. The doctor said that my son did too much exercises and his muscles weren't ready for that. After a week of doing this exercise you will feel much better. I also tried such programs after my birth, because I gained some weight. After doing 3 months of exercises and having a strict diet, I lost a lot of pounds. Other problems started that were much worse that having a few pounds more. Well, in the final, I had to search for a doctor because I felt horribly about the problem with my breast. The final has a happy ending, but what I regret the most is that I was too stubborn to understand that there are some limits, and crossing over is not a good solution.

Her Well Being: Stories of Health, Survival, and Livin' It Up Her Style

Second Chances
It was just an average Saturday morning back in April 2009 when Kelly Jent's life changed forever. Kelly, a Springfield resident and 33-year-old mother of three, was helping a friend with a yard sale when she suddenly felt the uncontrollable urge to go to the bathroom.

To read this and other Her Well-Being stories, click here.
Real Estate: Home Video Tours
Searching for a new home? Her Nashville is excited to partner with, offering buyers easy-to-view video tours of Middle Tennessee's hottest homes.

1808 Bunting Way Dr, Hermitage TN 37
Price: $259,900
Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 3/2

267 Cobblestone Landing, Mt Juliet TN 37
Price: $299,900
Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 4/3

View More Homes

Mailing list sign-up

Copyright © 2009 Her Nashville