Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism

Jillian Michaels
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.

General workout breakdown: Since Roz and Lindsey have already described this workout well, I’ll just break down moves and some times.
Total workout time: 53.5 min.
Warm-up (5 min.): After Jillian’s ~1 min. intro (which you can’t skip), you’ll do arm circles (or, as Jillian calls them in 30DS, windmills), toe touches, arm swings (or, as Jillian calls them in 30DS, arm crosses), jogging; repeat circuit.
Circuit 1: squatting side kicks, alternating punches, squatting side kicks (other side), jab – cross – hook – elbow strike, alternating front kicks; repeat circuit
Circuit 2: burpees, plie hops, jab – cross – jab – cross – hop (click heels together), 180 jumps, single leg hops; repeat circuit
Circuit 3: butt kicks, high knees, jumping jacks, standing oblique crunch, standing oblique crunch (other side); repeat circuit
Circuit 4: mountain climbers, supermans, pike crunches, plank oblique twist, walking plank; repeat circuit
Circuit 5: alternating swing kicks (aka crescent kicks), alternating upper cuts (think overhead punches) in squat, alternating back kicks, jab – cross (or alternating front punches), knee crunches (think knee smashes); repeat circuit
Circuit 6: jump squats, cross country skiing, scissor kicks, skaters, standing mountain climbers; repeat circuit
Circuit 7: moguls, standing pikes, knee crunches (think a type of repeater knee), knee crunches (other side), jump rope; repeat circuit
Cool Down (5 min.): This really should be called a stretch, as there’s no real cool-down here. You’ll come down to the mat for cobra, adding in neck stretches while holding the position to stretch out the abs. You’ll then do a runner’s lunge, holding your back leg for a deeper quad stretch, before sitting down into a splits position to stretch the inner thighs and hamstrings. You’ll end with stretches for the back of the shoulder and then the triceps. Just a note: after all of that jumping your calves deserve a stretch, too; you may also want to add in a little more for muscle groups in the chest, hips and glutes, and low back.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate exercisers through low adv., although I agree that the circuits are uneven in terms of intensity and those low adv. (and maybe even some int./adv.) exercisers may have to add in some oomph or change a few moves to boost this up to their level. Even with modifications this one may be tough for experienced beg./int. exercisers, but if you’re willing to give it a try and work up to the full thing, more power to you! Approach this one with caution if you’re sensitive to lots of high impact.
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser, but if left to my own devices I shy away from a lot of impact and intensity, although I’m getting over that. The first time through I found this one nicely challenging, but my heartrate dropped with some of the moves, particularly the core ones; a few tweaks (hmm, like reaching for a kettlebell?) should fix that.

Class: 2 women do the exercises; Jillian sometimes starts or finishes the exercises but seems to prefer coaching, either pointing out proper form or motivating the viewer. As Lindsey mentions, some modifications are shown or suggested, but the choice of exercises for which modifications / substitutions are given can make you scratch your head in confusion: as always, Jillian refuses to modify jumping jacks, and yet she suggests ways not to jump in burpees.

Music: upbeat instrumental with a driving beat. It’s nice but generic exercise video stuff.

Set: interior set with exercise equipment arranged around (looks very similar to ones used by 10 Minute Solution, Shape, etc.)

Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles.

Equipment: sneakers and maybe a mat, depending upon your floor. (I put down puzzle mats.)

Space Requirements: This is decently compact. You need to be able to lie down with your arms extended over your head and your legs stretched out plus be able to take a big step into a kick and drop down to the floor for a burpee. This is easy enough to make work in a fairly small area, even if you have to change which way you’re facing to utilize your area best every few exercises.

DVD Notes: You can’t skip the Lionsgate intro and warnings, but you can skip Jillian’s intro to get right to the main menu, where your options are Recommendations, Workouts (Play the 40-Minute Workout – you then have a choice to Begin workout with Jillian’s instruction and music or Begin workout with music only; Select a Circuit: Warm up, Shoulder & Legs, Chest & Abs, Biceps & Butt, Thighs & Triceps, Core, Upper Body & Core, Lower Body & Core, and Cool Down), and Bonus (Jillian’s Top Tips for a Healthy Life – which is actually an ad for a toothbrush; Don’t Quit Music, ExerciseTV Free Workout Offer, and Also from Lionsgate, or trailers for Jillian and The Biggest Lower workouts).

Comments: This one should appeal to those who like simple, straightforward workouts with no choreography, no TIFTing, and no equipment other than a pair of shoes. It’s very easy to catch onto the moves, since you do one move at a time until Jillian says to switch.

Of the three harder Jillians currently available – 30-Day Shred (30DS), Banish Fat Boost Metabolism (BFBM), and No More Trouble Zones (NMTZ) – I think BFBM may be the one I like most and find easiest to work into my usual routine.

Yes, I agree it is a bit odd to have what are traditionally called strength exercises in a cardio workout – if allowed to my own devices I prefer “pure cardio” myself – but this seems to be popular at the moment. In particular, it’s par for the course for what are getting called “metabolic workouts” or “metabolic circuits,” where the idea seems to be to boost the metabolism (and thus weight, especially fat, loss) through high intensity moves, lean muscle, and a pumping heart. (A few years ago many of these would be classified as “bootcamp” workouts, I suspect.)

Instructor Comments:
Ah, yes, Jillian. I think she’s fine for what she’s trying to accomplish, and I don’t mind that she alternates between doing exercises and coaching, but her type of (public) personality’s not my cup of tea, so it’s hard for me to say I like her. In fact, I can easily find things I don’t care for here, like how she goes on and on about how flexible the one background exerciser is (to the point where the poor thing starts to look uncomfortable herself). Still, I can see how she can be motivating, and I’ll admit she inspired me to stick out the full versions of a few exercises. Her goal here is to be your personal trainer, your lifestyle coach, your workout cheerleader, who’ll push you to do more than you ever thought you could and tell you to keep going when you want to stop. Look elsewhere if you need a mild-mannered, sweet-tempered instructor who’s doing every rep and sweating right there with you. (Also look elsewhere if you need an instructor who counts exactly evenly and keeps to the beat of the music perfectly. Or an instructor who comes up for air at some point during the workout. Girlfriend can talk.)
Jillian cues and instructs decently enough.