No More Trouble Zones

Jillian Michaels
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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Everyone else has done an excellent job of reviewing this and breaking down the specifics. I just wanted to chime in because I know there are people like me. Specifically, I don't watch The Biggest Loser but I've seen clips and I find them off-putting. I checked this out of the library and expected to hate it. Amazingly, I didn't. This is a pretty well-rounded and intense workout with lots of compound moves to keep your metabolism up (e.g. side lunges with wide-angle bicep curls, dead lifts with hammer curls.)

I have bad knees but there were only two moves I couldn't do--the jacks in the warmup (easy to substitute and the entire warmup lasts five minutes) and a tricep move called The Surrender which looked really cool and I was sad I couldn't do it. I really like that she does a lot of moves that work the core and Jillian has lots of tips on form. Speaking of which, I've heard some complaints about her form (specifically with her controversial kettlebell DVD but just in general too) however it looks fine on this DVD to the extent that I watched her. I do like her telling you to visualize why you are doing the workout when it gets tough. And it does get tough. I kind of poop out on those side plank lifts she throws in at the end but her encouragement makes me at least try. Best of all, she wraps up the workout with some matwork for the legs: donkey kicks, fireplugs, inner and outer thigh lifts. I love these things. I know, I'm sick. This is followed by a cool down where she congratulates you on making it through a tough workout (thanks! it was) and reminds you not to compare your physique to others which is very fine advice indeed.

I do have to agree with others that she has trouble staying on beat during the cardio in the warmup. I wonder if maybe the music track was added in post-production. It's tolerable for the warm-up but I'd want to try out any of her cardio workouts before I bought them.

I'm not sure, as one reviewer said, why this high rep/low weight workout wouldn't build muscle. I saw this at the store for 9 bucks the day after I first worked out to it. Reader, I bought it.

Instructor Comments:
Jillian isn't too bad in this one. No yelling or criticism and she's friendly with her two students without being overly chatty with them (this is a pet peeve of mine on fitness DVD's.) She is mildly obnoxious at times ("You are probably wondering why I'm not doing this weight with 20 pounds when it looks like I can curl 20 pounds. Well, as a matter of fact I can curl 20." Ohrilly? You are ripped Jillian and I'm happy for you but this is my workout, not your bragging hour.) The positive talk and form advice easily outweigh the occasional eyeroll. I still won't watch the show but I will workout with Jillian.



Iím reviewing this workout after doing it once.

Since Roz and Lindsey have already broken down and given a good overview, Iíll just note that the total running time is about 55 min.
Also, this is definitely a high reps & low weights or endurance-style workout; youíre unlikely to gain a lot of strength or muscle with regular use, but thatís kind of the idea. Jillian is trying to fire up your metabolism, especially if youíre using this with her other workouts, while shaping up your abs, shoulders and arms, and butt and legs.
Those with wrist, elbow, or shoulder issues may want to approach this one with caution; ditto for those with knee issues that are aggravated by lots of lunges, squats, or kneeling moves.

Level: Iíd recommend this to intermediate exercisers comfortable with basic strength training through int./adv. Low adv. exercisers might find that with the appropriate weights (and maybe a few tweaks here and there) this provides a decent challenge.
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser. The first time through I found this somewhat uneven in intensity and challenge level, and my heartrate did not stay up as promised thanks to a higher number of moves than I expected on the floor. That said I can see how with further use Iíd figure out a way to keep the intensity up and make this appropriately challenging throughout.

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, thereís not much in the way of modifications shown, and the choice of exercises for which modifications / substitutions are shown can be surprising.

Music: upbeat instrumental with a driving beat. Itís 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, at least one pair of dumbbells and maybe a mat, depending upon your floor. I also found 3 lbs. on the light side and reached for 5s and 8s, too. There is enough time to switch weights for each exercise, provided you have everything at hand.

Space Requirements: This is decently compact. Youíll need to be able to extend your limbs out when youíre lying down and do things like lunge in each direction while standing.

DVD Notes: You canít skip the Lionsgate intro and warnings, but you can skip Jillianís intro to get right to the main menu, where your options are Recommendations, Workouts (Play the 40-Minute Workout Ė you then have a choice to Begin workout with Jillianís 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 (Jillianís Top Tips for a Healthy Life Ė which is actually an ad for a toothbrush; Donít Quit Music, ExerciseTV Free Workout Offer, and Also from Lionsgate, or trailers for Jillian and The Biggest Lower workouts).

Comments: Iíd say this workout delivers what it promises: a focus on common ďtrouble zones.Ē The front cover even boasts youíll ďeliminate love handles, muffin tops, and wobbly arms,Ē and I can see how regular use with a healthy diet could go a long way towards that. Jillian knows seeing changes can be motivating, so she spends a lot of time talking about how great youíll look, how good it feels to look great, etc.
If you find yourself saying, ďHey, that sounds great! This is the workout for me,Ē stop reading now, because what follows next is in some ways an unfair criticism of a workout that doesnít really want or even pretend to be anything other than what the cover screams.
Yes, I knew going in pretty much what this workout would be like, and yet I picked it up anyway, so I admit itís a bit sour grapes to point out how this workout doesnít fulfill my current needs and wishes. But I still feel compelled to say, as someone who exercises more for health and fitness rather than aesthetic and self-esteem reasons, Iím struck by how uneven and unbalanced the workout is. Wouldnít it be nice for Jillian, to whom so many people turn for fitness advice, to include a few more exercises that may not produce immediately visible results but can add up to a stronger, healthier, and, yes, better-looking body about which people canít help but feel good? Why, for example, is there practically no back work? Among other things, a strong back helps with posture so people stand taller and thus look thinner, not to mention there are some pretty big back muscles that could add to the calorie burn if allowed to join the party, plus something needs to be done to balance out all of that work for the chest, abs, and front of the shoulders. Itís not immediately obvious to me (who is, admittedly, just an ordinary person trying to learn what she can about exercise) how this balances out the other two workouts with which itís often considered a set - 30-Day Shred (30DS) and BFBM (Banish Fat Boost Metabolism) - other than including a number of exercises specifically for the triceps, which only get worked indirectly in 30DS. If I liked both Jillian and this style of training more Iíd spend some time figuring out how to rebalance NMTZ, how to make it work with the other two, and so on, but since there are so many workouts out there (too many of which are on my own shelvesÖ) Iíll pass this on to someone who will enjoy it for what it is and not harp on what it isnít.

Instructor Comments:
Ah, yes, Jillian. I think sheís fine for what sheís trying to accomplish, and I donít mind that she alternates between doing exercises and coaching, but her type of (public) personalityís not my cup of tea, so itís hard for me to say I like her. I can easily find things I donít care for in her persona and style of encouragement here. Still, I can see how she can be motivating, and Iíll 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, whoíll 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 whoís 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, although she could include a few more form tips for some of the more unusual exercises. She doesnít include a lot of directional cues here, which is probably just as well because she seems to struggle with the concept of mirror cuing. One note: Jillian doesnít always alternate sides, so perhaps the lack of directional cuing is a good thing because you can start on the other foot or arm the second time around to even things out (especially during the surrenders).



This is a 50 minute strength circuit workout led by Jillian w/ 2 background exercisers. No one really shows any modifications but on occasion someone will show a modification example. You will only need dumbbells for this workout. Jillian uses 3#ers but seriously folks, this isnt Squeeze-I think most non-beginners can easily pull off heavier weights. There are plenty of reps but its not what I would consider a hi rep low weight w/o. No I am not using my heaviest poundage for the whole workout but Im not using 3's either.

Jillian goes through 6 or 7 circuits depending on how you look at it (warmup, stretch, and one kindof partial circuit at the end). The warmup is nice-mostly cardio (jogging, jump rope) and some dynamic stretching. Each circuit has a few moves and then you repeat the circuit. Jillian does a good job of hitting all the muscles in this one! I really feel that everything was thoroughly worked after doing this.

Most of the circuits are done standing but the last 2.5 are done on the floor and include: plank twists, plank taps, push ups, effective lying ab work variations, donkey kicks, lying inner and outer thigh raises, bridge, supermans, plank rows, and side planks. I love (to hate) all this plank work-you can really feel it working your entire core, chest, shoulders, tri's, and more!

The standing work includes moves like: lunge w/ a bicp curl, squat with an overhead press, static sqat w/ a concentrated bicep curl, pliet w/ an overhead tricep extension, static squat w/ tricep kickback, deadlift w/ hammercurl, surrenders while holding your dumbbells over your head (yikes), sidelunge w/ a hammer curl, etc. I liked all the variety and she does lots of multimuscle moves that got my heart rate up decently.

I would rate this a solid intermediate workout, if you use heavier weights you can easily get a more challenging workout, I did! Jillians got her typical "tough guy" attitude in this, but shes not over the top. If you are not a fan of hers, you probably wont enjoy the workout. But she is fine w/ me, the workout is solid and unique. I like it better than 30 Day Shred, but not as much as BFBM.



I'm reviewing this workout after doing it on Exercise TV about 4 times. Therefore, I can not give comments on chaptering. I plan to purchase the DVD in the future.

Workout breakdown:

5 minute warm up. This is mostly cardio moves with some arm circles. No static stretching.

After the warm up she does 6 circuits, each focusing on a different muscle group. Except for the last circuit, each is done twice. The smaller muscles such as shoulders, triceps, and biceps are worked in combination with the lower body. Don't quote me, but I think each exercise is done for 12 reps.

overhead press with a squat
lateral raise with backward lunges (lunges done one side at a time)
squat with anterior delt raise
The last shoulder exercise has you push your arms forward in a supine position, about chest level. I needed light weights for this.

chest press with crunch
chest fly with double leg raise
bicycle crunches
a side to side crunch wher you touch your inner ankle
push ups

dead lift/hammer curl
concentration curl holding a low squat position
backward lunges with bicep curl
side lunge with bicep curl

tricep kickbacks in squat position
double arm overhead extension
surrenders (I feel this one in my shoulders more than triceps)
crescent lunge while pushing arms backwards, palms faced backward

plank rows
2 plank variations
glute raises, either with one leg crossed over the other, or pointing up
"windshield wipers"-- lying prone, with arms pointing up in a v, you lift both legs and twist towards one arm at a time

side plank
side lying outer thigh lift
side lying inner thigh lift
repeat other side
Then it is down to all fours for leg extensions and side leg extensions


The main body of the workout is 45 minutes.
As my husband commented while I was doing the workout, she really doesn't give you any rest. Like 30 Day Shred, she moves it right along. Still, I never felt the pace was frantic. There is not a lot of equipment involved-- just hand weights and a mat, so you don't have to do much fiddling about. Jillian uses one set of three pound weights for the entire workout. Right, Jillian. I hardly think anyone but the most novice beginner would be challenged by that. I use 3's, 5's, 8's, and 12's. The 12's are just for the plannk rows and a few bicep exercises. Oh yeah, I use my 15 pound kettlebell for the tricep overhead extension. I like kettlebells for that use.
My heart rate stays elevated until I get to the very last section (well, it is still elevated, just not cardio-like elevated)

I had been getting bored with working out. My preference has usually been moderately complex step a la Gay Gasper or Cathe Friedrich. I have always struggled to be consistent with strength. Anyway, my motivation has returned with Jillian's workouts-- specifically her two newest and 30 Day Shred. For some reason it is just the thing I need right now. And, for the first time, I look forward to strength workouts. I guess her strength is pretty aerobic and gives you the same good, sweaty worked out feeling that you get from a cardio workout.

Instructor Comments:
Jillian is more toned down in this workout-- not as much mugging for the camera as in previous workouts.