FREE workouts on YouTube: 30 Day Shred review

Free workouts on YouTube: 30 day shred review by Jillian Michaels

Free online workout videos on YouTube often come up in conversation with potential clients or people that I meet at social events: “what is the best workout to lose weight in 30 days?”. Occasionally they ask me what I think of one program or another and as I don’t bother with the free stuff I sometimes have a hard time offering some genuine guidance. So I did some research.

Up to not long ago one of the most popular free workouts on YouTube used to be the 30 Day Shred Program by Jillian Michaels with over 35 million views. It consists of 3 x 20 minute workouts each made up by a combination of resistance and cardiovascular training for weight loss. Each workout is a level.

You can no longer find any of the videos for free on YouTube and you now have to pay for a subscription OR watch people following along as they go through the exercises in the video. Not a great way of doing it but it’s better than nothing.


* The fat loss program is cheap and on YouTube which means that you can watch it on your mobile devices, laptop, desktop and wherever you go. If you wanted to purchase the whole program you can do so on Amazon: at £8.49 for the DVD it’s really inexpensive. This is great because it allows people to get into exercising at an affordable price and without the need for a gym membership. If you are down on your luck or simply too busy or too self conscious to attend exercise classes this has you covered.

* It seems that Jillian Michaels and I have the same fitness mentors as both the hybrid exercises and the way the workouts are structured are very familiar!

* Each workout only lasts 20 minutes including a short warm up and cool down. If you do these at home they will practically eliminate 95% of the excuses for not going to the gym.

* The 3 levels are progressive: they build on each other meaning that by the time you get to the higher octane moves in level 3 you should be ready to do them safely… with a few caveats (see below)

* She gives clear instructions without fuss and without being hyper and overenthusiastic. I hate that type of trainers. Jillian explains the correct way to perform each exercise in a clear and concise manner. I love this. It’s what I would want and expect from a trainer.

* The models demonstrate two versions of the same movement: slightly easier and a little bit harder.

* The 3-2-1 protocol is a great way to introduce variety within the workouts whilst being effective in building muscle, burning fat and increasing strength.

* You can do the workout without any weights if you find it too hard for you but I would recommend using massive weights if you want to see and feel dramatic results.


– It’s cheap and easy to access on YouTube. This means that despite the disclaimer at the beginning people are likely to overestimate their ability to exercise and follow along safely. Since there is nobody to advise them they might go for it even if it’s not suitable for them. And there is nobody to tell them so.

– When this program was freely available as stand alone videos on YouTube I had no idea how the system worked. I assumed that you are supposed to do the workout for each level once a day for 10 days and then move on to the next workout for another 10 days and so on. But I was not sure as that information didn’t come with the free bootlegged video. It’s one of the downsides of YouTube: you can find the videos but not the manual which may contain crucial information for a successful outcome. Thankfully that has now been corrected and people MUST purchase the program with all the instructions that come with it.

– Again, when the videos were free I didn’t know if there was a nutritional plan to go along with the workouts to support both fat burning and muscle growing. My concern is that someone without any knowledge of how the human metabolism works would be lead to believe that all they have to do to get shredded in 30 days is do the workouts whilst still eating crap all day every day. Or worse, go on a punishing diet.

– Unless you are already fit all those star jumps, butt kicks and squat jumps could spell trouble for your knee joints. I know she says that she gets her 400lbs clients to do star jumps but in my experience it’s not clever nor sensible to attempt any of this stuff stone cold at your first workout without building up to those moves first slowly and over a period of time.

– Unless you are in your 20s I wouldn’t recommend working out every day and even then if you want to develop muscle you really need to rest to allow the repair and growth processes to unfold naturally. Unless you know that you are genetically predisposed to recover quickly from each workout hitting the same muscles day after day is only going to leave you sore and in fact make you weaker instead of stronger. Trust me, I know this from personal experience and I have been in my 20s almost 2.5 times already. Each time I am 20 again the fitness game changes quite drastically.

– Unless you are already slim you will find that at the end of the 30 days you are unlikely to be shredded just from doing the workouts. I can also tell you this from experience. Depending on your body type and state of your health you might find that it will take you several months of meticulous nutrition and carefully planned workouts constantly adjusted to changing circumstances to get shredded and stay that way.

– Unless you love doing the same thing over and over again you will die of boredom very quickly. I love it when my clients say this:

– The models are young and fit. Not necessarily an accurate representation of the 35+ million people who viewed the 30 Day Shred workouts when they were free on YouTube. I would like to see normal, overweight and unfit people wearing baggy clothes doing these workouts. I get it that the models are meant to be aspirational but my clients tend to end up being more perspirational as they go through similar workouts. Plus they usually struggle to get down on the floor and back up with feline moves. At least in the beginning.

– I don’t know what type of support is available if you have any questions. I am guessing that at £8.49 there is none. This is also crucial because “off the shelf” online workout videos will work for many straight out of the box but not for everyone. That doesn’t mean that the program is ineffective, it just means that it’s not working for you and needs tweaking. That’s when you need help.

Overall, I still think these workouts are great and will give anyone results of some kind: some people will get shredded, others will get slimmer, others will get stronger and some will get bored after 5 days and buy a sarong instead. Plus don’t forget that people who went on the Biggest Loser put all their weight back on and some within months of finishing the program so be careful and don’t be fooled into thinking that getting shredded is as simple as working out for 30 days straight.

If you are strapped for cash and can’t afford the personal touch by all means do have a go at these but bearing in mind my comments above. Adapt the frequency and intensity of these workouts to suit your circumstances and give yourself more than 30 days to get shredded. Remember that abs are revealed in the kitchen so make sure you pay more attention to your nutrition and also your lifestyle.

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