Monday, January 11, 2010

Funny shoes and exercise videos...oh my!

I have said in previous blog posts (here and on my 365) that 1.) I bought a very ugly pair of MBT shoes and 2.) I was going to start doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. A few people have asked that I do a review of these two things so here goes.

1.) I'll cover the MBTs first. I have been considering these for quite some time. Not having a car and living in the city means I walk. A lot. If I know I'm going to be doing a ton of walking I would wear either my Nikes, Sketchers, or sometimes my flats. No doubt by the end of the day my feet, knees, and/or lower back would be killing me. Funny enough it was most noticeable when I was standing at the stove cooking dinner. I think many years of wearing flip flops and non-sensible shoes when working my part-time job during which I could be standing for 8 hours, totally did me in.

The idea of the MBTs is that they're 'physiological footwear'. They're supposed to improve your posture, activate muscles in your legs and abdomen to help with stability, and reduce stress on your knees and hips. The soles of the shoe are very, for the lack of a better word, rolly. It reduces the amount that you step on your heel and you're actually distributing the weight around your food more evenly. The downside to the shoe is that they're stupid expensive. They are probably the most expensive pair of shoes I've ever owned. Fortunately, the pair I got were on sale and I had a gift card. They have cuter shoes like mary janes and black boots, but they weren't on sale.

I've had the shoes for about 2 weeks so far and I have to say, I really like them. I walk all over town with them and never use my Nikes anymore except for exercise. I feel like my posture is better when I'm walking in them. My lower back doesn't hurt anymore when I'm cooking dinner and I don't have pain in my feet. I did have some pain in my ankles at first, but that's gone away as my muscles are stronger. I do find that I'm very bouncy when I walk in them and if I'm holding Wes' hand while we're walking it's flying all over the place like we're 5 year olds skipping to school. My feet actually hurt less when I'm wearing my other shoes, so that's a huge bonus. The company claims the shoes will tone and shape your body. This, I'm not so sure about. If that happens, that's great, but if you're just looking to buy these shoes to get nice legs then I wouldn't spend the money on them. If you have pain in your feet, hips, or back and want to improve your posture, then I would definitely recommend them.

2.) The same day I got the shoes, I also got Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. So far, so good! I've read some reviews and I have to agree with other that this video is not for beginners. It's definitely geared towards intermediate/advanced level. I think a beginner doing this video, even the easiest work out, would be initimated and not likely to continue exercising. One of her assistants does the modified exercise in case you can't do the harder move, but I still thinks it's a bit too advanced for beginners. The video is set up so that you get 3 20-minute workouts of increasing difficulty. After you warm up you do 3 minutes of strength (you need weights), 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. You repeat this sequence 3 times with different exercises, before you cool down. The cardio portion is A LOT of bouncing (jumping jacks, jump rope, high knees, etc), so if you don't like to bounce, this isn't the video for you. We don't have a lot of space in our living room and this is a great video for that. She doesn't have you running all over the place kicking and flailing. The one really great thing about the video is that you can adjust it to your level (workout 1 with heavier weights, workout 2 with lighter weights, etc). This means you get a lot of workout possibilities in one video.

I did the first workout all last week and my legs definitely felt shredded at first! I decided to try the second one today just to see what it's like. Yeah, it was hard! Some of the cardio things she has you do in this one I wasn't comfortable with at first, so I just reverted back to a couple of the moves in the first workout. It's also really easy to remember the moves, so you can actually do a workout even if you don't have the video. All you need is a clock with a second hand. For example, I went to the gym last week, ran on the treadmill, then did the strength and abs portion of the video in the workout room there. It was nice to mix things up a bit.

One big con to this video, although honestly most exercise videos are the same, is the warm up and cool down are way too short, particularly the cool down. They never do enough stretching on exercise videos, so I would recommend doing some additional calf stretches and such at the end. I wasn't used to all that bouncing at first and my left calf muscle was KILLING me from the jump rope. I've been doing extra calf stretches on my own and it helped loads.

Do I think I'm going to lose 20 lbs in 30 days?? No way in hell. But I'm definitely feeling fitter already and I can see an improvement in such a short period of time. It only takes 20 minutes so no excuses for not having time. See, I managed to find the guilt factor I need to keep it going! :)


  1. Well done on the healthy lifestyle. I was curious about the MBTs. I'll keep them in mind.

  2. I got that same video and I the first time I watched it, I was so depressed! "Man, I am sooo out of shape", it made me so depressed, I went out and got ice cream LOL!!!! But all was not lossed, I woke up in the morning and walked two miles to get a new plan. After doing some research, I found some really good videos for beginners (and beleive me, most of the workout videos out there are not for beginners). I started with pilates and a workout called "Upper Body Blast" and I am slowly making a change! Oh, also, I'm walking two miles each day :-)

    If anyone is like me and they want the beg. level workout videos, I got them from Workouts On Demand -- -- Its cool cause you just download the videos to your computer. I love technology!

    Good luck to everyone this New Years

  3. Interesting to hear about those shoes. I've looked at them so many times and rejected cause of the price. Let us know how they go over the next while! Good luck with the shredding too