No Pain, No Gain

Most of you know that I’ve now finished my 30-day program with Jillian Michael’s (also known as “spawn of Satan”…but I digress). The truth is, I loved her program.

Making the Cut was intense, butt-kicking and downright painful but isn’t that exactly how a workout should be?! Better yet, the detailed diet and exercise plan broke me out of the awful 132 pound plateau I had been in for what felt like eons. Yes, I can finally say that the only thing left of my Spanish all-inclusive resort holiday are memories.

After 30 days of Jillian’s butt-kicking and my über-clean eating (as even the mere thought of cheating on the diet made me think Jillian herself was going to come storming out of a closet somewhere and pummel me), I lost three pounds and a total of 3.75 inches from my thighs, hips and waist.  That might not seem very worth it but when you’ve only got five pounds to lose before people start thinking you have an eating disorder, three pounds is a serious accomplishment! And, to be fair, the amount of muscle I added certainly makes up for some additional fat so it could have easily been more like 4-5 pounds.

Although I don’t think this picture really does it any justice, here is my obligatory “in the bathroom mirror” shot…

Although you can’t tell from this awful iPhone self-photography, Jillian’s workouts have given me killer shoulders and my muscles literally “ripple” when I do push-ups or shoulder presses. Speaking of push-ups (and yes, I’m talking about real ones), last week I went to a kettlebell class and the instructor had us do 100 push-ups as a warm-up. I was late to class but got down to business as soon as I caught on. I had never done 100 push-ups before but I know my max set is around 25 at a time so I aimed to do sets of 15 and got to it.  15 push-ups, a small break, 15 more push-ups, a small break. You get it. A little while later, the instructor asked the beefiest guy in the class how close he was to 100. When he said he was at 95, I was shocked! I had assumed that all the guys in the class were finished their 100 and were just hammering out a few more for good measure until the girls caught up.  But no, most of them were at 70 or so.  I couldn’t help but announce that I was already at 90. Seriously! Well, you should have seen beefy dude, and the 10 other guys in the class, drop to the floor and give me 20.  There was no way they were letting a girl beat them in a push-up contest!

But I did.

When I started Jillian’s program, I couldn’t do a single tricep dip — not a good one, anyway.  This afternoon, I led my twin boys through an “obstacle course” at our local playground and hammered out five solid, fully-extended tricep dips. I then moved over to the high bars and did not one, but two, chin-ups.  Maybe you think I’m bragging or maybe you think I’m getting too excited over something insignificant (pardon me if you can pump out 10 chin-ups with ease — you are a stronger woman than I!) but this is a serious accomplishment for me. Chin-ups are not a girls’ best friend.

I’ve contemplated repeating the program but after thinking that I might die during Day 29 and 30’s workouts, I’ve realized that my body needs a break before I go for it again. So I’ll spend a few weeks going to pilates, kettlebell classes, and continuing my half marathon training schedule before I repeat her program. To ramp it up a notch, Jillian suggests repeating each circuit (each workout is comprised of five circuits of 4-5 exercises). I’m pretty sure I’ll puke at some point, which will just confirm to all the other gym-goers (who have witnessed my over-the-top intense workouts during the past month) that I am in fact an exercise nutcase.

Whatever.  I could beat them in a push-up contest.

14 thoughts on “No Pain, No Gain

    • Natasha says:

      I highly recommend! Push-ups are such an AMAZING exercise for not just a back/shoulders burn but core strength and cardio! Plus, you can do them ANYWHERE!! 🙂

  1. Kaylee says:

    Sa-WEET! I remember being able to do chin ups! Talk about a way to impress everyone in the gym, pumping out 20 or so of them! I haven’t even tried now- don’t have the ability at home! Kinda scared to try!

    Brag all you want, YOU DESERVE IT!


  2. Melissa says:

    You seriously ROCK!
    That is some serious dedication and hard work. I am on the wait list at the library for her book and than I may attempt her program, but I am seriously scared to try… than I may have to face the fact that I am really no where close to being fit!
    Can you give us a rundown of what a typical day’s “clean” eating for you was?
    Keep at it! I can only do 10 push ups per rep, and have never tried a chin up!

    • Natasha says:

      Cool Mel! I also got her book from the library and because I couldn’t renew it (someone was on the waitlist), I took photos with my iPhone of all the pages I needed (workouts, exercise explanations for the ones I didn’t know, recipes I liked, etc). But now, I’m going to buy it because it was so effective and when I repeat it next month, I want to have it in my personal library. 🙂

      It’s true that you might have a hard time doing some of the routines but the muscle will form FAST and you’ll be super impressed, I think. The great thing is, you can adapt it as you need. So if you can’t do all the push-ups she’s telling you to do, you can switch to girly ones when needed. For most of the weighted exercises, you can just do whatever weight is comfortable for YOU. I’m sure you’d be fine!

      I’ll get to work on a post about a day in the life of my eating! Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  3. Tracey says:

    Natasha you look awesome! 5 tri dips and 2 pull ups amazing! Brag all you want about what your muscles can do!

    Just want to pass this along, it amazed me!

    Sorry my tech skills are bad but if you YouTube “Charity Vale Pregnant Muscle Ups” you’ll see what I mean. This is one of the fundamental exercises of Crossfit. Charity Vale has placed first in the Crossfit Games, it’s labeled the “fittest man/woman on earth”. I watched the documentary about the 2009 Crossfit Games called “Every Second Counts” it focused on the top men but the women competed against each other doing the same WOD’s as the men. It was so amazing to see women that fit and strong still looking like women.

    I have been doing Crossfit for one year now and love it! Especially when I tell the guys at work what my WOD (workout of the day) was! I’m still hurting from Wednesdays! (30 handstand push ups, 40 pull ups, 50 35lbs kettle balls, 60 sit ups and 70 berpees) Some of my exercises are still modified like the hand stand push ups and the pulls ups aren’t strict but done with a quip.

    Natasha you look great! Strong, Feminine and Sexy! Keep it up!


    • Natasha says:

      Okay, that was crazy! It’s so great to see women that are maintaining their fitness while pregnant. I think we need to be gracious to our bodies while we are pregnant but I also think it’s easy to take that “graciousness” too far!

      And your WOD sound INSANE!! 40 pull-ups? Seriously?! Even with assistance, that’s awesome!!

  4. Kat says:

    Wow!!! that is amazing. I am so jealous!!! Was Jillian’s progam that u did strictly from reading her book?

    • Natasha says:

      Yes, this was her book Making the Cut, which she published in 2007. It’s a gym-based routine and eating plan that you do for 30 days. But just a note — it’s for the last 10-20 pounds and you have to be in pretty good shape to do it (otherwise, she recommends her other programs until you get to that point). I loved it!

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