MMM #22 Round-Up: Working Out, For Realsies

September 29th, 2011 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

For September’s mission, we challenged ourselves to take on a tough fitness regimen. I chose Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred DVD, and many of you readers decided to join me (which was very cool!). The rest of you went various other routines, committing to a workout that would line up with their lifestyle (also, of course, very cool!).

So, how did it go?

Well first, can I just say – I friggin’ love Jillian! Who knew? But she’s a pretty incredible lady. Have you listened to her podcast? She’s very much into “personal development”, but in a non-creepy way (personal development is awesome, but so many gurus are slimy! she is not.) Her information is solid, she speaks from her heart and from her own experience (BIG proponent of therapy, bless her) and also, she’s just super cute and charming. So anyway, yeah. I am a fan!

As for the workout, I started at level 1. I was aiming to build muscle, NOT to lose weight, so I put myself on a training schedule instead of a burning schedule. This just means I gave myself “recovery days”. So my intended itinerary looked like:

Week 1 = Level 1, Mon-Wed-Fri
Week 2 = Level 1, Mon-Tues-Thurs-Fri
Week 3 = Level 2, Mon-Wed-Fri
Week 4 = Level 2, Mon-Tues-Thurs / Level 3, Fri

- with the goal of making it all the way through a round of Level 3, without stopping, on the last day of September (Friday – TOMORROW!).

So that was the plan, but of course, there were the inevitable glitches. Firstly, my ankles went into complete protest mode, having gotten used to low-impact exercise like walking and biking. After 2 weeks up jumping jacks and butt kickers and high kicks and skaters, my poor ankles were swollen and stiff, so sore I had to take the stairs sideways. It was crazy! So I had to take a few days off – most of week 3 – and now my ankles are all better (plank jacks be damned!)

However, then I got sick. Dangit! So I missed a few days this week as well. Still, I feel strong and ready, and tomorrow I’m going to attempt Level 3. Wish me luck!

All in all, when I started this mission, I wrote:

This month, I’m going to focus on fitness. I’m going to strive for strength. Build muscle. Feel my body become powerful. Challenge my own physical limits. Heighten my metabolism . . . and my abilities. Sweat out some toxins. Increase endorphins. Combat cortisol and, hopefully, help to manage my stress.

And with that as my goal, I can proudly proclaim, without a shadow of a doubt, mission accomplished!

And what about you, my dears? Tell me how the month has gone for you! Will you be continuing your new workout schedule into the fall? (I will!) Did you meet your intended goals?


Just a reminder that next Monday we kick off the second Bonzai Book Club, instead of another Monday Monthly Mission. After last month’s success, I’m so excited! We’ll be reading Counterclockwise, by Ellen J. Langer, which you can purchase here if you want to support Bonzai (or buy secondhand from your local used bookstore.) Hope to see you in the discussion group!

  • Kathryn B

    My goal is to run in the local mud run next September and try my hand at a 5K sometime next summer. Right now I am up to 3 miles on the track non-stop and running for at least half of it! Like you, I have had some hurdles to overcome. I was supposed to start crossfit a few weeks back but because of scheduling conflict with the instructor I haven’t been able to start yet. I’m hoping to start within a week. Until then I am going to work on my running.

  • Bianca-Vegan Crunk

    That sounds like a fun challenge! I need to get some of her videos to do on days I can’t make it to the gym.

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    I got through all three levels of Shred pretty quickly. Didn’t expect that – but I also had forgotten that I take a 45 minute Muscle Cut class every week, which is basically like Jillian on crack. When I tack a shred routine to the beginning of my yoga time as a warm up, though, it is a bit mentally daunting.

    HOWEVER, what I also did not expect was that Nina would become totally addicted to Jillian’s video! First it was about cracking herself up: “is this the *butt* kick video? She said *butt*, she said BUTT, if she says BUTT then I can say BUTT, tee hee heeeeeeee!” Then, it was about challenging her wee little self: “building strong muscles is AWESOME!” And now, it’s about . . . having an excuse to yell at the television! Kid you not, when Jillian barks out a command, Nina shouts right back at her. Her favorite thing is when she’s doing a “toe [full] push up” instead of a “knee push up” and she barks from her mat “look at me, Jillian! I’m doing a TOE PUSH UP!” I don’t have the heart to tell Nina that she’s actually just in the downward dog position and doing little calf raises. She’s too cute.

    This has hands down been my favorite MMM to date!

  • April

    With 4 kids, it is SO friggen hard to find time to workout. There is always housework to be done, and a billion little ‘fires’ to put out. But for this challenge, I forced myself to FIND THE TIME and not allow myself to feel guilty for it. So I signed up for a 30-day trial at a local 24 hour gym (only $8) a few miles from my house and would steal away after the kids were in bed, while my husband held down the fort. Many times it was nearly 11PM when I left and I was already pooped out from my day. But there is something about plugging into my iPod and just running. Just me. All alone. It was amazing. I come home feeling totally relaxed and ready to crash into bed. I hope to keep it up and to shed some post-baby weight I’ve been holding on to.

    FYI: When I tried the link to purchase Counterclockwise via Bonzai, it said “This item is not available for purchase from this store”.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks for the heads up! Should be fixed now. =)

    Also, your story made me so happy! I empathize a lot (but wow, 4 kids, go mama!) and am so so glad that you made the time to treat yourself. It’s important and you deserve it.

  • Joselle Palacios

    I signed up for spinning class at my school’s gym. During the first class, I sat in the front row and halfway through the workout, my legs gave way as I tried to move from standing to seated, my rear missed the seat, I couldn’t move my feet and I ended up draped across the bottom of the bike like a monkey hanging onto a tree. The teacher had to rescue me.

    Despite that, I still go every Wednesday. It’s very easy coordination-wise (except for the whole loss of leg power thing!) but holy-moly, what a cardio workout. I walk out of there drenched and red-faced.

    My next goal is to set up a few personal training sessions. It’s extra money we don’t really have but I get a discount as a student and I really need outside help with arranging my workout schedule while in a very demanding nursing program. I normally do DVDs but I can’t really workout in the mornings due to time constraints and by the time I get home from class or clinical, I’m done. So, I need to go to the gym while I’m on campus or else it ain’t gonna happen. I’m sure the personal training sessions will help me devise challenging gym workouts.

    Great challenge, Sayward!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I still want to get into running – now that it’s cooling down maybe I’ll pick it up. The “mud run” sounds awesome!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    She is rad, and a serious ass-kicker!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Wow! But I’m not surprised, you’re pretty tough. ;-)

    That is so adorable about Nina. Waits does the toddler version of the same thing! I gets out the yoga mat, rolls it out, and jumps around. He also likes to yell “Go! Go! Go!” mimicking the trainers on the Biggest Loser, ha!

    Funny that this was your favorite mission – after all this time, I’m still always surprised at what people love and what gets the “meh”. This one was way more popular than I expected, much to my delight!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I’ve always wanted to try spin! It seems like such a killer cardio workout, I bet you feel so high and good afterwards. That’s so funny about the front-and-center-fall, and major kudos to you for going back! =D

  • Alina S

    I am just now starting my new workout program, after adjusting to working full time and being sick. But after Day 1 today, I LOVE it! I downloaded the C25K Iphone app (couch to 5K in 9 weeks) and it’s great- starts you off with intervals, shows your progress, uses your personal playlists. I recommend for any wannabe runners!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    I spin a couple of times a week and my *biggest* fear is falling off of my bike! I have a really difficult time keeping my balance during jumps, especially when we’re transitioning between standing and aggressive climbs.

    I agree that spin is a huge cardio workout. Personally, I think it gives me a better cardio burn than swimming.

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    Ha! I completely forgot that I agreed to run 10 miles this weekend (tomorrow-meep!), with someone I’m coaching, and even have a play date for Nina set up for when I’m running. So basically, there’s no way can I back out. I won’t be feeling very tough tomorrow afternoon!

    If/when you’re ready to start running, I can send you some training materials and walk/run schedules to get you started – let me know!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    Ha! I completely forgot that I agreed to run 10 miles this weekend (tomorrow-meep!), with someone I’m coaching, and even have a play date for Nina set up for when I’m running. So basically, there’s no way can I back out. I won’t be feeling very tough tomorrow afternoon!

    If/when you’re ready to start running, I can send you some training materials and walk/run schedules to get you started – let me know!

  • Jen

    I’ve been doing 30DS too, but I had a sore throat so I missed two days, I thought I was better so I worked out, then the next day full blown cold. Guess I’m taking another couple days off. I’m on a burning schedule, or I was before I got sick. I figure if I’m not ready for level 2 I can do a few more days of 1.

  • Jes

    I love Jillian!! She’s so inspiring.
    I got into Hot Yoga/Flow this month, and it’s become my new obsession. It’s easily the best part of my day (I worked up to going 6 days a week from 3 times a week), and I always look forward to it. Today is my “yoga day off,” and I know I’ll feel it tomorrow. Since Sept 1st, I ended up going 17 days out of 30 (yay!!!), and I plan on keeping up with it. At $30/month on the studio’s student rate, IT. IS. A. STEAL. And it’s helped my horrible moodiness, too, for reals.


  • Erin

    Nice work! Hope level three went well for you today. I just finished the couch to 5K program and am running a 5K in two weeks, and then I’m going to start working toward a 10K.

  • Evebeasco

    I am still on level 1. I could probably move on to level 2, but I am going to wait a few days.

  • erosan

    Oh I can vouch for the awesomeness of running alone, late late at night. It is the best.

  • erosan

    Stick to it and you will love it. I am a C25K graduate and a little while ago I ran my first 10K. It is an awesome program, but since I don’t have an Iphone, I didn’t download the app, I ran with Ullreys’ podcast (GIYF). Keep up the great work!

  • erosan

    Congratulations on finishing the c25k program! I hope you do great on your 5K (and post back your time… maybe on the FFF)
    Edit: I keep forgetting the Friday Feedback Forum is no more. I meant to say the Weekend sendoff whatever post.

  • Alina S

    Thank you! I’m loving it so far, I’m inspired by you C25K graduates!

  • Sarah

    I decided to give it a try – I’m not usually one for videos but with three small kids (5 months, 2.5 years, and 5 years), it’s hard to get a decent workout in and the 20 minute idea was kind of appealing. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m already reasonably fit – I run in the Berkeley hills with a double jogging stroller and I have a fairly rigorous yoga practice, so I was bit dubious, especially as it seemed easy enough to move to level 3 within just a few days (I did one day of 1, two of 2, then went straight to 3, never had any soreness) – now if the baby’s napping and my boys are distracted, I’ll often do two in a row. But! I actually feel like despite it seeming “easy,” my body has changed shape, and I have a lot more muscle definition, especially in my upper body. I kind of wish she had more core stuff, but it’s actually an impressive little workout that seems to work as advertised.

    If you’re looking for other awesome online workouts, I found this site: – unlike most virtual yoga classes I’ve found, this studio definitely offers classes that are challenging for more advanced practitioners.

    One thing – ever since I started running again, I find that I can’t be completely raw. I’ve been doing a mostly raw thing (raw all day, then a cooked family dinner), and that seems to work fine, but I wonder how the more purist raw athletes manage to meet their needs, especially in terms of carbs.

  • Meghan

    Well…um… I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with my excersize assignments for my Bradley class?