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REVIEW: Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED



Jillian Michaels seems to be making the most of her rising success, and good for her.  Even saw her on the cover of Shape magazine while buying discount nipple clamps.  Bodyshred is perhaps the more well built and marketed of her workout series, which means once again the Dysfunctional Parrot breaks through the wall like a coked-up Kool Aid man to hit “play” for another review.


What you get:

Calendar, food guide, meal plan and 10 DVD’S.

The contents are expertly made, but the naming convention suffers from the same thing that bugs me about P90X3…it makes no sense.  Names like Amplify, Apex or Ignite say nothing about what your next half hour is going to be.  If a workout is going to be cardio, just straight up tell me.  Sorry.  I’ll be nice now.

All workouts are 30 minutes long.

Launch ( weeks 1-2 )

For an entry level workout, this goes after the core with extreme prejudice.  Cardio, legs, abs, chest, triceps and shoulders.  There is some use of weights, but nothing that goes beyond 8-10lbs.  What you see here is a pretty accurate picture of how things are going to be with all Bodyshred workouts – a heavy core focus.

Rise ( weeks 1-2 )

Cardio/core, abs, back and biceps.  It’s just like the cardio of Launch, just swapping out the muscle work to different parts.  In like fashion the weights are low.  I’d recommend keeping some heavier ones close by for curls lest it get too easy.

Time to talk about the set.  It’s nice and minimalistic with no distractions although it’s a little on the dark side.

I'm sure the set would look even nicer if someone could turn on the blasted lights.

Fire Up ( weeks 1-2 )

The idea is to ease into the program with a generic cardio workout, so Jillian is kind enough to inform us to take it slow this time.  Probably easier said than done if you want to keep up with the cast.

As a nice way to mix things up, one of the cast members takes the cool-down.  Her calmer nature is welcome as Jillian’s natural state is talking like she finished a bag of espresso beans.

Amplify ( weeks 3-4 )

We return to add some resistance.  Each resistance circuit of push-ups and presses ends with a cardio break with some ab work.

To be honest, this is a bit random.  You kick off with shoulder presses but almost immediately fall back into squats, jumps and push ups.  At that point the weights don’t get utilized to their potential at all and just lay around.  Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still hard as Hell.  Especially those cross over push ups.  Freaking impossible.


Escalate ( weeks 3-4 )

Much like Amplify, only this time the focus shifts from shoulders/chest to back/biceps.  Cardio/abs are mixed in between.

I don’t want to pick on the cast too much, but the muscular guys are lifting weights that my toddler could curl.  So if you’re a man and in decent shape, don’t even think of reaching for those 5lbs for bicep curls.   Man up and grab some 20+ pounders.

I’d like to take this time to comment on the music but truly cannot.  Why?  Because Jillian does not stop talking.  Ever.  Not for one second.  It’s like my wife wants to start talking to me about my “parenting style”.

It's all fun and games until you're wrong. Am I right there guys?

Conquer ( weeks 5-6 )

This is supposed to be chest/shoulders/triceps.  As always it includes quads and abs to boot.

In reality, it may do well with chest, having push ups and flyes.  To be honest the shoulders and triceps get pretty much ignored.  This is best described a solid core workout that uses smaller weights to help get er’ done.  But no muscle except abs gets truly isolated.

Ignite ( weeks 5-8 )

Otherwise known as Cardio 2.  Lots of jumping jacks, low hight jumps, running and skips.  None of the moves themselves are overly complex.  For those familiar with Asylum, it’s like a lite version as while it is indeed cardio, it is probably more in line with medium intensity plyometics.

The cool-down is passed off to one of the cast members which is a welcome break.

bodyshred_cooldown mean the cast can speak too?

Triumph ( weeks 5-6 )

A very intense core assault.  Squats, balance postures, plyo and abs.

Be very careful when you perform some of these moves that engage the lower back.  The press-snap has an extremely high potential to totally screw up your back.  When it comes to lower back motions, snapping moves are never a good idea for a home video workout.  That kind of stuff needs a trainer.

Zenith ( weeks 7-8 )

Balls to the wall kids.  30 second intervals.  With resistance and core, this is a “kitchen sink” workout where its all coming at you.

Apex ( weeks 7-8 )

Jillian promises a small slice of Hell.  Nice.

There’s a ton of motion with weights.  Not heavy, but enough to feel like murder soon enough.  This workout will enhance mobility in ways most cruel.  I’d say this one lives up to its name nicely.


Make no mistake, in terms of physical difficulty Bodyshred will kick your sorry butt.   While it lacks some of the bells and whistles of other workouts, it also has some pretty snappy ideas of its own such as having cast members contribute with cool-downs.  It make the whole thing seem more human somehow.

Bodyshred runs a little short on variety in much the same way the original Insanity did.  There’s not a lot to differentiate one routine from the next so don’t expect something like P90X where most DVD’s are dedicated to certain body parts.  Every workout in Bodyshred is essentially a total-body core routine at its heart.  And boy, does it ever excel at it.

Describing a trainer is always difficult.  For example, I like Tony Horton, but readily admit many a television has no doubt suffered from a flying brick because of him too.  It’s taste and there’s no one size fits all opinion.

That having been said, Jillian can be a bit loud.  She’s always – and I do mean always – yelling at the camera or the cast like she’s swallowed a megaphone.  She’s a trainer and means to be intense, so I get it.  But geez lady, stop tearing a strip off me already.

Jillian also has some good people in marketing.  Maybe a little too good.  The homepage for Bodyshred heavily implies improbable Herculean physiques in a mere 60 days coupled with acrobatic skills that would be out of the question even for Amazonian super heroes.

No chance whatsoever is this going to happen.

There is no secret sauce here that will accomplish these amazing results where another program cannot.  Pretty much all the workout programs out there embellish their claims, and Bodyshred is no different.  Keep your expectations realistic and you’ll be fine.

In conclusion, if you like total body cardio with unisex appeal then give Bodyshred further examination.  It’s a solid program at a good price.  4 Feathers out of 5.

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.


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