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We Tried It: Bootcamp with Jillian Michaels


What's it like to work out with fitness guru Jillian Michaels? In a word: Hard!

A colleague and I had the opportunity to attend Sweat AC, a new three-day fitness and health expo in Atlantic City. In addition to taking several other classes, as well sitting in on some media roundtables, we were offered the opportunity to try the Biggest Loser coach's hour-long bootcamp. How could we refuse?

That's how I found myself waking up bright and early on a Saturday in September, eagerly carving out a space on the mat with a hundred other fans, waiting for the drill seargant to make her apperance and wondering what kind of class it was going to be.

And what a class it was. I'd like to think I'm in shape. I mean, I'm not a marathon runner or an Olympic athlete, but I work out! Multiple times a week! I follow a fairly healthy diet! Jillian Michaels' bootcamp? Wiped me out for the rest of the day.

We started with a warmup of high knee jumps, which led to jumping jacks, which quickly progressed to jumping lunges. OK, I thought. No problem. I can do this. Famous last words.

After our warmup came every single bootcamp bodyweight move you could think of. Push-ups? Check. Burpees? Check. Squats? Yup. Jumping squats? Word. Donkey kicks? Sure. Crunches? Yup! Plank? We planked every which way you can imagine. Name the move, Jillian pulled it out. Halfway through a mountain climber, I slipped on a drop of my own sweat and went down on the mat.

Bootcamp: 1. Alanna: 0.

RELATED: Want some personal motivation from the Biggest Loser trainer? Read Michaels' most inspiring quotes ever.

When Michaels pulled out one-armed mountain climbers, I actually thought I was going to give up. But she won't let you. That woman doesn't miss a beat. If she sees you slowing down, she's not afraid to throw out a swear word or two if it'll get you off your knees. If you're looking for someone to hold your hand while you work out or to tell you you're doing a great job, she's not your girl. Her method's definitely an acquired taste, but when Jillian Michaels calls you a wimp, you have no choice but to peel yourself off the floor and keep going.

This bootcamp didn't just kick my butt. At the end of the hour-long class, I could barely lift my arms above my head. Bad news for me, because I had two more classes to go that day.

Muscle soreness aside, if there's one thing Michaels proved, it's this: You do not need a gym to get in shape. You don't even need a very large space. As long as you are able to get up and jump around for 15 minutes, you can use your body to get a complete, total-body workout. (Don't know how to get started? Check out this 10-minute bodyweight workout).


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