30 Day Shred: The Pros and Cons

pros and cons of 30 day shred

I am now eight days into a home workout “programme” called the 30 Day Shred. You may have heard of it before – you might have even heard it from me – but I thought I’d tell you a little bit about what it is and run through some pros and cons. The 30 Day Shred is a 20-minute workout that combines cardio with strength training and moves through three different levels of difficulty. I’m still on level one, which combines things like jumping jacks and “butt kicks” with strength moves including squats, lunges and press-ups. All quite straightforward, but surprisingly knackering and effective! I was going to leave my initial post about the Shred until after the full 30 days, but a number of things have occurred to me that I don’t want to forget about, so here’s my initial set of thoughts.

The 30 Day Shred is a DVD (I paid around £4 on Amazon) and all you need to do the exercises is a set of weights (you could use heavy objects, if push came to shove!) and a mat if your floor is very hard. You don’t need any specialist equipment, and there doesn’t seem to be any crazy diet that goes with it, though the lovely lady (Jillian Michaels) does seem to refer to a diet in her commentary.. I’ll look into that. You’d think that twenty minutes of exercise done in your living room would be a total waste of time, and I’m one of the most sceptical people I know, but I can tell you that in this case it really isn’t. I decided to do seven days of the Shred before a filming session in which I knew I’d have to wear a bathing suit and I felt a hundred times better about myself in just that week.

Of course, it’s not some kind of magical exercise “answer” – there are some pretty hefty downsides to this programme – but for a cheap quick-fix, I think it’s absolutely brilliant. Read on for my considered pros and cons so far!


Hardly any financial outlay whatsoever. I think you can actually watch this programme on Youtube now, which is free, but I like having the DVD so that I can watch it on the big telly in the living room. I don’t want to have to be flicking my eyes to focus on an iPad or laptop!

It is REALLY hard work, so you know that you’re actually making changes.

I really like the lovely lady (Jillian!) who instructs – she’s very watchable and personable.

I don’t have to leave the house to get my exercise fix. When I’m studying at home or doing computer work for the day I don’t want to have to take a three hour chunk of time to pop to the gym in Central London, so this fits in really well.

It only takes twenty minutes, but you feel like death at the end of it, so it definitely feels like a proper session.


You don’t have to leave the house, so it’s not sociable at all. For some people, exercise is one of the only times they get some space for themselves outside of their homes, so for them, probably not so appealing!

There’s no actual real-life instructor, so if you’re doing moves wrong, it could be potentially damaging to joints and muscles. To be fair, if you’ve done exercise classes before – things like Body Conditioning or Body Pump – then you should be pretty au fait with form and posture when you’re lifting weights; but if you’re a total beginner then you need to listen really carefully to the commentary to make sure that you’re doing things correctly. It’s important to watch how the models are demonstrating the moves and to listen when Jillian describes how your back should be positioned or how you do squats properly. It’s really important to get your form right when you do weight-bearing exercise.

It’s quite repetitive. Once you’ve done four or five days of the same level, you know the commentary off by heart! I quite like this, because I talk along with Jillian like some kind of nut, but others may find it too much. Also, the music doesn’t change because you’re watching the same level over and over again (ten times per level) so you start to hear it in your dreams.


What do you reckon? Worth a try? I’ll update you again when I’ve done the whole 30 days, but let me know in the comments if you’ve tried the Shred and had success! I definitely dropped a couple of pounds of wine-flab in the week I’ve just done and I can actually feel the muscles in my legs and bottom again. Hurrah!

You can find the programme on Youtube, or the DVD is here on Amazon: http://goo.gl/jLMbT


  1. I loved this workout! I got better abs after I had my baby than before. It took me not 30 days but about 7 weeks, because I chose to never workout on weekends. I haven’t really worked out to this program for over 5 years, I only need to maintain with daily yoga and watch what I eat. I’m slowly losing my muscle tones but I still can keep my body fairly firm. Maybe I should do another round of this!

  2. Hey Ruth :)
    I’m following your blog and youtube channel now for about a good year when I first stumbled over it through another youtuber. I only just now that the seasons are getting cold (yes it’s August and only 17°C *cry* summer come back!) and running early mornings (only time I can actually go) kinda freezes me to death started to look into home workouts. So I came across this post and thought I wanna give it a try. There’s only one big question to it! After those 30 days… you do what? Rince and repeat? Don’t know if that makes sense since it gradually increases and you would go back to “easier” moves. So if not repeat then rather go on with the level 3 moves every other day? I’m lost haha. How did you go on after you finished this?

    • I didn’t finish it because my knees are crap and they started to ache really badly! I suppose you need to just keep switching it up, or stay on level 3? xx

  3. does this work on inner thighs too? I cant wear short shorts but wish I could.
    How many calories should I eat each day?

  4. Does this also help with thighs? Ive always had a small frame but big thighs short shorts look terrible on me. Keen to see how it works on abs. how many calories a day?

  5. Hey I just wanted to add something for the people commenting with bad knees. I have bad knees as well and find the jumping jacks are the worst for them. Instead of jumping jacks, I run on the spot with my hands lifted in the air. This keeps your heartbeat up without the repetitive motion killing your knees.


  6. Hi I have just done day 1 of the shred and although a little sweaty dont feel too bad but I am quite an avid gym goer but tend to take part in the fitness classes such as body pump, body combat, circuit training and do this approx 6 days a week. I have been on holiday for a week and feel awful as I have done no exercise and eaten really badly, hence why I started the 30 day shred today to give me a boost to get back on track. Do I do 10 days of each level? What happens once you’ve completed it? Thanks in advance xx

    • Yes, 10 days of each level. Then I suppose you can have a rest! Ha – don’t know what you do afterwards. Maintain some level of every two days or something? x

  7. Just did my 1st day of Level 1. I’m in awful shape, but I found most of it manageable. A little tough on the knees as others have mentioned. I haven’t sweated so much in ages! Since it’s a 30-day program, are you supposed to do Level 1 for 15 days and then switch to Level 2 for the remainder?

  8. I did this. It’s an absolute killer on my knees! ouch!

  9. I am one day one but cant do level 1 of shred 30 by jillian for not more than 10 mins how would i increase to 20 mins im tensed

    • keep going.. don’t quit, if you’re sore the next day, still work out…the minute you “rest” because you’re sore, you lose what you just acquired and have to start back over… Keep pushing, change doesn’t happen overnight, it takes work and stress to be put on your body!

  10. Well. I’m day 3 of level 3 of 30DS.. And it is a very great workout routine for you at home without he wasting time in getting ready for gym & going there & coming back. Specially if th gym isn’t near your home. Plus i don’t like sticking to a fixed time in the gym with a fixed group because sometimes things come up at that time & it is hard to go.. So 30 days shred can be done on any availble time. Unexpected occasions will not cancel your workout time. And doing it 20 min with such hard effect makes you feel satisfied about it…
    It is really effective from the first day you feel your muscles burn. And by the end of level 2 you will see the effects obvious on your muscles.. My arms are defined nicely not big muscles of course. I feel my abs storng & i really feel fit & more acti e than before.. Even thouh i’ve just lost 4 kg since i’m not in a specific diet.. I’m maintainig my weight.
    I actually stick to healthier food & reducex my sweetners intake.. I believe if i got onto diet i’ll lose a great weight since usually i lose fast..
    I’m intending on carrying on with it as my routine because i love it & i feel satisfied with it..

  11. I started using this video combined with running 1-3 miles a day after having my second child and I lost 30lbs the first month and I didn’t go beyond the first level, due to bad coordination on my part. But it really does work. The first time I did it my muscles in my arms and legs were sore for a good two days and going down the stairs the next morning proved to me, that my legs had a hood work out.

  12. I’ve bought this as I don’t get a lot of time to myself and with childcare, I need a home workout. At 20 mins this will (hopefully) be ideal, although I’m aware it’s tough.


  14. Is it enough to just do 20 mins of this workout for everyday? or are we suposed to club it with other forms of cardio exercises too to get the required effect?

  15. does anyone know how many calories are burned in one session on level 1?? 2?? and 3?? I’m still only on level 1 but am really curious

  16. Just completed day 1 of 30 day shred and my god did I feel the burn. You can definitely feel your muscles working.

  17. Have you tried Tabata training? It is supposed to be very effective interval training for people who do not have a lot of free time to work out. I did it once and thought I was going to die but it definitely works!

  18. I did the whole shred a couple of times (3×30 days) over the whole summer and was really impressed with the define abs and bum lift I got from it but I didn’t loose any weight and figured it was because muscles are heavier than fat. I stopped about a month ago and without doing anything special I lost half a stone, so again, I presumed it was the muscle loss. Now, my boyfriend is telling me that he prefers me now as opposed to this summer as I look less “buff” and I kind of agree with him… So the advice I would give is maybe to not use heavier weights than 1kg per arm so you don’t get too muscly. Overall, I really enjoyed the 30 day shred and will do it regularly during the year to keep my body lean :) I hope this helps.

  19. I absolutely love your blog/site/youtube channel!
    Your writing style and the “crazy bits” in your videos are just hilarious!

  20. Hi… I done the shred last year and my results were amazing, im in my 3rs week of it again now and feel firmer and fitter again already..

  21. Do you have any old Richard Simmons tapes you like to sell?

  22. I’ll give this a go. I don’t like going to the gym, not because I hate to exercise but because going there, changing, attending a class/using the machines, taking a shower or coming back home to take a shower takes more time than I care to spend on a 25 minute workout. I’ve heard some good things about the 30-day Shred, it may work after all! You are already slim and fit, but have you noticed any definition in your body that wasn’t there before the Shred?

  23. hello ruth, i know this is totally irrelevant to this post
    but youre the only beauty blogger i trust
    i would really appreciate it if you replied
    can i use a cleansing balm if i’ve got a sesitive skin?

  24. This is so great, I have just started level 1 now and it’s actually very hard and my whole body is feeling it…

  25. I did the 30 day shred and after 15 days i stopped because i got slightly bulky arms. a year has passed and they are still there. I guess it’s better than having jelly for arms. But i always wanted to have those slim, lean arms. Did you also have this issue?

    • Have you tried Tracy Anderson? She always promotes how her method will give you sleek, toned arms – teeny tiny in her words..
      There are some clips on YT, have a look

  26. Once I knew the routine I muted it and played my own workout songs over the top :) (Girls Aloud)

  27. Hi! I found your blog whilst researching a sample eye cream I received with a clothing order :) I LOVE the 30 day shred. As a man, I thought it would be geared towards women but I was so wrong! It is fantastic and I have seen such a difference

    To everyone enjoying it, Jillian also has another DVD that I have started after doing 30DS, named Ripped in 30. I actually prefer this a lot more to 30DS and it’s perfect for continuing on after it. It’s a circut system like 30DS :)

  28. styleofthetime

    I want to tone up but im actually quite thin, do you think this is still a good idea to do? I dont want to lose weight just build a bit of muscle!

    • I’m quite slim too and am loving the 30 day shred! I sometimes find my appetite increases and I end up eating more when I do hard excercise like this so I don’t lose weight without trying to diet at the same time. It is amazing for toning up though! It’s worth giving it a go :)

    • I am quite thin too, and I am on day 10. I toned up, but gained a little weight. Muscle weight (and my trousers are definitely a bit looser now) but still… It definitely bulks you up a bit :S

  29. I am on day three and still going strong!

  30. I just started this yesterday and i am soo sore today!

  31. I did my second day of level 3 today and it absolutely kills. So many planks with other moves added on top!
    I looove that burning feeling that you get the next day though. My upper body and abs burn!

  32. This made me want to try it: time to get serious about getting in shape for a bridesmaid dress! Think I will order it today and try it after the 4th of July holiday:)

  33. You should try also XHIT Daily on Youtube for some great work outs. I tried and they really work for me :) I pair it with Tone It Up :)

  34. I love the shred, need to do it again actually. I find Jillian really motivating in quite a scary way, especially on Level 2 when she says “I WANT YOU TO FEEL LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO DIE”. Such a great workout for 20 minutes!

  35. I have a cable that connects my ipad to the plasma TV. Excellent way to get to play youtube videos on a large screen. Tiffany Rothe is also excellent for getting a nice trim waist and defined booty.

  36. Ruth look into in insanity workout . I love it . amazing results

  37. charlotte stevens

    I’m about half way through it, noticed a lot of difference already in my legs and arms as I can see some muscle definition which is nice! I didn’t think I’d like it but I totally do.
    I do it about an hour after waking up, and it goes really really quickly, so by 10 AM I am all showered and ready for the day :)

  38. I love the ‘shred’ workout but if you feel like a change, or are not even in the mood to put your trainers on ; ) try Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown!

  39. I have had a girl crush on Jillian Michaels since I saw her on Biggest Loser USA (yes, I know what you’re thinking). I really liked her style and she seemed to care (nice hair too!).

  40. I really love it, but it is so hard on my knees :( I can only do it a couple of times a week or I am in a lot of pain. If you don’t have knee problems though, it is great! You get a really good workout in such a short space of time, and I find that even after doing it a few times you can really feel a difference!

  41. I have been doing this DVD for some time now (im only on level 2) but i think its brilliant! You wait until you get to stage 2, the first time i did it i was unable to lift a cup of tea to my mouth the next day, absolute agony (but well worth it)

  42. Jillian scares me because of “The Biggest Loser” but I think I’ll give it a try! ^^

  43. I’m on day 6 and actually really enjoying it. It’s tough, especially as I am not fit in the slightest, but you certainly feel satisfied with yourself when you’ve finished! I’ve started listening to a workout playlist now whilst doing it and that really helps push you (and helps with the monotony)

  44. When I was a teenager, I used to exercise with Cindy Crawford’s tapes and I loved them. The exercise programmes were 40 minutes long but quite varied, but mostly exercises and no cardio. However the soundtrack was amazing (Primal Scream) and the scenarios were breath-taking. It was really inspirational.

  45. I love it! I got upto day 10 then did a couple of days on level 2, then stopped…I am going to give it another go and start from scratch as punishment for quitting! Definitely gets results though :)

  46. Her warm ups seem good…she seems pretty intense though!

  47. I’m so glad u reminded me about this …a personal trainer recommended it to me a few years ago. Now I have a baby so no longer have the time or money for a PT but seriously need some help to get back in shape. Should be able to do this whilst baby has his morning nap (instead of having coffee & toast!). I’ve ordered the DVD …have an event I want to look decent for in 1mths. lets see how I do!

  48. I’m inspired. Thanks Ruth, look forward to hearing more of your thoughts as you progress.

  49. Hi! I really love your blog, you have inspired me even to recipes! Watched the video and I must say that it looks like half of a tae-bo class I took. I say half because tae-bo sessions lasted for 50 mins-ish and the cardio exercises were way more varied especially with leg kicks (so cool). We, unlike with Jillian would not do weigh lifting before punching maybe this is why this is harder. For 40 mins it was almost all cardio then 20 minutes of callanetics movements on the floor for targeted areas (oh well you know…). Two times a week or best 3 times of this really help lose weight (I never measure… only see:D..) BUT the key is to hydrate well before and no drinking anything for 1 hour and no eating for 3 hours afterwards. This is if you seek to lose weight as well as tone. But this program has it all in there except the floor exercises that end with a bit of joga so then you can relax and calm down. Otherwise it’s all there I think you can add steps if you want to burn more or weights aren’t enough (:D). I prefer no weights and longer cardio because this way I can get toned without adding muscle mass (not my favorite). To spice it up you can put your own music no once you’ve learned everything by heart on repeat?

  50. I have used the 30 day shred before but it was so repetitive and sometimes even boring that I gave up on Day 12
    Annie x

  51. I have one of her dvds where you work with kettle bells. Didn’t really feel the effects of that workout until the next day; my thighs and arms were soooo sore!
    It’s definitely worth it. At least she isn’t yelling at you like she does to the contestants on The Biggest Loser.

  52. I tried this for the 1st time today – I did level 1. I was a bit disappointed as didn’t break a sweat. I do go to gym 3x a week and on top of that 5hours of ballet a week – in training for exam. Maybe I need to go to level 3. I like the sound of Tracy Anderson will look into it

  53. I like the idea of having something like this along with a class that you go to. I find that’s a good mix. I also really like Tracy Anderson if you’re looking for another at-home workout person.

  54. Hi Ruth, I done this in the run up to my wedding in December and loved it. It kept everything ‘tight’ and stopped me putting on weight. It also made me feel strong and develop some muscle. I have moved on to the ‘extreme shed and shred’ which is 40 minutes and more cardio intense. I love it too, especially on days where I can’t make it to the gym. I tend to burn arounf 500-600 calories according to my heart rate monitor.

  55. Hi, I know that it’s (obviously) for 30 days but is it 30 days straight, or do you get 1 day off a week etc. and once completed it amounts to 30 days?

    • You do 30 days straight I think. I suppose you could have some rest days, up to you! x

      • I always thought it was six days a week for 5 weeks, I might be wrong though. It can get pretty intense doing that kind of workout consecutively so might need those rest days!

  56. Ruth, I am so happy that you mentioned 30 DS by JM. I started it a month ago I guess. I have not followed the plan properly though but did level 1 3-4 times a week. And yes, I did see a difference! a lot of difference.
    I love Jillian! I think she is very real and I love the way she motivates you during the exercise.

    I will get back to it again tomorrow, but this time -hopefully- will follow the plan properly. Good luck to you!

  57. I’m on day 3 of this, so this is a very timely post! I’m really enjoying it. I’m a member of a gym but due to my commute very, very rarely go as it eats up my whole evening getting there and back. But this is so easy to squeeze in, so there are no excuses. The first time I did it I was wheezing and a sweaty mess… it still kills me but feel a bit fitter already! I have festival at begninning of August so 30 day plan to get in shape is suiting me perfectly at the minute.
    Also love the commentary – “that is a false message of lethargy! etc etc” – keeps me motivated!

  58. i have two shred dvds. i think they’re so great, especially as i’m home with a baby and i can fit this workout in during naps. for my first child i had the tracy anderson post-pregnancy workout and it was over 1 hour… newborns sometimes only nap for 45 minutes so the thought of being interrupted mid-workout was a major disincentive. for number 2 i’m 30-day shred all the way!

  59. I am doing the Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method. And its amaizing!! The moves are so different that any excercise routine I ever done. And the results are incredible to tonify the whole body!! Check it out!! Con: It takes about 1.5h per day

  60. Just found it on YouTube, attempted it. Died. x

  61. Definitely going to try this out! It sounds great and a kick in the butt. Thanks for the review :) xoxo

  62. I agree with all pros that you mentioned. I am very tight on time and these short workouts are great. Jillian is the best! I did 30 Day Shred and although exercises looked easy – they were not! I moved now to Body Revolution – you should try that! It is awesome! it is 3 month program, where you exercise for 6 days a week – 2 days cardio and 4 days 30 min exercises. The meal plan is also included, which is great. I am on week 3 now and already lost huge amounts of weight, I am more toned and feel great! In my opinion it is even better than 30 Day Shred. Jillian is motivating you all the way, there is a lot of humor as exercises are awesome. Although I must warn you – after first week you will be so sore that you won’t be able to walk properly.
    P.S. The only con to Body Revolution is the price – it is around £105, but totally worth it! My husband noticed the results and he is astonished, so now he decided to give it a go himself! :)

  63. Hi Ruth – I agree with everything you’ve said about 30 Day Shred :) I can definitely tell that I’ve done a workout and my posture is so much better too. As you say ‘it is REALLY hard work’ ….. but you ‘talk along with Jillian’?? … it takes me all my time to breath let alone talk lol

  64. I do exercise every day at home and I find it very convenient, I agree with all the pros you mentioned, for me there are no cons. And I was very intrigued with the Shred since you mentioned it in one of your videos a while ago, so I´m starting today!I´ll let you know my thoughts too in your next Shred post :-)

  65. Jillian is awesome. I’m doing Body Revolution at the moment, on week 9 of 12 and I’m seeing muscles where I have never had muscles before!

  66. I’m glad to know that someone else also talks back to Jillian in 30DS! Bizarrely, I find her commentary strangely reassuring. I’m now on to doing her Body Revolution which is longer but doesn’t seem to be quite as intense as the Shred.

  67. I never thought anyone would describe Jillian as a “lovely lady”, made me laugh, still this workout kicked my ass for about a week before I gave up :( hope you can make it all the way to the end

  68. I absolutely love Jillian Michaels. Not ony have I bought the DVD for myself, but also for many friends and they all love the DVD. I now own several DVD’s from her and I take them with me on holiday too. Everybody can commit to 20 minutes of exercise a day and with JM it is a real pleasure. I like the fact that she wasn’t always as thin as she is now but actually was over 180 lbs at one point of her life.