I’ll admit that the holidays hit me below the belt. And above the belt. And in all of the places hanging over the belt. We all try to restrain ourselves, but hey – it’s the holidays! Well, it’s January now, and that means it’s time to shed the extra pounds you packed on with snacks and fudge and cocktails and… all the rest.
I actually discovered Jillian Michaels’ book, “Making the Cut”, a couple of years ago when I was working to fit into a wedding dress. Jillian may be best known as the tough trainer on “The Biggest Loser”, and she’s a fabulous fitness expert with several books on fitness and weight loss. “Making the Cut” is designed for folks who are already physically active, but who are struggling to shed that last 10-20 pounds. If you’re just starting your fitness regime, you might try “Winning by Losing”, instead.
“Making the Cut” helps you identify your body type, and then outlines menus that will work best for your type. The book is designed as a thirty-day program to give you great results, and I’ll say this – if you follow the workouts and the diet, you’ll see improvement, no doubt about it. But let’s break the book down into two sections – the workouts, and the food.
The workouts: Jillian provides dozens of photos and clear explanations on how to do the different exercises in the book. You won’t get bored, because the circuit-style workouts keep you moving through your workout quickly and efficiently, and the workouts change day by day and week by week. I found it really helpful to write out each workout on an index card, then to familiarize myself with the moves prior to the workout. The organization of the different activities is a little scattered through the book, so this way I was able to keep the moves organized for that day’s particular workout.
The Food: I’ve never been a big believer in “eating for your type” diets, but I found that this plan worked pretty well for both my husband and I. The amount of food allotted each day was definitely sufficient, and the meal recipes were tasty – not bland or boring. The only adjustment I made to the meal plans was to mix up the choices a bit. I stayed in my “food type” but didn’t follow her weekly plan to the letter. Sometimes it was easier to make extra servings of a meal and sub that out for a quick dinner of leftovers later in the week.
All in all, I found this book to be a great jump-start into a new level of fitness. I have only one other critique, or maybe it’s advice to readers: the first workout is by far the hardest in the plan. It’s so challenging that it could make some folks think “This is too hard!” and quit. I’d say this: start on workout 2 and come back to workout 1 later in the week. You’ll still do it, but you won’t be intimidated on the very first day!