Jillian Michaels is, in the words of my brother-in-law, “the woman who chases the fat people around.” And indeed, as one of the main trainers on the TV series Biggest Loser, she gets those folks moving. But I didn’t know anything about her or the show earlier this year when a friend recommended her 30-Day Shred DVD workout (thank you, Mr. Dayton).
I’m a cave dweller. I sit in my little basement office and do my thing. And I have to make sure I get some type of exercise lest I turn into a great jelly. So I’m always on the lookout for a good workout. But it’s got to meet certain standards. I don’t want anything that’s Mickey Mouse. And I don’t want any froo-froo.
So I asked this friend if these workouts featured a bunch of women dancing around in fruity outfits, because I can tell you right now, as open to new experiences as I am, I wasn’t going to buy a leotard and tip toe through the tulips with them. My friend assured me it was froo-froo free. And boy was he right.
Jillian shows up with two other gals, gives you a two-minute warm up, and then proceeds to bust your hiney with three circuits of strength, aerobic calisthenics, and ab exercises. The strength exercises include things like push-ups and squats with dumbbell military presses or curls. The aerobic segments have you doing jumping jacks and jump rope. The ab portions run you through all manner of crunches and lower ab exercises. The three circuits take twenty minutes to complete. And there are three different levels of workouts on the DVD.
I walk or hike three miles a day four days a week, and so I thought I was in reasonably okay condition. Jillian disabused me of that silly notion. I couldn’t keep up. Heck, the first dozen times through the workout I think I spent half the time either catching my breath or trying not to faint.
But I kept with it and got stronger. And then I found Jillian’s No More Trouble Zones. This is a forty-minute workout. And I defy any of you he-men out there to try it and tell me you can keep up with this broad in this DVD. I still pant like a dog and have to take breaks when I do the workout. My only consolation is that Jillian and her two smiling evil pals work out with three-pound dumbbells while I work out with seven, fifteen, and twenty-five pounders.
Like the shred workout, this forty-minute workout is comprised of circuits. But in the trouble zones workout there is no jumping about. It all double-whammy exercises that have you working both your upper and lower body at the same time or doing some killer ab maneuver. You’ll do pushups, squats, curls, a vicious plank circuit, and a dozen other exercises. You’ll work your triceps, biceps, shoulders, back, abs, and legs multiple times. This workout is no joke.
If you’re looking for an intense workout that doesn’t waste your time, I think you’ll enjoy either of these Jillian DVDs. All you need are a few dumbbells, a mat if you’re working on a hard surface, and prayer beads for those moments when you suspect you’re about to give up the ghost in a muscle-burning cardiac arrest.
Back in April of this year, Dr. Liz Hale, a licensed clinical psychologist, started her remarks to a local audience of more than 100 mental health professionals by saying, “Dear fellow colleagues, you are in danger of having an affair.”
Her point was that every marriage, even those of the marriage gurus, is vulnerable to infidelity–be it sexual or emotional. Individuals have to actively curb all the subtle and often innocent beginnings that lead to unfaithfulness.
“We make the mistake of thinking (marital) vows will keep us safe; and they don’t,” she said. She went on to say that couples cannot depend on love or similarities to keep their marriage intact. It’s not enough.
Emotional or sexual infidelity isn’t as rare as we might think. But even if we don’t stray into some type of unfaithfulness, that doesn’t mean a marriage will stay together. Like anything worth having, a good relationship takes work.
But what kind of work? What are the key principles for making a marriage last?
For many years the prescriptions of marriage gurus were based on anecdotal evidence and rules of thumb—on opinion. Because the opinions weren’t tested, they led to all sorts of errors. For example, many yet believe that the road to marital bliss is through communication, specifically through successful conflict resolution. According to this idea, happy couples are those that have learned to resolve all their conflicts in a nice manner. The problem is that when conflict resolution was put to the test, the studies showed it didn’t work. Marriage therapies based on conflict resolution share a very low success rate—over the long haul they only work about 20% of the time.
So what does work?
John Gottman is a marriage counselor who took a different approach and started to collect rigorous scientific evidence on over 650 couples, tracking the fate of their marriages for up to fourteen years. The results of his work are startling.
He uncovered a number of relationship myths, including the one about communication. He found that happy marriages were never perfect unions. These satisfied couples often had differences in temperament, interests, and family values. They argued over money, kids, and housekeeping, just like unhappy couples did. They had problems and faced issues. However, all these satisfied couples also practiced seven principles, even if they didn’t know it, which helped them navigate their way through all the difficulties and keep their marriages happy and stable.
And it’s not just opinion. The success rate for the type of marital therapy based on his research is 80%. He knows what makes marriages work and has written it up in a fabulous book called The Seven Principles For Making A Marriage Work.
Every marriage is vulnerable to failure. It takes work to enjoy a satisfying relationship with a spouse. But it’s so much easier to improve and maintain a relationship when you’re working on the things that actually make a difference. If you want to improve your marriage, give Gottman’s book a read.