Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bob Harper vs. Jillian Michaels: a Squat-Off

I love me a workout DVD, call me a fanatic, I just can't believe it took me so long to appreciate its usefulness! I've always enjoyed running and slowly started getting into weight training to diversify my workouts, but had no clue what I was doing. When I was at the gym I would just watch the trainers thain other people with the free weights and copy them. (I know,the cheap way of utilizing a trainer. If they didn't want me to see they should go to a private room!)

And then, at a charity dinner, I bid on some training sessions and won at a really great deal! (I feel guilty at how much of a deal, the money was for charity yet I was more concerned about working out with a trainer for a cheap price. I mean, trainers are expensive, I wasn't going to break the bank to get a good workout! So maybe not so guilty but satisfied with my steal of a deal.) 

From working with a trainer I learned all about the word core. Not, not the center of an apple, but the center of the body. I also learned about the plank and every varation of a plank, the side plank, the elbow plank, the walking plank, the one leg plank, plank on a bosu ball, plank on an exercise ball, etc etc. I had great results from working this trainer and kept all these exercises in my normal workout regimen.

Shortly after my training sessions ended, I was pregnant with Bambina. With it being my first pregnancy I was hesitant to do anything for fear of the baby's health. No more running. No more planks. Nada. Just the cross trainer, step master and walking. And exercising hand mouth coordination, that one was a regular in my routine.

After Bambina made her appearance in the world, there was still quite a bit of her existence left on me and I was ready for a hardcore workout, but the only problem was I couldn't go to the gym. I couldn't even go out for a run, she was too young for a running stroller and the weather was too cold at that point, I was too much of an anxious first time mom to take her out. And so I tried to make up some exercises to do from what the trainer taught me, but somehow it just didn't work.

Around that time a friend asked me, Have you heard of exercise tv on demand? There are some great Jillian Michaels workouts that you can do for free. And thus began my courtship with Jillian. I loved her. Her workouts were amazing, they were weight training, body resistance training and had cardio! There were so many options and the weight shed off. And then we saw the demise of exercise tv. So I was left having to load up on many a workout DVD. Thankfully, Jillian came out with a new DVD every 6 months, so there were many to buy.

And then I was pregnant with Bambino and educated myself a little better on what exercises I could do. I talked to my doc on the regular and informed her of what I was doing and I was able to continue running and doing all my workout videos (even walking planks!) but just had to watch my body and stopped when I had pain or was tired.

And so after Bambino was born my body was in a workout rut. It was used to all the Jillian Michael's DVDs I was doing on the regular so I needed something new. I was at Target and saw a Bob Harper DVD. I should mention that I don't watch the Biggest Loser so I'm not familiar with either ones training style. I figured since Jillian had great workout DVDs and the two work together on Biggest Loser then his must be good.

Well, his are amazingly killer! His workouts really jump started my body and I love them! I needed them to get me out of the same workout that my muscles had gotten into and they did!

So now I have quite the library of workout DVDs that I rotate regularly to work different muscles and keep me out of that proverbial rut. But I wonder, is one trainer better than the other? Without watching Biggest Loser, strictly based on workout DVDs, who's the better trainer?

Below is my personal comparison of the trainers based on the DVDs that I have. As you can see, I have seven different Jillian Michaels DVDs and one four disc compilation of Bob Harper workouts. So 7 vs 4. (There's also a Brooke Burke DVD that I forgot to take out. It's pretty good if you add weights in- she does not use them)

Category 1: The Workout Length 
Jillian's marketing gimmick is packing in a punch in a shorter time frame while Bob's workouts are longer using the philosophy that the longer the workout, the more calories burned (Duh!)  Jillian's better for the mother with a newborn who doesn't get a lot of sleep. Who has time for an hour workout when eight straight hours of sleep is like a Christmas miracle?
Winner: JM

Category 2: Intensity
While Jillian's workouts are shorter, are they more intense than Bob's? It depends on the DVD. So, if you take 30 minutes of a BH workout and put it up against any of JM's, Bob's are harder. JM's kickboxing DVD and Shed and Shred are the two that probably can give Bob some run for his money, but still do not surpass that of Bob's workouts.
Winner: BH

Category 3: Number of Repetitions
Because Jillian's workouts are shorter and she tries to throw in as much as possible to get the roughest workout, you aren't quite pushed to your limits because as soon as you get tired she moves on to a new move that works out a different muscle that isn't so tired. While Bob on the other hand will continue the same move over and over continually working the same muscles. And that is the secret (or not so secret) of his workouts, he works each muscle for longer to tire you out thus shedding more calories.
Winner: BH

Category 4: Personality
While both attempt to have their mix of militant trainer and beer buddy you can make cheesy jokes with (or at) it's clear that Jillian has that down much, much better. Bob is a lot more intense, but it goes along with his workout. Jillian has become my bud, I often talk to Jill, telling her when I'm tired or when her jokes are getting on my nerves. (Like in her kickboxing DVD she makes a Danial-san reference and she says if you haven't seen Karate Kid, rent it. Rent it? I know I'm technologically challenged, but for some reason it gave me images of going to Blockbuster, do people do that anymore? Maybe she meant rent it through Netflix.  Ok, maybe that is stilll a contemporary technological term so, if so ignore my comment.)  I just don't have that with Bob, probably because I'm far too tired during his workouts to be chummy.
Winner: JM

Category 5: Back up dancers...err workouters 
Jillian has different work out girls in her videos and they are all sweet and stroke Jillian's ego as seen as they actually laugh at her cheese whiz humor. Whereas in Bob's videos I'm convinced they are actors because they go a little over board in how tired they are with loud moans and sneaking in water breaks. (The men- yes, he has men in his DVDs!- tend to do this more which I think is hilarious!). I Googled one of the back up workouters and I found her resume, she's an actress! Jillian's on the other hand are all trainers. (Yes, I've Googled some of them too. And what is her obsession with Bashira? She's in at least three different DVDs, she's great with those side planks with one leg raised and locked, but I like some variety.) Because Jillian's employees are actually in the fitness business, she gets the win.
Winner: JM 

While it's obvious that Jillian won based on number of category wins, if I weight each category Bob gets the gold medal because above all, intensity is most important to me. While his repetitiveness and lack of fun in his workouts often become dull, they do what they are supposed to do, leave me covered in sweat with sore muscles. But don't think I'm throwing away my Jillian DVDs, I like to mix it up with some JM to keep things exciting. That and I often listen to the Beyonce station on Pandora, nothing like doing jump squats like while whisper singing (I workout early morning when the whole house is asleep)...I've got a huge ego, such a big ego...


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