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Today, we’ll find out everything about Jillian Michaels’ The Fitness App. By the end of the Jillian Michaels App review, you’ll know what exactly to expect. And, be able to make an informed choice as to whether it’s right for you or not.
Please note that this review is based on the latest version of the android app 4.2.11.
For the unversed, Jillian Michaels is a personal trainer based in the US. She is a businesswoman and television personality. Jillian has appeared in various shows such as The Biggest Loser, amongst others. She has a long history and experience in the field. Her original products were DVDs which became an instant hit in the early 2000s. Keeping up with the times, she has now integrated the contents of her DVDs into her app. Also while providing new offerings such as meal plans, meditations, and tailored custom workouts. Thereby catering to both new and old users.
Most of us know her as a television personality who helps people in their weight loss goals. She’s known for her sometimes brash way of guiding and motivating clients. Although, there are some people who might respond to such an approach. For the vast majority, it can turn out to be a deterrent. However, for the purpose of this review, we’ll stick to the contents of her app, only.
The app focuses on three main aspects:
- Fitness plans and workouts,
- Meal plans and healthy cooking, and
- Sleep, stress management & meditation.
Right of the bat, we see that the app has a broad scope. It focuses on a variety of topics that need to be integrated to form a holistic plan. Out of the above three, the first two make up the bulk of the content on the app.
Upon installing and first opening the app, the user is greeted by Jillian Michaels welcoming them to the app. And then giving a quick run-through of what to expect.
The UI is simple and easy to navigate. A new user is taken through a series of questions that focus on current lifestyle and activity levels. Also along with their goals and reasons to start a fitness journey. All this information can be easily changed in the settings section of the app. It can also be modified according to the user’s current goal and progress. The content is easy to find. Relevant categories group the information accordingly.
There are 3 fitness levels to choose from– easy, medium, and hard. Next up on the list is ‘choose your goal’. This is divided into sections such as weight loss, shape, and tone-specific body parts, gain muscle, cardio conditioning, pre-natal and post-natal fitness. Sleep, mindfulness, and stress reduction are some lifestyle goals are also included.
The user can be specified in terms of their goals and choose how much weight they’d like to lose, which body areas they would like to work on, and if the focus is on toning or muscle building, aerobic conditioning, or endurance training. Pregnancy fitness is divided into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters along with postnatal plans.
The user is asked to enter their fitness preferences next. The options range from cardio such as walk, jog, run, HIIT, distance runs; resistance training with equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, or bodyweight specific; and specialties such as kickboxing/martial arts, yoga, and other restorative routines.
A few things stand out from the beginning:
- There are more options and preferences than a lot of other apps – pregnancy, postnatal, restorative, cardio, or endurance (not everyone makes that distinction), specific weight loss goals, and body-specific muscle gain goals.
- The guidance is in a first-person voice which is good to make people feel like they are getting personalized service from Jillian herself.
- One prospective con can be the focus on specific body parts. Spot reduction doesn’t work. And, isolation workouts are not suitable for everyone. That is perhaps not the best thing to include when working with beginners.
- That takes us to the audience the app is catering to. The target demographic is so vast. The amount of information that is required to help everyone from a beginner to an advanced athlete can prove to be overwhelming for many.
The next feature of the app is its meal planning section. This guides the user through another series of questions. These help build a personalized meal plan.
Features include a grocery list that is integrated with the plan, options to swap and exclude dietary ingredients, 800 + recipes, and a meal log, apart from a customized meal plan. The app also provides guidance on cooking in batches, and for multiple people.
The main feature of the nutrition section is its Advance Meal Planner or AMP. It allows you to pick a goal from weight loss, maintenance, and muscle gain. Followed by a schedule and number of meals to be included. The user can choose any number of days and a specific meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). The next option is the number of people you wish to cook for and the number of days you want to spread the batch over, in case you’re choosing the batch cooking option.
Food restrictions and allergies are next. A list is provided for the user to choose from. The list contains red meat, gluten, beans, nuts, seeds, shellfish, fish, and dairy. The user can choose as many as they want or none. There is a handy section on foods you hate. This is great for anyone with specific tastes and choices. The app generates a personalized plan based on your responses to the questionnaire.
However, none of these services are free. Once all the information has been entered, the user is taken to a subscription page to unlock all content. Members-only content includes personal and customized workouts, all of Jillian’s previous DVDs, and a community geared towards support and motivation amongst other features.
There are three tiers of subscription: quarterly, annual, and monthly. The rates are discounted – as of November 2021 to $34.99 for the quarterly plan, $119.99 for the annual plan, and $14.99 for the monthly, pay as you go subscription. The app also provides a free 7-day trial. It’s worth noting that users can cancel their membership at any time with the caveat that the cancellation needs to happen 24 hours before the end of the subscription. The plan will be auto-renewed if you forget to cancel.
When it comes to free content, the app is severely limited. The only options I came across were 7-minute circuits. These are geared towards different body parts and fitness styles. They include upper body toning, lower body burn, abs, HIIT, and total body-specific routines. These circuits are supposed to work as a teaser to onboard users to the premium plan. Each circuit consists of 12-13 exercises, spread over 7 mins, with an average burn of 20-22 calories. The exercises included come with various modifications throughout, which is essential for tailoring a program according to a specific user’s needs.
The main bulk of the content falls under the premium section which we will explore next.
The members-only area has a staggering number of options in every aspect of fitness. Whether that’s exercise plans, nutrition and cooking, pregnancy and postpartum fitness, sleep and mindfulness aids, and meditations. The sections include app-only content called Interactive Programs. Along with the entire library of Jillian’s previously released DVDs.
Jillian Michaels has also collaborated with top fitness and health experts and their programs are available for use to premium members as well.
The home page is divided into the following sections: For You, Browse, and Generate Workout. The footer consists of further groupings such as Workouts, Meals, Me, and Community.
The simple interface makes it easy to navigate and find what one is looking for. The colors used are effective and not jarring to look at.
The For You page has a section called Just Added. Let’s look at some of its latest additions:
- Taylor Walker’s Prenatal fitness: this program is a comprehensive plan for all would-be mothers. Created to develop and maintain optimal health and fitness throughout their pregnancy journey. Heavy focus is placed on listening to their body, deep core breathing and pelvic stability, and self-care. Improving strength and mobility is what the program is built around. With the emphasis on functional movements that are used every day. The would-be mother also has the option of Labor Training. This includes breathing techniques geared towards a safe and comfortable delivery. Community support is also a feature of the plan. The program includes the following:
- 8 workouts suitable for any trimester,
- Training on deep core breathing and for per
forming basic functional movements, and
- Tips on how to have a safe and healthy pregnancy all the way from the first trimester to delivery.
Introduction to the Program
Week 1 is all about introduction to the program and includes the following components :
- Welcome to the Mama Village – It’s essentially an extension of the old adage “it takes a village”. It’s a dedicated space exclusively designed for a would-be mother. Created to safely explore her body and build a solid mind-body connection. The goal at this stage is to “just move”. This is explored further during the 40 upcoming weeks.
- What to Expect – the focus of the program is on maintaining healthy functional movements that we perform every day. There is an emphasis on eliminating what doesn’t work from individual to individual. This is good for building a mindful connection to one’s body. It can be summed up as the trainer says “listen to your body, she knows best”.
- Intro to Core Breathing & Pelvic Floor Connection – the training in this section focuses on accessing and connecting one’s breath from their diaphragm to the pelvic floor while creating a strong connection between the two. The emphasis is entirely on the breath and how to harness it to avoid usual complications such as back pain while reducing the risk of Diastasis Recti, issues which are common in pregnant women.
- Core Breathing & Primal Movement – core breathing has many benefits such as decreasing pregnancy discomfort, strengthening the pelvic floor while helping in recovery in the initial postpartum phases. This section teaches how to take deep diaphragmatic breaths to get the pelvic floor and entire core working together. All through one’s pregnancy, this section is said to be indispensable. Primal movements elaborate on the 6 basic movement patterns that are used every day and how to integrate deep core breathing with them.
The Daily Schedule
A daily schedule is introduced after the preliminary first week. But the expecting mama is encouraged to listen to her body and do what feels right.
Below is a glimpse of the rough schedule to follow:
- Monday – upper body strength
- Tuesday – lower body strength
- Wednesday – rest
- Thursday – total body
- Friday – mobility/cardio barre or labor training
- Saturday – core breathing and optional 20 min walk, bike, swim
- Sunday – rest
The daily plan can be further grouped into:
- Upper body strength – the upper body is worked through two sessions. The first session is 28 minutes long. It targets the triceps, back, and shoulders. The second session works the biceps, triceps, and back muscles. It helps build strength for functional movements. These movements include picking up and carrying a baby, and connecting our breath to the movements we perform daily. The recommended equipment for both is a pair of medium weights.
- Lower body strength – the first session is 25 minutes targeting the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and inner thighs. Lunges and pulses are the focus all through the session. The second session is a chair-focused lower body routine. It has an emphasis on core breathing. This section also stresses the fact that one doesn’t have to take their core work to the ground or be on the back to get a good workout- two of the most difficult positions for a pregnant woman to be in.
- Total body burn – The focus is on functional movements and a blend of strength and cardio sets paired with good breathing. Dumbbells training on a chair is the focus of this session.
- Cardio mobility and barre– Barre workouts have been a staple of fitness enthusiasts for years. Even if you’re not a ballerina, you can practice barre. This helps to strengthen your core. Also, deepen the physical connection with yourself. Added with a cardio twist, this is a perfect blend for slowing down while getting the heart rate up and keeping the calorie burn rate high.
- Labor Training intervals – Labor is defined as the most intense HIIT workout of one’s life. This section is focused on mimicking the actual experience through simulations like waves/contractions along with a new kind of breathing to aid the mother on birthing day. Mamas can also use this section early on in their pregnancy to prepare in advance.
Jim Donovan Practices
A new addition to the meditation section is the series of practices designed by Jim Donovan. They are as follows:
- Sleep Vibration Practice – it is a sound healing system targeting the parasympathetic nervous system. Essentially turning off the fight/flight/freeze state and aiding the body to enter a state of ‘rest and digest’. Soft humming guides this session. It encourages the body to calm down and release dopamine. Along with an addition of steadily softer sounds towards the end, it is 8 mins in length, designed to lull the user to sleep.
- Rhythm Sleep Practice– This practice is directed towards overthinkers. Those who can’t turn their mind off and sleep. This is essentially a tapping exercise. It slows down brain waves, gently relaxing one to deep sleep. The background track is that of gentle ocean waves.
- Extended Rhythm Sleep Practice – An extended version of the above practice. Geared towards individuals who need a longer session to calm their thoughts.
Other notable additions to the meditation section include:
- Jim Donovan’s Sleep Breath Practice – It’s a restorative track combining specially crafted, soothing music synchronized with a slow breathing practice. It’s a 9-minute meditation that will gently teach your body to relax and get into a state of deep sleep so that you wake up feeling refreshed the next day.
- Jim Donovan’s Sound Bath for Sleep – A longer 30-minute practice built to soothe the nervous system more deeply. It combines a soft rhythmic pulse, sounds of gentle winds, and the rustling of leaves, with a soothing lullaby that incorporates humming. The music gently fades towards the end helping the listener to fall asleep.
Here is a comprehensive list of workouts under the Interactive Programs section:
- Bangin’ Bikini Body
- Booty Bootcamp
- Postnatal Bounce Back Baby
- 6-week Bridal Boot Camp
- Lean Legs
- Slim 60
- Transform 90
- Sexy Abs
- Beautiful Back Chest and Arms
- Fitness For Beginners
- 365 Day Fitness Plan
- Yoga Power
- Kickbox Body
- Yeah, Baby! Prenatal 1st Trimester
- Yeah, Baby! Prenatal 2nd Trimester
- Yeah, Baby! Prenatal 3rd Trimester
- 6 Keys Anti-Aging Plan
- Walk a 5k
- Weightlifting and Functional Training
- Quick HIIT
- Beginner HIIT
- Burn 60
- Weight loss Extreme 90
- Low Impact Shred
- Booty Band Body
- Slider Shred
- Kettlebell Burn
The DVD library contains all of Jillian’s previously released DVDs integrated with new content on the app. Here is a comprehensive list of the DVDs included:
- 30 Day Shred
- 6 Week Six-Pack
- Tone and Shred
- Beginner Shred
- Rebalance and recover
- Killer Body
- Ripped in 30
- No More trouble Zones
- Dynamic Dumbbell Training
- Hard Body
- Banish Fat Boost Metabolism
- Kickbox Fast Fix
- Yoga Inferno
- Yoga Meltdown
- MMA Kickboxing
- Extreme Shred and Shred
- Shred it With Weights
- 10 Minute Body Transformation
- Killer Buns and Thighs
- One Week Shred
- Killer Arms and Back
- Ripped Core
- Killer Abs
The list also includes Body Revolution, which is Jillian’s original, bestselling, and award-winning 90-day program to lose weight and transform your body. It promises a complete overhaul of one’s body in just 30 minutes a day. Included in this are Jillian’s trademark Metabolic Training workouts. A smart combination of resistance training and cardio blasts integrated into a short, effective routine. This style of training focuses on accelerating metabolism and putting the body in a state of optimal fat loss. The results of which continue long after the exercise has been completed. The program includes 2 strength sessions + 1 cardio routine done twice a week for 2 weeks before moving on to the next, more advanced step.
A special feature of the Jillian Michaels Fitness App is its audio-only workout section. It is geared towards anybody who works out in a noisy place, such as the gym, and is unable to watch the workout and follow along. The audio tracks guide the user through the workout in voiceover format only. The routines available in audio format are:
- Beginner HIIT 1 for 2
- Jaime McFaden’s Self Care
- 10-minute HIIT Stair Workout
- Intermediate 1 for 1
- Intermediate and Advanced HIIT Tabata Protocol
- Recovery Run
- First Run Treadmill Workout
- Jaime McFaden’s Walking
- All Levels 20 Minute Incline Intervals
- Mount Whitney Treadmill Workout
- Tread and Shred Total Body Burn
- Sprint Ladder Treadmill Workout
- 10 Minute Beginner Stair Workout
- Progression Run
- Tempo Run
- The Pyramid Run
- 15 Minute Beginner Stair Workout
Other App Sections
The BROWSE section further categorizes workouts into Pre and Postnatal, Walk/Jog/Run, First timers, Resistance Training, Weight Training, Yoga, Kickboxing, Kettlebell, Booty Band, Slides, Cardio, Stairmill, Meditations, and Treadmill.
First Timer Section
FIRST TIMER section is especially helpful for beginners who are struggling to find a program suited for their fitness level. Some of the options included are:
- Fitness for Beginners
- Walk a 5k
- First Run Treadmill Workout
- Rebalance & Recover
- Jaime McFaden’s Walking
- Jaime McFaden’s Self Care
Generate Workout Section
The GENERATE WORKOUT section lets the user to group workouts according to duration, intensity, and body part.
The COMMUNITY is a members-only section. It is designed to support and encourage communication with others on a similar journey. It’s built for providing members with motivation and accountability. This includes sections such as nutrition/meal plans, workout/training, Jillian’s corner, support, and encouragement, Ask Jillian, and a dedicated space for sharing before and after and other progress-related topics.
The most important section is the one where the user logs their own progress and tracks their habits. ME section includes a daily and long-term progress tracker. Daily monitoring includes:
- Tip of the Day: On the day of writing the review it was selfie tracking (taking your before and after selfies to track transformation)
- Your Meal options include recipes such as breakfast burrito, chicken salad with grapes and pecans, uber mix, tomatillo shrimp fajitas with calories. Integrated with each plan is a grocery list. All recipes are premium and available to members only.
- There is also an option to log a meal manually along with serving size, ingredients, and calories.
My Journey Section
The MY JOURNEY section includes data logged over a period of time. As the user updates their daily activities, the following sections are also updated: workouts and calories burned, weight tracker, progress pics, and workout history. The app uses an in-built calendar to display the history.
Now that we have thoroughly reviewed each feature in Jillian Michaels App review, it’s time to look at who it can prove useful to, and who is better off trying something else.
Who might benefit from the app:
- An absolute beginner who is getting into a fitness journey for the first time. The tracking feature might be useful for them.
- Any individual looking to improve general fitness. And wanting to do it with minimal equipment in under 30 minutes a day.
- The pros include its clean and responsive UI, easy-to-follow navigation, huge variety of options to choose from, and cost-effectiveness.
Who this app is not for:
- An advanced exerciser or athlete looking for a comprehensive training solution they can carry anywhere and access anytime. There are better options available for that.
- Anyone looking for a personalized approach to training. The interface seems to try personalizing content according to the user’s needs. There simply isn’t much information that is not generic, or can’t be found anywhere else, for free.
- The cons include an overwhelming choice of programs and plans to choose from, lack of direction when it comes to choosing a specific training path, and the severely limited options available for free.
To sum up: Jillian Michaels App Review
The Jillian Michaels’ Fitness App does what many other apps in the genre do – provide options for tracking food, habits, and sleep, workout programs at nominal cost, and community support. It can be used to supplement an expert-created individualized routine. However, it is not a replacement for one-on-one guidance from a professional. Fitness isn’t a fad, but a lifestyle. Long-term goals are essential. An app should be reviewed keeping the success of long-term program adherence in mind. So much information is available freely. Caution needs to be taken to only consume knowledge that is thoroughly vetted.
Behavior modification is of great importance when it comes to program adherence. The Jillian Michaels app, along with many others, fails in this regard. There’s only so long a person can focus on shredding and building muscle. Unless there is help provided to modify behavior, these long-term goals end up staying goals. Or at worst, as wishful thinking.
Behavior change is more than motivation. Motivation can give one a nudge towards healthy living. But, change is not easy. Overcoming barriers to exercise might seem simple in the short term. But changing habits is a different beast altogether. In its absence, using a general fitness app is no different than using a patch to temporarily mask a problem. It’s great to get your foot in the door. But it’s probably not the best idea for maintaining long-term fitness goals.
Whether Jillian Michael’s Fitness App is suitable for anyone is entirely dependent on the individual’s goals and requirements. If someone is just about to start out on their fitness journey and doesn’t mind paying a subscription fee to unlock all content, the app can be great to track and monitor progress. The community feature can be especially helpful. Beginners often struggle with motivation and mental barriers to healthy living. Generic fitness apps are like bathroom scales. They can be useful, but only if used correctly and for their specific purpose. It can’t cater to the requirements of individuals from every walks of life. That’s one of the many limitations of such apps.