Wellness

15 Questions with Jillian Michaels

She's a crap dancer, an animal lover and doesn't believe in cheat meals. Get to know the real Jillian Michaels in this exclusive interview

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Most of you know her as the hard ass, in your face trainer on The Biggest Loser. We’ve watched her put contestants through grueling workouts, not showing even the slightest bit of sympathy. On the flip side, we’ve seen her connect on an emotional level with mentees, getting to the root of the problem and taking them to heights they never thought possible. Love her or hate her, this writer and fitness enthusiast is obsessed. Find out what keeps this super woman motivated and what changes you can make to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What is your go-to meal?
Honestly, it just depends on my mood and the time of day. I'm really into eggs over easy with whole grain toast for breakfast, Krave jerky as a snack, and I love sushi, so that's always a nice treat.

What do you eat for a cheat meal?
I don't believe in cheat meals. I allow myself to have 20% of my daily calorie allowance  from anything I want. I always make efforts to go with chemical-free versions of my favorite foods. I love Unreal candy bars for that reason. Those are great and have no artificial ingredients of any kind.

What is your favorite workout routine?
I train very efficiently, as time is limited, so I do a lot of metabolic conditioning training (strength circuits with Hiit intervals). I also love a yoga class, fight class, or flywheel spin class when time permits.

I know you love to workout but you must have a least favorite exercise too.
The elliptical... it’s relatively pointless.

How did you get your start in the fitness industry?
I fell into it at 17 while I was training for my black belt. I was asked to train someone who saw me working out in the gym. So my mom helped me get my first little certification and it went from there.

Tell me something about yourself I wouldn’t know from watching you on television or reading about you in magazines.
I'm a crap dancer, great at burping babies, and a massive animal lover.

Speaking of dancing, any music recommendation to help push through grueling workouts?
I love music, but the stuff I workout to tends to be a bit harder. I like EDM and a lot of hip-hop when it comes to exercising

Being completely dedicated to a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. What keeps you motivated?
My family and my career. I want to be a good role model for my kids and be around for them. With my work I need to lead by example and walk the walk to help show others what's possible if they put their mind and heart into something.

Do you have a go-to motivational quote to help inspire us weight-concious exercisers to keep at it?
These days I tend to remind people that they should feel the fear – it's a natural part of being human – but then do it anyway. Fear is temporary, but regret is forever.

Has your lifestyle changed since having a family?
Of course, I don't have the time to workout that I used to. The days of 90-minute yoga classes are few and far between, but I still find at least four 30-minute sessions to train weekly. As long as I am smart with my exercise I can maintain my weight with relative ease.

How will you teach your children to embrace healthy habits?
By being honest with them, making it accessible, including them, and making fitness as fun as possible.

Tell us about your experience on The Biggest Loser. Is it strange to watch yourself on TV?
I stopped watching years ago for that very reason. I want to do what I do instinctually without editing myself due to being self-conscious.

Tell us about your tour. What will you be covering? What are some key takeaways?
My live speaking tour is called Maximize Your Life and it means just that. It's about building the happiest, healthiest life possible – not just the healthiest body. It's an interactive evening of audience sharing, information and inspiration that will help you unleash your potential, blast through obstacles and transform any aspect of your life that you choose to at any point that you choose to do it. We will be discussing everything from how to connect with and cultivate your passions to moving through fear to literal how-to skills of redefining self-image and enhancing self-worth. I would say to anyone out there, if you are feeling stuck or unfulfilled in any facet of your life, show up with an open mind and willing heart, give me two hours, and I promise you that we can turn things around.

Sounds great. I am sure your plans do not stop there. What can we expect in the future from the Jillian Michaels fitness empire? Any new shows or tours in the works?
A lot more of the same... I love my work and I am always looking to expand the horizons of my message. I love my family and am always looking to improve myself as a mom and a partner. I would like to find more time for volunteer work – not just giving money, but giving my time so that is one area I would like to expand upon.

There are so many trends and literature out there on health and fitness. Can you break it down for our readers by sharing your top five tips to maintaining a healthy life style?
They are very simple:
1. Eat less
2. Move more
3. Make 80% of your calories healthy and 20% treat foods
4. Get sleep
5. Take your vacations

So... if it really is this simple, which it is, why are so many of us not doing it? That is what my show will help you figure out and subsequently you will learn to take negative or destructive patterns and turn them into life affirming actions that facilitate true success and fulfillment.

See Jillian Michaels at The VETS for her Maximize Your Life tour. March 25. $25-$49.50, VIP: $150. Purchase tickets online.