Over the past decade, Jillian Michaels has become the most popular fitness celebrity out there. Jillian first rose to prominence as a trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, which led to a spin-off show, Losing It With Jillian. Since then, she has released several New York Times Best Sellers, has expanded into fashion with the launch of her own activewear line at KMART, and was even the star of her own reality show on E!, Just Jillian.
Beyond her acclaimed fitness programs, Jillian has also proven to be innovative in being the star of multiple workout-oriented video games. She also manages to find time to active with a multitude of charities, including the NFL’s Play 60, the Clinton Foundation’s Alliance For A Healthier Generation, Stand Up To Cancer, Hope For Haiti, and Working Wardrobes. Jillian is also the host of the top-rated fitness podcast, The Jillian Michaels Show, following years as a weekly broadcaster on Los Angeles station KFI. And all of this is done while being the committed mother of two children with partner Heidi Rhoades.
On Dec. 13, she will be participating in An Evening With Jillian Michaels at the PlayStation Theater. In advance of this live appearance, Jillian spoke to Downtown about her many projects, past and present.
Jillian Michaels can be followed on Twitter — on which she has well over one million followers — and Instagram via @JillianMichaels. For more information on her Dec. 13 appearance, visit www.jillianmichaels.com or PlayStation Theater.
For someone thinking of coming to see you at the PlayStation Theater, what should be expected?
Jillian Michaels: Obviously the evening will be fun, funny and entertaining, but the real goal is to give each and every audience member an “AHA!” moment and a break-through. I want them to leave feelings awakened, empowered and ready to tackle any and all obstacles keeping them from their goals and dreams.
Your work is related to health and fitness, but is there a specific exercise or kind of activity that you can’t get enough of and actually do for fun?
JM: I have been skateboarding again for the first time in years because of my kids and I must admit I do love it.
For you, what was your wake-up call when it came to getting in shape?
JM: For me personally, I have been very lucky in my life to have great mentors and great teachers that provided me with the exact type of break-through I had mentioned earlier. When it came to my health as a kid, my martial arts instructor laid down the law with me about how I was disrespecting myself and my martial arts practice, by not respecting my body. Then he gave me the tools to turn things around, which is critical. You can tell someone “Hey, just do it,” but you have to give them the tools so they know HOW.
For someone reading this that wants to get into better shape, what do you think is the first step? Is it finding an eating plan that works? Is it exercising a certain number of days per week?
JM: First, I tell people to establish their “why.” You will find that change in life is usually obvious and simple — but never easy. For example: lose weight equals eat less, move more; use common sense with your food choices. Simple, but not at all easy. So anything worth having does require work and sacrifice. Having a “why” gives the work purpose and subsequently becomes passion. However, work without a “why” or an intrinsic purpose just becomes punishing.
Where do you stand on the idea of someone having a “cheat day” from their diet?
JM: I don’t do cheat days. I don’t like the “all or nothing” binge mentality. I tell people practice the 80/20 rule. Make 20 percent of your daily calories treat foods. This way you have balance and never feel deprived.
Do you have a restaurant in New York City that you can recommend for being both delicious and healthy?
JM: (laughs) When I’m in New York, I am rarely thinking about eating healthy. I’m thinking about pizza, bagels, cupcakes…because it’s all so damn good there. That said, I do have my usual haunts. I always grab dinner at Neta for sushi. I love the ambience and at La Esquina — it never gets old for me.
Do your parents still like their custom golf cart?
JM: Ah, that was Heidi’s parents and I am told it’s the hit of their retirement community.
What’s ahead for you once this tour has wrapped?
JM: I have a new book coming out this fall for mommies to be called Yeah Baby! to help them master their maternity, optimize all facets of their child’s development and bounce back better than ever. We are re-launching my app on iTunes in January so I can personally train you! Pretty excited about that one. I am also very focused on a fitness network we have been growing called Fitfusion. It’s a premier fitness streaming platform with all the biggest names in fitness and all the hottest workouts for only nine bucks a month.
Is there anything you haven’t yet accomplished but still hope to?
JM: So much, I wouldn’t know where to begin on this one. Life is short and there is so much to do. I’d like to make greater strides in my charity work. I’d like to become more of a business woman and be behind the scenes growing other brands.
When not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?
JM: I don’t have a ton of it, but I like to do stuff with my kids. Horseback riding, skateboarding, bodyboarding, etc.
Finally, Jillian, any last words for the kids?
JM: I’d say always follow your heart. You are here for a reason and your passion is your purpose. In life you will find the more security you seek living the life you think you should, the less security you will have. Whereas, conversely, when we live the life we want the more affluence and abundance flow our way.