By Samantha Yardley
America’s sweetheart Jillian Michaels first found fame as the no-nonsense trainer on hit reality TV series The Biggest Loser. Now a household name, the ultimate serial-overachiever has a string of successes under belt. Did we mention she’s an absolute badass? Let the fangirling commence…
Jillian Michaels’ trademark tough-love style catapulted her to international stardom when she first hit the small screen helping overweight contestants transform their physiques. Fast forward 16 years (take a long breath if you’re reading this out loud) and she’s an award-winning fitness app developer, eight-times New York Times best-selling author, multiple fitness DVD guru, television star, businesswoman, renowned personal trainer, attentive mother, oh and there’s a podcast… that was ranked the number one health podcast in the US on iTunes, naturally.
Reading your list of achievements is making us feel inferior. What is your secret to being so super-productive?
Ha! I have a concrete answer for you! I call it the 12-hour rule. Think of it like this… If there are 24 hours in a day and you sleep eight of them – that leaves you with 112 waking hours in a week. If you spend 50 on family/ home – (taking kids back and forth to their activities, cooking for them, dropping off laundry, taking dogs to vet, spending quality time with kids etc.) and 50 hours on work that leaves you with 12 hours of you time. I schedule those hours religiously every week. Those 12 hours look something like this: I do four 30 minutes at home workouts. I book one doctor appointment or hygiene appointment weekly (so, could be a haircut or a routine tooth cleaning). I do one friend dinner or lunch. I make sure I have at least one date night sans kids. And some time for a hobby/ activity like horseback riding or a surf day (and usually I can squeeze this one into family time! Plus, if you have a significant other you get to use their 50 hours of family time to help you take care of those things… so to make a long story short it works out for me.
How has motherhood affected your quest for world domination?
OMG (bouts of laughter). World domination? I can’t even get one of the kids to take out the trash let alone dominate the world. Kids definitely force you to take a step back and appreciate that you can’t have it all at the same time. Or – that you can have a lot, but it certainly won’t be perfect. They are worth it though. Kids force you to reevaluate your priorities, in the best way.
“I can’t even get one of the kids to take out the trash let alone dominate the world”
You have helped literally millions of people become better versions of themselves. How important is looking after yourself in the process of helping others?
You can’t help anyone if you can’t help yourself. Everyone knows the age-old oxygen mask analogy, and for good reason. Only from a place of strength can you truly give support and inspiration to another. And, when you help yourself and care for yourself, you set the example for others to do the same.
Do the world’s increasing waistlines concern you?
Here’s the thing…I realized a long time ago that I can’t worry about people I don’t know. We are all struggling with something, be it intimacy issues, alcohol abuse, dating people who are just not that into us… the list goes on. First and foremost, I worry about myself and my family. I ONLY get involved in another person’s life or health if they invite me into their world. So, while I love what I do, I don’t really care if you don’t take my advice. Conversely, I love when people do. It brings so much meaning into my life to feel I’ve played a part in someone reclaiming their health, achieving a personal fitness goal, or becoming empowered in any facet of their life. While I don’t want to see the world be unreality or unhappy, I realize that I can’t save anyone; people have to save themselves. So, I put info in the world that is honest and effective. If people choose to pick up what I am laying down – each person is an individual win and I celebrate the wins.
“While I love what I do, I don’t really care if you don’t take my advice”
That is so refreshing to hear! Your new app sounds so exciting; how involved were you in the process?
I am 100% involved. Every aspect of that app was conceived of by myself and our tech team (as these are the guys that tell me what’s possible). My background is personal training. I’ve been training people since I was 17. I owned a sports medicine facility by 29. So, while I now do what I do on a public stage and put out content like books or DVD workouts to reach the masses- in my heart I am a personal trainer as in custom fitness – one on one. App technology allows me to come as close to that as possible. A lot of apps claim they do that, but they really don’t. They just have something for everyone and then call it personalized. My app LITERALLY customizes everything from your meal plan to your workouts based on your goals, needs, likes, dislikes etc. And, you give me feedback on the workouts as well so I can tweak them accordingly just like I would if we were in the gym together.
Finally, as a doting mom. What behaviors do you hope you can impart on your children?
Kindness – to themselves and others. That is really the most important thing in my opinion. Be kind to yourself and empathetic with others, especially when they have a different opinion than yours. Be tolerant. Be kind.
Jillian Michaels, health and wellness expert and creator of the Fitness by Jillian Michaels App