ATHLEISURE MAG: What was the moment that you realized that you wanted to work in the fitness industry?
JILLIAN MICHAELS: To be honest, I fell into it very organically. When I was 17 I was training for my black belt. And people would see me working out and assume I was a trainer. So they began asking me to train them. At that time I was making about $8 bucks an hour delivering pizza, so I thought I wonder what this training gig would pay? And I began charging $15 an hour to train people and thinking I was killing the game. Fortunately, my mom had some common sense to suggest I might need some actual credentials to work people out and she helped me pay for my first training certification. And the rest is really history.
AM: Where does this passion come from to empower others to be their best self?
JM: As a person who struggled with weight as a kid, I was very fortunate to fall into karate at 12 years old. My transformation did NOT happen overnight. It was gradual and the first thing to change was my mind. I began to notice that accomplishments I had in karate were translating to a greater sense of self worth and confidence. I noticed that as I began to feel stronger physically I began to feel stronger and more resilient in all facets of my life. Then, when I began feeling like I was playing a part in someone else’s journey towards empowerment and transformation it brought a tremendous amount of meaning into my life.
AM: You have been a trailblazer in the industry as someone who has used your platform to integrate your presence from hosting TV shows, creating your fitness app, being on covers as well as launching lines – how important was it to diversify your presence and to utilize all of these areas?
JM: As a business woman it’s critical you are omnipresent in all forms of media and synonymous with fitness in general. Even if there isn’t a fitness modality I consider myself to be the best at I work with someone who is the best to create a premium program for the consumer. Whether it’s yoga, corrective exercise, running, meditation, prenatal workouts – I will find one of the top experts in the space and have them co-create programs with me to ensure they are as good as they can be and as effective as possible.
Therefore, making sure you are a consummate pro who is always learning from the best of the best is critical to becoming a go to resource in your field. By being that go to resource you ensure you are the premium go to brand. So if Samsung is looking for a brand to auto install on all their tv’s they come to me, because I have built credibility in the space that has spanned well over a decade now.
AM: What are 3 pieces of equipment that you think are essential to have at home and if you have to make a substitution due to being unable to purchase them, what would the substitution be?
JM: Your body weight is really the ONLY tool you need. If I get three other things in this article though – I’ll take em! A mat is important. You can use it for yoga of course, but it’s nice for floor work if you don’t have a soft carpet to do floor work on. An adjustable set of dumbbells. I love power blocks, but they are expensive. Again, bodyweight is all you need, but having dumbbells just makes things a bit easier for back exercises as rows are a lot easier for people than pullups or even assisted pullups. Plus, while you can focuson time under tension with your leg workouts and do 100 reps of an air squat it is a bit more consuming. So if you are a more advanced athlete and you want to get a killer leg day in having the added free weight can help you save time. There really isn’t anything else that is needed, so at that point if there is something you love I would say grab it. For me I love my jump rope – even though I can simulate jumping without one. Some people love an indoor piece of cardio equipment for days they just want a brainless calorie burn – again this isn’t necessary at all to get cardio in, but it’s nice if you want to simply row, walk, bike without having to think about your training.
AM: How do you encourage those that know that they need to get back into their fitness routine or are feeling overwhelmed with doing so due to the current times of uncertainty?
JM: Ideally, we all have our reasons “why” we want to get in shape that serve as motivation. Be it getting ready for a wedding, running a 5k to raise money for breast cancer research, being a role model to your kids, wearing a certain brand of skinny jean you are obsessed with – it doesn’t matter how superficial or how profound your reasons as long as they matter to you. Beyond those things - I really can’t think of a more important time to get in shape. I see people spending so much time and energy being afraid of Covid and I understand that completely, but take that energy and channel it into the things you can control like your health and wellness. I keep telling people, we began dealing with this in March. It’s September now. Had we started in March imagine how much healthier you’d be now over 6 months later. It’s never too late. Make your health your priority! And I don’t mean to belabor the point – but I got covid and I was sick for 4 days. That’s it. While I know it affects healthy people, we also know that healthy people fare far better with it. So don’t wait. Do it for you. Do it for your family. Start NOW.
AM: As we’re navigating these times, many of our readers want to know about how they can stay in shape. Do you have 3 movements for abs, 3 movements for legs and 3 movements for arms that we can do to incorporate into our workouts?
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