Personal trainer. Businesswoman. Author. Mother. Jillian Michaels is one busy lady. Add to that app founder (her My Fitness by Jillian Michaels app recently launched a prenatal fitness program) and you have to wonder: How does she do it all and keep sight of her fitness goals?
LIVESTRONG.COM caught up with Michaels — who will help us make an attempt to break the Guinness World Records title for Most people holding an abdominal plank at our Stronger Weekend event in August — to discuss it all. From changing your fitness perspective post-baby to the popular workout she calls a “terrible idea” and the diet that has stolen hearts across the country (but has the popular trainer sighing loudly), Michaels spilled all of the beans. Here’s what you need to know.
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On Post-Baby Fitness
Mom to 6-year-old Phoenix and 8-year-old Lukensia, Michaels infuses a dose of realism into her fitness and diet regimen, calling it “the permission diet.” “You gotta let go of any ideal scenario, any hope of what perfection is,” she says. “It’s about progress, and it’s about something instead of nothing, and it’s about allowing yourself to take time with things. You gotta be less stringent, less intense and far more permissive and kind to yourself as a mom.”
Sure, Michaels might be a world-renowned fitness trainer, but her approach doesn’t seem that far out of reach. Her mom rule of thumb? Carving out 12 hours a week specifically for her well-being. This can encompass anything from date night and doctor’s appointments to beauty appointments or a quick workout.
On the diet side, Michaels recommends eating less and making commonsense food choices. (No Cheetos? Check. No soda? Double check!) “Controlling what you eat and how much you eat is free, and it isn’t time-consuming,” she says. Easy enough.
And if you’re trying to get the kiddos on the health train, a manageable place to start is making them healthier versions of their favorites. “If I make my kids a grass-fed burger on a whole-grain bun with organic cheese and organic ketchup, that’s winning for me,” Michaels says. Another great swap: Take the little ones to a smoothie bar rather than an ice-cream shop. Although the calories and sugars are still there, Michaels points out that the kids are avoiding icky ingredients like artificial food coloring and high-fructose corn syrup.
The One Rule Beginners Should Abide By
When it comes to beginner fitness, Michaels’ insights are equally realistic — starting with getting the proper information. “Fitness gets greatly underestimated with regards to how much there really is to know,” she says. And while she recognizes that not everyone has access to expensive trainers, she points out the plethora of beginner classes readily available in most cities (not to mention the many workout programs available online).
One thing to remember as you start your fitness journey? Slow and steady wins the race. “If you’re focused on putting that one foot in front of the other instead of looking up at Kilimanjaro thinking ‘How the f*** am I gonna climb it,’ it becomes a lot more manageable.”
How to Keep Fit During the Pregnancy
Listen up, soon-to-be moms: When it comes to fitness, it’s important to weed through the available information and throw out old fallacies. “So many women are intimidated and frightened by the information they read,” Michaels says. She is a strong believer that exercise during pregnancy is one of the best things women can do for themselves and their baby — but it’s not the time to start a regimen you’re not familiar with. “The golden rule with pregnancy fitness is to match what you’ve been doing,” she says. Another general rule? Don’t overheat.
The One Workout Jillian Really Doesn’t Want You Doing
One workout that can cause overheating that Michaels really doesn’t want you doing is hot yoga. “I don’t understand who thought it was a good idea,” she says, uttering a few other choice words. The reason? It gives people a false sense of detoxification and can lead to dangers like hypermobility (being mobile in ways that you should not be) and dehydration. Not only that, but “you can get a f***ing heat stroke from it,” Michaels says.
When sweating through fitness, the goal is to generate heat from the intensity of the workout (or from the inside out, not the outside in). The sweat brought on by hot yoga? Pure dehydration. “The only way you can detox is through your organs, your kidneys, your lungs — and dehydration does not support that process.”
Why You Should Cut the Keto
From hot yoga to the ketogenic diet, Michaels is not one to shy away from speaking her mind. (Have you seen her blog?) While the keto diet has accumulated a massive fan base (celebs like Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian are fans) and continues to garner good press when it comes to its benefits, Michaels isn’t convinced.
“Here’s where keto has gotten away with murder,” she says. “The problem is that you got people who are eating a ton of crap food. They’re eating way too much and all of the wrong things.” According to Michaels, this leads to insulin-related health issues, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility and Type 2 diabetes. Banking on its lack of carbohydrates, keto will drop insulin levels, but at a cost: “You’re cutting out so many antioxidants and micronutrients. You’re cutting out fruit. It’s ridiculous,” she says. Her recommendation? A balanced, calorie-controlled diet and fitness. “The healthiest diet for longevity and overall well-being is a Mediterranean-style diet, with a more balanced micronutrient ratio,” she says of the predominantly plant-based diet that is heavy on lean protein.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you a fan of hot yoga and the keto diet? Does Michaels’ advice change your opinion of either trend? How has motherhood or fatherhood impacted your fitness routine? What advice do you have for future parents that want to stay fit? Let us know in the comments section.
LIVESTRONG.COM is turning 10 years old this summer, and we want to celebrate our birthday with you! On Saturday, August 4, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the entire LIVESTRONG team and celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels — along with our favorite social media influencers, food experts, celebrities, top fitness trainers and our biggest fans — will be breaking the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for most people holding a plank. Are you in? Get tickets now before they sell out.