For 11 seasons of TV’s The Biggest Loser, grown men have feared personal trainer Jillian Michaels.
With her no-nonsense approach to exercise – and the pure muscle to prove it – Michaels is known to whip her teams into sweaty submission.
At least that’s what the commercials would like the viewer to think.
If you’re truly watching the show, you get a sense of a bigger picture, but if you only caught a promo on NBC, then of course it’s going to be me yelling at people, Michaels says during a phone interview from Los Angeles.
Michaels will stop in Wabash for her Maximize Your Life tour to give a discussion about weight loss and the importance of realizing the potential to achieve a goal. Going on her first speaking tour, Michaels says it has been an exciting chance to interact with an audience without any censors or editing.
I’m really just looking forward to meeting people and looking people in the eye, Michaels says. I love and crave that connection.
The evening will give insight into the science behind weight loss, the impact of hormones and Michaels’ methods for burning fat and calories.
However, she also expects her audience to ask themselves some tough questions and engage.
If you don’t take responsibility, you’re not empowered to fix the problem, she says.
Struggling with weight gain as a teen, Michaels began taking martial art classes at 14. She is highly trained in Muay Thai and Akarui-Do, in which she holds a black belt. Becoming a personal trainer in 1993, Michaels opened her first gym in 2002 at the age of 28.
Three years later, she joined the cast of the Biggest Loser as a personal trainer. In her 20-year career, Michaels has published books, DVDs and exercise video games.
She says it’s important for her to share her own personal story of weight loss, in order to relate to her audience. Michaels wants them to be aware of the steps she took to gain control of her weight along with her extensive credentials.
If they don’t know where I’ve been, then it’s hard to believe my ability to fix their problems, she says.
In order to be successful, Michaels says there has to be a simultaneous journey to mental wellness as well. As a part of the discussion, she also will provide tools to help a person define their goals and find their confidence.
Here’s the reality: I can teach you how to lose weight in five minutes, but then you have to ask yourself why two-thirds of the country is still overweight? she says. Being unhealthy and being unhappy tend to go hand in hand most of the time; it’s critical to connect people with their passion.
Traveling to 35 cities in the U.S. and Canada, Michaels has packed a couple of barbells on the bus for a limited space workout and a bike for pit stops. She says that keeping healthy snacks on the bus also deters from those road trip munchies.
Michaels also juggles motherhood as she travels across the country with her two children, Lukensia, 3, and Phoenix, 1. Last May, Michaels received Lukensia after a lengthy adoption from Haiti the same week her partner, Heidi Rhoades, gave birth to their son. The couple became the mothers of two children in a matter of days.
My only real worry is being on tour with two small children for seven weeks, Michaels says.
Even with balancing motherhood, exercise and a cross-country tour, Michaels says that she feeds off the energy of meeting fans onstage and offstage so much that she isn’t ready to cool down yet.
The ability to connect with someone, to have that dialogue and to witness a change firsthand is, for me, what is most rewarding about this job.