When it comes to our own personal fitness journeys, it’s easy for us to get overwhelmed with advice. Celebrity trainer and New York Times bestselling author Jillian Michaels wants us to stop getting caught up in all that noise. As one of the world’s leading fitness experts, Michaels has helped millions of people achieve their wellness goals.  While many know her for her tough-as-nails approach on The Biggest Loser, now Jillian wants to help us all find our drive. “It’s all about your why,” she explains to Nutritious Life. “Why do you want to be motivated in the first place?”

Michaels created the Jillian Michaels Fitness App to help people get moving, no matter your level of fitness. And working out helps more than just your muscles. ““When we feel strong physically, we feel strong in all facets of our lives,”  she adds.

Michaels opens up to Nutritious Life about setting goals, how to find motivation (especially now), and her “common sense” diet. 

How have things changed for you since COVID-19 hit? What has been your biggest challenge, and how have you worked to overcome it? Well, I have been far more fortunate than most.  I am lucky enough to be working and have my home. The challenge for me personally has been having the kids out of school, camp, and other activities they used to engage in. It’s been really hard on them not having their friends or regular routine; and it’s been extremely hard for me to maintain my work and self-care schedules trying to tend to them each day. That said, we adapt and innovate. So whether we all get active together, or we just don’t get things done as “perfectly” as we did before- we are getting by and I am grateful for that. 

What are some of your tips to stay focused? Especially now. I believe that we should transmute any hardship into an opportunity for growth. Is this a wake up call to get healthy? Is it an opportunity to innovate your business? Is it a time to get closer with family? Or, maybe it’s a message to slow down and streamline?  Look to bring a meaning to this and in that you will find focus because there is a purpose. 

Do you prefer to workout in the morning or evening? I workout whenever I have a moment. And there is no right or wrong time. The most important thing is fitting it in and if you have the luxury of choosing when that might be, then listen to your body. If you have more energy in the morning, do it then. If exercise at night keeps you up, make sure to fit it in earlier in the day.

How often do you exercise, and what’s your workout of choice? I workout four to five times a week for about 30 minutes straight. Sometimes a little longer. I mix everything up. I hike, kickbox, ride my road bike, do HIIT training, calisthenics and yoga.  Keeping variety in your regimen keeps the body constantly progressing and it helps to keep you from getting bored. 

How do you motivate yourself (and your clients!) to workout? It’s all about your why. Why do you want to be motivated in the first place? Think of the detailed ways your quality of life will improve. Keep some very specific goals in mind that you are passionate about. Is it wearing a two-piece instead of a one-piece? Feeling more comfortable naked? Walking your daughter down the aisle? Or maybe getting ready for your own wedding?  It doesn’t matter how profound or superficial your reason for getting fit is, as long as it matters to you.

For me personally—it’s my livelihood. So, I have a built-in motivation to keep it together. Plus, I want to be a role model for my kids. And, personally, I want to feel good in my skin. Strong. Healthy. Powerful. Fitness makes me feel that way.

If you had to name your healthy diet, what would you call it?  The common sense diet. Eat a variety of foods in their most whole, unprocessed form. Don’t eat things that aren’t food like fake fats, fake colors, fake flavors and sweeteners, pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. Don’t overeat. Common sense. 

Has it been hard to stay on track with your nutrition while in quarantine? No, because I am motivated to take this time and take on fitness challenges I’ve never achieved,  like becoming proficient at jump rope or performing a 10-second handstand. And my diet is the same always. It’s not too strict to stick to. 

What’s your go-to breakfast? I mix it up, but lately I’ve been really into understanding more about the role our microbiome plays in our overall health. So, I’ve been having organic Greek yogurt with banana, berries, pecans, and walnuts. This gives me the probiotics and prebiotics, all three macros, and a host of micronutrients and antioxidants.

Your go-to workday lunch? A salad with protein, like a grilled salmon salad.

What’s the one food you always have in your fridge? Lucky Jack organic nitro cold brew coffee. Is that a food? 

Your favorite food indulgence? Wine!

Other than water, what do you sip regularly? Tea and coffee, but organic only. 

What causes you stress? Work is hugely stressful as it is, nevermind during a pandemic! Practicing my self-care routine helps immensely. I get my sleep, meditate, and take some time to do things I love like surfing and horseback riding. I also play with my kids and see the friends that are in my quarantine circle.

How do you express and spread love? This comes down to common sense kindness. Remember that book All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten? Use your manners. Say hello. Wave. Practice small acts of kindness that don’t put you out, but go a long way for another person,  like allowing them to merge in traffic. Don’t hurt people to get ahead. Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes, especially when you don’t agree with them. Simple things. Everyday things. These things matter the most in my opinion.

What is your evening routine to wind down at the end of the day?  I really just like to chill with my family at the end of the day. Then once I put the kids to bed I knock out another hour of emails or watch a fun show, and maybe some hygiene habits like a face mask. 


About Nutritious Life Editors

The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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