Jillian Michaels is one of the most popular fitness celebrities for these recent few years. She shot to stardom after appearing as fitness coach for The Biggest Loser reality TV series on NBC. Not only she motivates the contestants, she is also motivating at least 15 million of TV viewers every week. Throughout the past 9 seasons of the show, she changed many lives, helping them to achieve their weight loss goals. She has created a brand name for herself. She now has 3 bestselling books: Master Your Metabolism, Making the Cut and Winning by Losing. Her DVDs include 30-Day Shred, No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism and they are consistently top sellers on Amazon. Not forget to mention a self-named Wii game.
Jillian Michaels was born in 1974. She is 5 feet 2 inches (1.58 m) tall and weighs 120 pounds (54 kilogram). Jillian has unique connection with her audience. Why? Because she has her own personal experience in her own body transformation.
When she was young, she struggled with her own weight. By eighth grade, she was 175 pounds due to unhealthy eating habit. She often ate ice cream and had huge bowls of popcorn in front of TV. Her waistline grew, but her self-esteem shrank. Her lowest point of life took place when she was kicked out of a martial arts class for sneaking in junk food. That incident has fired her to be determined to change totally. She went from a kid in school who many would make fun of to be someone who could break two boards with only her right foot. She went on to get her black belt in Muay Thai. She is now walking tall with her great body shape and confidence.
In this article, we will find out her workout approach and her opinion on various fitness issues.
Jillian Micheals’ Thought on Workout Approach and Other Fitness Issues
Jillian is a strong proponent of consistent exercise as it is most effective way to burn fat. Her exercise plan for The Biggest Loser contestants is based on science. She never say it is easy. Her exercise programs contain cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
Here are the top 9 tips from Jillian Michaels (which I will go through 1 by 1 with you in this article):
- Do what you hate
- Work out really hard
- Lots of cardiovascular exercise for obese people
- Crunches are not needed for 6-Pack abs
- Watch your diet
- Losing weight too quickly not necessary is bad
- Weight lifting tips for women
- Accept cellulite but work hard to reduce it
- Weight loss and plastic surgery
1) Do What You Hate
Whenever others asked Jillian whether she likes working out, she would use this analogy – A contractor may not like using hammer, but he will be proud of the house that he just built. For Jillian, she hates calisthenics, sprints and quickness drills. It is the end result that pushes her to work out hard.
2) Work Out Really Hard
Do not take it easy for yourself. Jillian Micheals works out 5 hours a week. But, if she is busy shooting for the show, she will squeeze in 3 hours in a week. She hires a trainer to put her through tough workout session. Whenever she is in the gym, as she said, she works her ass off.
When she says she works out hard, it also means working out in a smart way. Do not work on the same muscle group consecutive day and not to work on each muscle group more than twice a week. Do not do more than 2 hours of intense cardio in a single session because you run the risk of metabolizing muscle instead of fat.
You may see some participants on the The Biggest Loser show vomit during the workout, it is true that they were working out hard. According to Jillian, usually people throw up when they are beginning an exercise regimen and at the same time they have an excess build up of lactic acid and suffer from detox. All the toxins leach from their muscles into their blood stream and make them feel poisoned. She also mentioned that these contestants stop throwing up after the first week.
3) Lots of Cardiovascular Exercise For Obese People
If you look at the Biggest Loser show, you will see the contestants doing cardio very often. In Jillian Michaels’ team, they did an hour of cardio in the morning, then an hour of resistance training followed by another hour of cardio. They would end the day with another hour of cardio in the evening. So, total of 3 hours of cardio with 1 hour of resistance training – 6 days a week with an off day on Sunday. They would need a day off to have adequate time to rest.
The secret is to mix and match different forms of cardio like spinning, running, climbing stairs and others. This approach adds variety into their exercise regimen to prevent their bodies from adapting to only one exercise.
TV viewers thought that the Biggest Loser contestants have already started running on week 1. The truth is that they really were not running until about 3 weeks into their stay at the ranch. If you pay attention, they were always talking on the treadmill while Jillian trained them individually. So, the scenes which you saw the obese contestants were running, Jillian disclosed that the sprints were recorded for promos.
If the contestants have pains like shin splits, heel spurs or knee problems, she would cut down the cardio hours.
4) Crunches Are Not Needed For 6-Pack Abs
Many thought that Jillian spent hours doing crunches for her rock hard abs. The truth is that she never do any abs workout to isolate her tummy muscles. She rather focuses in compound workouts which involve multiple muscle groups, especially the core muscles.
5) Watch Your Diet
She is not really a fan of fad diets like South Beach, The Zone, Atkins or Pritikien. For her, this diet is just a reinvention of macro-nutrient ratio. Macro-nutrients are carbohydrates, protein and fat. Atkins is about protein and fat but no carbohydrates; Pritiken is carbohydrates and some lean protein but without fat; The Zone is equal portions of carbohydrates, protein and fat. What these diets do not tell you is that you have to count calories.
She believes that no one size fits all approach. Everyone is unique on the inside just like your appearance. That is why some diets work for some people but not on others. The better way is to understand how your body processes what you eat to identify the best macro-nutrient ratio for you. We all have different requirements for three macro-nutrients (fat, carbs, protein) based on how quickly our body metabolizes food. For instance, someone who metabolizes his food very quickly will do well on a low carb diet because fats and proteins break down at a slower pace then carbs. Jillian wrote about this topic in details in her books.
At the end of the day, she agrees that weight loss is about calorie intake versus calorie used. It does not mean that you can go and eat tonnes of junk food and then exercise few hours to burn those calories. You still need to know what the ideal foods to eat so that you will have better health with more energy.
Here are few golden diet rules by Jillian Michaels:
- Avoid bad carbs such as processed grains and refined sugar. Go for complex carbs like whole grains, legumes, fruits, nuts and vegetables.
- Avoid trans-fat (man made fat). You can identify it on as food label as partially fractionated or hydrogenated oils.
- You must count calories. Yes, it is tedious. But, if you want real results, Jillian wants you to do the work and figure out how many calories your body is burning in a day.
- Do not take fruit smoothies for breakfast. Smoothies are a thick cold drink made from fruit, ice and often yogurt or ice cream, which is mixed together until smooth. Do not take it thinking that is is healthy just because it has fruits. The drink has high calories with much added sugar.
- Eat fruit and organic yogurt.
- Try to get sugar free milk.
- Cut down the processed foods.
- Cut down alcohol whenever possible.
- Learn to read food label.
- You still must exercise to lose the weight to avoid “dieting plateaus”.
In TV, we are made to watch that contestants are on low calorie sites. According to Jillian, they are still consuming between 1800 and 2500 calories a day, depending on each individual metabolic requirements.
6) Losing Weight Too Quickly Not Necessary Is Bad
In her books, she said that losing weight quickly is not dangerous provided it is done through exercise. It is dangerous only if the weight loss done through starvation. It is only dangerous if you do not drink enough water. Most Biggest Loser contestants came to the show with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleeping problem. Despite losing much weight, when they leave the show, they are in better shape and better health.
What is worth mentioning is that Jillian and Bob develop every aspect of the contestants’ diet and exercise program. Also, a doctor and nutritionist have to approve their plan and monitor the contestants well being.
Taking contestants with type diabetes as example, Jillian put them on diet with no refined sugar and processed grain. However, she get them on the same exercise regimen just like other contestants. At the end of the shown, most get completely off insulin after seeing drop tonnes of weight.
7) Weight Lifting For Women
As expected, Jillian Michaels encourages women to train with weights without worrying about bulking up. Women do not have enough testosterone to build huge mass of muscles. She knows that many women prefer to do only cardio but cardio alone does not burn much calories.
Jillian works out 4 times a week and here is her routine:
- Monday: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Quads
- Tuesday: Back, Biceps, Glutes, Hams, Abs
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Quads (same muscle groups as Monday but totally different exercises)
- Friday:Back, Biceps, Glutes, Hams, Abs (same muscle groups as Tues but totally different exercises)
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Rest
Bear in mind that Jillian is maintaining her physique and not to build. My point is, if you want to build muscle, your routine will be different. When she wants to lose weight, she adds cardio on Wednesday and Saturday.
She also does Capoeria, Brazilian form of martial arts. For people who find the gym monotonous, she suggests them to try hip hop dance class, spinning class, kick boxing, hiking and kayaking. End goal is to do something different.
8) Women and Cellulite
If you wonder whether Jillian has any silver bullet for cellulite, sadly, no. It is true that cellulite is genetic. According to her, while women are not able to completely get rid of cellulite, you can reduce the appearance of cellulite. You have to build muscles under the fat. Some good exercises are squats and lunges.
She admits that even herself has cellulite, so do 95% of women out there.
9) Weight Loss and Plastic Surgery
Many wonder any contestants had plastic surgery to get rid of excess skin caused by their weight loss. Nothing you can do about extra skin except having a surgeon to tuck it for you. Jillian believes that there should not be any shame in it. More importantly, you have lost weight in a healthy way.
Jillian Michaels is a tough-as-nails trainer in the show. Her above workout advice is down to earth. If you want to find out more, I recommend you watch her 30 Day Shred to find out how she gets her rocking body. Jillian’s current body shape was achieved after much dedication and hard work.
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