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Balancing act

Written by: Cary Castagna, QMI Agency
Feb. 15, 2013

'Biggest Loser' trainer juggles motherhood and fitness empire

Jillian Michaels finds herself in a rather ironic predicament these days.

America’s favourite tough-love trainer is so busy inspiring others to get fit that she almost doesn’t have enough time to keep fit herself.

“Finding the time, oh my God, that’s exactly it,” she tells QMI Agency in a phone interview from New York when asked about the biggest fitness challenge she faces.

“It’s finding the time. … I would love to be able to train five or six hours a week. I used to be able to do that. But I haven’t been able to do that for quite some time now.”

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Michaels, 38, returned this year to the role that made her a household name — as the no-nonsense trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser — following a two-year hiatus to focus on becoming a mom with partner Heidi Rhoades, 31. Last May, Michaels and Rhoades adopted toddler daughter Lukensia from Haiti. That same month, Rhoades gave birth to their son Phoenix.

Michaels has embraced her newfound motherhood. But she hasn’t neglected her wildly successful fitness career. The author of four New York Times Best Sellers, is out this week with Slim For Life, her latest diet and nutrition book.

Also this week, Michaels is launching her self-titled Jillian Michaels Bodyshred — an intense 30-minute exercise class — exclusively in Canada through GoodLife Fitness.

And this spring, the Los Angeles-born fitness icon is slated to tour the U.S. and Canada with Live Nation. Cities and dates are yet to be finalized.

“I’m working from sun up to sun down, I’ve got kids and I’m trying to piece it all together,” she explains. “I have my mom come over on a Saturday or a Sunday so I can get a workout in and then my partner and I will trade off once or twice a week, so I’ll watch the kids and she works out, then she’ll watch the kids and I’ll work out.

“And I’ll do one workout with the kids, whether it’s going for a bike ride with them or hiking with Phoenix in a baby carrier or walking the dog or using the jogging stroller and then popping in an exercise DVD from time to time that I can do while my kids are playing on the living-room floor next to me. I piece it together the best I can.”

The iron-willed reality TV star, who weighs an uber-fit 115 pounds at five-foot-two, says she averages only about three to four 30-minute workouts per week.

Fortunately for Michaels, she knows how to make every second count.

“That is the key is like, ‘OK, when I do have the time, how do I make it count the most?’ ” she adds. “That’s why the techniques I employ when I am eating and when I am exercising have to be the most effective because I am so busy.”

It’s also about balance, according to Michaels, who struggled with her weight as a child and has admitted on TV that she weighed 175 pounds when she was 12.

Too many people, she notes, have an all-or-nothing mindset. Michaels, however, recommends a more balanced approach to fitness.

“For example, I teach people about what I call the 80/20 rule because they’ll say, ‘Oh my God, I was doing so good and then I ate a candy bar.’ And I’m like, ‘So. What’s your point?’ ” she says.

The 80/20 rule entails making the smarter nutritional choice 80% of the time, explains Michaels.

“So it’s something like 20% of your daily calories are treat foods. Or every fifth meal is a treat meal,” she notes. “You find that balance but you don’t feel deprived and you still lose weight.”

Because we’re all human.

Even Michaels.

The green-eyed brunette beauty readily owns up to having a sweet tooth.

“I love sweets. I love brownies and chocolate,” she says. “I just try to avoid things like trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. I just avoid chemicals.”

And as difficult as it is to imagine, there’s the occasional day when Michaels feels like avoiding a workout.

“When I do have those days, I’ll tell myself, ‘OK, I’m going to do 15 minutes and if I want to leave, I’ll leave.’ And usually after 15 minutes, then I’m like, ‘Well, I’m here and I’m almost done. It’s three more songs. OK, fine,’ ” she says.

Of course, as one of the most famous personal trainers on the planet, there’s no shortage of extrinsic motivation. Because whether it’s a prying TMZ camera or a curious passerby, her every public move is closely scrutinized.

But that’s OK with her.

“It definitely holds me accountable, which I actually find kinda nice because it’s really easy to say, ‘Ugh, not today,’ ” she explains.

“But when you think, ‘OK, I have to put my money where my mouth is, literally, and I have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk because not only does my health depend on it, my livelihood depends on it,’ I actually don’t mind it. I kinda like it. It puts in that safety, so to speak, that always keeps me honest.”

Visit JillianMichaels.com.

 

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