What it Feels Like to Work Out with Jillian Michaels

The words “I want to see blood, sweat and tears” were actually spoken.


I recently got the chance to get my butt kicked by one of my personal fitness role models (I envy those arms of hers!). Jillian was at GoodLife Fitness in Toronto for the launch of her latest fitness class, BodyShred. The 30-minute class is modelled after Jillian’s 3-2-1 interval training approach, which consists of three minutes of strength exercises (squats with bicep curls, lunges, etc), two minutes of cardio (burpes, butt kicks, etc) and one minute of ab exercises (ab bike, mountain climbers, etc). The 3-2-1 sequence repeats three or four times with no breaks.

The class is intense. You’re getting a full-body workout in just half an hour, so, as Jillian would say, “make it count.”

Jillian led the class from the front of the studio room with a headset mic (although I’m sure we could have heard her without it, too). She also walked around during the class giving tips on technique, or motivating each of us to dig deeper. “Give me everything you’ve got,” she told us.

I have to admit, prior to meeting Jillian, I was nervous. On TV, she’s a loud, tough and intimidating fitness coach on The Biggest Loser. In real-life, she’s still those things, but she also has a softer side. For one thing, she clearly just wants to motivate you to be better. When she yells things like, “I want to see blood, sweat and tears,” it’s actually less scary and more encouraging, if you can believe it. The word ‘can’t’ isn’t in her vocabulary so she definitely doesn’t want to hear that word from you. She encourages you to push yourself and not sell yourself short.

(Hey Best Health readers, check out the video below for a personal message from Jillian!)

Before the class, I got to ask Jillian a few questions about diet and healthy living. The worst way to diet? Anything that requires you to fast. “There could not be a worse way to lose weight,” she says. “You’re essentially putting your body into starvation mode. Then, because that’s totally unsustainable; you damage your metabolism, and once you start eating ‘normally’ again you’ll put [the weight back] on and then some.”

She also doesn’t recommend eating six small meals throughout the day. “You never feel satiated, you completely lose track of your calories and you’ve got an insulin surge all day long.”

Instead, “you should eat every four hours; Breakfast, lunch, a snack and then dinner.”

Ultimately, “it’s about balance,” she says. “Twenty percent of the time I eat what I want to eat, while 80 percent of the time I make the healthier choice.”

Jillian Michaels BodyShred will be available at all GoodLife fitness locations across Canada by the end of 2013. Visit goodlifefitness.com to find a class near you. You can also check out Jillian’s latest book, Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss.

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