The fitness powerhouse has just released a new workout DVD called Killer Abs and will be returning to The Biggest Loser for it’s 14th season which begins in January. Here’s what Jillian Michaels had to say about fitness, nutrition and balancing motherhood.
Best Health: Your latest fitness DVD, Killer Abs, was just released and focuses on the abs. Is this one of the tougher areas for women to slim and tone?
Jillian Michaels: For some yes and for some it’s buns and thighs but even if it’s not your “problem area” all woman want a lean ripped abdomen.
BH: How often would you recommend doing one of the 30-minute workouts from Killer Abs?
JM: You can do it 3-4 times a week. Ideally though you’d blend it with other DVD’s so you don’t adapt and plateau or overtrain a muscle from too much repetition. This rule applies to all individual DVD workouts though.
BH: As a mother to two young children now, what would you say is the key to balancing fitness and motherhood?
JM: Multitasking. Asking for help. Planning. There is no question it can be really crazy with a baby and a toddler at home. Time is of the essence every single day. But it is crucial to find balance and get fitness in, both for myself and for my kids. I want to be healthy for them and I want to lead by good example early on. I do my best to maximize the time I do have to workout. I do harder workouts that are more efficient to get results in less time. Like I said, multitasking is key – I train multiple muscle groups at the same time. For example, I do squats with shoulder presses. This helps maximize calorie burn and shave off time.
I also plan ahead. I will work out when the kids go down for a nap. Or Heidi and I will take turns. I’ll take the kids while she hits the gym and then she will watch them while I go. It isn’t easy, but if you plan ahead and make it a priority to get a workout in, it will happen. I also do my best to be active WITH my kids. I’ll put the baby in his Bjorn and go for a hike. Or put my daughter in a side car for a bike ride. And we do ask for help. Grandma loves to spend time with the kids while I work up a sweat.
BH: How will you teach your children about nutrition and fitness?
JM: It really is about setting a good example early on and teaching them healthy habits now. These habits will follow them through their entire lives so now is the time to get started. I don’t feed my kids fast food. That doesn’t mean I don’t give them a treat. But I give them treats that are all-natural, not laden with chemicals, and I do it in moderation. I also get my daughter involved. I let her help me pick out vegetables and make the experience of eating well fun. And as I said, I do all I can to be active WITH the kids. When they are older, I will also get them involved in activities that keep them active.
BH: You recently announced you’ll be returning to The Biggest Loser when the new season begins in January. Why did you decide to return?
JM: We’ve been talking on and off since I left, but I was very focused on taking a year off to be with my family. Then the producers came to me and said look it’s been a year, we are planning taking on the issue of childhood obesity and we’d love to have you on board. Now being a mother of two and having been an overweight teen myself it’s an issue that is especially close to my heart. I’ve been working to fight childhood obesity in my work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, NFL play 60, and the Clinton Global Initiative, but doing it with a platform like The Biggest Loser was extremely tempting.
BH: How will your approach to overweight kids and teens differ from the way you’ve worked with adults on the show in the past?
JM: Obviously with kids you have to take a 180 approach and gradually build their self esteem. With the adults on the show they can be eliminated at any second and often the pathology of their obesity has grown into a situation that is life threatening. So for the adult contestants you have to go hard and fast to try and make an impact. With kids there is no clock ticking and they can’t truly be held responsible for their weight issues as the parents have most of the control over the food in the home and so on.
BH: What do you think is the biggest obstacle North Americans are facing today when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
JM: Access, affordability, and misinformation.
BH: Are there any motivational tricks you use when pushing yourself through a tough workout?
JM: I remind myself how good it feels to be fit and how important it is for me to be healthy for my kids. I want to enjoy a long, healthy life with my family, watching them learn and grow. It is crucial for anyone to find their WHY. Nietzsche said ‘If you have a why to live for you can tolerate any how.’ That may be wanting to walk your daughter down the isle, or sticking around to see you grandkids grown, or fitting into your killer skinny jeans. Find your why and you can get through the workout.
BH: Can you share some of your favourite healthy snacks?
JM: I have a mix of snacks I enjoy. Anything from popchips (BBQ, Sweet Potato and the new Ranch flavored tortilla are my favorite) to organic string cheese to raw almonds to a whey shake with chocolate macro greens. I also love deviled organic eggs with a little vegan mayo and mustard.