Catching Up With Jillian Michaels
By Brett Edward Stout
Personal trainer and fitness guru Jillian Michaels has helped hundreds of people, if not thousands, through her presence on the popular TV program, The Biggest Loser (including the first out gay guy on the show, Jackson Carter). Now she's taken off on a tour of the United States and Canada to spread her tips and motivational energy to a wider audience. We caught up with her to ask how it's going so far.
Out: What were you like as a kid?
Jillian Michaels: Difficult! I think, as a baby, I was always frustrated. If I could crawl, I was pissed cuz I wanted to walk. If I could walk, I was pissed cuz I wanted to run.
You’re currently on a run right now. Your partner Heidi and both your kids are touring 35 cities. Are you sure that’s healthy?
Oh my god, well, it’s a bus. Thank, God. We’ve gone through Canada and so far; it’s been great—the response and the energy. The show has been running a tiny bit longer than expected, but it’s been great. And, you forgot my parrot. It’s good family time (in the bus), and we also get to spend time in the hotel. I actually get to work out more on the tour. So, it hasn’t been that bad. When I train, I use my own body weight so I just need some space and some time.
Is it emotional to do rapid consultations with people on a tour like this?
No, I don’t see it that way. You’re getting to connect in a moment, and it’s fantastic. At the same time, they don’t really have time to sit with me one-on-one and go over all their issues like they do on Biggest Loser. There’s some levity to [the show], and you’re not carrying someone’s issues.
Do you have a personal definition of being healthy?
I don’t advise anyone unless people seek advice. If they do come to me, of course I will help them. I give them the simple facts about weight loss. There’s nothing complicated about losing weight. If you ask any person in the world, "Should you have Fruit Loops or oatmeal?" everyone knows the right answer. It’s really about building the tools and skills to attach and achieve your goal.
Do you think “the gays” get it right on wrong on fitness?
When I look at the gay community, especially my boys, I think they get it right! My friends take fabulous care of themselves. I think that gay men are winning. I’m not big on statistics in subcultures, but I have been told the lesbian community has a higher rate of obesity. If that is the case, I think it’s a matter of information and education.
Do you take a public position on steroids?
Absolutely no on steroids! I didn’t even know I needed a public position. They are extremely detrimental to your health.
Do you find that, in public speaking you make inadvertent political statements?
It depends: Anything I say, I mean. Print is a dangerous medium. Things can be half-a-quote or out of context. Any actual statement I’ve made, I’ve meant it. As someone raising two children in a same-sex couple, does it make you angry when the Bryan Fischer’s of the world suggest that straight people should kidnap children from gay couples?
I don’t believe in flying off the handle. It’s not to say I don’t believe in anger or take inequality seriously or the fact that gays are literally second-class citizens. But, I appreciate there is a way to go about getting equality. In my opinion, you show those who are threatened by you there is nothing they need to be afraid of. That’s how you’ll get equality.
As a mom, do you look at your work more as building a legacy?
You know, I don’t think of anything as a legacy. I do what I love, and if it makes me happy in the moment, I do more of it. If I’m on a speaking tour, it’s because of stuff I wanna talk about at the moment. For me, I do what I love, and I live in my truth.
If you saw the kid-version of yourself today, what advice would you give her?
There’s nothing you can do with a kid like that. They are who they are. You can try all you want to talk to them about patience, but that’s the thing about a kid like that, there’s not a whole lot you can say. The kid that I was needed to learn through making mistakes.
The Jillian Michaels' Maximize Your Life Tour continues through May 21. For a complete list of dates and locations visit the website.