How Fitness Guru Jillian Michaels Stays in Shape

Jillian Michaels

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Known for her toned, muscular body, fitness trainer Jillian Michaels strives to help anyone and everyone tone up and lose weight — herself included. The trick? Eat healthy, avoid fad diets, and work out. Michaels, a former trainer on The Biggest Loser, is the first to admit it can sometimes be hard. When you’re on the go, finding time to work out and make good eating choices can easily fall to the wayside. But don’t let it. Here are some tips and tricks Michaels follows to ensure she’s living her healthiest life no matter what the situation.

Work out like Michaels

“I’ve learned if I don’t get that time to work out, it becomes a matter of eating as cleanly as I can and getting sleep. It’s a struggle to not feel guilty about it, “Michaels told Today. “If (I’m only able to) spend a couple of hours on a Saturday for a yoga class, the world is not going to end.”

How does Michaels balance being a parent and a fitness fanatic? She meshes the two, she tells Today. “Put the baby in a [carrier] and go for a hike. Or put the baby in a jogger and go for a walk. Put them in a play pen and do an exercise DVD. Trade off with your partner so you can go for a bike ride. Call grandma, your sister, brother, or best friend to watch the baby so you can have some time.”

Michaels tells Fitness that she usually goes to the gym three to four times a week, making sure to push herself when she’s there. Depending on the day, she’ll work with kettlebells, do mixed martial arts, take spin classes, or even power yoga. “Everything I do is a combo of body resistance and cardiovascular endurance,” she says. While she doesn’t enjoy running, Michaels always runs about three miles, in addition to her chosen workout for the day. Why? “It makes you skinny, that’s why. It works,” she tells Fitness.

dumbbell, bicep curl

Source: iStock

One of Michaels’ best features is her muscular arms. Michaels reveals to Fitness how anyone can get toned biceps. Ready to give it a shot? Here’s a must-try routine.

One-Legged Curl: Stand on your left leg, holding a five- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms by your sides, palms facing forward. Lift your extended left leg directly behind you and hinge forward at the hips so your body is parallel to the ground from your head to your left heel. Maintaining your one-legged position throughout, bring your elbows to the sides of your ribs and then curl the weights to your shoulders. Lower your arms (extending them downward) and repeat. Do 20 reps, then switch legs and repeat. Aim for two sets.

Hip Heist: Start facedown on the ground, balancing on your hands and feet with your arms extended, hips raised slightly. Lift your left hand and right foot off the ground and rotate your upper body to the left as you bring your right knee across your body toward your left armpit. Pivoting on your left foot with your left knee bent, continue rotating your torso until you’re face up. Place your right foot on the ground next to your left and your right palm down so that your hands are on either side of hips, fingers pointing behind you with your feet hip-width apart in front of you, knees bent 90 degrees. Lift your hips until your torso is in a tabletop position. Reverse move to return to start. Do three sets of 20 reps.

Frog Hop: Start on the ground on all fours, toes curled under. Lift your knees an inch off the ground in a slight tuck position and then bend elbows slightly. Press through your palms and feet to pop your body into the air a few inches. Land in slight tuck with elbows bent. Aim for three sets of 10 reps.

Staggered Push-Up: Start on the ground in a full push-up position, balancing on your hands and feet with your arms extended, body forming a straight line from head to heels. Place your right hand at the 2 o’clock position, left hand at 8 o’clock; do 10 push-ups. Next, place your right hand at 4 o’clock, left at 10 o’clock; do 10 push-ups to complete one set. Do three sets.

Forearm Press: Start on the ground in plank position, balancing on your forearms and feet, with your body forming a straight line. Press through your palms to straighten your arms. Return to start. Do three sets of eight reps.

Eat Like Michaels


Source: iStock

Michaels eats with one purpose in mind: To fuel her body. Curious about what she eats on a daily basis? Here’s a breakdown of a day’s worth of Michaels’ meals, according to Self.

Breakfast: Start the day off with some carbs that will give you long-lasting energy. Michaels will typically start with a whole grain Ezekiel English Muffin with almond butter. “And I eat two whole English Muffins, about 500 calories,” she says.

Lunch: This meal typically consists of fish and veggies. An ideal lunch? Salmon carpaccio and a vegetable salad.

Snack: If she needs an afternoon pick-me-up, she’ll eat hummus and carrot sticks, chips and salsa, or an orange and raw almonds or Brazil nuts. The goal? Mix a little bit of carbs with a little bit of protein.

Dinner: Cut out carbs whenever possible for your last meal of the day, and try to opt for organic. Protein and veggies is key for dinner.

Sweet Treat: “I try to get my dark chocolate in somewhere throughout the day,” Michaels says. “I have to have it. I work it into my calorie allowance and I will always have 200 calories of chocolate … always!”

Other snacks Michaels enjoys includes popchips with an organic string cheese, or a whey shake with chocolate macro greens, she tells Shape. Michaels never indulges in fast-food, but says it’s OK to utilize nearby restaurants if it’s necessary. For example, Michaels says she’ll occasionally have a veggie sandwich from Subway, or a veggie burrito from Chipotle. Where won’t she eat? McDonald’s, Taco Bell, or any other sort of fast-food joint.

Want to start eating like Michaels? Try this recipe for baby spinach with avocado, pomegranate, and sunflower seeds from her book Master Your Metabolism Cookbook, which serves six to eight as a side salad, per Today.


  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 large shallot, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 10 ounces baby spinach leaves, cleaned and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted (see sidebar at left)
  • 1 avocado

Directions: In a blender, combine the orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, shallot, olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Cut the pomegranate in half through the stem. Hold one pomegranate half under the water and remove the seeds with your hands. Drain the seeds well, discarding the membrane. Set aside three-fourths cup. Reserve the rest for another use.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, all but two tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds, the sunflower seeds, and about one-fourth cup of the dressing. Toss gently to coat. Transfer the salad to a platter or individual plates. Pit and peel the avocado and slice it thinly. Arrange the avocado slices on top of the salad. Sprinkle the reserved pomegranate seeds on top. Drizzle with the reserved dressing and serve.

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