If you want to lose weight, take some advice from one of the world’s biggest fitness stars: Jillian Michaels. The personal trainer, TV personality and fitness guru has leveraged her Biggest Loser stardom into an undeniable fitness empire built on one core philosophy: losing weight doesn’t require dangerous diets, fads or gimmicks.
From her podcast and blog to her monthly fitness program My Fitness By Jillian Michaels, the star trainer is the hub of a content universe that connects millions of fitness enthusiasts and weight loss hopefuls.
How does Michaels maintain her insane figure and stay motivated day in, day out? Here’s a quick overview of Michaels’ rise to fame, and the seven diet and fitness rules she swears by.
Jillian’s rapid rise to fame
Jillian grew up in California and endured a rough childhood; she was kicked out of her home at age 17 and was a self-professed overweight kid. After attending California State University and working a variety of jobs that didn’t suit her, she started a new life as a personal trainer. At age 28, she opened up Sky Sport and Spa with Jackie Warner, the star of Bravo TV’s Work Out.
Jillian trained in Muay Thai, a martial arts practice, for nearly two decades. She’s a black belt and holds training certifications from the National Exercise Sports Trainers Association and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She’s also certified in kettlebells, and a nutrition and wellness consultant. Her Bodyshred™ program is taught in gyms across the country as well as to trainers looking to take their practice to a whole new level.
But Jillian’s first foray into the spotlight was in 2005, when she was featured as a strength coach for NBC’s The Biggest Loser. She was depicted as a tough coach who motivated overweight contestants to break through fear and go all-in to reverse their life-threatening condition.
Building a fitness empire
You’ve probably seen Jillian on billboards or television. Since her role on The Biggest Loser, the fitness guru has become the face of fitness through an empire dedicated to healthy diet and exercise habits.
Her fame on The Biggest Loser propelled her to guru status. Since the show, she starred as the host of Losing Weight with Jillian and a co-host on The Doctors. She’s written five books on fitness and has a series of DVDs with workout routines and health advice. Her latest book, Yeah Baby!: The Modern Mama’s Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby, and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever, was released in 2016.
Jillian’s fitness and diet tips
While Jillian’s reputation on The Biggest Loser was based around tough love and intense fitness, her brand is more open and simple. She swears that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t require sacrificing your favorite foods; the path to losing weight and feeling great just requires simple changes to your lifestyle.
Take your first steps to fitness with Jillian’s top rules for eating healthy and staying fit.
- Don’t overeat. Jillian’s top rules aren’t complicated. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. When it comes to sweets, Jillian preaches an 80/20 diet: 80% of your diet is high-quality healthy food, and 20% are treats to keep cravings under control. She also tells her clients to give up alcohol, as too much drinking can slow your metabolism.
- Count calories. The amount of recommended calories varies depending on your weight, height, how much you currently work out and a variety of other factors. It’s crucial to figure out how many calories is healthy for your weight and overall health, and stop eating once you have hit that number. Counting calories isn’t an easy task at first, but Jillian promises that once you make it a habit, counting calories will come naturally. For those of you who have 15 or fewer pounds to lose, the fitness guru recommends dropping your daily caloric intake to 1600 per day.
- Eat high-quality food. Strict diets aren’t Jillian’s thing. (Don’t believe us? Read her recent post ripping the keto diet to shreds.) Instead of embracing trendy diets, she advises clients to stick to fruits, vegetables and other foods that give you the most nutrients. To follow Jillian’s eating habits, stay away from processed foods with lots of chemicals. If you can pronounce all of the ingredients on the food’s label, she tells her fitness devotees, then it’s probably a good choice.
- Enjoy your workout. Jillian encourages everyone to be consistent with exercise. But for many people, that’s easier said than done. If you want to stay committed to a workout, Jillian advises finding one that you enjoy. HIIT, yoga, running…if you enjoy it, keep doing it. An hour of exercise a day will help you burn fat and develop toned muscles. If you hate the gym, try these Jillian-recommended calorie busters.
- Make improvements every two weeks. Doing the same workout and eating the same foodsevery dayy will help you lose weight at first, but you could find yourself “plateauing” pretty quickly. Jillian encourages people to look at their diet and workout plan every two weeks, and increase the intensity of both to continue losing weight.
- Remember why you’re trying to lose weight. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be torture, but it does require consistent dedication. The best way to stay committed is to reflect on why you want to lose weight, and remind yourself of these reasons as you step into the kitchen or on the treadmill.
The Biggest Loser is officially off the air, but the show spawned a number of lasting fitness stars—the biggest of which is undeniably Jillian Michaels.