US TV health and fitness guru Jillian Michaels, who is one of the star trainers on the hit reality series The Biggest Loser, is coming to Sheffield as part of a tour of her own motivational show.
Jillian brings her Maximize Your Life show to the UK for the first time, sharing the tools and motivation skills that she says anyone can use “to harness their potential, kick-start their goals and live the exceptional life they’ve always wanted but didn’t think was possible.”
Jillian earned a reputation as a tough-talking character on 12 series of The Biggest Loser USA and she has also released 15 fitness DVDs and several best-selling books.
Here she answers our questions about the show and her career.
Please tell us a little bit about this tour you’re bringing to Sheffield and why you decided to go on the road with it.
It’s an interactive two-hour live show that gives me an opportunity to have a direct connection with my audience. I have found it’s the best medium to inform, motivate, and inspire people to be their happiest and healthiest selves.
During the live show I will be taking people on a journey of self-exploration so they can connect with and cultivate their passion. Identify what’s at the root of their self sabotaging behaviours.
And finally, give them a road map: the information and skills to take powerful actions in their lives that yield powerful results. Be it a healthier body, a more fulfilled career, or a better love life – everything is possible with the knowledge and tools.
Was it always your intention to work in fitness and lifestyle advice? What other career paths might you have chosen?
No, not consciously. I fell into the career via my own journey with with health, happiness and self-improvement. I have been fortunate enough in my life to have incredible mentors and teachers guide, educate and motivate me on how to transform not just my body but my life.
Because of this I developed a passion for helping others in the same ways I was helped as a teen and young adult.
We know you in the UK from The Biggest Loser. Are you surprised at how popular the show has become?
Originally I was, but after the first season having witnessed not just the physical transformation, but the emotionally and psychological changes the contestants underwent, I realized it would resonate with people everywhere.
Ultimately, Biggest Loser is about a triumph over adversity and there isn’t a person on this planet – fit or “fat” – who doesn’t experience these kinds of life struggles.
Who were the contestants that you worked with who inspired you most – or drove you craziest?
There was a contestant on season 8 of the American Biggest Loser named Abbey Rike who had lost her entire family in a car accident. Over the course of the season she found a way to give this horrible tragedy a meaning.
Over time she was able to transmute her suffering into depth, wisdom, love, empathy and understanding by becoming writing a book about what she had gone through and becoming a grief counsellor to help others undergoing similar tragedies come through to the other side.
As for driving me crazy – there are always people that get under your skin, but as I got more seasoned at the job I came to understand that some people are simply not ready to change and that’s ok.
It’s no reflection on me and my passion or ability to do my job. That I had to respect their journey and trust that the right time will come for them at some point.
Do you think that appearing on The Biggest Loser gave you a ‘tough woman’ image that you don’t deserve?
Tough – no. I am tough. Mean yes. I am not mean. Sadly, the producers changed on BL throughout the years and there were those who felt a villain was more fun to watch. Gladly though the ratings have never reflected that sentiment.
Is there any chance that you will return to the show in future?
No, it’s been 10 years. Things just naturally run their course and it’s important to expand and evolve the mission and the message.
If you could create a TV show along the same lines, what would you do differently now?
I think the problem is that I never could create any aspect of the show other than my actual role in training the contestants. In my dream world there would be no eliminations and the only prize would be a happier and healthier self – just like in real life.
Do you have any words of inspiration for those of us who are struggling to keep to a New Year’s resolution to live more healthily or change bad habits this year?
First I would point out that there are people in the world who have their physical health, healthy love, a career they love… why not you??
There is nothing about anyone on this planet that makes them any less deserving than another. We are truly created equal and while you may perceive differences between yourself and another (this person is prettier, this person is more talented at piano etc.) these are differences that exist only in the eyes of the human ego and have no bearing on merit on your value in this world.
We are all here for a reason. Follow your heart to find yours and never give up on it no matter how long it takes. The time will pass anyway and the journey, with all its ups and downs, is where life is meant to be lived.
Jillian Michaels appear at Sheffield City Hsall next Saturday, January 24. Box office: at the venue, online at www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk or call 0114 278 9789
n Sheffield City Hall is offering two pairs of tickets to Jillian’s show for lucky Star readers. For a chance to win a pair, enter our free draw.
Post your name and details to Jillian Michaels Competition, Julia Armstrong, The Star, York Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 1PU.
Or email our name and contact details, with Jillian Michaels Competition in the subject field, to email@example.com
Deadline is next Tuesday, January 20, at 10am. Usual SNL rules and data terms apply: see thestar.co.uk