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Fitness Expert Jillian Michaels Leads by Example

Photo: Courtesy of James Law

Fitness expert and life coach Jillian Michaels is known for her passion and intensity for exercise. She wants to motivate kids to get and stay active too. 

Still, the former “Biggest Loser” trainer doesn’t force her kids to work out. She’s more focused on getting them interested in being active and having a good time.

“For kids, physical activity should be about play and fun,” says Michaels, the mother of two kids — daughter Lukensia, 9, and son Phoenix, 6. “My kids inherently have activities they enjoy. Karate, gymnastics, dance, etc. I’m supportive of their passion for those sports, and that continuously encourages them to keep at it.”

Role model

Now 45, Michaels was overweight as a child. She got serious about her health when she was 17. That’s when she started martial arts training and learned to value fitness. She’s a black belt in the practice of Muay Thai and Akauri-Do. 

Michaels, who has four personal training certificates from the leading certification programs in the United States and Canada, also has her own fitness app, “My Fitness by Jillian Michaels.”

She advises fellow parents to make exercise fun and social for kids, but most of all she advises to lead by example.

“You are your child’s primary role model,” she says. “Your kids inherently want to be like you. By staying in shape yourself, you set the bar for the family.”

She’s also calling for more attention on physical education programs for children, especially younger kids.

“I’d like to see it become mandatory. I’d like to see more dedicated time to it,” says Michaels. “And I believe it should be more free play and introduction to different sports with less structure and mandatory fitness tests like running a mile for the sake of it.”

Doing the work

While there’s little crossover for her in being a parent and training clients, Michaels says there’s one similarity: capability.

“I know that people in general are capable of great things when they have the right information to act on, the purpose to do the work, the passion for the work, and the fortitude to stick with it,” she says. An eight-time author, Michaels is working on her ninth book, due out in 2021. She posts regularly to her blog and new episodes of her podcast, “The Jillian Michaels Show” are released every Monday. 

Kristen Castillo, [email protected]

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