Sure, I've got a super-sessy personal trainer who fathered my child, trained me for several big events (including growing and carrying a human being in my belly) and who looks just as bad ass coming through a finish line as he does asleep on the couch with one hand on the remote and the other on the umm...clicker. All those years of commitment and life evolution aside, I'm seriously thinking about running away with Jillian.
That is, if I could keep up. If you've ever seen an episode of The Biggest Loser where Jillian sprints up a hill or karate chops a whiny contestant, you will have an idea of how cut-up her body is and how intense her focus is when it comes to getting fit. In person, all that is magnified.
Jillian led a lunch hosted by AOL Body Life Lab at BlogHer last weekend and I was thrilled to sit down and absorb a little of her intensity. Then my producer at That's Fit, an AOL/Weblogs Inc. blog I write for, suggested that I see if Jillian would be willing to sit down with me one-on-one. The connections came through, the interview fell in place for a celebrity fitness feature we've just launched on the site.
My friend Kelly Leotard came along and although she is my biggest competition for Jillian's affection (what can I say? Kel's a tattooed muscle grrrl and I'm more lipsticky cuddles), she's brilliantly summed up our way-over-time, teary, giggly, self-help, inspirational, gawking, you'll-have-to-pry-us-away-you-betches session up here.
I'll let you know when my interview with Jillian goes up on That's Fit, but for now, let me share a bit of the wisdom that I've inundated Bruce with in the days that have followed meeting my grrrl:
There's hope for even the biggest haters. Jillian calls herself a "begrudging fitness guru" because she grew up a chubbers kid and hated working out. She found a physical and emotional outlet in martial arts and credits that with keeping her away from smoking and other teenage evils/delights that (ahem) I absolutely know nothing about.
She confided that "there's nothing more boring than training celebrities." She also told me that she abhors running (holla!) and that she's not giddy with exercise love each time she steps in the gym. Instead, she does it for the way she feels when she's done (I totally agree that is the sweet spot).
In some strange way, doesn't it feel good to know that a fitness guru is hating her way through arms day or spin class? It helps me.
She also was pretty straightforward about the process being ongoing. Friends, that means that this road to wellness never ends.And if we'd all put down the cabbage diet pamphlet for a second, I think we'd all have to agree.
Why is the never-ending exercise and eating right worth it? Jillian says that's just the one and only equation to living heathfully. On top of that, she unabashedly embraces the vanity of loving and wanting a kickass body.
It's OK to testify, sister. She said something I think is radical -- that it is OK to just want to be skinny. I don't think she was referring in any way to the unhealthy extremes but rather, putting words to a lot of feelings a lot of women have had.
I'll raise my hand here and say that I've given lip service to toning up or making sure the engine's purring along when I've joined a class or gotten into a walking routine. But deep in my heart and wobbly bits, I know that I'm also sweating and panting because I want a flatter tummy. Of course, I do not think you have to have a flat tummy to be fabulous or gorgeous and it is certainly not a priority or right for every woman. But is it wrong to want that?
Jillian called it out, I think, when she said that she thinks it is fine to just say, "Look, I don't want to be fat." And she also said that if you are bigger and healthy and OK with that, then more power to you.
First part Personal, second part Trainer. She doled out a ton of fitness and nutritional advice, but Jillian Michaels' calling is much bigger than that. As a self-described beneficiary of a lot of therapy, she's personally and professionally invested in helping people make changes for the good in their lives.
She looked at each of us when she said that when people take action in their lives, like taking a walk or going to the gym, they are telling themselves and everyone around them they they are worth it.
"Saying 'I can't'," she said, "is where the craziness comes from. You are strong, you are powerful, and yes, you are capable. Whenever you put that energy into the universe, it will all fall in place."
Can I hear an Amen!? Even Oprah would have beamed at the goodness Jillian threw out to all of us.
Her investment was obvious when women talked, spilled their challenges and heartaches in losing and gaining weight, in getting their husbands on board, in losing friends along the way, in struggling to say that they are worth it. She leaned in, fixed her eyes on the person talking, nodded her head, gave hugs, handed out her email, took care and took time with each woman. It was so connecting, it was almost startling.
All that loveliness and she's on fire. Do you get it now, why I absolutely, positively must dig up my heart rate monitor and willingly, happily hand it over to Jillian?