Jillian Michaels has pretty much held the title of “world’s toughest trainer” for the last 25 years, during which time wellness has become a big business. The mega-entrepreneur (she’s even invested in food brands) is thrilled that more people are into health and fitness than ever before—but she’s also worried that things have become a bit, well, nuts. According to Michaels, people are falling for all kinds of fads in the name of reinventing the wellness wheel.
“I don’t buy it, I just don’t,” she admits. “Don’t get me wrong, I love that people are getting into it, but people are saying things like, ‘Strong is the new sexy.’ And that has always been true.”
In her personal life, Michaels is all about keeping things simple and evidence-based, no matter what trends pop up—serving as a great reminder that healthy habits don’t have to be complex in order to be super effective. (Though trends like blue algae lattes do have their place.)
Keep reading for Jillian Michaels’ no-frills wellness rules—plus an exclusive five-minute, do-anywhere workout.
Rule #1: Don’t fall for trends that aren’t tested
“Throughout my professional career, I’ve constantly looked to improve upon my diet and better myself,” says Michaels, who believes that knowledge is power. But rather than falling for trends, she’s a firm believer in gradually evolving your wellness plan based on sound science.
“I never do anything because it’s ‘trendy’ or ‘in’; I do it because it’s smart and backed by evidence,” Michaels insists. It takes, she admits, some personal experimentation. “There are always things that work better for certain people over others,” the trainer says. “So you just have to learn what works for you by trial and error.”
Rule #2: Find your personal food personality—and eat every four hours
Michaels believes that when it comes to eating well, it’s largely a personality game. Whether it’s vegan or Paleo, the key is to find an eating style that doesn’t feel like a constant struggle—to you. Then keep your portions in check, and give yourself permission to eat frequently. Eating every four hours keeps you balanced, Michaels says.
Also important? Learn to spot the holes in your diet, and supplement as needed. “I follow a lot of Ayurvedic medicine,” Michaels says. She also gets plenty of probiotics, sips chlorophyll with water, and rounds her diet out with grapeseed and coconut oils—plus a spoonful of bee pollen for good measure. “I’ve learned that exercise and nutrition are the number one form of preventative medicine,” she says.
Rule #3: Prioritize sleep
“Even with two kids, four dogs, and a parrot, I need my sleep,” Michaels insists. “I would never sacrifice sleep to squeeze in a workout.” (Yes, the world’s toughest trainer just gave you permission to hit the snooze button.) When things are just too crazy to clock adequate zzz’s, Michaels reaches for the caffeine. “We bought a cold brew company called Lucky Jack,” she says. “It’s all organic and really jump-starts the engine.”
Rule #4: Maximize your workouts by doing what you love
The key to staying active, no matter how busy life gets? Find what you love—whether it’s barre, bootcamp, or pick-up basketball—because you’re way more likely to stick with it when it doesn’t feel like a chore. And yes, that even applies to pros. “It changes all the time, but right now I’m really into free running—I feel like 40-year-old kid,” Michaels admits. “I’m no good at it, but I love that there is an art form to it—how many angles of push and pull you can use, how many muscles you use.”
Rule #5: Avoid anything that’s fake.
“The devil is not in the protein, or carbs, or sugar—it’s in the chemicals and pesticides,” Michaels says, adding, “avoid them all.” It’s a simple rule with broad applications (from diet to beauty) that can make such a difference.
Bonus! Jillian Michael’s five-for-five workout
Directions: Do each move for one minute—as many reps as you can in that time—resting for one minute in between each different move.
- Plyo push-ups
- Squat jumps
- Push-ups or assisted push-ups (on your knees)
- Jumping, alternating lunges