Jillian Michaels obviously knows which combination of squats and lunges will tone your glutes. But the “Biggest Loser” trainer and health guru is really famous for her ability to motivate people to even show up for workouts—and to push themselves once they do.
Michaels is focusing on this mental aspect of getting fit even more in her new roles, as the “Chief Energy Officer” for natural energy drink purveyor EBoost and an inspirational speaker traveling the country on her “Maximize Your Life” tour, which just kicked off this month. (She also talks about it a lot in her newest book, Slim for Life.)
“The fact is that I can provide all of the information in the world but if a person isn’t motivated to use it then none of it matters,” shes says. “Lasting motivation—the kind that makes a true and permanent difference—must come from within.”
We asked Michaels to share some of the most common workout motivation pitfalls, and how to avoid them:
1. You forget your “why.” “It is SO important to find and focus on the why—why getting fit and healthy is important to you. When you forget this, it’s easy to fall into old patterns and poor habits,” Michaels says. “But when you remember and focus on that specific why—’I want to get fit so I can be healthy enough to see my daughter walk down the aisle’—then you can power through every workout, make the right choices at lunch time, and so on.”
2. You go into a slip-up tailspin. “Another thing people tend to do is get discouraged and let a slip-up derail them completely. Slip-ups happen. To all of us. Sometimes we miss a workout or eat something that isn’t exactly ideal,” she says. “But if you had a flat tire in your car, would you get out on the side of the highway and decide to puncture the other three? Of course not. And you shouldn’t do this in your quest to get fit either. If you have a slip, shake it off, move on, and just do better the next day.”
3. You let your friends drag you down. “For most of us, the people in our lives are a key motivator, very often a large part of our ‘why.’ But they can also lead us to feel pressure to eat foods that aren’t the greatest choices for us, skip workouts, and more,” Michaels explains. It’s a problem New York women feel acutely: happy hour or hot yoga? “It’s important to be direct and upfront about getting healthy,” she explains. “Tell your friends and family what you are doing and make yourself accountable. This will allow you to recruit support and encouragement from the people closest to you and it will force those that sabotage you to take a look at their own behavior in terms of diet and fitness—which is often something they should and are hoping to work on as well.” Maybe invite your BFF to spin class? —Lisa Elaine Held