Famed trainer, Jillian Michaels, brought her “Maximize Your Life” tour to Pittsburgh last week to an extremely attentive audience ready to learn the secrets to a healthier life – but Michaels delivered no secrets.
Opening with a video that showed two distinctive worlds – one of happiness and one of sorrow, Michaels wasn’t here to bring you the magic weight loss secret that has helped “The Biggest Loser” contestants lose hundreds of pounds in what seems like a heartbeat. She was here to get to the root of the real problem – yourself. The video depicted the reality and where you reside – in heaven on earth or… well hell. Over the course of two hours Michaels shared a bit of knowledge about “the three S’s – Science, Sweat and Self” which, according to her, are the keys to living a happier life, which in turn will bring a healthier lifestyle. Before getting down to business though, Michaels reflected on her experiences in Pittsburgh so far and a stop at one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic restaurants – Primanti Bros.
“Who in the hell puts fries on the sandwich,” said Michaels jokingly. “Oh we have our work cut out for us Pittsburgh.”
During the first hour, Michaels blew through the first keys to a healthier life – science and sweat. She revealed the big secret to weight loss success – “Eat less, move more.” There you have it Pittsburgh.
“Do not spend one more dollar on a fad diet or weight loss product,” said Michaels. “If you can add and subtract, you can lose weight. If you can’t, there’s an app on your phone for that.”
Michaels challenged the audience to spend two weeks counting calories. Because we are creatures of habit and tend to eat many of the same foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner – the key is once you know it … you simply know it! Figure out what your normal meal consists of and you’ll have a basis for your calorie count in the future. It’s that simple.
Of course, calories aren’t the only key to nutritional success because food quality is equally as important. To demonstrate a point that not all foods are created equally, she invited an audience member on stage and handed her a can of insect repellant and said – “open up” as she pointed it directly at her mouth and posing the question – would you spray this directly in your mouth?
The multitude of chemicals our foods come in contact with daily (or are inserted into our foods) grows on a daily basis but has become a very hot topic for quite some time. The key to eating healthy is reading the labels and focus on avoiding the 10 biggest chemical offenders which includes things like trans fat, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors. In addition, Michaels addressed where to focus on eating organic if you’re on a budget through her “Clean 15” list of produce that doesn’t necessary “need” to be organic if money is tight as well as the “Dirty Dozen” produce you should always try to buy organic. What’s the difference – it’s all in the exterior. The “Clean 15” items tend to have rinds, shells and tough exterior (such as watermelon, pineapple, or asparagus) while the “Dirty Dozen” have thin skins or are subjected to more pesticides.
In addition to produce, Michaels suggests focusing on purchasing organic meat and dairy due to corn-fed animals, GMO’s, and hormones. After displaying several photo comparisons on the screen, the difference in animals was crystal clear.
And then came the point in the evening where Michaels addressed the typical excuse – “I can’t afford to eat healthy.” According to Michaels, health issues are the number one cause of bankruptcy.
“I also find a $6 pack of raspberries offensive,” said Michaels. “But it’s not just an additional set of years, it’s the quality of your life. You truly are what you eat.”
For the last half of the show, Michaels dedicated her time to the discussion of self – which is really the number one barrier to living a healthier lifestyle. She shared stories of “The Biggest Loser” contestants that you may not have seen on television and the biggest question of all – “Why are you here? What does health look like in your life?”
“If you have a ‘why’ to live for, you can create the how,” said Michaels. “It’s the ‘why’ that’s worth it. Without the why you’re like a ship that’s lost at sea.”
According to Michaels, people live the life they think they “should” rather than the life they want because that’s how we all end up in the “responsibility sandwich” of life. Her advice – break the rules (not the law) to live the live you deserve. Follow your dreams and make them a reality by setting small goals and achieving them. Learn from your failures and understand that sometimes you will hit rock bottom – even she has.
Many will recall Michaels absence from Season 3 of “The Biggest Loser,” well that wasn’t an accident. She shared the story of how her mouth (and perhaps a certain finger) got a little carried away with a producer and she wasn’t asked back.
Tragedy is another barrier to living the life you deserve and Michaels recalls Abby’s story – one of the most heart wrenching tales on television. Losing your entire family to a car accident is simply unfathomable and leaves you lost, but she climbed the mountain to happiness over time and now lives a full life.
“It’s the power of now,” said Michaels. “You might think you’re present, but you’re not. Tomorrow never comes. It doesn’t come when you wait. Appreciate that right now you’re good enough to live the life you want. The past is nothing but a story you’ll tell yourself every day. You need to wake up and live in the present.”
According to Michaels, there are three actions in life – the best case scenario, the worst case scenario, and the do nothing scenario. While many may think the “do nothing” is the best course of action, it’s not because that’s where you miss out on life.
“How you respond to things in life that are unfair and beyond your control makes you who you are,” said Michaels. “If you can’t take responsibility for your life you are destined to fail.”
Closing out the evening, Michaels ended with a Q&A session where fans who submitted questions were called up for the opportunity to get one-on-one advice. Questions ranging from when the next kickboxing DVD will be released to should I cut out dairy were asked and answered with real advice and then in a fitting ending to the show – one gentleman took Michaels advice and went for the gold and ran up to the microphone.
He said he was a writer who asked for an interview, but was denied due to her schedule. He broke his back and used some of her workouts to help him get back on track. The bottom line – he was completely inspired by her and an elated fan. In his words – “he just had to speak to her.”
It was a touching moment to end the show; proof that the taking risks and chances can pay off in the end. Michaels finished out the evening by giving the fan a big hug, which was well-deserved for his bravery.