Jillian Michaels Shares the Secret to a Fast Metabolism

Despite being a two-decade veteran in the fitness business, Jillian Michaels never fails to find ways to reinvent herself and her career. After wrapping up The Biggest Loser two years ago, she’s turned the cameras on herself for the E! docuseries Just Jillian, and has just launched an iOS app for her FITFUSION platform, which allows users to stream over 300 different workouts-ranging from yoga, to bootcamp, to HIIT-from Michaels and other expert trainers.

Throughout what Michaels calls the “tremendous evolution” of the fitness industry, which she’s had a large hand in shifting, she’s has remained an advocate of using your own bodyweight and picking up some weights (and not the wimpy kind!) for serious results. “Strong, not skinny is now sexy, and long workouts are a thing of the past,” she says.

She’s also clearly no stranger to the cover of Shape, and somehow manages to blow us away every year, whether it’s with a nude photo shoot or gravity-defying poses. This year, our cover girl didn’t fail to impress with a gritty, badass shoot and an explosive 20-minute power workout. Pick up the July issue on newsstands for the moves, and check out a snippet of our interview below.

Her weekly workout method for optimal results: “I train in different modalities so that each muscle is targeted twice a week, with two days of rest in between. So if I do a workout that’s focused mostly on ‘push’ muscles like yoga, I don’t train those muscles again for two days and instead focus on ‘pull’ muscles ,” she says. “I also do HIIT in almost every workout to train my VO2 max and keep my metabolism cranking.” (Steal her calorie-blasting bodyweight workout!)

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How she lets out her aggression with “big boy” weights: “Whenever I’ve had a rough day, I like to pour my frustration into my workouts. Being a strong woman in a man’s world can make one want to knock a few people out, and this has always been the healthy outlet for the release of that aggression,” Michaels explains. On those occasions, only seriously old-school tools will do for a session that can include slamming sledgehammers, flipping tractor tires, climbing ropes, and doing cleans with gritty kettlebells and gravity-defying moves on gymnastic rings. “After a workout like that, I feel so Zen and focused and ready to take on the world again from a calmer, cooler, more confident place.”

Why weightlifting won’t make you look bigger (Seriously. But you probably already knew that!): “On the contrary, it will help you amp up your metabolism, shed fat, and maintain lean muscle mass and strong bone density,” Michaels says.

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Why explosive, dynamic exercises (like those she demos in the July/August issue) are so important: “Dynamic resistance training like this is an extremely metabolic workout that challenges the body with nearly every modality of fitness,” she says. “Because it’s explosive and requires tremendous power, it torches calories and conditions muscle.”

  • By By Jaclyn Emerick

The Morning Chalkup

Some background.

Last December, Jillian Michaels wrote an article for Shape Magazine titled “Why Jillian Michaels Wants You to Stop Kipping in CrossFit.”

Then the anty was upped a little when Shape released a video last Thursday where Michaels had a few other not so nice things to say about CrossFit like how movements “don’t really vary”, “it stops being effective because you’re not challenging the body from various angles of push and pull”, and you should choose an exercise where you’ll “get more mobility.”

Are you sure she’s talking about the same “CrossFit” we are?

Sadly, yes. Here’s what she said, in full:

“I have a few issues with CrossFit, which is not a secret. First of all, you’ve got what, maybe 20 to 25 movements that don’t really vary? And you’re doing them over and over and over again,” she said. “So on one hand it stops being effective because you’re not challenging the body from various angles of push and pull, with different varieties of exercises and different types of movements that work different modalities.”

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A post shared by SHAPE: fitness, beauty, celebs (@shape) on Feb 7, 2019 at 8:03am PST

OK, so she doesn’t like CrossFit. Lots of people don’t like CrossFit. What’s the big deal?

First, she’s completely wrong.

Todd Wise, a Brute Strength coach, came in with a laundry list of corrections for Michaels, “We do train the start and finish position (isometric holds) the dynamic range (eccentric and concentric) the whole time focusing on holding and building midline stabilization (protecting the spine). We build strength and stability in these once and athlete shows proper mechanics and consistency of those mechanics we will add intensity meaning (reps, load, or speed) if needed to create more adaptation. Any Level 1 trainer has learned these.”

Second, she has 1.3 million followers on Instagram and one of the most widely recognized names in fitness. For better or worse, what she says and thinks about fitness influences countless people across the U.S. and to a lesser degree globally. And instead of using that platform to recognize how important it is that 15,000+ CrossFit affiliates worldwide equates to a few million people getting off the couch and moving, she instead uses her platform to tear it down and create divisiveness.

The USA Today, which has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the US, put it best when they quoted one Instagrammer: “I’d love to see her be thankful people are just out moving and working their bodies. How about a good job instead of u shouldn’t do this or that! My husband lost 70 lbs with CrossFit 6 years ago and has kept it off. I’d say it works pretty good.”

We could go on and on…

It’s no secret that Morning Chalk Up is a bit biased towards CrossFit, but that’s because it works. Do you know what doesn’t work? Programs that don’t teach people how to change their lifestyle and habits. Fat burning pills. Fad diets. Starving people into a caloric deficit. These things don’t work. CrossFit paired with a healthy sustainable dietary plan works.

But before we hang up our sneakers on this one, we’ll leave you with this zinger, courtesy of Brooke Ence. Hand clap emojis for you Brooke. “Needing to stay relevant so she needs to create controversy. Honestly I feel bad for her, whoever fed her the Information about what is CrossFit did not do their homework and in turn made her look like a complete moron.”

Brooke Ence, Brute Strength, Jillian Michaels, SHAPE Magazine

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I can’t say it enough: Exercise is essential to losing weight — and keeping it off. Sure, there are tons of ways to get your heart pumping, but here are three types of workouts that will optimize fat loss and accelerate your results aesthetically and athletically.

HIIT — If you want to be a calorie-burning machine, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the key. This means pushing yourself during short bursts of your workout session so you’re exercising at close to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR) and then recovering at a lower intensity of roughly 70 percent of your MHR. These intervals can range anywhere from 20 seconds to two minutes, depending on your level of fitness. Figuring out your MHR is simple — just subtract your age from 220. So if you’re 35, your MHR is 185 beats a minute.

HIIT training is one of the best ways to enhance your afterburn, which means you will not only burn calories during the workout, but long after the workout is over (this is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC). And you don’t have to be on a treadmill to engage in HIIT training; you can perform intervals on any piece of cardio equipment (such as a bike, stepmill, rower, etc.) or incorporate intense exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers and butt kicks into a 30-minute strength-training routine.

Resistance training — Whether you’re using your own body weight or free weights, strength training (aka resistance training) rocks because, like HIIT training, it’s one of the fitness techniques that accelerates afterburn. That’s because after a tough resistance-training workout, your muscles are hard at work rebuilding themselves, burning up to 100 calories a day in the process. In fact, a single strength-training workout a week can help you torch up to 36,000 extra calories — equivalent to about 10 pounds of fat — in a year! Just be sure to do reps of those push-ups, triceps dips or dumbbell presses until the point of true fatigue.

Plyometrics — An advanced fitness technique best described as jump training, plyometrics consists of explosive movements that can significantly increase your strength, speed and endurance. Athletes have used this type of training for years to maximize their performance, but anyone can reap the benefits of this high-intensity exercise, which increases your metabolic rate for hours afterward. Here are two examples of plyometrics: A jump lunge in which you jump as you straighten your legs; and a squat jump in which you squat down and spring upward out of the squat so your entire body leaves the ground.

What Dr. Michael Smith Says:

Does It Work?

Jillian Michaels’s program is very healthy and one that will get the job done. The core components are based on the healthiest ways to drop the pounds and get fit.

Some of the strongest parts of her program include limiting sweets and starchy foods, focusing on vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and fitting regular exercise into your lifestyle.

Michaels’s approach to fitness may have you running scared, but it will help get you in the best shape of your life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth the effort.

This is a solid approach that will work if you’re willing to make the change and put in the work.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Michaels’s well-balanced diet and fitness program is an excellent option if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. It may even be appropriate for you if you have heart disease.

But if you have a health condition, you should check with your doctor before jumping in to her exercise routine, especially if you’re not active now. Even if you are feeling better, do not alter or stop your medications without speaking with your doctor.

If you have diabetes, make sure you understand how exercise can affect your blood sugar and when to take action.

If your doctor gives you the OK, Michaels’s plan is a surefire way to improve your health. This plan may even help you decrease your need for medicines. Just don’t stop or cut back on any medicine without talking to your doctor first.

The Final Word

In a world of wild diet and fitness programs, Master Your Metabolismis a plan based on what is known to work. The diet is chock full of nutrients your body needs and limits those that sabotage your efforts. Her exercise program will help drop the pounds and get you in great shape.

If you’re up for the challenge, Michaels’s program will deliver the results you’ve been looking for.

She’s one of the country’s leading health and wellness experts, a best-selling author, and the star of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Jillian Michaels even has a new fat-fighting video game for the Wii. If she can’t get you pumped up to get ripped, no one can. We asked her for her best tips on getting motivated and overcoming the most common willpower busters.


Set your sights!
Before pursuing any goal you must clearly define it for optimal success. Often people have a generalized idea of what they want, but without a concrete destination it’s impossible to chart a roadmap that leads to success. Think of it like this, saying you “want to be healthy” is like saying your heading north east. That is far too amorphous. Defining what healthy means to you (run a half marathon, live to 100 etc.) is like saying you are heading to the empire state building. So, take a moment to think about your goals and specifically outline the details of your dreams. This is critical to controlling the trajectory of your life.

Knowledge is power.
Once you have a clear vision of your goals educate yourself about them. Taking action without proper information is at best useless and at worst destructive. If you want to lose weight you have to learn about calories. How many are in a pound. How many to eat and how many to burn etc. This rule applies to any goal you’re pursuing. With the proper information you can make powerful choices that affect lasting change!

I’m sure your girl is always preaching at you about this one. Well, she’s right. We spend nearly all our waking hours working with people and they can be a huge source of support or sabotage. Which role they play can be greatly influenced by your communication skills. Work on asking for what you need. People are NOT mind readers. Give them the tools to support you in the ways you find most helpful. In addition, when resolving conflicts, make sure you listen “empathically”. Put yourself in the other persons shoes and seek to understand them as opposed to just waiting for your turn to talk. This will build good will with the other person and better inform you on how to reach a mutually beneficial win win resolution.


I don’t have any support from friends and family. I’m doing this on my own.
One of my favorite quotes says it all: We can tolerate any ‘how’ if we have a ‘why.’ In other words, identify all the reasons you want to lose weight to begin with. Write them down. Post them everywhere you can. Meditate on them first thing in the morning and at night when you go to sleep. Motivation always comes from within—bring it out!

I keep slipping up.
Failure is a pain in the ass because it’s unavoidable. Many tend to see failure as a validation of their deepest, darkest insecurities. It can throw us into depression and erode our confidence and self-esteem. The trick is to recognize failure as an entry point for learning and an integral component of growth—and not make the same mistake twice.

I have good intentions—but at the end of the day, I’m tired and just want to go home and relax.
I’ve been here. Many times. It’s easy to settle into a relationship or a routine and stop taking care of your needs. Remember that you have to make time to take care of yourself. Try to get your workout in during your lunch hour or in the morning before work. Get a piece of home cardio equipment and exercise while you catch up on your favorite TV show. Or, clear all the crap snack foods out of your cupboard. You can’t eat what’s not there.

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5 best Jillian Michaels workout DVDs

We’ve hand-picked the 5 best Jillian Michaels workout DVDs to get you into shape faster than you can say ‘jump squat!’

Anyone who reads this site regularly knows I am a huge fan of Jillian Michaels exercise DVDs. I don’t have much time to dedicate to working out so if I am going to donate 20 minutes to an hour of my day to trying to get into shape, I want a workout DVD that works, not something that feels like a nursing home funky-robics class.

I want a workout DVD that works, not something that feels like a nursing home funky-robics class

Jillian Michaels’ workouts deliver me a real body challenge and they make me sweat, which feels like it’s effective. I began with 30 Day Shred about a year ago and in only a month for a trip home to Australia I lost an inch off my waist and thighs. For the last year I have been obsessed with collecting Jillian Michaels DVDs and testing them, which is why I feel qualified to bring you what I believe are her five best for people wanting real results. I’ve explained them with the specific purpose of giving you all the information that someone looking for workout DVD wants. I know because I am that person and I am fusseeee!

1. 30 Day Shred

How long have you got? 25 minutes

How many workouts? Three workouts, levels, 1, 2 and 3 that progress in difficulty – you’re supposed to do one until it feels easy and then move on. A clue, level 3 will never feel easy.

What happens? 30 Day Shred is the classic Jillian Michaels workout and it really does work. Each 25 minute workout combines high intensity moves with resistance and abdominal work using Michaels’ signature 3-2-1 formula. That’s three minutes of resistance moves (think squats, lunges, push ups) with two minutes of cardio (such as high kicks, boxing moves, mountain climbers…) and one minute of abdominal work done as three circuits plus a warm up and cool down. It’s all just so tough it will make you swear but it is over quickly and it really works. Type ’30 day Shred’ into Google Image and see the success stories for yourself.

Level of difficulty? Starts off at beginners and moves to advanced but throughout the workouts there are instructions for easier or tougher variations.

Equipment? A set of dumbbells in different weights. I use the 2kg, 3kg and 4kg ones from fitness-mad.com

Buy Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred

2. Hard Body

How long have you got? 45 minutes

How many workouts? Two, level one and level two.

What happens? Still circuit style, you go all the way through each of the seven circuits and then start again from the beginning. I found it torturous, even level one. It features Jillian’s signature strength, cardio and abdominal training combinations which mean you get a killer workout to your muscles while also working up a serious sweat because of the combination of high impact cardio and low impact resistance training JM’s become known for. For Jillian, there’s no such thing as a bog-standard lunge or plank. She has to add about three other things to these moves so that you’re working so many body parts it hurts everywhere. Case in point, at one stage we were doing not only burpees but burpees with weights and a jump at the end. At another we weren’t just doing push ups, but walking push-ups with arm lifts and three squat jumps at the top. The result is a workout in which you get maximum sweat for the time you put in. Therea’s a cute DJ for the first time, eye candy to distract from the pain.

Level of difficulty? Intermediate to advanced

Equipment? A set of dumbbells in different weights.

Buy Jillian Michaels – Hard Body

3. 6 Week Six-Pack

How long have you got? 30 minutes

How many workouts? Two at different levels. You do workout one for three works and then progress to workout two for three weeks

What happens? If you’re expecting an easy ride of lying on the floor doing sit-ups, forget it. This is high intensity and designed to shred fat from the body to reveal a six pack and the only way you can do that is with tough, sweat-inducing moves. There are lots of them using weights and moving arms and shoulders across the body for whittling waistlines while doing lower body moves such as lunges and squats. The moves in level one are not quite as intricate as level two or as fast, which means you have something to progress to. A great and quick all over workout that is a step up from 30 Day Shred in my opinion.

Level of difficulty? Intermediate to advanced

Equipment? Dumbells in different weights.

Buy Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Pack

4. Kickbox Fastfix

How long have you got? 20 minutes

How many workouts? Three in all, covering upper body, lower body and abs. Designed to be done on different days or – when you have the time – as one long workout. Each has a warm up and cool down incorporated into it so you don’t have to keep going back to the menu.

What happens? This is my favourite when I am properly short of time – I find the moves challenging but also fun as all the kick boxing and punching gets my aggression out and calms my nerves for the day. There are a bunch of girls in this one, some doing different variations so it’s easy to do the workouts for any levels – though many of them look pretty challenged themselves in points. Even in 20 minutes, there is enough here to do some damage (as in make a difference). Of all the workouts, it’s probably the one that’s the most fun in the shortest possible time, while also challenging your muscles. It’s also great for learning boxing and kick-boxing moves.

Level of difficulty? Beginners to advanced.

Equipment? None

Buy Kickbox Fastfix

5. Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism

How long have you got? 40 minutes

How many workouts? One

What happens? Each workout is broken up into six seven-minute circuits which means you go through a few sets of resistance moves twice during each circuit. I love it because it’s all based on your body weight – no equipment required – and you really, really sweat. This comes from a combination of old-school callisthenics such as jumping jacks, high kicks and mountain climbers as well as kick boxing and punching moves plus plenty of plie and jump squats and moves on the floor such as mountain climbers, twisting planks and other torture. The mix leaves me soaking wet by the end of it. It’s the one I always do after a big meal out the night before as I know it will boost my metabolism for the day and get me burning more calories than usual.

Level of difficulty? Intermediate

Equipment? None

Buy Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism


Davina 7 minute fit

Made In Chelsea MIC:Fit

Charlotte Crosby 3 minute Belly Blitz

Josie Gibson’s 21 day fat burn

Joey Bull’s 7 Day Shed

Jillian Michaels Hard Body

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

Davina 15 Minute Fit

Fitsteps DVD

Tracy Anderson’s beginner’s workout

2014 Fitness DVD Best to Worst Charts

Jillian michaels shape magazine

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