Longtime trainer Jillian Michaels shares how working out keeps her strong – and sane

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated December 08, 2020 10:43 AM
Credit: Don Flood/SHAPE Magazine

After years of extolling the benefits of high-intensity workouts while everyone else at the gym was zoning out on the elliptical, Jillian Michaels is happy to see people have finally caught on.

“I’ve watched the trend go from being all about the low-intensity fat-burning zone to crazy for HIIT,” Michaels, 42, tells SHAPE magazine in their July/August 2016 issue, on newsstands June 28. “People are also moving away from machines and toward body-weight and free-weight training.”

It’s part of a big change in how women see their bodies.

“Strong, not skinny, is now sexy, and long workouts are a thing of the past,” she says.

It helps that women are finally moving away from the idea that lifting weights will make them too muscular.

“On the contrary, [weight lifting] will help you amp up your metabolism, shed fat, and maintain lean muscle mass and strong bone density,” Michaels says.

Michaels logs plenty of gym time of her own, especially when she’s feeling stressed.

“Whenever I’ve had a rough day, I like to pour my frustrations into my workouts,” she says. “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.”

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“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.”

And some of that pre-workout stress might make an appearance in Michael’s docuseries Just Jillian – but she’s OK with that.

“I wanted to honestly portray the comedy of errors that occurs as we all embrace the struggle to juggle work, family, personal time and more,” Michaels says. “I want people to watch it and have their own issues reflected, their feelings validated.”