Want to have your healthiest year yet? We asked superstar PT Jillian Michaels to share her motivation and mindset secrets for success so you can reach new fitness heights in 2022…

By Joanna Ebsworth (Photography: Don Flood)

As we wave goodbye to the damp squib that was 2021, many of us are feeling more than ready to embrace change, set new challenges and make 2022 the year we finally hit our fitness goals. And if there’s one woman on the planet who knows all the secrets to undergoing a successful body transformation, it’s health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels.

The world-renowned personal trainer, businesswoman, author and television personality has been helping people become the best versions of themselves and lead healthier, happier lives for more than two decades.

Her fitness DVDs alone have sold over 100 million copies worldwide, while her workout platform, The Fitness App By Jillian Michaels, is the top-rated diet and exercise app for women, having won a host of ‘best-of’ awards from both Google and Apple.

So, who better to ask for some advice on how we can get fitter this year than the global fitness superstar herself? Read on for Jillian’s tips on how to successfully set goals and stay motivated over the next 12 months as you embark on your own exciting fitness journey.

Is the new year the best time for setting health and fitness goals?

Jillian Michaels: ‘Every single second provides a fresh opportunity to make better choices for yourself. However, new year is definitely a catalyst for change in that it helps to provide a psychological “clean slate” or new beginning.

‘Personally, I would take advantage of any and every opportunity that provides some inspiration and momentum, with the caveat that new year is a great time to set goals, but anytime is a great time. So, when it isn’t new year, don’t wait to make healthy changes. Act on them when you are inspired.’

What’s the most effective way to set goals?

Jillian Michaels: ‘The key to effectively building up moments of inspiration is informed action: taking action when you feel inspired to do so, but making sure that the action is researched, informed and thought-out, to minimise failure and optimise chances for success.

‘This helps to keep people motivated all year round. Getting informed requires a very strategic approach. Breaking the big goal down into smaller goals is key.’

jillian michaels

‘Every single second provides a fresh opportunity to make better choices for yourself.’

How do we break down our goals for success?

Jillian Michaels: ‘I recommend a goal pyramid. You literally place the long-term goal at the top of the pyramid and break it down into smaller goals over time. For example, if you wanted to lose 20lbs in three months, you would then break that down into monthly goals of 7lbs a month, which breaks down into 1.7lbs or so a week.

‘This means you need to have a calorie deficit of roughly 800 a day. Then, the daily goals break into immediate goals like: “I need to meal prep for the week” or “I need to look up how many calories are in this meal” and “I need to exercise 30 minutes today to hit that calorie deficit”, etc.’

What’s your top advice for people who have struggled to get fit before?

Jillian Michaels: ‘Arguably, the most – or one of the most – important components to achieving success with anything in life is consistency, especially with health- and fitness-related goals.

‘Being consistent requires a few critical things. The first is a “why” or a purpose. Work with a purpose becomes a passion. Work without purpose simply feels punishing, and no one is likely to sign up for that.

‘So, if you have the “why”, you can tolerate the “how”, which is the work and sacrifice required to achieve your goal. Take some time to really think about why you want to set this goal and the ways in which your life will improve.

‘Second, you want to find things you like or at least don’t hate. I could tell you all the most effective fitness techniques and guide you on how to do them in ways that are safe for your fitness level, but if you would rather stick needles in your eyes than do strength training, metabolic circuits and HIIT intervals, it doesn’t matter how effective they are if you won’t show up for them.

‘Pick a few things you enjoy – such as dance, yoga, swimming, hiking, boxing and Spinning – and do them. Remember that consistency is the most important component, so whatever you think you will show up for, you need to incorporate often.’

How can we be our fittest in 2022?

Jillian Michaels: ‘Everyone is different, obviously. We want different things and we are passionate about different things. Some people want to get fit to slide into a brand of skinny jeans and some want to get fit to become a centenarian.

‘Others want to feel more comfortable having sex with the lights on and some want to be strong, healthy role models for young kids. Some want to reclaim their health because they lost a loved one to an obesity-related disease. The list goes on and on.

‘There is no right or wrong answer, but what is critical is that you are passionate about it – passionate enough to do what is required to achieve it. I can give many examples of the ways in which living healthier will have overwhelming positive effects on your life, but what’s important is that you care about it.’

Does losing weight always come down to hard work and discipline?

Jillian Michaels: ‘It depends on how you view what is required. It requires knowing about calories – how many daily calories you are eating, and being sure that number is less than the number of calories you are burning that day.

‘It requires using common sense with your foods and making some sacrifices. We all know not to drink soda or get fries on the side and opt for salad instead, but the key is following through with those choices.

‘And then, you must move your body, because this is how the body burns stored fat: by demanding more energy via increased activity, and fat is stored energy. Plus, exercise is the most effective way to boost your metabolism.

‘So that’s what is required, and anyone who tells you otherwise is simply lying and selling you a false bill of goods because magic bullet solutions are easy to sell, even though they inevitably
don’t work.’

jillian michaels

‘Take some time to really think about why you want to set this goal and the ways in which your life will improve.’

How do you stay in such amazing shape?

Jillian Michaels: ‘I am in maintenance mode, which is much easier than trying to achieve a bigger goal. For example, I don’t need to burn excess calories in a day because I am not trying to lose weight; I don’t need to train as often or as hard; and I don’t need to focus on restricting my food intake.

‘I am not training for a specific event like a marathon or triathlon, so I don’t need to spend hours training or carb loading. My regimen is very simple. I put in four 30-minute sessions a week of the most effective fitness techniques – strength training, HIIT and mobility work.

‘I eat as many calories as I burn in a day (around 1,700-1,800), and I use common sense with my food choices by eating real whole foods. I’m also a supplement junkie, and I think this gives me an edge. I take collagen with MSM glucosamine, chondroitin, organic greens, adaptogens, krill and pre/probiotics.’

You’re famous for transforming bodies. What’s the secret to your success?

Jillian Michaels: ‘It’s the aforementioned: having a “why” and then doing the work to achieve that “why”, such as eating intelligently and moving your body. Period. I promise you it’s that simple. Notice I didn’t say “easy”, because it does require work and sacrifice, but it is that simple.

‘If you look on my socials, you will see all the success stories people post in The Fitness App forums and in the Jillian Michaels Community Facebook group. Each and every one of them says the same thing: “I finally decided to take action and follow through. I ate less and ate a bit smarter, and I exercised consistently. Boom – goal weight hit”.’

What are your tips for sticking to a new workout regime?

Jillian Michaels: ‘Everything hinges on that “why”. Why do you want this in the first place? How will your life improve? Think about this deeply. In detail. Write it down. Visualise it. Tell everyone about it. Commit to it with every cell in your body. Then start to break down the “how” because once you have the why, you can tolerate the how.’

Health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels is the creator of THE FITNESS APP BY JILLIAN MICHAELS. Visit jillianmichaels.com for more information and keep up with her at @jillianmichaels.

Click here for our exclusive interview with Denise Van Outen.