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Jillian Michaels names the 3 biggest workout motivation pitfalls

Jillian Michaels

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:

Jillian Michaels

Michaels on her “Maximize Your Life” tour. (Photo: Facebook.com/JillianMichaels)

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

9 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. April 23rd, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Jillian is such a big inspiration to me. Not just for her work on the biggest loser but also as a health coach and a personal welness motivator

  2. April 24th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    As a guy who has put in more than 35 years of effort trying to stay in shape, Jillian’s ideas make perfect sense. It’s like the Buddha said (more or less): training the mind must come first or nothing will change.

  3. April 24th, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    This is so true! I can particularly identify with point 2, once you slip up a few times it really can be a downward spiral if you don’t “shake it off”.

  4. Anna
    April 28th, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Real inspiring post. I totally agree with Jillian that we tend to follow the people we hang out with. They greatly influence the choices that we make.. It’s hard to admit but surrounding yourself with the right kind of people is necessary when you want to make a positive change in your life.

  5. April 28th, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    The “why” is the biggest factor for me, I use post-it notes and pictures stuck on the fridge and around my place to remind me of my goals.

  6. Daira
    May 9th, 2013 at 5:58 am

    Couldn`t agree more,especially with the first one. This is a number one thing I keep reminding my clients about as it is very easy to remember why we want and need to change bad habits and unhealthy lifestyle. Thanks for sharing.
    D

  7. Nicolette Vergara
    May 9th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    She is so right about these things that can prevent people from working out and to successfully continue with their fitness efforts. I am guilty of all three but what struck me the most is number 3. I try so hard to go on a diet but sometimes I have no choice but to eat what my mom cooks and what my family eats. They influence my eating habits in a major way. Perhaps I must follow Jillian’s advice to be firm on my goals and hold myself accountable for the things that I do. This is a great article, it changed the way I think.

  8. July 22nd, 2014 at 3:31 am

    He says makes sense, but I feel a lot of movement, and eating less can really lose weight(ihealbox.com)

  9. October 20th, 2014 at 5:22 am

    I agree on all three, I have been fighting weight loss all my life, and staying in track is the hardest thing for me, as well as eating, I work out high impact in the pool Monday thru Friday for 2 hours every week but can’t seem to drop any weight, I work graveyards so I try not to eat before I go to bed, I get off work 9am take a nap till 11am then have coffee n breakfast then go to pool for workout, shower n on way home get something to eat couple taco’s at taco bell and water, then when I am home I go to bed and wake up round 5pm hungry so I eat with my family then go to bed

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