Jillian Michaels: The best friend she never knew she was


I first “met” Jillian about seven years ago…

Cue harpsichord music as I stare pensively out the window, while the flashback scene fades in…

My husband and I arrived at my office at 4:40am to start our daily workouts. As usual, he went into the weight room and I headed straight for the aerobics room to do my Tuesday abs and ball workout. On this particular day though, the system would not read the DVD player, and subsequently gave me error after error despite my many efforts to get it going.

As a creature of habit, I hate it when I am forced to deviate from any of my daily routines; but after fifteen minutes of my precious workout time wasted, I realized that no amount of cursing and struggling would get me back on track. I was not going to let this situation win, so I scanned the desktop of the system for a downloaded exercise program. All I could find was one called “30 Day Shred.” It was only a 30-minute video, so I could at least get some structured exercise in despite my wasted time.

I was in pretty good shape in those days, but this woman, Jillian Michaels, was really working me hard. I liked her though. She was just the right amount of tough with a smattering of sensitive encouragement. I felt great after I was done and headed for the shower. That’s when it happened.

That’s when I realized I had just gotten “Jillianned.”

As I held my hairdryer above my head, my arm began to quiver uncontrollably. It took many rest periods before I could get my hair dry that morning. Little did I know, the worst part was still to come.

I got to my desk and sat for about two hours straight before my bladder made its first demand for attention. I was a little stiff standing up, but then when I got into the bathroom stall, I could not sit down. The tops of my thighs were SCREAMING! I literally had to brace my hands on either side of the stall to help lower myself. All the while muttering “Ow ow ow ow” under my breath.

It proved to be equally torturous each time I sat back down at my desk that day. Little did I know what walking down a flight of stairs was going to feel like.

I was officially shredded.

Jillian became my favorite trainer after that… Mind you, on any given workout, you could witness me shake my fist at the sky and say, “Damn you, Jillian Michaels!”

I decided to take her challenge of the thirty days, but invited my husband to join me as well. He had never done anything like that before, but it made him realize that pumping iron wasn’t the be-all end-all. After thirty days with Jillian, we then moved on to the full exercise and diet program in her book “Making the Cut.” We were vigilant, and on the warpath to super health and strength.

Our second thirty days with Jillian elevated us into a completely new stratosphere of health and wellness. So much so, that we decided to give P90X a shot. We would not have gotten the positive P90X results we did, had it not been for Jillian’s two months of conditioning. We were forces to be reckoned with at that point. Then it happened.

My mystery health issues knocked me to the ground and, after a solid six-year daily exercise regime, I was brought to my knees. I’ve written about this before, but to summarize, I am only now getting back on my horse to health after a frustrating six years of a mainly sedentary lifestyle.

Now I’m making a comeback. I’m making a comeback so that I can be the Ninja Grandma I mentioned months ago.

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Now back to my good friend Jillian.

I started back with some of my favorite DVDs a couple weeks ago (30 Day Shred, Winsor Pilates, Turbo Jam, and others) until I discovered that I had two unopened Jillian DVDs hiding in the cupboard. One of which was “6 Week Six-Pack.” Thought I’d give it a whirl, seeing as my belly these days, is in direct competition with that of an avid beer drinker.

Yesterday was my first go at it. The workout was good. It was tough. I felt like I’d been Jillianned again. Then it happened.

Jillian made me cry.

During the cool-down period she said:

“This is the part where you take a moment and really contemplate what you’ve just accomplished…”

“If you can’t take a moment to celebrate what you’ve done, and the fact that you have made time for yourself to be better, then what is the point?”

It was at that point I lost my shit and began to cry.

“I mean, this is about you. Take some time to celebrate your workout…”

“This is about being strong physically. So that you’re strong in every facet of your life.”

“… really contemplate what you have done and take this energy that you brought to your workout and bring it into every facet of the rest of your day.”

Aaaand the waterworks started again.

Losing myself felt like it was a high-speed ride that happened overnight, but I know that the fight back to my physical super-highway will not be an easy one. It’s just good to know that I have someone who can be with me along the way (albeit, virtually) to keep saying the things I need to hear.

As I’ve always said, “It’s not about how you look in a pair of jeans—it’s about being strong and vital.”

Haven’t found your inspiration? Keep looking. You will if you really want to.

Damn you LOVE YOU, Jillian Michaels!  

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