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Health + wellness expert Jillian Michaels joins John O’Leary on the Live Inspired Podcast to share practical tips that will empower you in all facets of life.

Jillian Michaels is a world-renowned fitness expert, distinguished nutritionist and wellness entrepreneur. As one of the original trainers on the hit reality TV series The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels has built an empire in the health + wellness arena including being an 8-time New York Times bestselling author, publishing numerous successful fitness DVDs and launching the award-winning Jillian Michaels Fitness app.

Today, Jillian opens up about her struggle with childhood obesity, facing ridicule from her peers and the infliction point that provided newfound confidence and triggered an appreciation for fitness to provide empowerment in all facets of life. You’ll leave this conversation with a plethora of practical tips + step-by-step instructions that will inspire your mind + body.

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  • Her parent’s divorce sent 12-year-old Jillian into a spiral where she became obese + was ridiculed by her peers until karate became a powerful, positive force in her life.
  • With newfound confidence after her passing her 2nd Degree Black Belt test, Jillian gradually began to appreciate fitness as a means to empower people in all facets of life.
  • “Life doesn’t stop kicking you. Fight your way out of the corner.”
  • When starting on The Biggest Loser, Jillian was hesitant of this unprecedented reality television format but saw it as a “life or death intervention” for contestants that were severely obese.
  • Commitment to change: To trigger commitment, Jillian needs 3 things to occur with clients:
    1. Hit rock-bottom.
    2. Take responsibility.
    3. Experience success.
  •  “We don’t engage in destructive behaviors because we’re weak, lazy or stupid. We engage in that habit because it meant our psychological survival.”
  • “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • To find your “why”, Jillian uses leading questions that ignite emotions to be a compass that wakes you from a comfortably numb state.
    • Try this exercise: For two weeks, set an alarm to go off every hour to take inventory of what you’re doing and how it makes you feel.
  • In Jillian’s formula for a healthy lifestyle, 7-8 hours of sleep is critical + uncompromisable, 12 hours a week is dedicated to emotional and physical well-being with the remainder for work + running a home.
  • “When you fail, it’s an opportunity to learn + is preparing you for the next person, place or thing waiting around the corner in life for me to be better.”
  • After failure, Jillian gives herself grace by reframing the negative as a positive, then identifies the lesson to incorporate into future growth.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? As a child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, The Princess Bride by William Goldman and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. As an adult, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, Physics of the Future and Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku and The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? I had far fewer expectations as a child.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? A necklace my daughter was wearing when I picked her up.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Albert Einstein.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? I am a narrow conduit for something greater.


My new book IN AWE is now available… and became an instant bestseller! Learn how to rediscover your childlike sense of wonder to unleash inspiration, meaning and joy. Visit ReadInAwe.com today! 


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