Fitness Isn’t About Building A Better Body — It’s About Building A Better Life

Longest blog post title ever?

The title came from a quote I heard Jillian Michaels say during her keynote address at IDEA World Fitness BlogFest on Friday morning.

Jillian Michaels

“Fitness isn’t about building a better body. It’s about building a better life.”


I think we all know Jillian Michaels from her role on The Biggest Loser. She’s the trainer who uses tough love and sometimes some seemingly harsh words to motivate her team members. During the question and answer portion of Jillian’s talk, time and time again I heard people begin their question with, “Wow, your speech totally changed my perception of you…”

If you’ve ever watched The Biggest Loser, you’ve undoubtedly pre-selected which trainer you’d want to train you if you had access to The Biggest Loser trainers. I was Team Bob all the way and felt like I would thrive with a softer, kinder approach. Well, after listening to Jillian Michaels speak, I’m Team Jillian all the way. She ROCKS.

In person Jillian was just about the furthest thing from an angry, aggressive trainer. She was humble and compassionate and her love for fitness and desire to help others oozed from every word she spoke. If you’ve ever listened to Jillian’s podcast, you may have known not to expect a speech from a yelling, angry trainer, but she clearly battles this perception of her online TV persona regularly. She expressed frustration with the way The Biggest Loser shows the “madness without the method.”

When Jillian took the stage Friday morning, she almost seemed nervous. And then the room shook from what she thought was an earthquake, causing her to scream hysterically and drop an f-bomb which quickly broke any tension left in the room. She then became 100 percent herself and spoke to us with a friendly demeanor, calling us her colleagues in the world of fitness and reminding us time and time again that anything is possible.

Jillian’s speech went in many different directions and I jotted down a bunch of notes and quotes. Below you will find some of the key takeaways I wanted to be sure to remember:

  • Be honest about what you are good at and what you are bad at. Reach out to others who can help fill in the areas of your life that may need a little help. We can’t be amazing at everything and recognizing our weaknesses allows us to address them and seek help when necessary. Jillian hates the “business side” of things and surrounds herself with a team of individuals who help her with finances and business-related decisions.
  • Create a detailed plan to reach your goals. Have defined goals. Be specific. Figure out what you want and how you want to get there.
  • Establish the WHY and it will carry you through the HOW. Get to the root of why you want to achieve your goals. Understanding your motivation will help carry you through the hard parts. 
  • Understand you don’t know ALL the answers. Learn from others. Keep an open mind, be flexible and adapt.
  • Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to workouts. As a mom, Jillian said gone are the days when she could take a 90 minute workout class located at a gym 15 minutes away from her house. She concentrates on three to four 30-minute workouts that are intense and effective. Quality over quantity!
  • When you respect yourself, you command respect from others.
  • The worse thing you can do is engage hateful people. Is there someone negative in your life? Don’t engage them. You will likely never change the way they behave and think, so don’t waste your energy. Celebrate your successes and those who are confident and happy in their own lives will be happy for you, too.
  • Believe YOU deserve it. Don’t be boastful, but believe in yourself. If you don’t think you deserve success, who will!?
  • Mistakes mean you’re trying. Do not be afraid to fail. Failure means you’re learning. Have the strength to take responsibility, re-approach and grow.
  • Work with purpose is passion. Work without passion is punishment.
  • We can never live without fear, but we can live without regret. Regret stems from what we didn’t do. What we didn’t say.
  • To build a person’s belief in themselves, they need to experience success. Create situations where your clients or those in your life can succeed, even if it is in the smallest way. When someone believes they CAN do something, they’re already halfway there.
  • When you feel strong physically, you’re stronger in other areas of your life.

Thank you so much to Jillian Michaels for sharing your love of fitness and desire to improve the lives of others with us!

Questions of the Afternoon

  • Have you ever heard someone speak in person who absolutely blew you away? Who? What did they talk about?

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