If you've ever watched an episode of the weight-loss competition show "The Biggest Loser" with health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels, then you know she's fanatical about getting people to hit the gym hard and often — no excuses. So you might take some perverse comfort in learning that Michaels herself recently struggled with an issue that has plagued most of us non-fitness gods for years: difficulty in finding the time to break a sweat. You see, in May, Michaels became a mother of not one but two babies, as she and partner Heidi Rhoades adopted a 2-year-old daughter named Lukensia from Haiti, and Rhoades gave birth to a son, Phoenix. "It was really hard in the beginning," Michaels admits in an interview with omg! from Yahoo!. "We were both shell-shocked, and I just was like, 'OK, life is over.' You don't understand [at first]. Three months is really the mark … At three months, I'm like OK, I can do this. Not that it's easy; It's not easy, but it's manageable. And then you have these moments with your kids where you can't even imagine life without them." (Not that Michaels wants to become a mom for the third time. She says "no, no, no," when asked if she has plans to have another child.)
In fact, the early days of motherhood were so intense for Michaels that she even admits to (gasp!) gaining about five pounds, which she is now trying to work off. "It's definitely challenging to find the time for your own exercise regimen upon becoming a mom. However, it can be done," she explains. "I have used a combination of strategies to get this done. First, I work out with my kids. I do exercise DVDs at home with my toddler while my son plays on his toy mat next to us. I take the kids hiking and put my son in a Bjorn carrier. I go jogging with the kids in the jogging stroller. I put my daughter in the sidecar of my beach cruiser. Second, I take turns trading with my partner on who is going to work out when. So I'll watch the kids in the morning while she does yoga, and she'll watch them later in the day when I go for a bike ride. Third, I recruit family or friends. My mom will come over Sundays at three to see the kids so I can get a workout in and get some work done. Their aunt will come over and play with them, so Heidi and I can hit the gym. Between all three strategies I piece together at least four workouts a week." Sounds like she's back on track!
Not surprisingly, the workout warrior says she plans to instill the importance of exercise and a healthy diet in her kids at a young age. Already, unhealthy foods are off limits. "My daughter doesn't know what soda is!" she says. Michaels plans to help other kids, too, on the upcoming season of "The Biggest Loser," which will feature teens ages 13 to 17, in addition to adults, for the first time when the new season begins in January.
But before she starts whipping a new crew into shape, she's bringing her message about the importance of a healthy lifestyle to the star-studded "Stand Up 2 Cancer" telethon that airs on Friday, September 7, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. (Fans can also buy Stand Up 2 Cancer merchandise or contribute cash directly to the cause at the Stand Up 2 Cancer website.) Michaels, who knows that her line of work is directly connected to preventing life-threatening illnesses like cancer, and has lost several grandparents to the disease, has worked as a SU2C ambassador for years. "When we eat right and work out, we help to fend off disease," she says. "Conversely, when we're sedentary and eat junk we are greatly contributing to our chances of developing cancer. It's no secret that many of the ingredients in processed foods have been linked to causing cancer."
And, with that, Michaels has convinced me to hit the gym again.
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