Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels covers the November issue of Health and opens up about her newest book, Yeah Baby!: The Modern Mama’s Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby, and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever, and family life with fiancée Heidi Rhoades and their two children: daughter Lukensia, 6, and son Phoenix, 4.
On her best advice for bouncing back after pregnancy—or another hiatus, like an injury or the holidays: “The key is not to take a hiatus. But a hiatus also needs to be redefined. A lot of people look at it as letting it all go. No. It’s asking, “What is it that you can control?” We can always control what we consume, so that’s a massive piece of the pie. And the other key is to be proactive. My rotator cuff is blown out? OK, I’m gonna be doing step-ups and squats. It’s a mentality we have—especially in America—of all or nothing, black or white. We’re like, “If I can’t do something 100 percent, I’m out.”
On conquering self doubts: “Small steps. Any long-term goal breaks down monthly, then weekly, then daily, then immediately. So educate yourself about the first small step, take the step and then see where you’re at. Gradually, you’ll define yourself by how you’ve achieved it. Conversely, I’ve taken some of the worst hits, where I feel like I’m in the ring with Muhammad Ali. And I’ve taken a lot of punches, but I’m still standing. Even if you face a setback, you’ll see that if you can tolerate this, you can tolerate more of it. It’s like what I was talking to my daughter about when she was afraid of her first day of school.”
On her advice to her daughter: “I was like, “Let’s look back on your life.” She’s Haitian, so I said, “You lived through one of the most intense natural disasters on the planet. And on top of that, you had to wait two years for Mommy and I to find you. You are the strongest kid. You’ve been through all this, and you think you can’t handle your first day of school in Malibu?” I also told her, “I get it—you’re scared. It’s gonna be uncomfortable, honey, but I promise you: There will be good in with the bad, and that’s what you’re gonna focus on. There’s probably gonna be one kid you don’t like or who won’t like you, but a lot of people are awesome, and I bet you’ll make a bunch of friends.” She went to school and came home happy, happy, happy, and it was awesome.”
On managing her expectations: “Expectation is the root of misery! So I walk into everything expecting the worst and prepare to be surprised. Some people are like, “Can’t you be positive?” But I’ve learned to go in cautiously and carefully, and if it turns out great? Wonderful! The goal is to go in open with zero expectations. It is about trying to wipe the slate and be present.”
For more from Jillian, go to Health…