What our July cover star does to build lean muscle and keep burning fat All. Day. Long.
Despite being a two-decade veteran in the fitness business, Jillian Michaels never fails to find ways to reinvent herself and her career. After wrapping up The Biggest Loser two years ago, she's turned the cameras on herself for the E! docuseries Just Jillian, and has just launched an iOS app for her FITFUSION platform, which allows users to stream over 300 different workouts—ranging from yoga, to bootcamp, to HIIT—from Michaels and other expert trainers.
Throughout what Michaels calls the "tremendous evolution" of the fitness industry, which she's had a large hand in shifting, she's has remained an advocate of using your own bodyweight and picking up some weights (and not the wimpy kind!) for serious results. "Strong, not skinny is now sexy, and long workouts are a thing of the past," she says.
She's also clearly no stranger to the cover of Shape, and somehow manages to blow us away every year, whether it's with a nude photo shoot or gravity-defying poses. This year, our cover girl didn't fail to impress with a gritty, badass shoot and an explosive 20-minute power workout. Pick up the July issue on newsstands for the moves, and check out a snippet of our interview below.
Her weekly workout method for optimal results: "I train in different modalities so that each muscle is targeted twice a week, with two days of rest in between. So if I do a workout that's focused mostly on 'push' muscles [triceps and those in the chest and front of the shoulders] like yoga, I don't train those muscles again for two days and instead focus on 'pull' muscles [traps, biceps, and those in the back]," she says. "I also do HIIT in almost every workout to train my VO2 max and keep my metabolism cranking." (Steal her calorie-blasting bodyweight workout!)
How she lets out her aggression with "big boy" weights: "Whenever I've had a rough day, I like to pour my frustration into my workouts. Being a strong woman in a man's world can make one want to knock a few people out, and this has always been the healthy outlet for the release of that aggression," Michaels explains. On those occasions, only seriously old-school tools will do for a session that can include slamming sledgehammers, flipping tractor tires, climbing ropes, and doing cleans with gritty kettlebells and gravity-defying moves on gymnastic rings. "After a workout like that, I feel so Zen and focused and ready to take on the world again from a calmer, cooler, more confident place."
Why weightlifting won't make you look bigger (Seriously. But you probably already knew that!): "On the contrary, it will help you amp up your metabolism, shed fat, and maintain lean muscle mass and strong bone density," Michaels says.
Why explosive, dynamic exercises (like those she demos in the July/August issue) are so important: "Dynamic resistance training like this is an extremely metabolic workout that challenges the body with nearly every modality of fitness," she says. "Because it's explosive and requires tremendous power, it torches calories and conditions muscle."