6 Things Jillian Michaels Taught DC About Health and Wellness

“America’s toughest trainer” brought her Maximize Your Life Tour to Warner Theatre Wednesday night.

Jillian Michaels spoke for more than two hours to a crowd at Warner Theatre Wednesday night about health, nutrition, and self-empowerment. She chose to wear a different outfit in DC after donning the same get-up during her last 12 shows. Photograph by Kevin Hulse.

Jillian Michaels says two simple sentences have helped her become a “very rich person”: “Eat less” and “Move more.”

“Can you believe that shit?” Michaels told the audience packed into Warner Theatre last night for her Maximize Your Life motivational tour.

Michaels, who became famous for her sergeant-like training and tough talk on the reality show The Biggest Loser (now in its 15th season), spoke about nutrition, exercise, and self-worth for more than two hours to an audience eager to find out how the once-chubby kid from Los Angeles became one of the most well-known personal trainers in the country. Standing in front of a flashy backdrop and pulling examples from her own life, the foul-mouthed, five-foot-three personal trainer wowed a female-dominated crowd with her real talk.

Read on for some of the most memorable moments and helpful health lessons we learned from Michaels’s show.

1) “It needs to be painful when you start.”
Michaels says the reason she’s so harsh with her Biggest Loser contestants is because it needs to be so painful at the start that they want to move on to a better situation—a.k.a. lose the weight. “When it’s that painful, they want to move. There is nowhere to go but up.”

2) “Move your ass, and move it fast.”
That’s the key to Michaels’s high-intensity interval training workout (which we got a taste of this week at her BodyShred class). Bodyweight training and combination moves that work all your muscles keep the body guessing so you don’t plateau. So that hip-flexor machine you’re such a fan of? Forget it, ladies.

3) “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it.”
After checking out the calories (yes, counting calories matters) and serving size of a food product, look at the ingredients. If you can’t pronounce a word on the list or have never heard of it, it’s probably not something you want in your body.

4) Jillian Michaels wants a hamburger.
The crowd appreciated that Michaels didn’t advocate for a specific diet. “If you wanna go vegan, go with God,” she said, “but this bitch wants a hamburger.” She called out her own investment in PopChips, which she admitted are not a “health food,” but are a healthier option that allows one to eat chips every once in awhile without being ridden with guilt.

5) Don’t eat small meals throughout the day.
Some may disagree, but Michaels votes against eating multiple small meals. “That means you’re eating food all day,” which is one of the worst things to do for metabolism, she explained. Instead, eat breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner with three- or four-hour breaks in between.