Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jillian Michaels: Interview with Fitness Trainer from ‘The Biggest Loser’

As a personal trainer for 11 seasons of ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Jillian Michaels’ tough as nails approach towards weight loss contestants reaching their goal each week, has made her a media sensation. But Jillian also has a soft side to her when she chats with contestants about the emotional struggles they are going through while losing weight and gives them the motivational support they need.

Jillian has become not only a successful entrepreneur by selling millions of exercise DVDs and weight loss products, but she has become the world’s leading health and wellness expert. The New York Times best-selling author has sold more than 3.5 million books worldwide, including such titles as "Master Your Metabolism" and "Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life" and her latest book, "Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss." talks with Jillian about her return to the show that made her a star and also her tour across the U.S. and Canada to get people to achieve their weight loss goal and boost their confidence, as well, through motivation and fitness counseling. I’m glad to see that you’re back on The Biggest Loser again.

Jillian Michaels: Why, thank you.

TCC: Will you stay on the show from now on or only for this season?

JM: At the moment I’m on board for two more seasons and I’m having a good time. So, yes, it looks like it.

TCC: Who do you think has the potential to win The Biggest Loser this year?

JM: Gosh, really all the finalists have the potential to win. Of course, for selfish reasons, I would pick Danni to win because she’s sort of like my contestant when she was on my team. We started together as a team and ended together. So I would love if she won. But I also think Jackson and Jeff are great. I’m not actually a fan of Joe (Laughs) but maybe there are some people out there that are and want him to win. But it’s really anybody’s game to be honest with you.

TCC: Since you have the “Maximize You Life” tour coming in April, what can people expect attending your show?

JM: You’re going to learn the science of having a proper diet and boost your metabolism through state of the art, cutting edge techniques to help make your workouts the most effective so that you lose weight and keep it off. With that said, the show also focuses on connecting with your passion and living your authentic true self by learning how to boost your confidence and redefine your self image. Believe in your worth and the value of your dreams and goals. The show will also help you discover ways in developing a specific skill set so that you subsequently can achieve these goals because you feel capable of doing so.

TCC: What are common foods that you eat to stay healthy?

JM: I supplement a lot. So I’ll take a probiotic and I mostly eat green food. I like to drink this amazing green grass superfood. And I also drink various teas. More importantly, I take a quality multi-vitamin. Another food item I eat quite often are berries, which I sometimes have with Greek yogurt. Also I like wheat products, veggies with stir-fry, and brown rice. If you have the means, I would highly recommend using supplementations for optimal health.

TCC: Now there are a few diet and fitness questions that I have. The first one is, what would you say to someone that says, “I workout everyday, but I don’t sweat.” Would a person see better results if they did sweat during workouts?

JM: No, the key to working out is focusing on your heart rate. So if you’re working out at 85% of your maximum heart rate than you’re doing great. You don’t need to sweat. The sweat is just your body’s way of cooling itself. There is a huge misconception that if you do something like hot yoga you’ll burn more calories and the opposite is true. You want to heat your body from the inside out, not the outside in. But the key with any successful exercise regimen is going to be intensity and the best way to gauge that is by working out at 85% of your maximum heart rate.

TCC: Does it matter what time you exercise in order to lose weight?

JM: It really doesn’t. But a lot of studies will tell you that if you workout at the same time everyday you are going to have more energy, because your body essentially adapts and anticipates the workouts. This in turn causes your body to release a lot of its energizing, fat burning, muscle building hormones. So if you really want to maximize your workouts than consistency with your workout time would be key. But if you can’t for whatever reason that’s okay because a workout is still a workout. It’s still going to be very effective no matter when you get it in.

TCC: What if a person says, “You can eat whatever you want, but only in moderation. The only important thing to do is just exercise.” Do you believe that statement is true?

JM: My feeling on this is I really don’t want people eating chemicals that are mostly found in processed products. So I fully don’t agree with that statement. I believe you can eat whatever healthy food you want, but in a balanced way. And the way I find that balance is by 20 percent of the time I’ll eat a more fattening treat food and 80 percent of the time I’ll make a better healthy food choice. There is really no room in any healthy diet for trans fat, artificial sweeteners, and artificial colors in food. So if you are going to go buy a candy bar, I would rather you buy a brand, such as Unreal, that has half the sugar and none of the chemicals. To me it contains just sugar and fat and that’s fine. But chemical based junk food is terrible for your metabolism and your overall health.

TCC: There are some people that want to eat healthy but can’t afford it. Do you believe that’s an excuse?

JM: I understand what they are saying. In my new book, “Slim for Life”, I give readers a whole shopping list and plan so that they can afford to buy healthy food. It suggests everything from buying at wholesale stores, like Costco, to clipping coupons, and getting your food from a community supported agriculture (CSA) or at your local farmers’ market.

These are a few simple steps you can take to get quality food at an affordable price. Plus, my book mentions how you can prioritize your food dollars. You don’t have to buy all organic fruits and vegetables. Buy instead thick-skinned fruits and veggies rather than the thin-skinned. And get your greens in bulk and be sure to reserve enough funds in your food budget to buy quality meat and dairy products. I promise you not all healthy food is expensive. A bag of oranges is not costly. In fact, it’s much cheaper than marmalade or juice for that matter. So be smart and use smart money saving strategies when shopping for healthy food. I literally have a whole section dedicated to this subject in “Slim for Life.” I know the task may seem a bit overwhelming but it can be done. You’ll see an improvement in your overall health and your body will thank you for making the switch to eating more of what’s good for you.

Watch the live finale of season 14’s ‘Biggest Loser’ next Monday on NBC

Jillian’s ‘Maximize Your Life’ tour will begin April 6 thru May 21. To purchase tickets go to her website at

“Maximize Your Life” tour schedule:

April 4             Winnipeg, MB                Centennial Concert Hall
 April 6             Calgary, AB                Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
 April 7             Edmonton, AB Northern           Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
 April 9             Vancouver, BC                Queen Elizabeth Theatre
 April 10           Seattle, WA &          The Paramount
 April 12           San Jose, CA           San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
 April 13           Las Vegas, NV           UNLV Cox Pavilion
 April 14           Phoenix, AZ           Comerica Theatre
 April 17           Jacksonville, FL           Moran Theatre
 April 18           Clearwater, FL           Ruth Eckerd Hall
 April 19           Melbourne, FL           King Center for the Performing Arts
 April 20           Miami, FL           Knight Center
 April 21           Atlanta, GA                Fox Theatre
 April 24           Washington, DC &               Warner Theatre
 April 25           Raleigh, NC                Memorial Auditorium
 April 26           Newport News, VA                Ferguson Center
 April 28           Westbury, NY           Theatre at Westbury
 April 30           Worcester, MA           Hanover Theatre
 May 1                 Lowell, MA           Lowell Memorial Auditorium
 May 2                 Hartford, CT           Bushnell Ctr PAC- Mortenson
 May 3                 Philadelphia, PA           Kimmel Center
 May 4                 Cleveland, OH          State Theatre
 May 5                 Milwaukee, WI           Riverside Theatre
 May 7                 Indianapolis, IN           Murat Theatre
 May 8                 Wabash, IN                Honeywell Centre
 May 9                 Detroit, MI                Fox Theatre
 May 10              Chicago, IL                  Auditorium Theatre
 May 11               St. Louis, MO                Fox Theatre
 May 12               Kansas City, MO           Midland Theatre
 May 15              Hamilton, ONT           Hamilton Place Theatre
 May 17               London, ONT           Budweiser Gardens
 May 18               Ottawa, ONT           National Arts Centre
 May 19               Oshawa, ONT           General Motors Centre
 May 21               Toronto, ONT           Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

Written by: Bridget Campos

Friday, March 8, 2013

Style Network’s ‘Built’: Interview with the ‘Hott and Handy’ Team

With expertise in construction and redesigning homes, these high-fashion male models (Gage Cass, Sandy Dias, Shane Duffy, Donny Ware, and Mike Keute) know a thing or two about style both on and off the runway.

With the help of former model and top interior designer, Kim Gieske, this handy team proves that they are more than just handsome fellas with chiseled physiques, when they show off their skill in using power tools on their new reality show Built that debuted earlier this year on Style Network. spoke with four out of the five members of the ‘Hott and Handy’ team about their experience remodeling houses and how they handle working with difficult clients. This question is for Shane, since you are the owner of ‘Hott and Handy’, how did you come about creating this team of handy models?

Shane Duffy: I started the company back in 2010 and all the guys, who are on the show, Built, are my best friends. But they started working as the ‘Hott and Handy’ team before the show was even a concept.

TCC: What would you say is the most fulfilling job, being a model or remodeling homes?

Sandy Dias: That would have to be remodeling homes because you create something out of nothing. We just build things. And when we see the faces of our clients, when they look at the finished product, they are in tears and are so happy with the results. The fact that we can bring joy to people is a great feeling for us.

TCC: I wanted to ask you Mike, aside from modeling you are also pursuing a law degree and an MBA simultaneously while working on the show and handling your company, Famed International, Inc. How do you manage your time with such a hectic schedule?

Mike Keute: I always say, ‘Where there's a will, there's a way.’ For me, life is about becoming my best possible self. While it may seem like I have a lot to handle all at once, I look at it as a challenge and I put forth my best efforts to achieving such. Along the way, I have learned the skill of time management and look forward to embracing the challenges each new day brings me. For energy, I utilize my personal training background, and make sure I go to the gym every morning to hone my focus and keep me motivated throughout the day. In short, it's the combination of time management, a rigorous gym routine and a commitment to becoming my best self that motivates me to be able to achieve all that I have thus far.

TCC: I heard Donny, that you were in a car accident about five years ago that left your face partially burnt. How did you handle recovering from such a horrific event?

Donny Ware: Patience – a lot of patience and keeping positive. It ended up healing just fine. You can’t see any blemishes. It could have been worse, but the accident was definitely a wake up call for me.

TCC: Are other models ever surprised that you guys are into power tools and building things?

Sandy: They are definitely surprised because most models are not as well versed as we are. Every one of us is extremely skilled in every power tool out there. We know what we are doing and yes other models are surprised and envious of us.

Mike: Because of our experience on this show, we actually look forward to ending that stereotype that models are seen as dummies. And we (except for Donny) try to break that mold.

Donny: (Laughs) But in a good way though.

TCC: Is it more difficult to please a client that knows what design they want, or a client that doesn’t have a clue what they want?

Shane: I think it’s challenging either way. For the client that knows what they want, they end up micromanaging throughout the entire project. They envision a certain way they want the end result to turn out and if they feel it’s not going the way they want it to, they’ll freak out. But we ensure them that it’s a process and the end result will be what they want. Now for the client that has no idea what they want it can be difficult too, because you can be there for hours trying to get them to sign off on something and they’ll be indecisive with colors and designs. But in the end the two groups are fun to work with once you get past the planning stage.

TCC: Do you guys have any stories of working with a client that was too demanding?

Sandy: Yeah, one story I have is about a client from our show. He was extremely demanding because he felt like he knew more than us. This client even told me, 'I have a million dollar design team and you guys are just handy men. Do you expect me to believe you can execute such a project?' That’s when I wanted to whip out my aeronautic degree and hit him in the face with it. He tried to push us to the limit to see if we would fail. But I told him that as a foreman of the crew I can ensure him that all the guys are real experts at what we do. So don’t judge us by our appearance. I’m not going to tell you what happened with that project. You’ll have to watch the show.

Shane: Sometimes it is tough dealing with a difficult client like the one Sandy mentioned. We have also had customers that signed off on something and then afterwards not be happy with the results. That ends up costing us thousands of dollars in work that has to be redone. But we take it in stride because we want the customer to be happy and have it turn out the way they want it. Then again, not all of our clients turn out to be difficult. There are some that are pretty reasonable. In the end, we always try to come to a solution with demanding clients.

For more information about “Built,” visit

Written by: Bridget Campos