Out trainer and TV personality takes her message on the road

Out fitness expert, personal trainer and TV personality Jillian Michaels will run through town as part of her Maximize Your Life Tour, May 3 at Kimmel’s Academy of Music. Michaels has became a household name as one of the trainers on reality show “The Biggest Loser,” and has branched out into her own TV show, “Losing It With Jillian” and numerous fitness books, DVDs, video games and other fitness-related products. With all of her products readily accessible in stores, on TV and online, Michaels said her live event isn’t for people who are looking for workout tips. “It is having that direct connection with the audience,” she said. “It’s looking that person in the eyes. It’s speaking straight to them. It’s unfiltered. It’s unedited. It’s uncut, which is, in my opinion, the best possible medium other than being able to do personal training, which unfortunately I can’t do anymore unless it’s on ‘The Biggest Loser,’ to really help get the message through to people and turn their lives around. The DVDs are about fitness. ‘The Biggest Loser’ is about entertainment. And while, yes, you can get a lot of this information from my books, you’d have to read all seven of them so you’d be at it for a while. The live show is about the behind-the-scenes of ‘The Biggest Loser.’ It’s what’s happening so that, four months down the road, they are in love for the first time and they have left their deadbeat job, they’re pursuing their career passion and they are smiling.” Michaels added that, when someone is out of shape, usually the obstacles standing in the way of their goals are emotional, not physical. “When someone is unhealthy, it goes hand-in-hand with being unhappy,” she said. “So this show is all about how you connect with your passion and live a life of meaning and purpose. How do you believe in your ability to have and achieve your dreams? And then you need to acquire the skills and the tools so that, when you do bring action to your intentions, you are set up for success instead of failure. It’s never a physical problem that’s holding them back. It’s just a manifestation of being unhappy or stuck in their lives. Yes, I’ll teach you about fitness and food. But the reality is, I can do that real quick because it’s simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. What is hard is, why are you using food as a coping mechanism? It’s that journey of self-exploration to figure out why you do what you do and getting the tools to turn it around.” “The Biggest Loser” has been running for 14 seasons but only recently had its first openly gay contestant, Jackson Carter. When Michaels, who began discussing her sexuality with the press as early as 2010 and has two children with her partner, was asked if the show is doing enough to reach out to LGBT contestants, she said the network isn’t holding anyone back. “I can tell you that the show has two gay trainers and they have always supported us,” she said. “We’ve had gay contestants throughout the years, but they just chose to not make it an issue. Jackson worked at an LGBT center and that’s just a part of who he is. I will say I have had partners turn around and abandon me when it was common knowledge, but NBC was never one of them.” Because Michaels is the most visible of the trainers on “The Biggest Loser,” thanks to her TV appearances outside of the show and her many, many product endorsements, she also is the target of controversy from critics who question her expertise in the world of fitness and the effectiveness of the products she puts her name on. So far none of the accusations aimed at her have been proven, and Michaels said being under that kind of scrutiny is just part of being a public figure. “Any time you’re going to be in the public eye, you’ve got a target on your back,” she said. “That’s the price you pay. Anything that is worth having in life comes with sacrifice and consequence. You love your kids more than anything in the world and you’re also physically exhausted and have very little time for yourself. So anything that is worth having and you work hard to get is going to have a down side. Being a public figure, it’s an incredible experience to get out your message on an international platform, to do what you love for work and make a good living doing it. That’s a blessing. Am I always under attack from this person or that person? Sure. It comes with the territory. If you’re going to play, you’re going to pay and that’s life.” Jillian Michaels comes to town for her Maximize Your Life Tour 8 p.m. May 3 at Kimmel’s Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-790-5847 or visit www.jillianmichaels.com.