You've likely seen celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels putting people through rigorous workouts to lose weight, but when it comes to shedding pounds, Michaels says diet is more important than exercise. In fact, she says it's critical.
"You can eat your way through any amount of exercise. There are those great little factoids online that put this in perspective. For example, one small fries is equivalent to 30 minutes on the treadmill. Yikes."
Photo credit Don Flood
Michaels is in Toronto speaking at the canfitpro World Fitness Expo. She voiced her frustrations about weight loss misconceptions. "I really hate when people say you don't need to count calories. This is just not true. I don't care how healthy the food is, if you eat too much of anything you will gain weight."
She should know. Michael's has spoken candidly about her own battle with obesity as a teen. "I was very fortunate to have good teachers and mentors that educated me with regard to fitness and nutrition, so when I made choices about what to eat and how to train, I got results and stayed motivated. Plus, they offered me support and helped me build confidence in my abilities."
While the former "Biggest Loser" trainer was able to overcome obesity herself, she says she understands why so many others struggle. She says the toughest barrier to weight loss for most people is an emotional addiction to food. "Weight loss is simple. Eat less, move more, use common sense with your food choices. This is simple, but weight loss is not easy and that's because food becomes a crutch - a source of comfort and a coping mechanism for so many."
Photo credit Don Flood
While Michaels stresses the importance of diet for weight loss, she's still a very strong proponent of regular exercise. She concedes that many people find it hard to juggle gym time with all of life's other commitments, but notes that she's concerned with the trend of micro workouts. "Over the years, workouts have become shorter and shorter. This is not good. In my perfect world, people would do at least 30 minutes per workout, including warm-up and cool down, 4 times a week. Or 20-minute workouts, but then I would ask for 5-6 times a week."
If anyone knows how to fit in exercise into a busy day it's Michaels. Between raising a family, running a successful company, starring in her own reality show and travelling extensively for speaking engagements, there's not always time left to hit the gym. "I squeeze it in wherever, whenever. That's the key. If it's push-ups and lunges in your hotel room, then that's what it is. Something will always be better than nothing."
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