Michelle Bridges, the fitness trainer on the ever popular "The Biggest Loser" in Australia, is changing lives and changing the size of backsides across Australia. When I trained with Michelle 16 years ago her inner strength blazed like a brilliant beacon inspiring me and everyone around her to toughen up and be our personal best. She made working out intense, but incredibly fun.
So I am so stoked Michelle has stopped by for this interview. She has completely re-invigorated me and reminded me of all the lessons I learnt as I watched her back then. Prepare to be inspired by her interview and if you can't get enough, put on your jogging shoes and run out and grab a copy of her new book "Crunch Time." Heads up, her new cookbook is also on the horizon. With a Bachelor of Science (exercise science) and a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietics (Honours) Michelle has got both the brains and the braun to help you improve your life.
Gabrielle Reilly: Michelle you changed the course of my life as my Body Pump instructor 16 years ago at an Alice Springs gym in the Outback Australia. Now you reach a much larger audience with your exceptional and unique talents. Do you ever stop and think about the exponential impact you have on people now?
Michelle Bridges: Wow! I am so thrilled that you came to my classes back then! What a lovely surprise. I had such a great time in Alice. I think that it was there that I really developed my passion for teaching. My mission has always been to inspire more Australian to move. I was going about doing my bit back then and decided I could do more by training other instructors which is what I did for over a decade, both nationally and internationally. The fact that I now am able to reach such a massive audience just blows me away. We reached 2.3 million viewers on our last season of The Biggest Loser which I have to say makes me feel honored to be part of a show which is making a difference. I get stopped on the street all the time by people who thank me for helping them lose weight, get fit and turn their life around! It's bloody fantastic!
Gabrielle Reilly: Knowing you personally I can say all your friends and I considered you so genuinely sweet, fun and kind. Is it hard for you to do the tough love?
Michelle Bridges: It's never easy having what I call "straight" conversations with people, however, there needs to be some sort of a breakdown in order for there to be a breakthrough. It all starts with honesty. I find that training is the best forum for this to occur. When you are at your limit physically, you are at your rawest. You tend to become very clear about what's real and what's not, and the barriers are down. That's absolutely the time to be asking some big hard hitting questions about what it going on. Yep, that's tough. Most of the people that I work with are at an extreme. They have built a world for themselves where no one is acknowledging what is real. Them, their family and their friends. My goal is to arm my people with tools to empower themselves once again, but to do that they must first be honest with themselves and take responsibility. I do this from a place of love. I really want to help them be the person I know they are. And of course, when you see the results, you know it's all been worth it.
Gabrielle Reilly: You are known for pushing the workout limits. How or what do you do to find the inner strength to push yourself harder during a workout?
Michelle Bridges: To be honest there are days when I just don't feel like it, but I don't allow myself to think about it for too long. As soon as you start talking yourself out of a workout you're gone! Before the 'rot' sets in I throw my gym gear on and get out there pronto! I know the benefits that my training gives me and they really are priceless. So the endless stream of excuses that I hear getting dished out all the time by others doesn't really wash with me. I often say to people, how much do you want it? If you want it bad enough, if it's high enough on your priority list you will make the time and make it happen. I am so cool with people who just aren't up for it. They choose something else, and that is totally cool. I do though have a problem with those who keep saying they want it, but do nothing about it. Enough talk and more action!
I also don't make a big song and dance about my training either. I train everyday just like I shower everyday and brush my teeth every day. It's just what I do and its part of my every day schedule. Some days I set the gym on fire and other days I don't, the key to my success is that I am consistent. That's the key to any one's weight loss or fitness success, be regular.
Gabrielle Reilly: I have fallen off the fitness rail once or twice in the past 16 years. Have you and if so how did you pick yourself up and climb back on the fitness wagon?
Michelle Bridges: I have never let myself get right out of shape or pack on weight, but I have had times where I haven't felt that I am living 'the best version of myself' for want of a better description! It's not a happy place, whether you've put on 5kgs or 20kg, you don't particularly like yourself and that spills over into all other parts of your life. However! You do what you would do if you lost your career, your money, your husband or wife - you pick yourself up and you get on with it. You make a plan and you go for it! The longer you wallow in the 'oh my god, I've put on weight blah blah blah' you're wasting time! The quicker you just get on with it the quicker you'll be where you want to be. You don't find the time to exercise, you make the time and you make smart choices about your food. And then - be consistent!
Part II of Michelle Bridges interview here.