When Michelle Bridges talks, you listen. The Biggest Loser trainer and creator of the 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) exercise program recently spoke in Perth about all things health and fitness.
Like most other celebrities, Michelle looked smaller in person than she appears on TV. On stage in front of a few hundred people she appeared tiny, but her booming voice and engaging style talk meant you couldn’t take your eyes of her.
I should start by saying that I don’t agree with a lot of her principles. Her approach to weight-loss focuses on calorie counting, which I don’t think is sensible long-term approach that encourages a healthy relationship with food. Also, she’s still on the low-fat bandwagon, and she advocates some processed diet products that I don’t consider healthy alternative.
But this aside, her no-nonsense, just-do-it approach to life is infectious and engaging. Her talk was inspiring and I’m really glad I got the opportunity to gain some insight into her approach. Here’s what she had to share.
How to Be the Best Version of Yourself
1. Decide who you want to be.
“The first step to changing your life is to have a goal. Who do you want to be? Who do you no longer want to be? Draw a line in the sand and move forward to be that person. Be a man or woman of your word. Be prepared to do what it is you say you want, rather than not doing it. When you ask yourself who you want to be, what actions will you take to back it up? If I took your past and cut and paste it into your future, would you be happy? You have the power and freedom in choosing to be happy.”
2. Be innovative.
“When I was 14 I noticed that during each PE [Physical Education] class there were always the kids who didn’t participate, hanging at back and pretending to do homework. I said to my teacher ‘I think I can get them active’ and so I made some mixed tapes, designed a circuit of squats, push-ups and running on the spot – genius, I know! – and convinced the local squash centre to let me use their facilities. It was basic and I was young but I had a plan and worked, because here I am now, doing the exact same thing.”
3. Follow through.
“Once you have a goal and a plan, here’s just one more piece to the puzzle: Just Freakin’ Do It. Stop the analysis! I’ve heard so many questions: ‘Should I train in the morning? The evening? What should I eat pre- and post-workout? Is it appropriate to exercise if the full moon is in my sign of Libra with a rising warrior princess?’ Stop over-thinking it and just do it! Just put on your runners and get out the door. Do you think when my alarm goes off at 5am I think ‘Woohoo! Bring on the 10km run!’? Hell no! But I get up, get dressed, and just get it done.”
4. Stop making excuses.
“The one major roadblock to eating healthy or getting fit that people always say is ‘I don’t have time.’ Well, being our Prime Minister is a pretty busy job, but he still finds time to do triathlons! I’m a big believer in the importance of language – and to create change, you need to change the language you use with yourself. So what’s the opposite of ‘I don’t have time’? Tell yourself, ‘I’m going to make the time. I’m worth the time. I’m going to Just Freakin’ Do It!’ That is your story now. The story is you’re going to make it happen.”
5. Mindset is everything.
“Anyone can learn about exercise or nutrition, but that information doesn’t get you anywhere until you’re prepared to make a change in your mind. We need to flick the switch. Running a marathon is physically possible but you also need to flick the switch mentally. Your mindset underpins everything.”
6. Stop resisting.
“I’ve learnt that everything you sweep under the carpet eventually turns up at your door. Everything you pretend not to care about becomes louder. The universe in all its glory makes it turn up. This is the theory that resistance equals persistence. If you’re not where you want to be, what are you resisting? But don’t wait to get to an extreme place before you stop resisting and make a change. Make the choice before the choice is removed for you. Before you’re pushed a bunch of tablets across the table from your doctor. Before there’s no other option except surgery. Stop procrastinating. Stop resisting. Make the change now.”
7. Remember the pay-offs
“I’ve said ‘no’ to so many social engagements on the weekends that my friends probably don’t know who I am any more. That’s painful. But what’s that compared to the pain of regret which gnaws away at you 24/7? Which pain do you want? Do you want to suck it up and get shit done or do you want the pain of shoulda, woulda, coulda?”
8. Be consistent.
“My three secrets of success are: 1. Consistency. 2. Consistency. 3. Consistency. Do you see where I’m going here?! You need to be consistent. Some days you’ll be on fire, some days you’ll drag your heels. But still turn up. Just get there and do it. I think of motivation like a bad boyfriend. It never shows up when you need it. But you don’t have to be motivated to exercise. You just need consistency.”