Jillian Michaels – Troubled Childhood to Fitness Guru…How did she do it?

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*Image courtesy of jillianmichaelspics.blogspot.com

When I think about fitness, one of the first people who pops into my head is Jillian Michaels. Rising to fame as the strength coach on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Michaels developed a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense type of person who wasn’t afraid to tell the contestants the truth about themselves (no matter how harsh). On the show, Michaels exuded such confidence, which she should have considering she was (and still is!) extremely in shape and successful. However, Michaels’ life wasn’t always so easy and she definitely had to work through some struggles to get to where she is today.

As a child, Michaels was plagued with constant psychological issues. Every night Michaels would have severe night terrors and would constantly wake up in a panic. According to biography.com, Michaels stated “I was a really disturbed kid. You know how kids have night terrors? Mine were really bad. I thought sharks were coming out of the drain in the bathtub. I couldn’t sleep at night, every night, waiting for aliens to come. I’m not kidding you: I. Was. Traumatized.”

Imagine this plaguing your thoughts every night? alien Not fun!

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At the age of 5, Michaels’ mother started her in therapy to help her with her issues. According to Michaels, the therapy was a big help and the night terrors started to diminish. In fact, Michaels still goes to therapy to this day because she believes it gives her the confidence to do what she loves!

However, night terrors weren’t the only issues Michaels faced in her childhood. She also suffered from emotional issues, including low self-esteem, which was made worse by the fact that her parents divorced when she was 12. To cope with her emotions, Michaels took comfort in food, which caused her to gain weight. By eighth grade, Michaels was 5’2’’ and 175 lbs. This did not bode well with middle school bullies (they’re the worst!), as they teased Michaels constantly.

“Once,” Michaels recalls on biography.com, “I was sitting at lunch and got surrounded by a bunch of kids who let me have it about how ugly I was—my unibrow, the size of my nose, the fat rolling over my jeans. It was pure hell. My mom had to pull me out and put me in another school.”

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*Image courtesy of www.crsd.org

Because of the constant bullying, Michaels wanted to take steps to redefine herself. She enrolled herself in martial arts classes which while being good exercise, also taught her to respect herself. By the age of 14, Michaels had regained control of her weight and had pushed away the bullies. Her life was starting to look up.

When Michaels was 17, her relationship with her mother became very strained, causing her mother to eventually kick Michaels out of the house. Now on her own, Michaels decided to attend California State University, while also bartending to support herself. Michaels finally got her big break in 2004, when she was cast in The Biggest Loser as a personal trainer. Although she developed the reputation as “the mean one” on the show, Michaels insists that it is all for motivation.

“I really don’t have a mean bone in my body!” said Michaels on biography.com. “Do you know how easy it would be to tell people what they want to hear? It would be heaven! But, unfortunately, it doesn’t get the job done.”

Michaels success continued to grow, because in 2010 Michaels launched her own reality show on NBC entitled Losing It With Jillian (check out a clip here). Michaels also has published numerous bestselling books, has her own video work-out series, and even her own clothing line of work-out attire (purchase here). I would say her life is looking pretty good right now, and Michaels has definitely earned it all. However, she doesn’t want to stop there.

“I would like to win a Nobel Prize,” Michaels stated on biography.com. “In a perfect world I’d like to get to that place where I walk away from everything. And then I can be pure Bill Gates. Cure smallpox. I want to turn around and be like, ‘I cured smallpox. How about those apples?’ You know what I mean? Or, like, ‘I reversed global warming. How ’bout that?'”

If anyone could change the world, it would be Michaels. With all the adversity she’s overcome, I’m confident Michaels could do just about anything.

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*Image courtesy of tumblr.com

Check out more information on JIllian Michaels here & check out her website too!

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6 Things You Didn’t Know About Kale

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This green leafy vegetable may seem boring, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Packed with nutrients, kale has quickly taken the world by storm and has become a “superfood” staple to healthy eaters around the world. Kale is the perfect veggie to throw in a smoothie or salad, and it is especially delicious when baked in the oven to make kale chips (recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Kale-Chips/). With its popularity on the rise, here are 6 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about kale:

1.) It’s a powerhouse food in more ways than 1

Not only is kale packed with antioxidants, but one serving gives you more than 100% of your daily dose of vitamin A and vitamin K. Eating lots of kale can even lower your risk of developing certain cancers!

2.) Eating kale makes you happier

Kale is incredibly high in carotenoids, which are an antioxidant linked to optimism. So more kale = more happiness.

3.) Kale has been around for a long, long time

Although it has only recently become popular in the United States, kale has been in cultivation around the world for over 6,000 years. It was very popular in Europe during the Middle Ages and it arrived in the United States during the 17th century.

4.) Kale has saved lives

Because it is such a hearty vegetable and so easy to grow, kale might have saved lives in the United Kingdom during World War II since it was one of the few foods they could cultivate.

5.) We aren’t the first to be kale obsessed

Although celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have been raving about the benefits of kale recently, Thomas Jefferson was actually one of the first to jump on the kale bandwagon. Apparently, Jefferson was kale crazy and grew several different types in his garden in the 1800’s.

6.) Kale is one of the few vegetables that actually enjoys the cold

Kale is not easily damaged by cold and continues to produce throughout the winter. The best time to harvest kale is actually after the first frost, as it is sweeter because some of the starches have turned to sugar.

Want to learn more about this amazing superfood? Check out these websites where I got most of my facts to learn more cool tidbits about kale!

http://www.webmd.com/diet/7-fun-facts-about-kale

http://nationalkaleday.org/kale-facts-trivia/

All Hail the Amazing Kale!

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Blogilates

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When it comes to healthier living, the hardest part for many people (myself included) is actually getting started. Changing your diet, your workout schedule, and your way of life in general can be difficult. The easiest way to get started is by taking baby steps, and by finding something or someone that inspires you to be healthier. The YouTube channel “Blogilates” (https://www.youtube.com/user/blogilates/featured) provides both of these, and it is an amazing channel for those who are looking to take a small step in healthier living.

Cassey Ho, the creator of Blogilates, is an entrepreneur who created her own business revolving around fitness. She has her own Blog, http://www.blogilates.com/, which is fantastic. On her blog, you can find links to all her YouTube videos, monthly calendars which tell you which workouts to do each day, healthy recipes, as well as before and after pictures of people who have participated in her fitness plans and have successfully lost weight. In addition, she has her own shop where she sells fitness apparel.

One aspect that makes her YouTube channel and blog so great is that they’re so interconnected. The calendars on her blog tell you what workouts you should do each day, and then you can find these easily on her YouTube channel. In addition, on her blog she lists her healthy recipes and provides her YouTube video which shows exactly how to make them.

Another reason why her YouTube channel is so great is because of her personality. Like I said earlier, trying to be healthy can be hard, but Cassey has an incredibly bubbly and encouraging personality which makes you feel like sticking with the workouts (even though they can be super difficult!). She looks like she genuinely has fun with her workouts and she makes each one unique and different, so the viewer never gets bored with her channel. Her recipes are also simple and easy to follow, and they are delicious. My favorite at the moment is her healthy pumpkin pie mud cake (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDg1Ge3wRBU).

Her YouTube channel also divides all of her videos into specific playlists, so if you are looking for a specific type of workout or recipe, they are easy to find. For example, you can go to her ab workouts, leg workouts, beginner workouts, or her cheap clean eats videos. Everything is organized which makes her channel easy to navigate.

She has also created a great brand for herself using her YouTube channel. She has her signature “blogilates” logo in all of her videos (see the above photo), and the artwork in her thumbnails and banner are similar and are good reflections of her brand. All her thumbnails have bright colors, and big, bold fonts, which reflect her happy and strong personality, and make you want to click on the video.

Lastly, Cassey stays very connected with her viewers, which makes her YouTube channel even better. She consistently replies to comments on her videos and encourages discussions in the comments related to fitness and being healthy. She also asks her viewers in the comments what they want to see next, which shows that she cares about what the viewers want.

I strongly recommend Blogilates to anyone trying to get in shape. Her videos are great workouts (I did an extreme abs workout yesterday and I am REALLY SORE), but they make you feel good about yourself and they make you feel energized. So get your workout on!

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*image courtesy of blogilates.tumblr.com

Favorite Magazine

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My favorite magazine at the moment is Cosmo, and although it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure, I think there are quite a few redeemable qualities about the magazine. Targeted at the 18-30 female demographic, the magazine does a great job of taking on issues that are relevant to people in that age group. The first thing that Cosmo does right to target its demographic is by its use of colors, fonts and images. Looking at the image I’ve posted above, you can see the use of very “girly” colors, such as pink and red, and the use of very curvy and cutesy fonts. In addition, the cover model is always a beautiful female dressed in impeccable clothes, which is sure to get a female’s attention. You can tell just by the cover that Cosmo is targeting young females, and that’s exactly what they want. They know their audience and they embrace it.

Furthermore, Cosmo uses celebrities to further target its demographic. The cover models are always gorgeous and very relevant celebrities that many females look up to as role models. Women such as Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna have all graced the cover and they are all celebrities that are admired by young females. Seeing one of these women on the cover grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read more, because young women not only want to learn more about these celebrities’ lives, but also want to be more like them (because they are fabulous).

Cosmo also targets its demographic by writing articles about relevant topics. Sometimes a girl just wants to read about the best hairstyles of 2014, or how to apply winged eyeliner, which is what Cosmo gives you. The magazine is very focused on love and sex as well, which are topics that many women of this age are concerned about. They can be somewhat awkward topics to address in public situations, so Cosmo gives women easy access to other women’s opinion on these issues.

Lastly, Cosmo does a good job at addressing the insecurities of women and making them less pronounced, which is another reason why they target their audience so well. Although Cosmo emphasizes being “sexy”, it also emphasizes loving yourself, and being healthy and happy in your own skin. Women are looking for a magazine that makes them feel better about themselves, not worse, and Cosmo often touches on being confident and secure with who you are.

All of these aspects account for Cosmo’s great success at targeting its demographic. It might not be an extremely deep or thought provoking reading, but it’s not trying to be. Cosmo is light and enjoyable, and as their slogan says, for the “Fun, Fearless Female.” It’s women writing for other women and that’s what makes it so relatable.

Read what you enjoy!

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