Jillian Michaels: ‘My butt carries extra weight…I realized you can’t have it all’


I have a knee-jerk dislike of Jillian Michaels. I realized this as I was looking through our archives, where it seems like Bedhead sort of likes her and CB thinks Jillian has a few good ideas. I think my knee-jerk dislike of Jillian is that I dislike almost all professional trainers. I hate being bossed around, especially about my body or my workouts, and for the most part, Jillian just seems mean. Maybe “mean” works on some people who need to be motivated, but for me, I’m not going to do crunches even if you yell at me. In fact, if you yell at me, I’m less likely to do crunches ever again.

Anyway, Jillian covers the new issue of Shape and while she doesn’t seem too bad here (these aren’t terrible quotes at all), it does feel like… she only gives a crap about her body. The body, in general. She doesn’t care about feelings, emotions, disorders, what have you. Maybe that’s because she’s a trainer talking to Shape. Or maybe it’s because she has more in common with Tracy Anderson than some people will admit. Some highlights:

What she loves about her body: “My abs are the best part of my body. I know I’m lucky because when I’m in decent shape overall they tend to get toned very quickly,’ says Jillian, adding that her best exercise for abs are planks including side, extended and imbalanced planks.

Strong arms: “My best reason for having strong arms is because I love to pick up my kids.” Jillian and her partner, Heidi Rhoades, share two children together, four-year-old daughter Lukensia, who was adopted from Haiti, and two-year-old son Phoenix.

Strong back: “I love having a strong back. Metaphorically speaking, it means I can carry a lot of responsibility on my shoulders – and I do – for my family, friends and fans.”

Turning 40: “I won’t lie. This birthday was hard. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, am I halfway through my life?’ Buy when I think back on my 20s and 30s, I look better now than I ever have.”

Her least favorite body part: “We all store fat somewhere… I carry all my weight in my lower body. No matter how lean I get or how many squats or lunges I do, I always feel like my butt carries extra weight. But what I realized is that you can’t have it all.”

[From The Daily Mail/Shape]

Yes, let’s have a discussion about having it all… with regards to carrying a couple of extra pounds in your ass. Is it my knee-jerk dislike or was that really out-of-touch? It’s totally something Gwyneth Paltrow would say… if Goop didn’t feel like she had the ass of a 22-year-old stripper. Gwyneth too finally understood the struggles of “not having it all” when she gained one pound while sitting in a trailer in Milwaukee making $10 million for a week of work. How these women struggle.


cover courtesy of Shape, additional pics by WENN.

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58 Responses to “Jillian Michaels: ‘My butt carries extra weight…I realized you can’t have it all’”

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  1. Dotty says:

    I have the same dislike of her. Was hoping to read something to change my mind…nope. She has a great bitchy resting face.

    • Jag says:


      And I think she’s just a b!tch. No “resting face” needed. (Love that video!)

    • Katey says:

      Really? Hating on a personal trainer for being… personal trainer-y? Her whole schtick is being fit, helping people lose weight, and focusing on health and body. And we’re going to give her crap for giving an interview that’s about *gasp* body image? There’s nothing obnoxious here, she doesn’t go pointing out people’s flaws if they’re not asking for help. That’s like yelling about a financial planner who is talking about the GNP all the time… that’s their job! They’re not walking up to people on the street and making rude comments. Let’s get some perspective.

  2. Jayne says:

    I’m having trouble seeing why this interview offends anybody. She is a personal trainer answering questions about her work out and her body. And besides Jillians thing is about health and strength not thinness.

  3. RN says:

    Her kettlebell DVD is one of the most unsafe workouts out there. I always implore people not to do that one (and, if they’re open to it, to skipping all of her others). I don’t care for her because she brings a poor-quality product to the table and most people aren’t educated enough about fitness to recognize that fact. They make the mistake of equating “well- known” with “educated”.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Epic eye roll. “You can’t have it all.”

    • Lauren says:

      I don´t really understand what she can´t have. She is healthy, successful, has financial security, has access, is in a relationship, has children – so what is it exactly that she doesn´t have? Sure, all of those things don´t necessarily equal happiness but compared to others she has a pretty nice life. Just because she has a bigger butt means that she failed and can´t have it all? Sorry but that´s just plain stupid. I don´t really see that she has a big ass and in saying so, it only creates more body image issues. I get that people who are considered beautiful and have a great body also have times when they are not 100% happy with themselves but at the same time I think it´s insulting to people who are really struggling with being overweight.
      Generally, I´m just fed up with celebrities who are complaining and trying to be “real” or relatable.

  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Didn’t she say this once before? I feel like we’ve had this conversation. Idk, I guess she felt like she had to say something negative to prove she doesn’t think she’s perfect?

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      She’s complained about her ass in many interviews which is weird because she has an awesome ass. Those of us who don’t “carry weight back there” wouldn’t mind having a bit more. In other words: kindly STFU.

      I like what she said about turning 40 though. At 35 I too am in much better shape than I was in my twenties.

      Now pass the cake and don’t forget the beer.

      • A.Key says:

        Kitten, the grass is always greener. I carry weight in my ass and I f-ing hate it. I honestly do. If I don’t watch what I eat and work out constantly, I end up looking disproportionate like Kim K. It’s not something to wish for, trust me.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Every time I see a woman with your body type I get jealous because I feel like *if* you ladies gain weight, you gain it in all the right places and it barely shows–you just get curvier.

        With myself, If I gain I gain it in my midsection and it looks awful.
        Anyway, maybe you’re right that the grass is always greener?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Agree the grass is always greener. I have curly hair and wish it was silky straight. Everybody with straight hair tells me they want curly. I guess we just need to eat more cake and beer and stop worrying about it.

      • A.Key says:

        No, we’re still fat if we gain weight, don’t kid yourself. The fat is just stored in a different place.
        I’m always jealous of my friends who get a tummy when they gain weight and they can just cover it up with a shirt, bigger tee, or whatever. Whereas I can’t hide my butt. The ass is always visible and when it gets big it looks disgusting. No one wants a football sticking out of their back. The midsection is easier to hide, especially if you accentuate your legs. And most women who have a tummy always have good legs, no matter what weight. I’m super jealous of that.
        When I gain weight there’s no way to hide it, unless I get one of Scarlett O’Hara’s gowns. Anything else – “oh look, it’s fatass over there” comments…

  6. original kay says:

    Her 30 day shred is the best.

    Level 3 got me in shape, lean and strong, faster than any other workout. It’s hard though, and you can’t “phone it in” as she says.

    I like her a lot.

    As for her butt comments, she’s right. You can’t have it all, and her saying that, to me, means to stop expecting perfection and be the best I can be.

  7. elo says:

    I like Jillian Michaels, she is the only trainer that can motivate me through a video. I don’t view her as mean rather I think she encourages you to quit making excuses. I do her 30 day shred and love it. Of course she is going to talk about her body and work in an interview, it’s the only thing that makes her relevant.

  8. Lucy2 says:

    As someone who listens to her podcast, I would say this is a very specific interview with a limited subject matter. She talks about WAY more things on her show than workouts, and it’susually pretty good.

  9. MrsBPitt says:

    She’s a gigantic ass! (Sorry, someone had to say it, lol)

  10. Rhiley says:

    I like her better than I like Jackie Warner. There is some kind of drama between them. I think they were business partners and maybe partner/partners (who knows), but I don’t find Jillian quite as self centered and horrid as Jackie Warner. That woman is completely out of touch, and if there was going to be a winner in that divorce, I am glad it was Jillian. Jillian was supposed to come speak for 2 days at a coliseum in my hometown. I was surprised that she could fill a coliseum for 2 days worth of appearances. A week or so before her visit, she canceled. There was some excuse but I am sure it was because the ticket sales weren’t happening. Anyway, I think women who are 40 and over (which I am approaching) and who look all musclely and like they never enjoy an ice cream cone or a piece of fried chicken, look too masculine. Once a woman hits 40, I think they need a nice balance of exercise and fat in order to keep their body both toned but somewhat curvy and feminine. A little fat looks good on a 40 year old woman, especially in her face.

  11. Liz says:

    The way she’s posing on the cover creates the illusion of a well defined waist. I’d say it’s her non-existent waist that is her problem area.

  12. Sam says:

    My problems with Jillian on the Biggest Loser was that she would often go beyond just being a trainer. A lot of those people come to the show with mental health issues – trauma survivors, in grief, eating disorders, etc. Jillian often seems to jump into the role of therapist or counselor for these people. Which might be admirable, but it’s bad practice. They need mental health support like a therapist or doctor or something, but the show never allows the viewer to see or hear about it, so who knows if they get any?

    Personal trainers might be excellent – for physical training. They shouldn’t be trying to jump into any other role, but Jillian seems to often fall into that, which I just can’t agree with.

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      I agree with you but to be fair this is just as much the fault of the show. I have never had a personal trainer so I wouldn’t know, but doesn’t much of the industry incorporate a lot of psychobabble/wellness speak into their businesses? I think there is a danger of people with disordered eating (which let’s be honest is 99% of overweight people) of trying to paper over the cracks with this more lightweight mantra/motivational mumbo jumbo type stuff as opposed to getting to the core of the problem. Which is why so many of the Biggest Loser contestants regain the weight.

      • Sam says:

        For your average person, that inspiration-speak is plenty. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about people (who seem to happen more often on BL, but that’s due to casting) who use weight loss or exercise to try to shield or address serious mental health issues. Almost every personal trainer I’ve met has met them. I was a martial arts instructor for a long time and met women who were self-defense training. Some of them were rape victims or survivors who were still clearly very torn up about the attack and trying to use the training as a way of not dealing with the attack or rationalizing it. I never tried to work through these issues with them (Even though I was a counselor at the time, I was not trained in sexual assault counseling). I always could recommend someone to them. But I never tried to be the counselor in that situation.

        BL has brought on a lot of people who have traumatic backstories (death of loved ones, rape, major mental health issues, etc). These people may need to lose weight, and a trainer can help with that, but they also need counseling (from somebody trained to provide it) to help ensure that they stay on the right path. BL lumped them in with people who maybe just needed some extra motivation or encouragement, and that to me is so wrong. Jillian and the other trainers needed to recognize which people just needed a trainer and which required something more.

        Frankly, I don’t watch BL now. I have not watched it since they featured a woman who was a recovering anorexic (and has swung into obestity) who quit the first episode after Jillian yelled at her. That made me want to punch the TV.

    • Frida_K says:

      Personal trainers (and others, such as yoga instructors) who think that they are qualified to act as de facto therapists? Yes, I hate that too. It’s dangerous.

      Don’t get me started.

      All I will say is this: I have yoga teaching certifications to work with genuinely damaged people and one thing that was emphasized during training was the reminder that “you are not the therapist.”

      Professional ethics are key, and so are awareness of boundaries and knowledge of scope of practice.

  13. Happyhat says:

    I like Jillian; I have many of her DVD’s and they helped get me off my ass and start exercising. For that, I forgive her for her harshness.

    Regarding the ‘You can’t have it all’ comment though… meh. Like, how is storing fat on your ass not having it all? It seems like there always has to be something to crow about. I don’t see why having a bit of meat on your ass means you have lost in any way.

    • Pumpkin Pie says:

      Maybe it’s just me, but I think she hardly has any butt. And the position of her right arm on that cover photo is very telling. It looks to me like she is trying to hide something that is not there. That said, I think she has a very good body, strong and lean. The waist – I just read a comment here that she doesn’t have a waist – not every woman has a defined (stress on defined) waist and that can be because of their body shape or doing certain kinds of ab exercises that focus more on strength than on shape. And that’s ok.

  14. Snowflake says:

    I love Jillian michael and her workouts!

  15. A.Key says:

    So she’s honest about her insecurities? Kudos! It’s sort of refreshing to see someone with a seemingly perfect body also being insecure. I guess nobody is ever entirely content.

    Also, as someone who also carries their weight in their ass, I sympathize with her. No matter what I do, I’ll never have a tiny butt like Goop.

  16. Delta Juliet says:

    Well I have done her 30-day shed DVD’s too and yes they are effective, and yet I still hate her. In fact, when I can catch my breath from the workout I am usually yelling at the TV and telling Jillian how much I hate her. She does seem like a pretty unlikeable person.

  17. Grant says:

    I think she just means that within the context of the elusive “perfect body,” which I actually agree with. No matter how much fat I burn, I feel like I’ll always have that tiny bit of extra lower stomach fat.

  18. Adrien says:

    Well you know Jillian, you could lose the extra poundage if you perform the exercises you designed yourself.
    She’s basically just a drill sergeant in all her fitness videos. She’ll perform a few reps then talk the rest of the set. I don’t even know why she does not voiceover her videos.

  19. Embee says:

    Jillian is pretty polarizing but it seems clear that she cares deeply about the health and happiness of her listeners, clients and contestants. She may go too far with “therapy-like” comments/questions but I don’t hear her giving advice. She does a fair amount of issue-spotting, sort of “where does that come from” and then advising people to get help with that issue. I don’t know much about psychotherapy and the dangers that could raise; she just seems like a pretty savvy friend to me, someone who has a lot of experience working with people on their health and witnessing how that is often linked to emotional issues.

    As for her butt, she embarked on a mission to get her butt into the shape she wants it for her recent 40th birthday. Through that experience she realized that she simply didn’t want to dedicate her whole lifestyle to her ass (bravo!) and she tells people about it. She hasn’t thrown in the towel on working that area, but she refuses to go to extreme measures for an aesthetic ideal. Pretty cool.

    • lucy2 says:

      True – I think she does delve into the emotional side of things, but for anyone with more serious issues, I’ve often heard her recommended they see a licensed therapist. Issue spotting is a great way to describe what she usually does, and I think that just comes with the experience she’s had working with different people.

  20. Ginger says:

    I love Jillian and she’s only “mean” when training someone. If you watched her short lived series where she motivated families to get healthy mentally and physically she would often cry. I think she has a soft side that doesn’t come out on biggest loser that much. As for her ass she says on one video I work out to that there’s no shame. As far as her workouts go they are tough (at least I think so) but she tries to keep one motivated. I personally need a trainer that’s tough and sometimes a little mean. It brings out the stubborn in me. I don’t want a “nice” trainer, at least during the workout. Afterward you can be nice. :)

  21. Kate says:

    I used to love her and listen to her podcast regularly, and then she made some dum dum comments about rape, and I could just not feel the same way about her after that. She prides herself on being so knowledgeable about fitness…but then made some very uneducated comments about something so serious for many women. Not a fan.

  22. Irishserra says:

    I’m tired of these celebrities glossing over their own perceived personal failures with, “Well, you can’t have it all.” That goes for single parents, working parents, stay-at-home parents, people wishing and/or trying for children, people with children, people who have no desire to have children, fat people, skinny people, average people etc.

    Guess what? Some can and do have it all while some can’t and don’t; and that’s just the way it goes. End of story.

  23. itsetsyou says:

    Kaiser, I’m with you on being bossed around and resisting it, not enjoying! I’ve got friends who go to the meanest trainer because he yells at them and it makes them want to work harder. I always found it really strange, people wanting to be yelled yet to do better. I will just walk away and take my money somewhere else.
    Must be a Virgo thing, we don’t tolerate bad manners and especially when we pay ;)

  24. Chris says:

    “You can’t have it all”

    So? Isn’t this enough?