Sunday, May 05, 2013

Review: Jillian Michaels's Maximize Your Life Tour

This is a completely unsolicited, uncompensated review. I bought my own tickets.  Please excuse the extremely bad iPhone photos. Last night was the only time I've ever been jealous of Droid owners, since they seemed to be able to take much better ones with zoom.

Any regular reader of this blog knows that I am a big Jillian Michaels fan. Somehow, though, I hadn't heard about the Maximize Your Life tour until I saw her tweet that she was coming to Cleveland on a Saturday night.  I didn't really know what I was buying when I bought the tickets, but when I saw how big the State Theater was, I made the rash decision to upgrade to VIP seats. I figured there wasn't much point going to see Jillian live if I would just be watching her on the Jumbotron from the balcony.

I was thrilled to see Janice when I went to check in for my VIP wristband. I heard her before I saw her, and I would know her voice anywhere after listening to the podcast for so many years. I'm as big a fan of Janice as I am of Jillian.  Jillian also brought her family with her on tour, and her daughter decided to ham it up a bit onstage before the show with another special guest, Danni.

The show was like a live version of Jillian's podcast, but I got some new insights from the show.  I knew all about interval training and "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Clean Fifteen," but I still took notes as I listened, mostly on the motivational and inspirational aspects of the show, but also on some of the food and fitness stuff. I liked Jillian's definition of a plateau as creating too small a calorie deficit to reliably see results, for example.  And though she has a favorite type of exercise -- strength circuits with cardio intervals -- she said that people should "find something you love and do it, a minimum of four half-hours per week and a maximum of six hours a week." I thought that was great, accessible advice. I also wrote down "The moment in which you think you're perfect enough to finally pursue your passions. . . never comes."

I also made a few snarky notes to myself. Jillian kept using starting a bakery as an example of something someone who was living her passions might do. "If we're not supposed to eat cake, why are we all starting bakeries?" And also, "Is there anyone who hasn't internalized a feeling of worthlessness?" (Not me or anyone I have ever met!)

Mostly, though, the show was great. We got to see a nice video showing Jillian's history and her family. It's interesting to me that the way she describes her father could describe most of the older male contestants on The Biggest Loser: Overweight, emotionally shut down, and defensive.  Because her mother is a psychotherapist and Jillian is such a big believer in the idea that we reenact our original family dramas, I wonder if she has ever realized that her work on the show is allowing her to rewrite that history and find a new ending. When she helped Ken, for example, maybe she was creating the new dad for Austin that she wished she had for herself.

Most of the show would have been great from any seat.  The VIP ticket meant, mostly, that I was closer to the stage, and also gave me access to a half-hour question-and-answer session after the show.. Some people in the front row actually interacted with Jillian during the show and got high-fives and hugs, but there were about 200 people in the VIP section. It wasn't an up-close-and-personal experience, but it was worth the upgrade to me to be able to see Jillian and hear her answer people's questions in person. Danni and Janice also participated in the Q & A.  To be honest, I think this was the best part of the show, because Jillian was her most natural and relaxed self. Just like the podcast, she got questions both from overweight people trying to make a change, and fit people who wanted to know how to help other people. The hardest one for me to hear was a very overweight woman who had been sitting in the row behind me who said she had no fire or drive to improve her life and wanted to know how to keep her eight-year-old daughter from following her path. She seemed so defeated and unhappy. I hope she found some inspiration from the show.

I didn't get a chance to ask a question. When I checked in, I was told I could bring the question sheet back at the intermission, but in a huge theater packed with mostly women (I counted about ten guys, max, in the VIP section) there wasn't time to do much but run to the ladies' room and get back to my seat. It was a long show but it didn't feel long. Jillian was a tiny little dynamo, using all the space on the stage and laughing with the crowd when something went wrong with the projection system.

If you're a fan and the tour hasn't hit your city yet, consider buying a ticket. They have some reduced-priced seats available now, some as low as $25. The VIP tickets are much more expensive. Mine was $150. There was the option to upgrade on the spot at my show, and I'm not sure if it was the same price or discounted to fill up empty seats.  That might be an option worth checking out.

The VIP gift in my packet was an audio CD. I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet. Once I have, I'll post my thoughts in the comments.


  1. 6:36 PM

    Sounds like a very fun and inspiring event. Doubt if she makes it to ANY town in WV, so I'm glad to share vicariously in your experience!

    1. 7:01 PM

      Glad you liked it! The CD was an audio file about "10 tips to break out of your weight- loss rut," mostly the same stuff as in the show but a nice reminder.

  • 6:36 PM

    Will she be on TBL next year?

    1. 6:59 PM

      She didn't say she wouldn't be. I think she likes the new producer.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07