Jillian Michaels: Not Your Average Athlete

“Keep going…push yourself…30 more seconds.”

Jillian Michaels, the personal trainer that took over America, kicking contestants of “The Biggest Loser” into shape, has now invaded my sorority house. Her videos have taken over our workout room and televisions. Her books are on the desk of every one of the 62 girls that live in our house. Her pills are all over commercials everywhere. Her body and motivational story serves as an inspiration for all who envision themselves in a swimsuit by the first week in March.

Julian Michaels is good.  She’s someone you love to hate. The very first time that my roommate, Taylor, and I pulled out our mats and five-pound hand weights, loaded the first DVD, 30-Day Shred, into the player, and pressed start, we had no idea that we were about to embark on such a sweaty, strenuous, and horrible journey. Throughout the forty minutes of hell, we gave one another encouragement, yelled at Michaels, and even took a few water breaks (more than were allowed). When we finally made it to the very end, it was liberating. I was proud of myself, and strangely enough, I felt more energized than tired. The picture of her perfect abs and toned body embedded in my mind and stimulated my interest to get into shape for this spring break and summer. Since that first day, it has only gotten harder—more videos, advanced moves, and longer sessions—but with the same goals as many of my close friends, we are determined to keep this resolution. In addition to working out harder, we are eating healthier and drinking less, all with an end incentive of improved health, a new swimsuit, and better looks (of course).

Not the “typical” athlete, Julian Michaels has certainly made a name for herself in the health and fitness world. She is known as America’s toughest weight loss trainer and she has emerged as a brand. Michaels launched her company, Empowered Media, LLC, to help communicate her message of health and wellness, and motivate millions of people, including athletes and sorority girls, through nearly every form of media. The company’s motto is, “Inspired by Jillian, empowered by YOU!” She makes regular TV appearances and has books, DVDs, and video games. She is a New York Times bestselling author of four books, and her personal website, JillianMichaels.com, receives more than 100 million page views per year. Michaels is also an editor for EverydayHealth.com, which is the leading provider of online health information. She has an iPhone app, Jillian Michaels Slim-Down Solution, a line of footwear and sportswear, and a line of in-home fitness equipment. Michaels is also a “GoDaddy Girl” for GoDaddy.com and was featured in their Super Bowl ads last year.

A May 2011 Forbes article, “Jillian Michaels on Becoming a Brand and Her Social Media Strategy,” identified several interesting factors behind Michael’s success. (Link) Michaels uses social media to connect with over one million of her fans, sell her products and like many athletes, coaches, and sportswriters, as a platform to have a direct conversation with the audience, addressing the issues that her followers want to discuss.

“Jillian prefers to share the kinds of product related posts that spark a sort of viral marketing. These are posts that provide the kind of useful information that someone would want to share with their friends and family. This kind of invaluable marketing helps bring brand awareness and ultimately drives sales.”

Michaels is successful because she knows not only the value of using different types of media, but also how to use each type of media most effectively.

To say that Michaels is impressive is an understatement. Her brand integrated is it into nearly every market. Athletes use her tips to stay in shape. Sorority girls use her videos to lose weight. Moms take her pills to slim down. The list goes on and on.

By: Alexa Miller

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