May 15, 2008

THE Jillian Michaels Story (also THE Jenn Widder story)

By popular request, I’m back posting the Jillian Michaels post before I get to the Providence Half-Marathon race report. (I really suck at posting lately).

Last week I heard about something called “Workout in the Park,” sponsored by Self Magazine. It sounded kind of interesting, but the headline was what caught my attention: special guest appearance by Jillian Michaels. I LOVE Jillian Michaels and The Biggest Loser, and working out in Central Park sounded fun, so I signed up and forwarded an Outlook invite to a few friends as well.

Saturday morning dawned a bit earlier than I wanted it to, as I had had a late night of post-Cinco De Mayo partying. I think the pictures below make it clear just how much fun I had.

At the end of the night while cleaning up, I kept the sombrero, maracas, a Mexican flag, and a pinata donkey that I named Pedro. I carried them home via subway, which attracted a bit of attention (suit/briefcase + sombrero/drunkenness… interesting little dichotomy). I chatted with the guy next to me, who was about my age and I remember as cute, so I stupidly gave him my card. Billy called me the next day, but I haven’t gotten back to him yet b/c I’m a little weirded out by meeting guys on subways. In any case, my roommates and I have decided to throw a Cinco de June-o (Spanish is not our forte) party next month with all the loot I scored. Maybe I’ll invite him to that.

Anyway, on Saturday morning I hustled myself out of bed and threw on some sweats. I planned to snap a pic with Jillian, and I remembered to put on makeup… but did not think to put on a flattering outfit. Oops. I set off for Central Park with just 10 minutes until the start of the workout. While walking, I chatted on the phone with my mom about how I expected there would probably be “a few hundred people” and I hoped that I would get to meet Jillian.

Um, try SIX THOUSAND! I can’t believe how many people had heard about this, since I had heard pretty randomly. It turns out it wasn’t a big deal that I was a few minutes late because I had to wait in line for about 35 minutes to get in anyway. But wow, there were a ton of people! There was a mainstage that had a big aerobics event going, a small sidestage with an Urban Rebounder class, a yoga area, a stretching zone, and tons of booths with free stuff. I was really overwhelmed, so until I could find my friends, I wandered around collecting goodies. About 20 minutes later, four of my friends showed up, so we joined the aerobics class going on in the middle area.

As you can see, it was pretty crowded! Everyone was packed so tightly together, but it was still doable… until the woman next to me kept going the wrong way and then glaring at me when I would bump into her. The glaring escalated to her asking if I could move, and I tried my best to move a few inches to the right, but I politely pointed out that I didn’t really have anywhere to go. I was really tempted to add something about how maybe if she went left when everyone else went left, and right when we went right, we’d be fine, but I refrained. I was in a good mood and there was no need for bitchery (in that word contest that everyone seems to play on their blogs [okay I gave up trying to search for links with +2 and +5 and +8, but I think there are more of you], how many points is “bitchery?” I say +20)

That class ended and there was a five minute break before the next class (a Latin dance class), so I wandered around a bit more. While standing kind of near the back of the stage, I saw Jillian and her entourage arriving! I didn’t act fast enough to say hi or get a picture, which was really disappointing because I realized that this event was huge so the chance of any facetime with her was nil.

Right before the Latin dance class started, Jillian came onstage to thank everyone for coming and provide a bit of encouragement. They announced that she would be in a certain corner of the event all day signing autographs and meeting people, and I foolishly assumed that I could go anytime. So I did the Latin dance class (fun! I had forgotten how much I miss dance), and then tried to go get in line to see her since the next class was pilates (which I have never liked). And… the line was about ten miles long. No matter – it was worth it to me to meet her. But I went to the end, and the woman manning the line informed me that the line was closed. I begged and pleaded, saying that the only reason I had come was to meet Jillian (half-true… that was the big reason for signing up but I was psyched about the workouts too). No dice.

I sadly started to wander away, when I saw another guy manning the line at the halfway point (there was a break in the middle). I halfheartedly decided to try my luck at begging and pleading with him… and it WORKED!!! He let me join the line because there was only one of me and I was sincere about how badly I wanted to meet Jillian! (At least, I like to think it was that… I was all sweaty and wearing a sports bra of the smoosher variety so I don’t think he thought I was hot or anything). I joined the line and began to make friends with the people around me, as the friends I had come with thought I was crazy for being so celebrity-obsessed and willing to wait that long, so they had gone back to the workout classes.

I talked to some really cool people around me. Two of them had been following Jillian’s original diet plan, Winning by Losing, for a year and had lost almost 100 pounds! Incredible. There was also someone a few spots back who had on a Disney Marathon t-shirt, so we chatted about the race and how I’m doing it next year. Finally, next to me were these two girls who looked like they were my age or a few years older, but confessed that they were actually 30. They looked incredible! And they were so much fun. In the 2+ hours that we waited in line (and therefore didn’t get to participate in a class), we decided to exercise while in line! The stage was big enough and the loudspeakers loud enough that we could follow along… we just had to modify a few movements so as not to kick/punch each other (especially when it we were doing the kickboxing class). So if you’re ever waiting in line for something, remember that you can make the time productive by working out while you wait! No one at the bank or the grocery store will think you’re crazy, I promise.

As the line inched forward, it became clear that Jillian was spending a lot of time talking to each person, which was awesome. We fantasized about what we were going to say to her and how we would maximize our time, while we cursed the people who were taking so long in front of us (of course, we planned to take just as long when it was our turn). When we started getting closer to the front, we discovered that Jenn Widder (from the purple team on this season’s couples edition of The Biggest Loser) was also there with Jillian, which was awesome. She kept noticing us working out in line and laughing, which was kind of funny. We kept working out right through till they said “okay, it’s your turn!”

I boldly introduced myself to Jillian and told her how much I loved her Making the Cut book, and how much I loved what I saw of her on TV. I have to say, she was absolutely tiny in person! Not just thin, but really petite too – I was surprised, because I always picture her as this big tall ass-kicking hulk. Then, I launched into my little spiel about how hard I find it to lose weight when I’m constantly traveling and have to eat all my meals at restaurants. Her advice? (Slightly paraphrased as I didn’t memorize it word for word)

“Laura… it is YOUR body and NO ONE can tell you what to put into it. Not your coworkers, not a chef, and not some snotty waiter. You are paying a lot for your dinner, and you deserve to get what you want. Here’s what you do. You tell that waiter that you want grilled fish/meat with NO oil, NO butter, and NO sauce. And steamed vegetables with NO oil, NO butter, and NO sauce. If they can make some fancy-schmancy four star dinner, they can make you that. Don’t let ANYONE stop you from getting what you want.”


While the other two girls talked to Jillian, I chatted with Jenn for a bit, who was similarly awesome. She provided me with a bit more advice in the same vein, and invited me to e-mail her and stay in touch, which I did (and she totally wrote back to me with more advice!). I took pictures with both of them, and Jillian autographed a photo for me, and then I got hustled out by the event staff.

Just before walking away, I checked my camera to see how the picture came out… only to find that it wasn’t on there! They hadn’t pressed the button all the way! Once again, I put my begging and pleading skills to use and got the staff to let me go back for a quick pic with Jillian (Jen wasn’t in it this time though). It didn’t come out that great, but it’s still cool!

Yes, Jillian Michaels called me smoking hot!!!

After I left, I met up with my friends and we headed to a diner (yeah, you heard that right) for lunch. Newly inspired, I ordered an egg white omelet with NO toast and NO potatoes, and asked for fresh fruit instead. That’s right, no one is going to tell me what to eat anymore! I am empowered to order what I want because I am the one paying for it and it is MY body!

We’ll see how long this inspiration lasts. Good thing I have Jenn’s e-mail for follow up ass-kicking if need be!


12 thoughts on “THE Jillian Michaels Story (also THE Jenn Widder story)”

  1. That IS cool. I’m sca…sca…scared of her, though. She seems so mean on the show, but then she sits down for those ‘heart-to-heart’ talks and then I think maybe she’s not so bad.

  2. How exciting! Jillian is cool – I’m glad they brought her back on The Biggest Loser. She’s sounds like a great person – so nice that she really got to talk to all of you 1-on-1!

    And, yes, us 30 and up girls are definitely fun – heehee!

  3. To clarify: I totally think 30 year olds are fun. These two were just SO young looking (and they were both wearing their old sorority’s t-shirts) and so bouncing-all-over-the-place that I was surprised 🙂

  4. Hey, I was there too and got to meet her!! She was super cool and such a sweetheart!! I went to the event only to meet her and standing in line for 2+ hours was totally worth the wait!! She is even hotter in person! Such an awesome person…I heart her a million times more after meeting her.

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