Justin Stephens for Fitness
“I used to say, ‘If you’re going to exercise, then you do it, and you do it 100 percent,’” The Biggest Loser coach tells Fitness in their April issue. “Now if I’ve got to answer emails while I work out on the StairMaster, well, then that’s what it is.”
And for all those ready to call her out on her new outlook? No need — Michaels is more than willing to eat her words. “People can rub my nose in it, because it is so hard — so hard — to take care of yourself when you’re a parent,” she says.
The mom-of-two‘s sudden change of heart comes from her never-ending quest to balance two kids, daughter Lukensia, 3, and son Phoenix, 10 months.
“I get up at 7 a.m. — after being up all night with the baby — and run around trying to get both kids diaper-changed, dressed and fed. Finally I’ll shower, and before I know it, I’ve got 50 emails to answer, and I need to leave for work,” Michaels, 39, explains.
“At the end of the day, I come home, and I’m like, ‘Okay, let me bathe you, change you, feed you, read you books, put you to bed — wait, how am I supposed to do all this? Son of a b—-, this is hard!’”
And with her daughter insisting on doing everything on her own — “Lu do, Lu do,” the hands-on mom mimics — motherhood is stretching Michaels in ways she never knew possible.
“It means you have to sit there for 20 minutes while she tries to put on a shirt. It kills me because I’ve got to go to work,” she explains. “[My partner] Heidi [Rhoades] gets mad at me: ‘How else is she going to learn how to put on her shirt?’ or ‘Don’t rush her, you’re rushing her!’”
Despite developing key coping skills, Michaels jokes her lack of patience will likely come up later in life.
“It makes me crazy, so I’ll just sit on the floor of the closet checking emails while Lu tries to figure out how to put on her shirt,” she says. ”It’s brutal, but I’m really trying. I guarantee it’s going to be their number one issue in therapy.”
But it’s not all work and no play for the family. “Lu knows that Sunday is her treat day, so she can eat ice cream or French fries or something,” Michaels explains.
And, in an effort to not “deprive her the rest of the week,” the fitness trainer has been perfecting her healthy culinary skills.
“I’ll make whole-wheat pizza with mozzarella, onions and butternut squash, and to her that’s pizza,” Michaels explains. “I am a genius … I am so proud of myself because I have fooled her into eating healthy, and let me tell you, that kid is smart!”
And to balance out Sunday’s sweets, Michaels makes it a priority to keep her kids on the move with plenty of play time.
“Lu loves horses, so I take her to the stables, and she loves dancing, so I put music on and she dances around the house,” the on-the-go mom shares. “We run on the beach with the dogs and take her out to ride her tricycle. We just have a healthy lifestyle — we play!”
As for Phoenix, Michaels is already envisioning a future filled with fun fitness opportunities for mother and son.
“I have visions of our doing Brazilian jujitsu and capoeira together. Or maybe he’ll want to take ballet, and that’s okay, too,” she says. “Either way, I’m going to expose them both to a bunch of different activities, and whatever they love, they love.”
At the end of the day — through her struggles and successes — Michaels makes one thing clear: she’s not complaining about the life she chose.
“Every day I tell myself how blessed I am … I can’t b—- about it, because this is what I wanted,” she says. “I just thought I’d be able to manage it better. My new motto: As long as I’m winning more than I’m losing, I’m still winning!”
– Anya Leon