She’s arguably Australia’s most well-known personal trainer. She’s a media commentator, a businesswoman and she’s just released her 15th book.
Michelle Bridges’ latest work, Keeping it Off is more than your average weight loss guide. The book ventures beyond achieving chiselled abs for summer, focusing on good health that lasts a lifetime.
Fitness devotee Michelle Bridges said people don’t usually talk about fitness for the long haul because no one wants to admit that it requires a lot of effort and work.
“I’m a big believer in having the hard conversations, so I’ve stepped up to the plate, and I’m talking about it,” she said.
“It’s not necessarily an exciting and sexy one-off event in your life. Instead, it’s an everyday and sustained lifelong commitment.”
If you are someone who has tried to lose weight and struggled Michelle’s book may be the perfect gateway for not only improving your body but your lifestyle too. The book cuts through the confusion of weight loss with scientific knowledge and over 25 years experience in the health and fitness industry.
Michelle said she wants to change the way people look at food and losing weight.
“I’ve always been passionate about spreading the message of the positive benefits of health and fitness to as many people as possible, and writing books is one of those ways. I can reach way more people through writing books than I ever could face to face in person, so it’s something I’m really committed to.”
You could say Keeping it Off focuses more on the guts (of her clients) than the glory (of the end result), with Michelle sharing her own experiences along with case studies of people have put her advice to the test.
“I have the pleasure of watching people take control by not having weight and food play centre stage in their life,” Michelle said
And to accompany the theory is over 130 recipes and it’s REAL FOOD.
“Bottom line, eat real food people,” Michelle said.
From breakfast recipes to meals that’ll feed a family and snacks on the go, Michelle has covered almost everything.
“I write these recipes and make ready-meals for Woolworths so that everybody can afford to eat nutritiously. We can make healthy conscious eating mainstream.”
Michelle said people often get sucked into fast-tracked diets that promote losing weight in record timing.
“Our society is set up for the quick fix, the ‘once and done’ type approach and keeping weight off for the long haul is not one of those things.”
“There are so many (diets), the lemon detox diet was all the rage for a while, and I still get asked about it a fair bit. Lemon juice, maple sugar and pepper and that’s supposed to sustain you?”
“Don’t diet for a certain number of days, nourish your body by eating real food in the right portion sizes for you. Put your focus into things that ignite you.”
Michelle said that people often have a blurred perception of continual health because there is so much focus on the initial weight loss.
“We focus on the short-term sexiness of getting the weight off in the first instance because that’s the exciting part when everyone’s enthusiasm is really firing,” she said.
You only have to glance at your explore page on Instagram for a second before you see the enthusiasm Michelle speaks of. Littered with transformation pictures and thigh gaps, the people pictured certainly didn’t spend their winter months under the covers with three packets of their favourite snacks. Their captions are filled with weight loss figures, inspirational quotes and how it was all done in record timing.
But Michelle says the emphasis placed on fitness is not a bad thing.
“I don’t think the emphasis on being fit is what’s harmful; I think it’s the emphasis on having to look a certain way that can be.”
There’s this perception about what fit should look like, images that are strategically angled, lit, often airbrushed and photoshopped that are being promoted as being what fit is, when the reality is that that’s just not true.”
“This is not going away anytime soon. So, the only way to deal with it has got to come from within.”
Being fit is certainly the new fad, and if you’re not already on the train you probably despise it, or maybe you’re planning to get on at the next station. The train moves fast, and if you’re not drinking or eating kale (someone, please tell me what to do with kale), you probably feel a few stations behind.
But even Michelle admits she has body-image issues from time to time.
“Unless you’re living on a desert island with zero advertising around you then you’re going to inevitably compare yourself to the ‘ideals’ that are promoted in the media. It’s a conditioning, which I believe we can change.”
“Everyone once thought the world was flat, right? Comparisons serve no one, especially when you’re comparing yourself to images that aren’t real life. I have to check in with myself when I start the comparison conversation in my head, and really fact check myself. I remind myself that images I see in the media are creations – just like an artist paints a picture of the reality he sees in front of him.”
“It’s an image, an imagining; it’s art, not real life.”
Michelle values her role as a voice for the health and fitness industry basing her work on her own experience as well as the work of dieticians, nutritionists and exercise physiologists. She plans to continue her journey on bringing health to the forefront of Australian’s minds through her programs, media appearance and books.