Jillian Michaels

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Jillian Michaels is a fitness guru who appeared on the NBC show The Biggest Loser for a decade. Her Guest DJ set includes a track that brings out her inner fighter, a “cheesy pop song” she uses for work out motivation and a dedication to her haters. Jillian has a new show on Spike TV called Sweat Inc.

Hosted by Anthony Valadez.


  1. Florence and the Machine - "Shake It Off"
  2. Sia - "Elastic Heart (feat. The Weeknd and Diplo)"
  3. TI - "Live Your Life (feat. Rihanna)"
  4. Imagine Dragons - "I'm On Top of the World"
  5. U2 - "Beautiful Day"

Anthony Valadez: Hey I’m Anthony Valadez, and I’m here with Jillian Michaels, known as America’s toughest trainer. The fitness guru appeared on the NBC show The Biggest Loser for a decade and has a new show on Spike TV called Sweat Inc. Today, we will be playing excerpts of songs she selected that have inspired her over the years as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project.

Jillian, I’m ready; I’m so pumped up. What did you bring for us today?

Jillian Michaels: Ok, so, it’s kind of funny because I wanted to really take my time and seem like I was extremely deep and intelligent [laughs], but you know that everybody, when it comes to inspiring music, it’s like dude, it usually skews toward a little bit of cheese. Just be glad I didn’t pick “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera.

AV: That’s actually one of my favorite songs. And we don’t judge here, so.

JM: Good, because, you’d be busy if you did, yeah.

JM: My first one, okay, is by Florence and the Machine.

AV: So what does “Shake It Out” mean to you?

JM: It’s like, let it go, move on, shake it off, keep going forward, you’re bigger than this. And, oh God, that one’s more like, in the car, after a bad phone call, a bad meeting, a bad business deal, something’s gone south professionally, and I usually I tell myself, my mantra is they’re not worth the jail time. And then I play that song, and it’s definitely like alright, you know, take a deep breath, it happened, you’re bigger than this, you’re gonna move through this, you've survived way worse than this.

AV: Let’s take a listen. This is Florence and the Machine with "Shake It Out."

Song: Florence and the Machine – “Shake It Out”

AV: So what’s next?

JM: “Elastic Heart” by Sia, and it features The Weeknd and Diplo. Sia is known for writing songs about overcoming hardship. This, ironically, is a song that she co-wrote for Hunger Games. And I think the reason that Hunger Games was so big is that everybody could relate to Katniss in one way or another. We’ve all felt like, “Could anything else go wrong? Could the tide be going more against me in this moment?”

And even when you try to go with the flow and not beat your head into the wall, the reality is life is challenging, you know, there are people that are in direct opposition to you and trying to keep you from where you’re going for whatever reason, and it’s like, hey, you’re never gonna break me. I’m gonna keep going, I’m totally resilient, and I will to fight this to the end.

And I think at the end of the day we all do need to find that inner fighter to persist. You know, we all are entitled to work for our dreams, but we’re not just entitled to have them happen. So that’s why I think finding inner fighter is so critical in order to be successful and to live the life that you truly want, to be the most fulfilled. And I think “Elastic Heart” is a great song for finding your inner fighter. It’s a great song to workout to.

Song: Sia – “Elastic Heart (feat. The Weeknd and Diplo)”

AV: That was “Elastic Heart” by Sia featuring The Weeknd and Diplo, selected by Jillian Michaels as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Jillian, what do you got next for us?

JM: Alright, so, a little pop, and we all, as I said, we all have these cheesy pop songs. So I went with my cheesy pop song, and it’s “Live Your Life” by T.I. and Rihanna. And, ironically, this is a song that when it first came out that I used to play for my contestants on The Biggest Loser when the cameras weren't on, and we could play music.

This song I really like, it's like, "hey, live your life, don't let the haters hold you back. Don't get into these dysfunctional relationships with other people," and I know this is kind of a deep explanation for what I have identified as a cheesy pop song.

AV: I like it.

JM: But I love this song, man. There's no way you don't listen to this song and feel 100 feet tall afterwards.

AV: Do you have haters?

JM: Yeah. Yeah, I have a lot of haters.

AV: Let's dedicate this to the haters, shall we?

JM: Yeah, this is for you guys! Screw you guys, I'm living my life!

AV: Let's turn it up. This is "Live Your Life," by T.I. and Rihanna.

Song: T.I. and Rihanna – “Live Your Life”

AV: That was "Live Your Life" by T.I. and Rihanna, selected by Jillian Michaels as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. I'm feeling pumped up. What else do you have for us?

JM: Ok, next one is "I'm on Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons. I mean, who doesn't love Imagine Dragons? They couldn't be any bigger, it's insane.

It's sort of the afterword, right, you were talking about the fight and shaking off the struggles and letting go of the haters and refusing to allow them to influence you.

Well, "I'm on Top of the World" is like after you've done all that. He's like, "hey, you know, I've been dreaming about this since I was a child. I'm on top of the world." And what I love is when you know a little bit about the band, of course, with most individuals that are seemingly overnight successes, they've been at it for years. 10 years is usually the minimum. He sang, “I stuck with it, I believed in myself, I believed in my dream, and it's all paid off, and I'm on top of the world.”

AV: Do you find any parallels between you and your childhood dreams to where you're at now?

JM: Gosh, you know, as a kid I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, I was definitely a bit lost. But when I think about the things that I identified with right, like oh, rock star, and what meant so much to me about that, I find that I have definitely used fitness, wellness, a transformation, positive change in a way that allows people to find their best selves, live their best lives, and does bring them together. For me, it has ended up being what I wanted to be as a kid, just not in the way I envisioned it playing out.

AV: It's all that, and you get to listen to great music.

JM: Exactly!

AV: Let's take a listen to this one, it's "I'm on Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons.

Song: Imagine Dragons – "I’m on Top of the World”

AV: That was Imagine Dragons with "I'm on Top of the World," selected by Jillian Michaels as part of as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Looks like we're down to our final song.

JM: This is kind of another cheesy one, but I chose it because it was one of the ones that came to mind, and it's "Beautiful Day" by U2.

Back when I was, good grief, I don't know, in my mid-20s I think, I remember that I would take other people's fitness classes or spinning classes or whatever. Everybody was starting the class out with this song, it's a "Beautiful Day." And a lot of times when I begin working with people again, whether it's group fitness or individual one-on-one training or life-coaching, you really want to focus their mind, right. It's like okay, what do I want to achieve? Let's set our agenda, let's set our intention because creating the things that we want in our lives isn't easy, but it's worth it.

And he kind of talks about all the crap that can go wrong. Traffic is stuck, you know, as I'm sure many people are sitting in traffic right now, and he looks at all the things that we get caught up in, the minutiae that weigh us down and, really pull us off track from our bigger goal, and the bigger agenda. And we kind of lose perspective.

And that’s why I really like this song 'cause he's like, "hey dude, at the end of the day, you know, hopefully, you're heathy, hopefully, your loved ones are healthy, and it's a beautiful day. You know, we're alive, we're on this beautiful planet. Hopefully you've got some friends and family that you love, that love you back. And if you can say that, it's a beautiful day."

Song: U2 – “Beautiful Day”

AV: Jillian, thanks so much for joining us over at KCRW.com.

JM: Dude, thank you for having me, I had an absolute blast.