By NATALIA HAWK
I’ve loved Michelle Bridges for a long time. She’s enthusiastic without being over-the-top. She’s encouraging without being completely unrealistic. She was once just another personal trainer – and now she’s a household name that appears on various TV shows, has a bunch of DVDs and books, and her very own fitness range – now extended to encompass clothes, workout gear, kitchenware and shoes.
She also runs own mass personal-training program online, called the 12 Week Body Transformation Challenge, which attracts thousands and thousands of participants each round.
She does a lot of writing and her opinions are all over social media and the web. And often she even gets attacked for those opinions – people notice a word or a phrase and rile up. But more than anything, her supporters are overwhelming. On Facebook alone, she sends status updates out to over 622,000 fans.
I was invited to interview her last week and see some of her new range (which we’ll talk about later in the post)
Have a read. If you haven’t been a fan of her previously – I think you will be by the end of this interview.
Nat: What made you want to get started in the fitness industry?
Michelle: I was born to do this! I know that sounds cornball, but I was literally born to do what I’m doing. I started teaching classes when I was 14 – I pitched the idea as a 14-year-old to the school mistress for the kids sitting in the school room pretending to do homework when sport was on.
N: At my school, for sport, we usually either went bowling or we watched vaguely sport-related movies like Cool Runnings.
M: (Almost falling off chair) You just put a knife in my heart! Oh my god!
Well – my sport mistress let me do it. So I’d make my mix tapes and get my leg warmers. I took the different principles from my hockey/netball/basketball training and pulled it together in what would be called now a circuit class. I had no idea what I was doing, I was just making it up.
I thought I was so awesome – so I rocked myself down at the age of 14 to the local squash courts. My mum was beside herself. I said to them: “You guys need me, I can teach fitness classes. The empty room downstairs? I can fill that with people.” And they let me do it. A 14 year old! But back in the day, you could get away with that.
I did my personal training course when I was 18 and have been doing it ever since. I just love it. Another journalist who came through [before] – was in her 50s and she said, “I’ve never exercised and I’ve only just started. I feel amazing. I didn’t have any weight to lose. I just feel awesome.”