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Jillian Michaels Knows You're Paying Too Much for Workout Pants

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Impact by Jillian Michaels, the superstar trainer's Kmart activewear and accessories line, has hit stores and the retailer's site, bringing affordable workout clothes and accessories to the masses. We took a look at the pieces—which encompass four areas: yoga, training, running, and lifestyle—in person yesterday.

Here's the rundown: On the whole, the collection is comprised of staple pieces in heathered colors including pink and blue, with some added details you might not see in similarly-priced active lines. The most expensive item is a $37 yoga tote that doubles as an excellent travel bag (so many pockets!), and other IRL highlights included double-layer running shorts ($17) and a crossover-front sports bra ($15) which will come in a dark marble print for holiday.

We sat down with Jillian, who is exactly as ripped and personable as you'd expect, to chat about the line, the importance of price accessibility in activewear, and the nutrition myths she wish she could eradicate from the planet.

Accessibility has really defined your place in the fitness world, and this partnership seems right in line with that.
My customer, my audience, they're working their asses off every day to make ends meet—to be a mom, to go to school, to hold down one job, maybe two, to take care of their health and the health of their family. No one wants to spend a ton of money on something they don't have to buy. I can't ask my customer to spend a hundred-something dollars on a pair of workout pants—that's crazy, especially when I know they don't cost that much to make. I made the mistake of getting into high-end businesses, like a food delivery that I thought was a great product, but it was very expensive. My audience felt very betrayed, like, "How could you be so out of touch?" From there, I wanted to work with businesses that have accessibility and affordability.

When designing within this lower price point, what were some of the design goals you wanted to achieve?
There's very little that you can't do. Your limitations at this price are hardware and pockets. The only thing that I couldn't do was a specific dance pant that had a lot of pockets and a lot of hardware. It's fascinating—I can do prints, I can do mesh, I can do color-blocking, I can do any color I want, I can do all the fitness fabrics.

The technical fibers aren't a cost limitation?
Not really. I wanted to do this one top that was seamless, and Kmart was like, "Well, it's a little harder when it's seamless, we can do it with a seam here and it'll drop the price by $15." And I was like "Oh my god, put the seam in!"

What hole in the activewear market do you think you're filling with this line?
What we're doing is giving people the cool at the price. You might be like, "I've seen that run top before." Yeah, but at what price? There was this RLX windbreaker I liked, but I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to do it, because what I liked was the fabric and the jacket cost a fortune. Kmart was like, "You like this fabric, that's what you like? No problem." My line is all between $15 and $25. I was so pissed, learning about retail.

You're someone who spends a lot of time in workout clothes. What are your pet peeves when it comes to shopping for them?
I don't like to see socks. There was this one ankle sock in the production process, and I hated it! They were like, "Your customer might be wearing a pair of high tops. Just because you don't wear that sock doesn't mean your customer doesn't need this sock." I sldo can't stand workout clothes that break down quickly. Loose in the wrong places, tight in the wrong places. Ill fit, poor performance, no endurance—those things really agitate me.

If you could bust one fitness myth for all eternity, what would it be?
The "target fat burning zone." What a crock. Back in the '80s, when all horrible things were born, the fitness trend of "if you barely work out, you'll be burning fat" came to life. The key is intensity. If you want results, you've got to work out hard—80 to 85% of your target heart rate.

And if you could do the same for a nutrition myth?
I don't believe in any sort of extreme diet: You don't need to be vegan, you don't need to be paleo. It's just too hard, too complicated, and not sustainable. Fat is nothing more than stored energy. Eat less, move more. Manage your food quantity intake. When it comes to food quality, the bottom line is to remove chemicals—things that are not food do not belong in your system. End of story. Twenty percent of the time make the treat choice, 80% of the time make the healthy choice. And if I could, I'd get rid of fasting—fasting is the worst. It does not detox the body, it destroys your metabolism. It's the worst thing you can do for your system! If you do it for religious purposes, okay, whatever; if you think you're detoxing your body, you're damaging the shit out of your metabolism.

Who is impressing you right now in the world of wellness?
The only people who rock my world when it comes to nutrition are biochemists and neuroscientists because I know a lot about food. I was listening to a neuroscientist give a TED talk the other day on your hypothalamus's metabolic set point. That interests me. I'm interested in nutrigenomics, the study of how food affects our individual genetics. I'm interested in the future of understanding how our biochemistry and our genetics are affected by food.

What about fitness?
When it comes to fitness, I'm most interested in the young, hungry, passionate, fresh-faced talent that's coming up in local talent. In Dallas, there's this kid named Mark Shipman. People line up around the block for his Flywheel class. In San Francisco, there's a kid named Jaime McFaden, who was in Shape magazine's top trainers to watch. She's like 27. I'm looking for those young people I can mentor, bring along. As far as my peers go, I love Marco Borges in Miami—he's extremely established, he's a genius. He trains Jay Z, Beyonce, J.Lo. He's really talented, very smart. In Los Angeles, I really love Andrea Orbeck, she's a good friend of mine. Jeanette Jenkins, too. Natalie Raitano in New York—people line up for her bootcamp class at Barry's.

How has your attitude changed since the beginning of your career?
We should always strive to do more and evolve. Not because we're dissatisfied with who we are right now, but the nature of human existence is to be that work in progress. I always want to examine my life and be a better mom, be a better partner, be a better business woman, be a better coach, be a better trainer—why wouldn't you? I haven't changed in that perspective, and I'm never going to tell anyone it's okay to just take the stairs, because it isn't, and you are capable of more than that. When I was young, I wanted to change the world. Now I just want to change myself. The more I work on myself and try to make myself a better person, hopefully the better job I'll do providing cost-effective life solutions, inspiration, and information to other individuals who haven't had as much opportunity as I've been given to better their quality of life.

Are you willing to share something you're working on with yourself right now?
Jesus. How much time do you have? Oh, fuck. I'm constantly working on being a better mom. It's such a difficult job. You just don't know the challenges that will arise until you're in it. You see parts of your childhood, dynamics you've taken on from your own history that you thought you'd worked through—until you're a parent. I was going through this thing with my daughter where I was like, "You're okay, you're fine, you're okay. Everything's okay, you're okay." She'll fall down and I'll be like, "It's okay, you're okay." And my shrink was like, "If she's not hurt, what's the harm in just saying, 'I get it, you fell down.'" And I realized it came from my own fear of vulnerability: You're okay, everything's okay, everyone's going to be okay. When you start to see that deep, dark shit from your past—your insecurities, your vulnerabilities—that shit comes out with your kids. You really have to work it though.

Lightning round! What are three things that are always in your gym bag?
Eboost, I need to be cracked on one in order to work out; a lock; and a pair of headphones.

Post-workout snack?
I don't have one. I don't believe in that. There's no such thing. I eat every four hours: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. I try to work out an hour, hour-and-a-half after I've eaten, and by the time I'm done, it's about time to eat again.

Top cheat food?
Brownies or French fries or tequila.

Favorite motivating phase to yell at a client?
It depends on the person. One of my favorite mantras is, "Feel the fear and do it anyway."

If you weren't a trainer you'd be a...
Rock star! But I can't sing or play an instrument.

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