Femme Profiles / 02.03.15 / BY Bella Serventi

Michelle Bridges: The Ultimate Fitness Femme

She’s graced our TVs as a motivational and compassionate personal trainer on The Biggest Loser and seen unprecedented success through her life-changing 12 Week Body Transformation fitness program that has inspired thousands of people across Australia. Michelle has also added to the growing empire with her own range of Blackmores multi-vitamins, in addition to an active sportswear line. Yet Michelle Bridges believes it all starts with a dream and on going, relentless persistence. We chatted to this inspiring fitness femme and entrepreneurial warrior about her career beginnings and progression to the top of the TV fitness game.

Femme Info:  Fitness Trainer & TV Celebrity & Creator of Michelle Bridges Multivitamin for Health & Wellbeing formulated by Blackmores. 

La Femme Mecca Michelle Bridges Femme Facts

 

WHAT DO YOU DO AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?

First and foremost, I am a trainer. What I live for is getting Australia lean and moving. And what do I love about it? I love that I am helping Australians be their best. I am, of course, a trainer on ‘The Biggest Loser’ and the devoted mother of the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. I am continually amazed and inspired by the incredible people that revolutionise their lives through the programs – it’s totally mind-blowing and I’m so honoured to be a part of it.

I am proud to say I am also an author – penning what is now a collection of ten amazing books on fitness, healthy eating and weight-loss; and I am obsessed with sport and fitness. I am so grateful to be working in an industry I absolutely love. Every day I do what I’m passionate about – working out and helping others.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER JOURNEY BEEN TO DATE?

Well, would you believe I pitched my first fitness class to my high school principal when I was 14 and so it began! I was sports-mad. I knew I wanted a career in fitness, so after I finished high school, I worked in a variety of jobs while I was training and developing my skills as a fitness instructor.

In the mid-90s, while I was working for the YMCA in Alice Springs, I discovered Les Mills International, and that was a significant turning point. I joined the company in Sydney, training other trainers, lecturing and presenting at conventions in Australia and overseas and became a master trainer. I met Bill, my now business manager, shortly thereafter and we opened a health club in Haymarket which was a great experience.

WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION / STUDY BACKGROUND?

I have my Certificate III and IV in Fitness, and I am a Les Mills International Master Trainer, all of which have opened up a world of opportunity (literally!). I have trained thousands of instructors all over the globe, and to be honest, I’m still learning. Every day, every person I meet, every person I train with has something valuable to give. Education is the key to success. Knowledge is the key and when you’re armed with it, you can achieve anything – whether that is in your career, your fitness, or any other area of life.

WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND WOMEN STUDY OR DO TO BEST EQUIP THEMSELVES TO GET INTO YOUR INDUSTRY?

I have been an ambassador for the Australian Institute of Fitness for many years. They do amazing work in educating the future trainers and fitness instructors of this country. My advice is to get inspired through fitness books and magazines; through talking to like-minded people and going to networking events, and of course – get qualified. Check out the Australian Institute of Fitness. Learn from the best.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and believe me, experience counts in the long run. Gain as much of it as you can, and check out the jobs on FitnessCareers.com.au – I bet you’ll be surprised by the variety of careers there are within the fitness industry. This will be able to guide you in the right direction of your study also.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY MOMENTS OF CAREER UNCERTAINTY?

Absolutely! So many no’s and knockbacks, that’s when you have to have that sense of self belief.  I also feel very grateful to have known what I wanted to do in my career from a very young age. I have been very focused and confident in my direction which has helped get me to where I am today.

In saying that, there have definitely been cross-roads. My break into television could have gone bad. Kerri-Anne Kennerley worked out in my gym and I chased her around the health club till she finally said OK to me setting up meetings with her people (which was Mornings with Kerri-Anne at the time). I pitched for a fitness segment on her show. They were a bit unsure, but said: ‘We’ll do it, but we won’t pay you’. I said: ‘I’ll do five without payment and then if you like it, you pay me from then on’. Sure enough, and with luck on my side, viewers were hooked, ratings were high and I was signed on. And so began my TV career! In moments of uncertainty, my advice would be to believe in yourself and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.

WHAT SKILLS AND TRAITS DO PEOPLE NEED TO SUCCEED IN YOUR INDUSTRY?

For those interested in a career in the fitness industry, and making it a true success, the first thing I would say is harness your passion, be fit, motivated and enthusiastic, and have a wholehearted interest in exercise. These things will make your work life a dream – I promise you. Secondly, don’t be afraid of hard work – hard work in your training; hard work with your clients; hard work with your business. You get out what you put in, right? And last but not least, don’t expect anything to be handed to you, that way you won’t be disappointed but pleasantly surprised if it happens!

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

I feel so grateful to be able to say I’ve had many great achievements, with my 12 Week Body Transformation Program we have stripped over 1 million kilograms off participants to date, plus I’ve broken 2 Guinness world records!One of my most recent achievements was launching my Michelle Bridges formulated by Blackmores range. I partnered with Blackmores to develop a fantastic collection of vitamin and mineral supplements and naturally-sourced protein products to complement a balanced diet and support health and wellbeing. It’s been huge, and it’s been amazing.My fitness range OneActive by Michelle Bridges is also a massive accomplishment for me. The range covers clothing, shoes, bags, hats, and fitness accessories from skipping ropes and boxing gloves to treadmills and cross trainers.Branching out into these categories I’ve known and loved for my entire career is so exciting. You get to a point where you know what you like, what works and where the opportunities are. I am loving the experience!

WHAT PART OF YOUR JOB DON’T WE SEE ON INSTAGRAM @mishbridges

Well believe me, the stuff you don’t see is the kind of boring stuff you wouldn’t want to! Ha! Just like you; just like all girls, like all successful businesspeople, I have life admin.  I have bills to pay, paperwork to read through, and….see, I’m boring you already! ☺ It’s important though and I appreciate the help I get to keep on top of it.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT FROM A MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE IN THE PAST?

I’d say the biggest lesson I’ve learnt in an industry that’s traditionally fast-paced and electric, is patience. They say patience is a virtue, and I believe it. Don’t rush, don’t do things in halves (you wouldn’t do a half squat if I told you to do a full one, now would you?). Do things properly, take your time and wait your turn (but don’t stop! You can still chase you dream – just do it with focus and measure).

And while we’re on ‘learnings’ – you know what, we have them all the time. Some mistakes are big, some are small – but what keeps my focus with personal mistakes or setbacks is actually training. My problems don’t just go away but my perception around them relaxes and changes after I’ve trained. Also take the time to gather all the facts and data before making any rash decisions, or phone calls. Sleep on it, give it a few days to process, this has saved my bacon more times than I can remember!

HAS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS CHANGED FOR YOU OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER?

I would have to say, yes, it has. And I think that’s important to recognize and important that it’s happened. When I was young and starting out, all I wanted was a job where I knew I could train people; to work with them to help them be their fittest. I achieved that success and exceeded that goal when I was not only working with the public, but was training trainers across the globe with Les Mills. Being Head Coach for the 2014 Blackmores Sydney Running Festival was invigorating – getting involved, coaching and sharing in other’s fun run success stories was amazing.

As I’ve gotten older, experienced more, added notches to my belt, I’ve had many successes and achieved goal after goal, but to be honest, my definition of success changes often. It’s important to be focused but not to get complacent or too content. Today, I would say success to me is having a perfectly balanced flourishing career and inspiring home life, made up of friends, family and good fun.

REFLECTING ON YOUR CAREER TO DATE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF AT THE BEGINNING?

If I could talk to my younger self at the beginning I would say “Just you wait and see… Work hard and I promise you it will be worth it.”

I would advise on making good decisions, finding amazing role models, mentors and companions, and ‘don’t be afraid’. Believe in what you do and why you’re doing it.

At the end of the day, is just about being consistent. Not every day has to be an Olympic training session or perfect nutrition but if, for the most part, you can simply be consistent and learn to say no to a few things, I think that goes a long way (in all aspects of life!).

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?

Possibly best piece of advice I have ever been given is this: when you think you know it all, you don’t. It sounds so corny, I know, but there’s always more to learn and understand.Also my Nan instilled in me when I was young to stop and think about, Who can I be,  for my community, my work, my colleagues, my family, my friends,  Who can I be? This little mantra has stuck with me since.

HOW DO YOU MANAGE STRESS / WORK LIFE BALANCE?

Exercise (no surprises there, right?). It is the one simple thing I do, and you can all do, to improve my mood, reduce my stress, rev up my energy levels, and relieve the symptoms of mental fatigue. It really helps me from preventing any stress to begin with.When you are feeling under the pump, remind yourself of a fun activity you really enjoy and use that as your exercise (Think you love to just chat with girlfriends? Why not take it to the beach, river, parkland, bush, or even mall! Counts as exercise if you’re up, moving around and getting the blood flowing!)

 WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?

I have some absolutely phenomenal plans in the mix for 2015. To let you in on the goss I can give away – I’m hoping to broaden my vitamins and supplements range, expand my fitness products and grow my 12WBT program! (You’ll have to watch this space to find out how!)

WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF?

A motivated fitness (die-hard) fan and totally obsessed foodie!

Credits

Author / Bella Serventi

Pursue More Passions