Jillian Michaels’ ultimate fitness fiasco

I have mixed feelings about TV trainer Jillian Michaels.  Her workout videos such as “30 Day Shred” are in a solid, back-to-basics style that I would like if the music wasn’t so boring (games like DDR and We Cheer have me really spoiled about music) and I’m glad she encourages to women to lift heavy, go hard, and lose the knees when doing pushups.

On the other hand, Jillian tends to hop on bandwagons without knowing any better.  Kettlebells are the hottest thing in fitness?  Then she’ll hoist a kettlebell on TV, no matter how hideous her form is. And hot on the heels of last year’s Wii Fit, Jillian announced her very own Wii fitness game, Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Ultimatum 2009, making her the first “big-name” trainer to have a Wii workout.  I was very excited to hear the news, and looked forward to seeing a tough exergame with real fitness-pro cred.

Disclaimer: I’ve never tried JMFU (that sounds like a chat-room insult!).  But it’s hard to argue with more than 200 negative reviews. That didn’t impact sales much; the game sold close to a million copies and Jillian has announced a sequel, Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Ultimatum 2010.  On top of that, she now has a line of “fat-burner” pills and potions bearing her name.  Okay, maybe my feelings about Jillian aren’t as mixed anymore.  Can you say sell-out?

Jillian’s exergaming fiasco taught me a few lessons about exergames:

  • Wait for reviews. Unlike some of the money-saving preordering deals offered by workout DVD producers, there is almost no advantage to preordering a video game other than being first on your block to have it.  So save your cash until word gets out; there is no rush.
  • Look at the game publisher’s track record. While I’m no game-industry expert, I know certain companies are more successful than others at making games with lasting value.  Namco Bandai, maker of We Cheer and the Active Life series, has a stellar reputation going back to their invention of Pac-Man; Konami’s decade of rhythm experience with DDR bodes well for their upcoming Wii walking game Walk It Out; Ubisoft has earned accolades for Wii games My Fitness Coach and Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout.  And you can count on Nintendo’s own games for its own console (Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resort) to not have the controller problems that Jillian’s game suffered from.
  • Beware of rush jobs. Good video games take time to design and program, often the better part of a year.  When JMFU’s release was moved up a month or so, that made me uneasy.

Hopefully Jillian has also learned that there’s much more to making a quality game than putting your face on the cover.  I’ll be watching previews and reviews of her new Ultimatum to see whether she will deliver the goods this time around, or if simply raking in the bucks will be the name of her game.

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Posted on August 1, 2009, in Celebrities, Just sayin' and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Great blog post and advice! That’s disgusting about Jillian putting her name on “fatburning” pills. How rich does the woman feel she needs to be?

  2. AAAAH Jillian! She makes it so hard to like her/ trust her! I personally love her “don’t gimme your BS, just do the damn exercises!” but yup, you’re right… I smell a sell out. :S

  3. The game on the Wii is pretty week.

  4. arrowdynamicmom

    I tried to like Jillian, but the diet-pill stuff is the last straw…and she seems to have no response and no shame for all the people who felt ripped off by her game. Her sequel COULD be an improvement but frankly I’ll be shocked if it is.

  5. I didn’t hear the latest on the diet pills! I am shocked she would endorse that. They must have paid her ALOT of money. In any case, if I haven’t lost all respect for her after the kettlebell video fiasco, I have now!

  6. Jillian Michaels and Jackie Warner are one in the same to me…SELLOUTS. I’m not even sure if either one of ’em has a legit cert, and neither has a degree in Exercise Science (not that that matters in many cases). They are all about makin’ the Benjamins, baby! From a gossipy standpoint, I have heard they were once a couple…but that has nothing to do with this post! Anyhow, anyone that would stoop so low as to put their name (and probably picture) on a cheesy fat-burning supplement means ZERO in my book. Jillian’s game stinks. One of my friends bought it when it came out, and I think she played it once. I watched as she jogged along with Jillian, while Jillian was saying stuff like “keep it up, you can do better.” It was annoying. The graphics were also horrendous!

    Wow…I sound so catty!

    Anyways…I doubt her sequel will do anything more than pad her pockets further…I wonder how much she gets paid to put her “stamp” on these lame games?

    What’s even scarier are all the Jillian/Jackie worshipers…I wish I could grab each woman (and man) by the shoulders and shake some sense into them (lovingly, of course, lol)! It just goes to show that the mainstream is very uneducated about exercise, they will follow the herd, and people will do whatever it takes to make money…yep, while us hard-working, educated fitness professionals bust our butts trying to actually HELP our clients by educating them & leading them through workouts that actually make sense…

    end of Sarah soapbox…sorry, didn’t mean to get on a roll, Sue! 😉

  7. arrowdynamicmom

    Sarah, you can bring your soapbox over here anytime, and you don’t have to limit yourself to 140 characters or less! 🙂 I got Jackie’s DVD from the library once, and while the exercises were okay, I kept being distracted by the outrageous clothing on her and her cast.

    Celeb trainers like Jackie and Jillian certainly look “fit” enough and sound like they know what they’re talking about, but all they know about is how to market their names and get on Oprah. Well, I give Jackie a couple points for not having a crap exergame. And now it looks as if Daisy Fuentes’ Pilates game for Wii is another take-the-money-and-run deal, according to early reviews at Amazon. Ugh! I was afraid of that, but didn’t want to sound like a pessimist.

  1. Pingback: Move over Jillian, here comes Daisy (sigh) « Arrow Dynamic Mom

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