WHO: Congratulations on the milestone birthday. How do you feel about turning the big 5-0?
Michelle: I’m OK with it. It beats the alternative, right? I didn’t really want to do anything special to mark it, like I wasn’t planning a big party. But at the back end of last year I started thinking about it.
Then I realised that what I really wanted to do was take my son Axel to Disneyland. He’d get such a kick out of it and I’d get such a kick out of seeing him enjoy it. That was the plan. So now what I’m thinking of doing is having a quiet dinner with some very close friends and that will do me.
What life lessons would you like to tell your 25-year-old self?
Always be yourself. Set boundaries. That’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve learned for myself this year. You’d think I’d know that by now, right?
I’ve become much better at setting boundaries for myself and in my life. I’m much clearer also on what I will and won’t accept. The main thing though is love. It sounds so cheesy but it’s 100 per cent true.
Are you dating at the moment?
No. I can categorically say that I’m very happily single. I’m very, very happy. My number one priority is Axel. Actually, it’s both of us. It’s me, too. I want to take care of me and give some time back to myself. So yes, I’m single.
You’ve made some big changes to your life in 2020. Why did you decide to move out of Sydney?
This move felt like the right thing to do and we love it here, how can you not?! This was my weekender and I’d had it for a couple of years. I always thought that I might move here full time, but the way that everything evolved meant that I moved down here full time much sooner than I expected.
But I’m kind of pleased about that. I think this year has got all of us thinking, “What are we waiting for?”
You underwent a very public issue at the start of the year. What did you learn from that experience and how have you moved on?
I feel like what really came from that whole experience for me, aside from the lessons learned going through it at the time, is the beauty of people. The beauty of the support from your family and friends, even strangers.
It really shone a big light on how powerful humanity can be, just having people reach out. You can often overlook that. The compassion and empathy I was afforded is something I’ll never forget. We all make mistakes. We’re all human.
How hard was it at the time?
It was hard but another thing I learned was to allow myself to be vulnerable. I’ve always been very strong and resilient and I don’t think I’ve ever been as vulnerable in my life as I was during that experience.
What’s life like for you and Axel now living down here?
He’s thriving down here, he really is. During our day to day we have our routines, which I think is important. He has days when he goes to preschool and days when he has swimming lessons, and I’ve got days when I’m training and doing live workouts for 12WBT.
We’re busy but having that routine helps. We’re just becoming part of the community down here. Every now and then someone will mention [TV series] The Biggest Loser but for the most part, no-one cares about me being on TV. We live with country folk now and they don’t care about that stuff.
How has motherhood changed your life?
It definitely changed my life and that’s great. I’m totally into reading chapter Axel right now! I’ve done a lot in my life, so much, so I feel like this is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.
How do you feel about being an older mother?
It’s all I know. If I’d had a child at a younger age that would be all I’d know, too. I’ve got a bit more of a head on my shoulders by 50 and I can bring some of that wisdom to being his mum.
How would you describe Axel as he approaches his 5th birthday?
He’s full of energy. I often say, “Gosh, give that kid a high-vis vest and a whistle and he’ll rule the world!” He’s definitely got his own mind on how he thinks and what he’s got to say.
What’s your parenting style?
I’m a very hands-on mum. We’re together a lot. He’s been to more photo shoots than Kate Moss! He’s travelled with me a lot, too.
Your program 12WBT is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. How do you feel about that?
I’m really proud of it. We’ve stood the test of time. We’ve lost almost two million kilos around the world – it’s incredible.
I never had a 10-year plan. I just wanted to bring to life my first book, Crunch Time. That book was my baby, it has all the fundamentals I still stand by now. We built a 12-week program off the back of that.
It was one of the first in Australia. Ten years later, the whole program is a beast. We have well over 1000 recipes on the site, hundreds of workouts and programs like Learn to Run, Weight Loss, Post Baby, Lean and Strong and more.
What’s next for you work-wise?
I have so many guys who do 12WBT via their partner but I thought, “I can do better than that.” So we’re launching Blokes Only. It makes sense to me to have a program geared to blokes.
One of my best mates, Todd [Liubinskas], is heading that up. It’s been said that we’re dating but we’re not. We’ve also got our new app, which we’re really excited about.
You’re also taking part in reality TV series Celebrity Apprentice next year?
I’m really nervous! But I’ve also gotten to a point where I just let things happen. For a long time I was always trying to make sure I had everything managed, but now I know things will happen the way they happen.
You’ve had your ups and downs but ultimately would you say you’re happy?
Yes. I look back at where I started out, working in fitness from the age of 14 to where I am now, and it’s like, “How did this happen?” For the most part, it’s been a pretty fun ride.