An Evening with Jillian Michaels

An Evening With Jillian Michaels

If you know me, you know that I love me some Jillian Michaels. I own practically every DVD she has and listen to her podcast weekly. She is someone I totally admire and have a total girl crush on! So, when I heard she would be in Des Moines, I knew I had to be there!

Well as luck would have it, my pal Emily (from the wonderful Fit & Free with Emily) wanted to go and would be in Des Moines that same weekend. We chatted back and forth a couple of weeks ago about tickets, and scored some seats that would be quite close to Jillian.

On Sunday, I made my way to Des Moines to meet up with Emily, where we had a great girl date. First she kindly endured me trying to score some different beers for Mr. B, probably because I promised her a trip to LUSH. 😉 Well, sadly when we got to the mall, LUSH had not opened yet! (stupid internet lies!) We tried to liven up our moods, but it took a bit and the trip to Teavana helped!

After dropping some bills at the mall and a couple other beer stops, we made our way to dinner at Gateway Market. I have eaten here before and really enjoyed it and Emily liked the place too. We both were overwhelmed with all the delicious sounding meals on the menu, but finally decided on two great choices! I had a bbq tofu sandwich and Emily had the seitan gyro. We both ended up with the caprese tomatoes as our side, which was to die for!


Dinner was done, so it was time to make our way to Hoyt Sherman Place! Once we picked up our tickets, we went to find out seats. Before we could step in the theatre, we were stopped and asked if we had a question for Jillian’s Q&A she does at the end of the show. I of course said yes, but then had NO CLUE what I wanted to ask. Thank goodness for Emily, who gave me the suggestion of writing about how I’ve lost all this weight, but still struggle with other issues. We both wrote something down and threw it in the box without even imagining that our questions would be picked.

The show was going to start soon, so we quickly checked out the merchandise, then made it to our seats. We were off to the side and six rows back, our view was awesome! After a quick photo to show Instagram our excitement (and a lovely photobomb), we patiently waited.

The lady behind us is clearly not a Jillian groupie! ;)

The lady behind us is clearly not a Jillian groupie! 😉

Finally, it was show time! To say that the show was great, is a complete understatement. I really did feel inspired and while I really didn’t learn things I didn’t already know (like do what you want in life, screw what everyone else thinks), hearing it from someone you admire makes it easier to take in.

I could go on and on about the show, but Emily did a great job of recapping it herself! So, I suggest popping over there and seeing what she had to say about it all.

Personally, I think you all just want to know how in the world I got on stage and took a selfie with Jillian! 😉 I like to give you guys what you want, so here you go!

After the main part of her show, Jillian does a Q&A session with the questions that you submit before the show. Her podcast producer came out and named off a handful of people, one of them NOT being me or Emily. Not going to lie, I was sort of bummed, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down after hearing and seeing Jillian!
Jillian kindly answered the questions, but before they were all done, her producer said “Okay, we have time for a couple of more. Can I get Brooke…” She paused and got distracted, then came back and said “Okay, I need (some random chick) and Brooke Birmingham”


Did she really just say Brooke Birmingham?!?!?

I looked at Emily and booked it up to the front of the stage. I stood there for a bit and the following thought crossed my mind, I’m going to ask Jillian Michaels to take a selfie with me! I ran back, grabbed my phone, and then shook like a leaf waiting for my turn. After what seemed like an eternity, it was my turn at the mic.

I got up there and here’s what happened:
(if you’re in a reader, you’ll need to click through to watch video. Also, you may need to refresh your page for it to show up)

Yes, I did say “Holy F*#!ing S+@#, I’m talking to Jillian Michaels”
Yes, I did proudly show her my arm flab.
Yes, I demanded a selfie with Jillian. (and she retweeted it!)

But first, lemme take a #selfie!

But first, lemme take a #selfie!

I have watched that video at least 10 times so far and I still can’t believe it happened. Thank you, Emily for the question idea and thank you to the random lady who shouted, “Can she go on stage?” Without those two things, I wouldn’t have made it up there! I’m so glad that Emily got it on video for me because the moment I stepped off the stage I couldn’t remember half of what she said to me. I was in such shock that I was up there.

I will carry with me the look on her face when I told her I lost 172 pounds and the hug at the end. But mostly, I will take the advice she gave me to heart. When she said that I needed to show my before some respect, she was right. A lot of the time I battle with ‘her’ but she is the person that decided to get healthy and the person who did that hard work. And she isn’t a separate person, she is me and is very much a part of me. I’m still working on integrating her and it is a process.

Honestly, there’s a TON more to the answer she gave me and I want to do a separate post on it after I give it some more thought. I’m still processing it all. 🙂 And I think that it’ll be super beneficial!

To end this before it gets too long, I will say that it was an experience of a lifetime and I will be forever changed by it!

As will Jillian…. 😉


  • you lucky dog!

  • SUCH A MOMENT! I’m so happy that I was there to experience it with you, Brooke. Now, onwards to bigger and better things. CHASE YOUR HAPPINESS!! <3 <3

    • I’m all about chasing my happiness and my 5 year plan…once I figure out that plan! Does Being Badass justify as a plan? 😉

  • Mollie Lyon

    THAT IS SO AWESOME!!!!! So cool! such a great experience for you and one you will never forget!…obvi! 🙂

  • lutherliz

    Amazing. Just amazing.

  • Oh my god, that’s just so cool! 😀 I’m surprised she didn’t get her PR to chase you down afterwards and demand you become a new spokesperson or something.

    You look so happy in the selfie, and they do say that a picture’s worth a thousand words!

  • I’m so glad Emily could get that on film for you–and for all of us really! Such a good message and Jillian really does know how to tap into that part of her as a coach to help others. And rock that shirt with the pink blazer again–it’s a great match!

  • Judy Case

    “When she said that I needed to show my before some respect, she was right. A lot of the time I battle with ‘her’ but she is the person that decided to get healthy and the person who did that hard work. And she isn’t a separate person, she is me and is very much a part of me. I’m still working on integrating her and it is a process.”

    When I read this, I cried because I know this is where I’m at too. I’m embarrassed by before photos of me and in general embarrassed by who I was at that point in my life.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I look forward to the next post.

  • Hazel Strickon

    Wow!!! Watching the video brought tears to my eyes, partially because I can so relate. It’s taken me 53 years to get to a healthy weight and I still have “mental” struggles with my inner-fat girl. Thanks so much for sharing your experience Brooke, your opening comment was awesome!

    • I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. Not only did I need to hear that from Jillian, but other did too. I’m glad that I’m able to share her awesome advice.

  • What a thrill that must have been, but it was well deserved! Congrats! I’m so happy for you, that selfie with Jillian says it all!

  • Paola Osorio

    You know I love you and I admire you so much! You are so brave for putting yourself out there. This brought me to tears as well. I fight my before, eventhough she isn’t very far away. I fight the me now. And this was perfect for so many of us. I love ya and can’t wait to see you.

  • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

    LOVE it!! Looking forward to the L.A. show even more now. I have a sixth row seat off to the side, too. LOL

    • You better start thinking of your epic question now! 🙂 Even if you don’t get picked, the show is so amazing and empowering! I want to go again!

  • Lynne

    This is awesome!!

  • Jody Petersen

    How empowering and amazing that must have been! Saxon and I are both in tears!! Never leave yourself feeling less are an amazing woman! You have been since the day we your first concert this very single moment! Never sell yourself short! You are an inspiration and loved!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Marjorie

    I love JM! And I totally would have done the selfie too.

  • Karen P

    Congrats, Brooke! Great question, awesome advice. Here’s to integration!!! 🙂 Keep up the great work. Transition takes awhile. You are so worth it.

  • carla birnberg


  • Marissa Elizabeth Haney

    Oh man this is the best! I got so emotional
    Watching that video because even if we don’t know each other I follow you and your progress. You are a huge inspiration a motivator. I’m proud of you! The part about integrating your current self with the former one is something I struggle with as well! Thank you for laying it all out there for your readers! I’m sad you don’t live in California or I would be begging to hang out with you!!

    • Thank you, Marissa! Putting it all out there sometimes is tough, but knowing that I can help someone else really makes it worth it!

      And I wish there were more of me to hang out with all my awesome readers! <3

  • *trix

    Wow, her response is really SO AMAZING. I am really going to take that to heart myself–show some respect to the old me who lost 40 pounds (well, 70, and then gained some back and is trying again :)). Anyway Brooke, this was so awesome! And Emily rocks for getting the video so you can have it forever. I’m proud to know both of you. Exciting!

    • I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason. I needed to hear what she had to say, as did many other people. I’m so glad that Emily caught it all so I could share it! And also so I could remember what she said! Lol. I forgot the minute I walked off stage. I was in such awe.

  • Oh no, I’m still replaying it in my head! It was so freaking amazing!

  • Yes! Thank goodness for, Emily! It is such an important message not only for me, but lots of people. JM rocks!

    And thank you! Not going to lie, I totally wanted to wear it like everyday this week! Haha.

  • I’ve been on this journey for over 5 years now and am just now figuring that out. Thank goodness for Jillian and her advice!
    We’ve got this, Judy!
    I will be working on that post, there’s a lot to process!

  • <3 I adore you, Pauly! Is it June yet?!

  • I lover you, J! And we were so close, Jillian could have peed on us! 😉

    • Jody Petersen

      I freaking love seats that close!!!

  • Brianna

    I can NOT possibly be more jealous of you, dear. I love me some Jillian Michaels and I’ve been wanting to go see her/meet her for so long. Her advice is so honest and genuine. It’s always so fun to see the softer side of Jillian Michaels when so many people know her as the hardcore trainer on TV. What an epic moment to remember forever 🙂 Again, super jealous!

  • Rita Barry

    This is amazing, just wow. And something a lot of us need to hear! Thank you for being brave and for Emily being persistent!

  • That was so amazing– and you are so brave for asking that question, and I am so thankful for you because as a lifelong chubby girl and work in progress, I needed to hear what Jillian told you. Thank you for writing and asking and being who you are!!

  • Running With Ollie

    i totally cried!

  • Oh I can’t watch it without crying! lol Such an awesome surreal moment!

  • lowfatpie

    I know it’s ages since this happened but I just want to say WOW! I love Jillian and think she is very inspiring. I’m so happy you got to ask her a real question and got a real answer. Losing weight is not so simple, in fact it’s super complex because once you get to the number you have ALL the other stuff to deal with, stuff you never even realised was really there! Love you Brooke xxxx