Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Reads: Unlimited by Jillian Michaels

Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional LifeI like Jillian Michaels as a trainer.  I really do.  I don't follow the Biggest Loser or whatever her other show is called.  I'm not allowed to watch "reality" TV because I tend to become too emotionally involved.  It's just not pretty.  But I do own a couple of her workout videos - 30 Day Shred and the Rip:60 workout she did - and I really like her no nonsense approach to fitness.  When I saw this book, I liked the premise of it but I didn't have high hopes for the content.   Something about celebrity trainers writing self help manuals just doesn't jive with me.   I still tried to keep an open mind about it.  

In Unlimited, Michaels tries to give you the tools you need to build an exceptional life.  The life we all deserve, as it were.   In page after cliche filled page, she spouts how we are only limited by our own minds and that if we can let go of anger, we can do amazing things.   As far as I can tell - she really has no qualification for some of the psychology she preaches..aside from a  lifetime of therapy and a mother who is a psychologist.   Many times throughout the book, I was hit by the sharp feeling that she was a patient who had suddenly decided she was an expert.   She fills the book with the inspirational quotes from famous figures and bases her plan for change around these.  

I started the book with the grandest intentions of following along - doing the exercises (I even started a journal to write everything in). By the time I hit the halfway point in the book, I admit I was skimming more than reading it (and the journal lay forgotten).

I am sure that this book would help give many people the boost they need to start in the right direction to changing their lives.  For me - it just felt like I'd heard it all before and it was ringing pretty hollow.  The cliches really got to me fairly quickly.   I finished it just in time for the library to claim it back into their ebook list and I am just really glad I didn't spend money on it. I don't feel it really gave a solid enough toolkit to work from to figure out any direction for my life.

To keep it in perspective, though, I have worked in career counselling and have had a bit of life experience that I have learnt a great deal from.   I know better ways and have a more logical brain than her techniques would ever be able to touch.  Not being cocky, here...I just have a better sense of self than I think the target audience for this book has.

If you need direction in your life - I do think there are better books and workbooks out there than this to help you.  In fact - in Canada, there are so many government agencies that provide much better guidance than this...and it's free and comes with the support of an actual person...not just some celebrity trainer who likes to name drop and peddle their own fame into a book contract.  I'll stick to her fitness videos and leave her books on the shelf, going forward.

I think I need to read fiction for a while...something light and fun....

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