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Jillian Michaels: Shredding Bodies and Expectations at Crunch Fitness

By Patricia Glynn

Jillian MichaelsDeveloped in collaboration with well-known trainer Jillian Michaels, an industry pioneer who rose to fame thanks to her appearance on the hit NBC weight-loss reality series, The Biggest Loser, BodyShred is a 30-minute, high-intensity program that marries strength, cardio, and abdominal work in a 3-2-1 format—three minutes of strength, followed by two minutes of cardio, topped with one minute of ab training. As she explains in a Crunch press release, the class is a “fun and fast-paced workout that offers a scientific, metabolic training approach. It’s a powerful integration of cutting-edge fitness techniques.”

The project is actually a first for both Michaels and Crunch alike. Michaels has never before introduced her group programming into a traditional club environment. And Crunch, for its part, “has never partnered with a well-known expert like Jillian before,” explains Donna Cyrus, the chain’s senior vice president of programming. Every indication is that this first time out for the duo has been charmed. “The class has been a huge success,” Cyrus points out. “Right now, it’s being offered an average of twice a week in 16 of our urban-based locations, and participants love it.

“We consistently have a line of people out the door. Nonmembers have also been clamoring for access—we’ve gained a lot of new clients who’ve either read or heard about the workout. Overall, the response has been amazing.”

Everything, Cyrus explains—from the class concept itself to the idea of developing an ongoing relationship—originated with Michaels. “Jillian’s team approached us about partnering with her, and I felt it was something worth exploring.” Generally, all Crunch workouts are created internally. “We like to offer options that are unique and different, but, after meeting with Jillian, I felt the content she was offering was something with legs and what the market was looking for.”

BodyShred at CrunchOnce Cyrus saw the class in action, she admits there was no looking back. “I had the opportunity to watch Jillian teach the program, and I knew right then that we’d made a wise decision.”

Michaels, for her part, says that she was “thrilled” to bring BodyShred to Crunch. In an interview with, a New York-based wellness Website, she explains that she was looking for “an opportunity to bring my fitness philosophies to life so they can evolve and grow. I also think there are so many talented trainers out there. Their passion and personality adds an extra dimension.”

Cyrus notes that Crunch’s team of trainers has been a critical component of the program’s burgeoning success. “I looked for instructors with heavy coaching skills and huge followings,” she tells CBI Unbound. “They had to have an industry approved certification, such as the ones offered by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Further, they all had to participate in a 10-hour BodyShred training course that concluded with a practical and written exam.”

Donna CyrusWhile the workout is “extremely turnkey,” Cyrus stresses that it isn’t prechoreographed. Michaels, she explains, has outlined the basic 3-2-1 format, but Crunch’s team has access to a password-protected Website that describes more than 250 different exercises, all specially designed and selected by Michaels, from which to choose.

“If an instructor wants to memorize the master class, they can,” she says. “However, they’re free to utilize their skills and talents. They’re able to get creative and personally tailor classes.” This arrangement, she indicates, helps make the classes more appealing. “The instructors have enough variety to select from and can mix things up freely so members don’t get bored.”

BodyShred is currently offered at Crunch facilities in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco, and will be rolled out at more locations in 2013. The class is free for club members, and nonmembers can take part by purchasing a guest pass.

- Patricia Glynn is a CBI contributing editor and can be reached at

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