Celebrity Families

EXCLUSIVE: “My biggest reason for keeping up my fitness is for my son!” Michelle Bridges reveals why Axel is her ultimate inspiration

''I'm a single parent, I need to be able to do stuff!''

By Bella Brennan
When it comes to practicing what she preaches, fitness queen Michelle Bridges wants to set the best example she can for her five-year-old son Axel, who she shares with ex-partner Steve "The Commando" Willis.
After recently relocating from the fast-paced city life of Sydney to the tranquil settings of the Southern Highlands in country NSW, the 50-year-old has been settling into their new base while keeping up her active lifestyle.
"Axel sees me train - he watches me train in the lounge room, I train in my bedroom, I train out on the veranda, I train on the driveway. He sees me do that and for him that's nothing out of the norm… With children, exercise has got to be about fun and play. We play with the ball, we play soccer in the backyard. We go the beach, we will always take the ball and kick it around," she tells Now To Love of how she's instilling healthy habits into her son.
"We like to take the dog for a walk. That's a habit that we have every day, particularly in the afternoon. We'll take him for a good 45 minute walk and there's lots of hills that we'll do. I take him to the pool a lot and muck around with him in the water," she says.
A constant battle parents come up against is managing screen time with their young children. But thankfully, the former Biggest Loser star has come up with the perfect solution to the dilemma.
"We have a thing at home called 'screen time is green time.' So when he comes home from school, he gets maybe half-an-hour where he watches a show on telly. But to have the TV on, he's got to be eating carrot sticks, avo strips, cucumber sticks, or hummus," the mother-of-one explains.
"Sometimes I give him a bowl of peas and corn, I heat it up in the microwave and put a little bit of butter on it and he gets his screen time provided he does the green time," she adds of her genius workaround.
Another one of Michelle's fail-safe hacks for getting greens into her son is whipping up a delicious green smoothie, packed with green goodness.
"I put together some coconut water, squares of pineapple in the freezer, chopped apple, banana and a whole heap of spinach. I whip that up and then I know he's gotten a big chunk of spinach into him," Michelle says.
Michelle's favourite go-to snacks for her son Axel are always fresh, healthy and simple options. (Image: Instagram)
When it comes to healthy snacks, Michelle's mantra is: "He only knows what he only knows."
She tells us: "I sent him off to holiday camp for half a day last week and in his little snack containers, I had one container filled with grapes, the other container was filled with mini cucumber sticks and mini cherry tomatoes… and then I packed some beef jerky strips and I just made him a wrap with ham and cheese on it.
"That's what he knows. I don't deny him stuff, he'll still get biscuits, cake and ice cream but he doesn't get that every day."
When it comes to Michelle's own health and fitness routine, the Celebrity Apprentice star says she tries to always do at least one form of exercise every day.
"More often than not, I'll train at home. You have to be fairly committed to do that but I'll get Axel off to school, and then I'll train. So whether I train at home or go to the gym, I try to get it done and dusted in the morning and then it's off my back," she says.
Getting it over and done with: The fitness queen prefers training at home in the morning. (Image: Instagram)
As for her motivation to staying fit? Michelle says her son Axel is her ultimate motivation.
"I'm not in my 20s or 30s anymore… I still want to look and feel my best but my biggest reason for keeping up my fitness and strength is for my son," the fitness expert admits.
"I want to be able to run around with him, pick him up, carry my groceries, get up on a chair and fix something up in the top cupboard. I'm a single parent, I need to be able to do stuff!"
Axel with his beloved pooch Banjo. (Image: Instagram)
Being physically strong is just one part of the wellness equation for Michelle with the 12 Week Body Transformation author also trying to stay on top of her mental health, too.
"If I miss a couple of days of training, I start to feel a bit black. Sometimes I can't be bothered but I'll do something and it always makes me feel better afterwards," the television personality points out.
"The other weekend, it was just myself and Axel at home and I was like, let's go out. My mum said: 'Pack up a bag and go to the local pool.' And that's what we did. I got chatting with some mums down there and it was lovely! For your mental health, I think it's important to just get out to be social. Do something that's active but do something with people.
"Mums can now twin with their girls and create healthy life habits together," Michelle says of her new MB Active line with Big W. (Image: Big W)
It's this attitude that inspires all of Michelle's work, including her most recent collaboration with Big W to launch her new range of MB Active items.
With several cute, colourful and stylish pieces available, mums can match with their daughters when they work out.
"Mums can now twin with their girls and create healthy life habits together, which is a great way to get active and connect. Exercise brings out a lot in people. It opens up communication lines when you're doing something with someone, it breaks down barriers, and it allows people to really connect," Michelle tells us of her line, which offers optimal athletic performance and an exceptional fit at a reasonable price point.
The range is currently available in store. (Image: Big W)