The economy might be spinning, but Jillian Michaels is putting her money where her very vocal mouth is: "The Biggest Loser" alum is investing in an indoor cycling operation that puts the instructor front and center for everyone to see -- and hear.
Michaels will help open a new branch of the New York-based fitness outfit Flywheel Sports next month in Chicago -- there's a branch in Boca Raton, Fla., as well -- as the company takes a ride into the national arena.
The trainer said she was lured by "the authenticity and athleticism behind the brand."
Flywheel gives each rider real-time stats on the bike, allowing for in-studio competition among riders and Web-based access to individual performance over time. "I wanted to be part of the most innovative and effective indoor cycling program," Michaels said.
She'll take an inaugural ride Aug. 9 in Chicago alongside Flywheel co-founder Ruth Zukerman. Much like Michaels, Zukerman is seen as a guru of sorts by fans: The former stay-at-home mom got into the biz as she worked through a crushing divorce, now passing along her determination to her students.
(Any bets on who'll win that "in-studio competition"? The Ministry is not playing favorites at this point -- mostly because we're too intimidated, and concerned about revealing that possibly dusty low-tech recumbent bike lurking in the dining room.)
Alas, despite those bikes-versus-Jet Blue lessons of "Carmageddon," Flywheel for the time being remains a sort of fitness unicorn in Michaels' hometown.
Not for long, however: Rumor has it the company is determined to roll into L.A. next year. Maybe in time for Carmageddon, Round 2?
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Fan Sandy Johnson with Jillian Michaels at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April. Credits: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times