Interview with Michael Gerrish

The author of the Mind-Body Makeover Book talks about his book, his key concepts, accupressure. the over obsession with physical perfection and paradoxically, rising obesity levels. his free teleclasses, obstacles to fitness, living an authentic life and more.

Magdalena Ball: Why does the world need another makeover book?

Michael Gerrish: I can’t speak for other books that feature makeovers, but I can tell you that this one was written for people who: a) have read other books and tried other programs, but have not been able to achieve (or maintain) their goals; b) have unrecognized physical, emotional, or lifestyle-related issues that are hindering their success (I call them unidentified fitness obstacles or “UFOs”); c) are interested in a more comprehensive and
integrative approach to optimum wellness; d) are tired of being told that they’re “lazy” and must simply “find” the willpower to succeed; e) would
enjoy a more intimate and honest look at the process of “making over” one’s body (via unvarnished, real-life stories); and f) understand that
achieving good health is a multifaceted and highly personal process – one that involves far more than simply finding the right diet or exercise program.

MB: Most of your exercises are based on the use of gym machines. Why do you recommend joining a gym or using machines?

MG: Because to be honest, the fastest (and safest) way to achieve an optimum result is to use the type of equipment that’s available at a typical gym. Since I couldn’t include every possible exercise in this book, I focused on those that would provide readers a best-case scenario. Nonetheless, there ARE free weight exercises included in the
routine (which can be performed at home) and some alternate exercise options listed at the end of Chapter 4. I also felt that learning the exercises highlighted in the book would provide a good foundation for applying the right techniques to other types of movements.

MB: Tell me more about acupressure. I noticed that it wasn’t often mentioned in the makeover journals. Did people use it?

MG: Yes, all of the participants used it, some more than others. A peculiar (and common) result of this type of work is something called “the
apex problem,” which is a tendency to downplay or minimize the effectiveness of a treatment (which is, perhaps, why it wasn’t mentioned more often in the subject’s journal entries). For example, one person used a treatment sequence to curb her chocolate cravings. It wasn’t until the project concluded that I remembered to ask her how it worked. “Oh yeah,”
she said, “I forgot. I used the treatment at the start of the program and haven’t had a single craving since.” Often I’ll ask people I haven’t seen for a while if the work we did to deal with a particular issue was successful. Often they’ll say something like “gee, I haven’t really thought about it, but I guess it was, e.g., “I no longer fear heights or I
no longer panic when I fly.”

MB: Will you do more makeovers

MG: My wife (Cheryl Richardson) and I are currently offering a free teleclass to encourage people to follow along with the program in the
book. At the end of 12 weeks, the two people with the most significant mind-body transformation will win an all-expense paid trip to the Miraval Spa in Catalina, Arizona. For details, go to

MB: Do you think that the US in particular is too fixated on physical perfection?

MG: Absolutely. Did you really think I’d say no? 🙂 Have you seen the reality based TV show called “Extreme Makeovers?” Ugh.

MB: What do you think is the most important thing you teach in The Mind Body Makeover Book?

MG: That if you’ve been struggling to get into shape, there’s more hindering you than you think. “UFOs” such as hormone imbalances, sleep
disorders, candidiasis, work addiction, weak boundaries, food allergies, SAD, ADD, an amino acid deficiency, gastrointestinal disorders, “snack
amnesia,” toxic relationships, adrenal burnout, and perfectionism can make even the best diet or exercise program ineffective. These kinds of
problems are rarely addressed, and are often even missed by physicians. I recently received a letter from a reader who said she’d been overweight for
years. She told me that her doctor put her on a program, but much to her dismay, she actually GAINED 25 pounds. He didn’t believe she was following it. She felt discounted and shamed. When she went to him with the results of her UFO test (indicating the possibility of hypothyroidism and a hormone imbalance), he brushed her off, saying “if you had these problems, I would have told you.” But she insisted that she be tested anyway. When the results of the tests showed that she was, in fact, suffering from both of these problems, she was put on medication. She has since lost ten pounds.

MB: You’ve been a fitness coach for many years. Have you noticed any major trends or changes in the obstacles or most common types of problems people are facing in this area?

MG: Increased incidences of adult ADD, depression, SAD, candidiasis (yeast overgrowth), leaky gut syndrome, work addiction, adrenal burnout, hormone imbalances (particularly cortisol, low testosterone, thyroid, and estrogen dominance). food allergies, chemical sensitivities, insulin instability, and electromagnetic illness (from spending too much time on cell phones and

MB: On her web site, your wife Cheryl talks about living an “an authentic life.” Can you elaborate on that?

MG: You’ll have to ask the expert! But in a nutshell, it means honoring your priorities, passing up good for great, living with integrity, and refusing to settle for less than you deserve. See Cheryl’s books (Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, and Stand Up for Your Life) for more insight into this concept.

MB: Obesity in the West is on the increase, especially in children. Why do you think this is, and should we be worried?

MG: Yes, we should be worried. With increasingly more children living a sedentary lifestyle (playing video games and using computers) and increasing their consumption of non-nutritious, calorie-laden foods (high in sugar and manufactured fats), it’s no wonder there is a problem. And, when you factor in that so many schools are dropping sports and physical
education programs, it becomes even more clear that we’re moving in the wrong direction. I plan to address this in my next book.

MB: Are you working on a new project/book? Can you tell us a bit more about it.

MG: Too soon to reveal very much about future projects. For the time being, though, spreading the word re: The Mind-Body Makeover Project is my top priority.