Bridges, 46, has an estimated net worth of $53 million, according to Forbes. There’s the successful weight loss program, clothing and food ranges and a lucrative publishing deal.
She fell pregnant naturally at age 44 with her partner Steve ‘The Commando’ Willis — the couple met when they were both trainers on The Biggest Loser (TBL) — and their son Axel is almost two.
Bridges is phenomenally toned and muscular. She and Willis have a gym in the basement of their Sydney home and workout together most days.
She’s been criticised for suggesting the reason she fell pregnant late in life was “obviously to do with good health” and for sharing her intense workout regimen just four weeks after giving birth.
And then there was the time she said she’d never met someone who was “morbidly obese and happy”.
That did not go down well — two thirds of Australian adults are overweight or obese and one in four children are overweight.
But the time restraints imposed on Bridges by motherhood, as well as lessons learned from these media blow-ups, have softened her famously militant approach to health and fitness.
She used to work out everyday, but now that just isn’t possible.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but I will say to all the mums out there, oh my God! I get it,” Bridges told news.com.au.
“I want to spend time with [Axel]. I think to myself, ‘Do I want to go to the gym or do I want to spend time with Axel?’ Hello?! I want to spend time with Axel,” she said.
“I’d like to be [exercising] six days a week. Some weeks I am, but some weeks I’m not. It does depend on my schedule. It’s not as much as I’d like, that is the absolute honest answer.
“But I know in my heart that that hour away from him doing my training ... he is getting the best mum that he can have because it’s good for me and it’s good for him.”
There is a Jamie Oliver-esque intensity about Bridges’ passion for reducing our waistlines. She’s a Medibank Private ambassador and uses the role to promote public health campaigns.
The latest is Medibank’s Free and Active program, which offers free group fitness events across the country. Around 40 new locations, many in small country towns, will be introduced in the coming months.
Bridges hopes the program will go some way to reducing Australia’s obesity epidemic and its strain on the public health system. Most adults and one in four children are overweight, the ABS says.
Only seven per cent of us eat the recommended five serves of vegetables a day and half of us get in the recommended two serves of fruit.
“It makes me feel sad, more than anything. Sad for everyone. Sad for them, sad for those of us that are supporting the country, the economy, our public health system,” Bridges said.
“It’s just frightening. It’s a very complicated beast, but if we can just get people moving a little more and break down the barriers of costs, or feeling socially isolated then there’s two barriers removed there.”
She is aware that any comments she makes about our collective need to move more and eat less, will be seen as “shaming”.
“I don’t want to cause more anxiety than there already is out there,” Bridges said.
“There is so much anxiety around health and fitness. It’s such a big topic of discussion and it isn’t going anywhere.
“I personally don’t want to be putting more pressure on to people [by saying] ‘You need to do more’, I’d rather just say, ‘How can I help someone make that first step?’”
“Removing or injecting” one thing every few weeks is the easiest way to get your health on track, Bridges says.
“That one thing might be having less soft drinks, or having no soft drinks,” she said.
“It might be going for a walk three days a week. It might be not having biscuits and cakes or lollies in the house.
“Don’t overwhelm yourself and think ‘I’ve got to run 10km, I’ve got to start eating like a Tibetan monk’.
“It’s too much that chips away at your self confidence and your self worth because you think ‘I cant stick to anything’.
“Well of course you can’t. You can’t stick to 20 new things in your lifestyle, it’s overloading.
let’s look at one thing and do it well.”
To find out more about the free fitness events visit medibank.com.au.