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Tonal Talk Building More Than Muscle With Michelle Tee

In this conversation with Kate Telge, our Community Manager, Michelle Tee shares how Tonal transformed her strength training and how fitness helped create balance between her needs and those of the family. For Michelle, working out is about more than building muscle, it’s a way to be the best version of herself.

A proud mama of three kids, Michelle became lost while raising her children, that is until she started working out. “My fitness journey didn’t really begin until after my third child. Everyone and everything else was more important than me. One day it just clicked. If you don’t make time for yourself, you will never be happy.” 

Michelle discovered the joy of lifting weights after a friend convinced her to join the gym. “I got a personal trainer for a year and started doing a little strength training. I was doing deadlifts and squats. It wasn’t heavy, but it was enough to see a change in my muscle definition and tone, and I wanted more.” 

Michelle got her Tonal as a surprise from her husband for her birthday back in 2019, but as a passionate weight lifter, she was secretly hoping for a squat rack. Instead, she got a sleek black machine on the wall. Fast forward to 2020, and Michelle couldn’t be happier with her gift. “I’m glad he disobeyed me. He did good. He knew what was better for me at the time, and this is so much more than a squat rack.” 

Michelle’s favorite Tonal features are SmartFlex — which she calls a game-changer — and Burnout. Tonal is excellent at personalizing to you, and thanks to how versatile it is, gives room for Michelle to get creative with her workouts, which she often showcases on her Instagram

“I want to show people that you don’t need a gym and ten different machines to get the same benefits, you only need one. You click a button and adjust your arms, and now you have a chest press, a squat, a shoulder press, and a reverse fly! Whatever your goals are, I don’t see why you can’t achieve them with Tonal.”

Tonal makes it easy for Michelle to start early before the kids wake up and space out her workout routine throughout the day. “I get up when most of the world is sleeping, but that’s the time I choose to work out.” Breaking up her workout routine gives her more time. Working out at the gym meant cramming it all in the space of two hours. “If I didn’t finish in the time allotted at the gym, it was just not happening, my friend.”

This is what Michelle’s routine looks like on most days: 

  • 4:30 am: Wake up 
  • 5.00 am: Coach Allison or Coach Jared Meditation followed by a Theragun warm-up 
  • 5.20 am: Coach Nicolette’s Raising the Barbell 
  • 6.30 am: Custom Workout 
  • 7.15 am: Theragun cool-down 
  • 7.30 am: Wake kids up 
  • 8.00 am: Breakfast for family 
  • 8.45 am: Make sure kids are logging into class 
  • 10.00 am: Core workout, and yoga or mobility flow 
  • 12.00 pm: Sneak in some time to study for my CPT exam 
  • 12.45 pm: School’s out and it’s time for lunch 
  • 1.00 pm: Homework for a couple of hours 
  • 5.00 pm: Dinner 
  • 6.00 pm: More study time for me 
  • 8.00 pm: Clean up the house and get kids ready for bed 
  • 9.00 pm: I try to be in bed 

With Tonal, even as a busy mother of three, Michelle can work out six times a week and keep her spot at the top of our leaderboard. “If it’s important enough, you will find a way. Fitness is very high on my list of priorities. My kids and husband are trained to know nothing gets done until Mommy does her workout. Training your family to understand what your priorities are makes it a little easier.” 

“My Tonal membership has allowed me to try things that normally wouldn’t be on my list. I never utilized my gym membership to the fullest and never took any classes that were included. Rest days look a lot different now. They include Tonal’s yoga, meditation, and mobility workouts as part of my recovery.”

Before Tonal, active recovery was not something that Michelle prioritized. Yoga and mobility have made a difference by helping her overcome limitations while training, and meditation has made it possible for Michelle to build mental strength alongside muscle. 

“I think meditation is harder than strength training. To sit there and be still with your mind and focus on being present with 10,000 different things going on is difficult. Meditation has allowed me to narrow in on myself. Listening to Coach Jared and Coach Alison helps me focus on my intentions. Other than strength training, they are definitely my favorite workouts. I get to the point where I feel calm and relaxed, and can go through the day and be the happy mom my kids need me to be.” 

“For me, being your strongest is to consciously make a daily choice to do the things you need, even when you don’t feel like it. We all know that strength can be physical and mental, but it’s the daily choices that help us get over fears and tackle adversities in order to become a better version of ourselves.” 

“Show up even when you don’t feel like it. That’s when it matters the most and when you see the most benefit. Those days when you’re not feeling it, but you do it anyway and feel so damn proud of yourself mean you will come back tomorrow with a vengeance.”

Pro Tip: Michelle’s go-to workout for when she’s not feeling it is Coach Jared’s Metabolic Madness.  

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Tonal Talk is a weekly Facebook Live interview series highlighting stories of real strength from within the Tonal community.