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Jillian Michaels says she got COVID-19 after she let her ‘guard down for an hour’

TODAY logo TODAY 9/9/2020 Scott Stump

Jillian Michaels warned people about going to the gym after she said she contracted COVID-19 when she let her guard down "for an hour" with one of her good friends.

The celebrity fitness trainer and former "Biggest Loser" star revealed Tuesday on Fox Business that she recently tested positive COVID-19 but has recovered.

Jillian Michaels wearing a blue shirt: Rob Lowe And Jillian Michaels Visit © Provided by TODAY Rob Lowe And Jillian Michaels Visit

"If you are afraid of COVID, you should not go to the gym," she said. "And I actually am a person who let my guard down, I haven’t even spoken about this publicly really, and a very close friend of mine gave me COVID several weeks ago.

"I’m fortunate to have gone into it being healthy and I was able to get on the other side of it pretty quick, but not everybody is that lucky, as we know. All I can tell you is if you are afraid of getting COVID, a public gym is probably a place where you will get it."

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Gyms have reopened in recent weeks in parts of the country, many of them with limited capacity, leaving members to weigh the risks of getting coronavirus. The primary concern is being in close contact with other people breathing heavily, sweating or sneezing during a workout.

"I would love to tell you that’s not the case, but the reality is I literally get my guard down for an hour with one of my best friends who does my hair and makeup and got it," Michaels said. "It’s just that simple."

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Michaels, 46, outlined her experience with the illness and how she and her friend didn't know for days that they had it.

"If you’re not in a mask and that person is not in a mask, and they have COVID and have no idea — because, by the way, I had no idea that I had it for six days, my friend had no idea that she had it when she gave it to me — anticipate that you will likely get it in an environment like that," she said about the gym. "And if you are afraid of it, by all means, it’s not a move that I would recommend making."

TODAY spoke with health experts who outlined eight mistakes to avoid if you are returning to the gym, from getting too close to other people to failing to wipe down a machine before you use it.

Questions have also been raised about the safety of group classes, which are a staple of most gyms.

Researchers in South Korea found 112 COVID-19 cases linked to fitness dance classes at 12 different gyms in the city of Cheonan in a June study, according to a research letter published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Avoiding intense exercise in confined space is crucial,” Dr. Ji-Young Rhee, the co-author and an associate professor of infectious diseases at Dankook University College of Medicine in South Korea, told TODAY in June via email.

Michaels urged people to stay vigilant when it comes to their health during the pandemic.

"Keep your guard up," she said.

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