Michelle is an award-winning, NIH-funded researcher at the University of Michigan with almost thirty years studying how to help people adopt exercise and physical activity in ways that bring meaning and joy, and can be sustained within the complexity and unpredictability of the real world.

Michelle’s research on creating sustainable physical activity is widely recognized as uniquely pragmatic for real-world applications. She advises the World Health Organization on global physical activity initiatives, was selected to be the inaugural chair of the United States National Physical Activity Plan’s Communication Committee, and consults with leading organizations.

Since 1994, she has been designing and evaluating consumer friendly messages and methods that flip people’s internal scripts about exercise and self-care, transforming their mindsets to cultivate the daily decision-making that underlies sustainability.

Michelle has worked with a number of prominent organizations, including U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kaiser Permanente, Walmart, WW, Anytime Fitness, Adidas, Google, The Permanente Group, and Business Group on Health. 

Michelle is frequently interviewed about motivation and how to create sustainable physical activity in major media outlets including The New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Prevention, Real Simple, and TIME.

A sought-after keynote speaker and trainer, Michelle certifies professionals in the Segar System for Sustainable Change (TM) and licenses its rights to large healthcare and fitness organizations.

No Sweat!, her bestselling book showcasing methods to create lasting exercise motivation, is widely used to train individuals in health coaching, patient counseling, and fitness training across university and professional contexts around the world.

Her new book, The Joy Choice, was named one of the best health books experts read by 2022 in The Washington Post. It introduces a practical, science-based system for breaking down all-or-nothing thinking and cultivating the flexible and tactical decision-making that supports sustaining exercise, healthy eating, and self-care within the complexities of daily life.

Michelle’s training and experience is uniquely comprehensive, including a doctorate in Psychology (PhD), a master’s degree in Health Behavior/Health Education (MPH), a master’s degree in Kinesiology (MS) and fellowships in translational research and health care policy from the University of Michigan. She ran with the Olympic Torch at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.


Michelle Segar headshot

Sustainable Change in the Real World

Get Michelle’s fresh, science-based insights about how you can create changes in eating and exercise that are fun and flexible enough to survive real-world challenges.