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

Her work emphasizes how to adopt physical activity and other self-care behaviors in ways that can be sustained within the unpredictability of the real world and her client list includes Kaiser Permanente, Walmart, WW, Anytime Fitness, Adidas and Business Group on Health.

Michelle’s research on creating sustainable physical activity motivation and participation is widely recognized as uniquely pragmatic for real-world applications. Her advice is sought by prominent initiatives including the World Health Organization’s expert group on the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity and The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities. Michelle was also selected to be the inaugural chair of the United States National Physical Activity Plan’s Communication Committee and she directed the UM’s Sport, Health, and Activity, Research and Policy Center.

Since 1994, she has been designing and evaluating consumer friendly messages and methods that transform peoples’ exercise mindset to cultivate the daily motivation and decision-making that underlie behavioral sustainability.

Michelle is frequently interviewed about how to help consumers and patients change their exercise mindsets, cultivate lasting motivation, and 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 also certifies professionals in her system that flips people’s internal scripts about exercise so they stay motivated and licenses its rights to large healthcare and fitness organizations.

No Sweat!, her bestselling book, 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 is a Fellow with the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Fun fact: In 1992 Michelle ran with the Olympic Torch at the 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.