Profession & Organization

  • Award-winning Researcher, University of Michigan

Michelle Segar, PhD


Michelle is an award-winning researcher at the University of Michigan with almost thirty years studying how to help people adopt healthy behaviors in ways that can survive the complexity and unpredictability of the real world.

Michelle’s translational research about sustainable physical activity is widely recognized as relevant. She was named inaugural chair of the United States National Physical Activity Plan’s Communication Committee, an adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services, a speaker for the World Health Organization, member of ACE’s Health Coach Certification Advisory Committee, and director of the University of Michigan’s Sports, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center. She was also invited to deliver the Presidential Lecture at the American College of Sport’s Medicine’s 2017 annual conference.

Currently, Michelle serves on IHRSA – The Global Health & Fitness Association’s Medical, Science & Health Advisory Council and the National Physical Activity Plan’s Media and Communication Committee. Michelle’s perspective is uniquely comprehensive – For her entire career she has combined academic research with real-world health coaching to pioneer methods that create sustainable healthy behavior change, and which have been adopted to boost patient health, employee health and well-being, and gym membership retention. Her first book, NO SWEAT! is used as a core text in training professionals in health coaching and fitness counseling. Michelle’s interdisciplinary training includes 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 UM. Michelle translates key science into sticky concepts, fun graphics, and consumer-friendly tools to
produce sustainable change. She cares deeply about helping professionals and organizations learn how to apply and scale high-impact research into pragmatic products and services. She speaks and consults with organizations  including Anytime Fitness, Adidas, Google, Kaiser Permanente, Walmart, American Telemedicine Association, and Business Group on Health. Recently, she has advised companies designing AI and other digital and coaching approaches for patient and consumer health.

A sought-after speaker and trainer, Michelle is frequently interviewed in major media outlets like The New York Times, NPR, Prevention, Fast Company, Self, Real Simple, Women’s Health, CNN, Newsy, and The Wall Street Journal. Her book, THE JOY CHOICE: HOW TO FINALLY ACHIEVE LASTING CHANGES IN EATING AND EXERCISE, showcases the exciting new science and method for breaking down all-or-nothing thinking and cultivating the in-the-moment decisions that support lasting changes in fitness, health, and well-being.