Michelle Segar

Faculty Associate, Center for Positive Organizations

Director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center

University of Michigan

Michelle Segar, PhD, is an expert in the science and practice of creating sustainable changes in healthy behaviors and self-care at the University of Michigan. She advises the World Health Organization on global physical activity promotion initiatives and was selected as the inaugural chair of the United States National Physical Activity Plan’s Communication Committee.

For almost thirty years she has been designing and evaluating messages and methods to help people cultivate the transformations in mindset necessary to create sustainable change. Her combination of academic research with real-world health coaching permits her to create practical and engaging behavior change systems for digital health and individual coaching/counseling that are being scaled to boost patient and population health, employee well-being, and gym membership retention.

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

A sought-after speaker and trainer, Michelle is frequently interviewed about motivation, habits, and sustainable change 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.

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, 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.

Her new book, The Joy Choice, was named one of the best health books experts read in 2022 by The Washington Post and was a Next Big Idea Club 2022 Nominee. 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 and unpredictability 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.