By Andrew Pryor

Michelle Betts is no stranger to tough love.  As a personal trainer, she’s the one who is usually dishing it out to her clients.  So how would someone like her handle being a contestant on VH1’s Tough Love Miami, taking part in a relationship bootcamp run by dating drill sergeant and master matchmaker Steve Ward?

Very well, as a matter of fact.  “I could take it because I knew how that type of criticism worked,” says Michelle.  “I’m a personal trainer, and I know that sometimes you can be soft and encouraging, but other times you really have to break people down.”

Before her appearance on the show, Michelle lived a very disciplined life, keeping a strict and structured schedule for every activity–including finding love.  “I wasn’t the type of person who obsessed over a date calling me back,” says the Season 4 contestant.  “I wouldn’t call someone out of desperation.”

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The few lasting relationships Michelle did have in the five or six years before Tough Love she says she’d like to forget.  Michelle devoted herself to living a life of positivity, emphasizing exercise, meditation, and her now-infamous “vision board,” where she would build a collage of all the qualities she wanted in a man.

Tough Love was rehab for my broken heart,” she says.  “Honestly, if I hadn’t gone on the show, I would have spent 5-10 more years being held back by my own personal issues.  People would always ask me, ‘Why are you single?’ and eventually I started saying, ‘Yeah, why am I single?’”

Initially, it was difficult for Michelle to adjust to the new environment because she had not lived with other women before.  Over time, she did form bonds with the others and even left the show with “two lifelong friends.”

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But Michelle never forgot the true reason she was there. “I went in for myself,” says the fitness expert. “I went in not to meet a guy, but to have the tools I needed to build a relationship when I went back to California.”

So did Michelle find love through the Tough Love process?

“I can’t tell you that much yet,” she laughs. “What I can tell you is that it was a difficult process, and the challenges definitely got harder as the season went on.  Oh, and there’s a whole lot of drama this season.”

Always a good reason to keep watching!

Tough Love: Miami is on VH1 on Sundays at 8 ET/7 CT.