USA Network’s preview of its upcoming “The Biggest Loser” reboot got heavy when host Bob Harper, trainers Erica Lugo and Steve Cook, and USA exec Heather Olander were grilled by journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour Saturday about how healthy the weight-loss competition series actually is for its participants — and for viewers at home.

“When we brought the show back, one of our big things was that we get 17 years of success on NBC,” Olander, who heads up unscripted programming for USA, said when asked about what changes were made for the updated take to make it safe for contestants. “It’s a beloved show … but we did want to think a little bit about the format and make sure that we’re reflective that health and fitness today. 2020 is very different than a decade ago when the show first came on the air.”

“One of the things that we did look at was the competition elements,” she continued. “What we decided was that the competition is going to be part of the storytelling of the show. It’s a motivating factor for the contestants, but it’s also part of the story of their situation as well, both their failures and their successes over the course of the season impacted who they were at the end.”

Also Read: ‘The Biggest Loser’ Host Bob Harper Weighs in on Jillian Michaels’ Comments About Lizzo

Olander added: “To that end, one of the big changes we made this season was the aftercare packages for the eliminated contestants. Because we wanted to give the people who did go home early in the process the best chance at a healthy lifestyle … We just want to make sure that, maybe they don’t win the money, but we still wanted to give them a chance at a great life.”

One journalist asked the panel, “You talked a lot about how the show’s been updated for 2020 but there has been a considerable amount of the show over the years, particularly in the health of the contestants after, and how it’s normalized fat-shaming, and the idea that anyone can go lose weight if they just try hard enough. So what is your responsibility to people who are not out there being able to exercise 20 hours a day?”

Harper, who graduated from being a coach on NBC’s old version of “The Biggest Loser” to hosting USA’s reboot, responded: “For me, I’ve worked with a lot of people that the show has really helped inspire. Weight loss is controversial any way you look at it.”

Also Read: Why ‘Council of Dads’ Star Sarah Wayne Callies Wanted to Be on a Nice Show for Once

When pressed on what precautions were taken to make sure contestants don’t endanger themselves in their attempts to win the prize money that comes with being “The Biggest Loser,” Olander said, “From the format standpoint — and we obviously know that these people are coming onto the show — we want to make sure that they are losing the weight, but also in the healthiest environment they can be.”

“So though not shown on the series, behind the scenes, we did have a nutritionist write individualized meal plans for each of the contestants,” she added. “We had two doctors on set and a set of trainers that vetted all of the challenges and the workouts that they did and to make sure they were constantly monitored, to make sure all of their vitals were where they needed to be and that they were losing weight at a healthy rate.”

Cook says that each contestant needed “to hit a certain amount of calories” and each week “we all sat down with the dietician and the doctor and went over bloodwork, as well as each person’s specific diet for the week and their training protocol.”

Also Read: Winter TV 2020: Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows (Photos)

“So if there was ever somebody that was overtraining, we had to come up with a different way to train them,” Cook said. “And I think you see it, this is the healthiest way to lose weight, the way to go about it, with the doctors, with the dietitians. They’re drinking lots of water, staying hydrated. and it shows in their bloodwork.”

The group was also asked by a reporter about how they feel about the use of the word “fat” in particular, which Lugo and Cook say they “never” used on the show.

“I don’t use that word,” Harper said. “Yeah, I’m trying to think, I don’t really use that word. It’s always about the weight issues, right? It’s one of those things– I guess, being gay, I can say the F-word, but if you say it I’m gonna have a problem with you. So it’s, like, I don’t have a weight problem, so I don’t think it’s really my right to be throwing that word around, loosely.”

“The Biggest Loser” reboot premieres Jan. 28 at 9/8c on NBC.

Winter TV 2020: Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows (Photos)

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Here’s when 117 broadcast, cable and streaming series debut and come back

Winter is here and with it, naturally, comes the Winter TV season. In honor of the return of the colder months and their small-screen offerings, TheWrap has rounded up the premiere dates for not just the new and returning shows on Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS and The CW, but also the ones for the eagerly anticipated series hitting cable channels and streaming services this winter. Click through our gallery to find out when your favorite shows will be back and when your possible new favorites will debut.

Also Read: Why Netflix Is Betting You’ll Want ‘The Witcher’ Season 2 – Before You’ve Seen Season 1

On the two-year anniversary of the heart attack he suffered while working out in a gym, Bob Harper is as grateful as ever to have survived.

On Tuesday, “The Biggest Loser” host and fitness trainer commemorated the health scare that nearly killed him with a thoughtful post on Instagram.

“Two years ago today I had a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest,” he wrote. “I am so thankful to be here. My message to you is to appreciate where you are in your life. No matter how hard it can get, you have the power to change anything that you want as long as you never give up. LIFE IS GOOD is my mantra today. Feel free to say it with me… LIFE IS GOOD!! #heartattacksurvivor #IRONBORN #bodyguardrealness #pb&j”

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

Harper, 53, has been and continues to be vocal about his heart attack.

Bob Harper on road to recovery 50 days after shocking heart attack

April 4, 201701:19

About two months after the attack, he spoke with Savannah Guthrie on TODAY.

“My heart stopped. Not to be dramatic, but I was dead. I was on that ground dead,” he said. “I had what they call a ‘widow-maker.’ It was a 6 percent survival rate, and the fact that there were doctors in the gym when I had the heart attack saved my life.”

A little more than one year after the heart attack, Harper posted a photo of himself in a coma in the days after he was rushed to the hospital, noting, “To say I am grateful for my life is a MAJOR understatement.”

Harper has definitely come a long way and learned he has a high risk of heart attack because he has a high level of lipoprotein (a), which can cause blood clots and plaque buildup in the arteries.

In an essay he penned for, Harper opened up about the “day that changed my life forever” and revealed that he has mellowed out.

Bob Harper on recovering from his heart attack and his new workouts

July 20, 201705:17

“Well, let me tell you, it’s all different now,” he wrote. “My life is about appreciation and gratitude. It is about balance.”

Harper now knows that it’s important to take things in stride. “It’s about not sweating the big things and definitely not sweating the small things,” he wrote. “I know how short life can be. I know that it could all be taken away in the blink of an eye.”

‘The Biggest Loser’ host Bob Harper says 2020 reboot will be ‘bigger and better’

“The Biggest Loser” is coming back – and host Bob Harper says the reboot will be better than ever.

The personal trainer talked about the relaunch of the competition reality show during an interview on the “Today” show Friday.

He also addressed previous criticism the show has received over fat-shaming and extreme weight-loss measures.

“Whenever you talk about weight loss, it’s gonna be always controversy,” he said. “But what we really want to do, we’re trying to approach it in a completely different way. We want to help them while they’re on the show and when they go home, the after care I think is going to be super important for them too.”

“Biggest Loser” first ran from 2004 to 2016 on NBC. The reboot will move to USA Network in 2020.

Harper also gave an update to his personal health journey after suffering a heart attack two and a half years ago.

“It’s been a big adjustment, and I’ll tell you this – that’s why I’m so excited to come back on to ‘The Biggest Loser,’ because I related to those contestants way more than I’ve ever related to them,” he said. “Because I went from being this CrossFit-er, working out so hard every day to not being able to walk around a city block without getting winded.”

He continued, “So I was having to start back from square one, so I really want to bring my recovery onto the show because I know what they’re going through. It is a struggle and you just do the best that you can.”

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One of the most well-known health and fitness experts in the world, Bob Harper will bring his signature enthusiasm and expertise to “THE BIGGEST LOSER” as HOST when the show debuts on USA Network in 2020. Harper, a three-time New York Times best-selling author, was a staple on the mega-hit reality series for 17 seasons during its initial run on NBC.

Despite dedicating his life to inspiring healthy lifestyles in others, Bob Harper’s world came to a halt when in 2017, at the age of 51, he suffered a heart attack. The world wondered how such a paradigm of health and wellness could experience something so antithetical to his lifestyle. As it turns out, it came as a result of genetics—something no one can change—but it nevertheless served as a wake-up call for “THE BIGGEST LOSER” host.

Since then, Harper has redoubled his efforts to promote physical and emotional well-being to his millions of fans around the world. As a part of those efforts, Harper works closely with “Survivors Have Heart” which provides support for survivors of heart attacks and their loved ones.

Health and fitness expert Bob Harper, who appeared on 17 seasons of The Biggest Loser on NBC, will host the reboot of the show coming to USA Network in 2020. Harper appeared Friday at Rockefeller Plaza in a Today segment to make the announcement.

“I’ve learned a lot over the last two years since suffering a heart attack,” Harper said in a press release. “I know more than ever that it’s about overall health and living your absolute best life inside and out, plus finding ways to overcome the everyday obstacles that we all face. That is what we are doing with the show. We are going to be changing lives and it is going to be big.”

Asked on Today about criticism about the original run of the show as “fat-shaming,” Harper said the reboot will take a new angle on weight loss.

“We’re really trying to approach it in a different way,” he said. “We want to help people while they’re on the show and then when they go home, the after-care is super-important.”

Harper will be joined by new trainers during the 10-episode season produced by Endemol Shine North America, in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio.

When the reboot was announced in May, USA said the revamped version of the series will feature men and women competing not only to lose weight but to improve their overall well-being. Each episode will feature a team of experts including a trainer, chef and life coach who will help guide the contestants as they embark on the biggest transformations of their lives.

Everything You Need to Know About The Biggest Loser Controversy – Including ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ Trainer Chris Powell’s Opinion

Frederickson’s before and after photos (courtesy of NBC).

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’re aware of all the controversy that’s been swirling around The Biggest Loser season 15 finale and its winner, Rachel Frederickson. But if you’re not clued in to all the dirty details, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what’s been happening:

After competing on the show and being monitored closely for seven-and-a-half months, Frederickson went home (unmonitored and without trainers) for the final stretch before the finale, working to get down to her lowest weight and hopefully claim the $250,000 prize and title of the Biggest Loser. She shocked viewers; the audience; trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince; and host Alison Sweeney when she strutted a 0-2 sized figure and clocked in at a startling 105 pounds. At the start of the show, Frederickson weighed in at 260 pounds. With a 5’4″ frame, let’s do the math: this girl shed 155 pounds fast, and she brought her BMI (body mass index) down to 18, which places her in the underweight category – a first in the show’s history.

Now, we know by now that BMI is not the end-all, be-all for telling whether or not a person is healthy. There are many other factors at play, like muscle mass. Had she gone too far? Despite the media storm, NBC stands behind their latest champion, and when People magazine asked Frederickson point blank whether or not she had an eating disorder, she told them, “I am very, very healthy.”

That being said, when you’re training for six hours a day and only eating 1,600 calories per day like this contestant was, the cause for concern seems warranted (however, that does not justify mean, negative comments). After all, it was widely reported that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps chowed down a staggering 12,000 calories a day when training for the Beijing Olympics, and we all heard about how track-star-turned-bobsledder Lolo Jones consumes 9,000 daily calories to beef up for bobsledding. Even Olympic cyclists take in more than 3,300 calories, on average. Granted, Olympians aren’t trying to drop weight the way Frederickson was, but it’s the closest comparison we get when athletes are logging so many hours of exercise.

But before we all point fingers at the 24-year-old athlete (which she is, no question), let’s face the facts: The Biggest Loser is a competitive reality show, and Frederickson did exactly what she signed on to do: win a weight-loss show and bring home a life-changing amount of money. Whether she stays at the same weight or gains 20 pounds before the end of the week doesn’t matter – and with the amount of challenges she won throughout the season (4 out of 5 once they moved to singles, including the first-ever Loser sprint triathlon), we bet that played a strategic role. After all, we’ve heard time and time again how she’s always been an athlete and Loser helped her find that in herself again. She knew that as long as she trained hard and got down low enough, she was bringing home the goods. Also, let’s not forget that her 105-pound weight isn’t set in stone – the show’s winners generally gain back a good amount of weight post-finale to settle into their natural healthy weight.

Click through to find out what Extreme Weight Loss trainer Chris Powell has to say!

Powell with wife and new Extreme Weight Loss co-host, Heidi (photo courtesy of @realchrispowell).

In the end, we checked in with another celebrity trainer who’s quite familiar with weight-loss shows. In fact, he hosts one: Extreme Weight Loss trainer Chris Powell stopped by FITNESS’ office shortly after the Loser finale, and even though he didn’t train Frederickson himself, there are a few thoughts he’s willing to share. Most importantly, the science behind it all:

“We’re talking about 3 percent of your body weight a week is what she was losing,” says Powell. “And just as far as my experience and my education has taught me, and with all the doctors that we work with, they say any time you begin to encroach upon 2 percent a week, you simply can’t lose fat that fast. And when you start to get upwards of 2 percent, that’s when the body starts to cannibalize protein, which is your muscle, and that’s also when we’re going to start to talk about damage to the endocrine system and electrolyte imbalances and all kinds of different things.”

Powell has even dealt with eating disorders on his show, and aggressively addressed it on-air with their season 3 contestant, Alyssa Stommen. Unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon occurrence for those going on such a big weight-loss journey, the trainer confesses. “It just looked as if she had just found another extreme, which is also – just for the record – very common,” he says. “Overeating is an eating disorder, and so is under eating. And it’s very easy to slip from one end of the spectrum to the other…it looks like she found another extreme, and the numbers would suggest the same thing. But, I don’t know. If she found some kind of magic way to get fit in a really healthy way, fantastic; more power to her.”

Since it’s the first time this has ever happened on The Biggest Loser (and after 15 seasons, that’s impressive), we can’t help but wonder what – if anything – will change with the format of the show. We reached out to NBC to find out, but for now, they’re staying tight-lipped and have no comment. For now, we’ll cross our fingers that Frederickson really is as healthy – mentally, physically and emotionally – as she claims to be, and agree with Powell’s sentiments: “I don’t know because I wasn’t there…but I certainly hope for her sake that she is fit, and that she can find some kind of balance where she is now.”

New Goshen fitness center to host ‘Biggest Loser’ couple

A brand new fitness facility in Goshen opened it’s doors to the public with the goal of helping the community maintain a healthy lifestyle, just in time for the new year.

One of the owners of the Anytime Fitness franchise, Joel Koeneman, says it’s his passion to help people, and that he’d reached a point in life when he knew it was time to focus on health.

“I think like a lot of people out there, had given up on not only myself, but getting back into fitness was just seomthing I hadn’t really expected to do. I think we tend to surprise ourselves sometimes when opportunity arises. If we have the ability to recognize it, we can seize it and at least capture a little bit of that opportunity and push as far as we can with that opportunity, and I think that makes all the difference in the world.”

Koeneman says his focus was to establish a family-owned fitness center based on convenience and cleanliness, and to help other’s get on the path of healthy living.

“That’s half the battle, if you can get excited about something you don’t necessarily like to do, all the more power to you. It is tough to get out there and make that change. We try to tear down those barriers that people put in,” says Koeneman.

And to help with that motto, Koeneman has paired with a local celebrity couple to offer a lifestyle fitness program. The Picklers participated on season 13 of the Biggest Loser, and say they want to share with others what they’ve learned.

“We feel like we’ve learned from the best easily in the nation, possibly in the world. So we have taken everything we’ve learned, and all we’re doing is paying it forward,” says Chris Pickler.

The couple each lost over 80 pounds on the show and says they plan to continue the healthy lifestyle they learned from the show. Roy Pickler says he even plans to lose more weight.

“It doesn’t take anybody that has to be able to run a marathon to start this program. If you have trouble getting out of the chair, there’s still hope for you,” says Roy Pickler.

Their main goal- to let others know weight loss is possible, even without professional doctors on national television.

“We are two simple people from a small community in Anytown, USA. And if we can do it, anyone can do it,” says Chris Pickler.

The program is $130 for 13 weeks. There’s still time to sign up, contact Anytime FItness in Goshen for more information.

Get Fit for 2013: Chris Powell Answers ‘GMA’ Viewers’ Questions

Nicolle Clemetson

Chris Powell, the uber-trainer who has helped people lose hundreds of pounds and change their lives on ABC’s ” Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition,” appeared on “Good Morning America” today to share his fitness tips and answer your weight loss questions.

You Asked, Chris Powell Answered!


Kathy asked: I am addicted to sugar. I have been since about age 13. I will binge on sugar, sometimes up to 1,000 grams per day. What is the best way to break this, and what food will take the craving away until sugar is out of my system?

Chris answered: I personally believe the best approach is not to go cold-turkey. You need to believe that you CAN remove sugar from your life. The only way to realistically do this is a little bit at a time. Right now I want you to think of one source of sugar for your day. Perhaps it is soda. Don’t remove it altogether, but your commitment to yourself should be to remove just one or two sodas a day from your pattern. Once you successfully do this for a week or two, you will begin to realize and BELIEVE that it is possible. Then you’ll be ready to commit to removing a little bit more. Take your time with this. It may take months to eventually come off of sugar altogether, but you will be getting healthier each and every day. Be sure to drink plenty of water, as it is one of the strongest ways to curb cravings – at least half your body weight in ounces daily!


Cassandra from Meridian, Miss., asked: I am 37 years old and morbidly obese. I had a massive heart attack at 35, and another lesser heart attack almost a year later. I am terrified I won’t live to see my 11-year-old daughter grow up. I plan on starting Atkins again because I lost 17 lbs. The first2 weeks I tried it last year. Exercise scares me. I get out of breath so easily and just don’t know what I can do. I have reached my rock bottom. I have to change now. I need your help and know how to teach me a new way to live. Please help me learn how to LIVE!

Chris answered: Pick one thing to change with your nutrition – maybe it is to eat breakfast, maybe it is to drink more water, maybe it is to remove soda from lunch. When it comes to exercise, walk in place while watching TV for just 5 minutes every day. That’s it. That’s how you begin your journey. Once you realize that you can do that, then you will realize that you can do more. This is where it all starts! Just these small changes will change your body more than you can imagine. Little changes over time are the secret to long term weight loss success!

MORE: Extreme Weight Loss: How One Woman Lost 395 Pounds


Frankie from Cape Coral, Fla., asked: Good Morning! I have lost 95 pounds (woot woot)! Since Nov. 1, 2011. I started out by walking, watching what I eat and every day when I walked I would add another street in my neighborhood. I would also do some exercises in my home. I then found a boot camp and started that, 3 days a week. I have a HUGE problem area, my upper arms. They are horrible. With the weight loss, I just have this excess skin that just flaps! At boot camp when I run, you can actually hear it. I intentionally run either faster or slower than fellow campers, again you can hear my arms flapping! Is there ANYTHING I can do aside from surgery (not an option $) that I can do to at least shrink them a little bit? I won’t wear anything strapless because of them. BTW I am 45 years old. Thank You.

Chris answered: First and foremost, a HUGE congratulations on your amazing success!! Here’s the catch – when it comes to the skin, there are two possible ways to tighten it up: surgery, or develop the muscle underneath! It is like blowing up a balloon underneath some wrinkly sheets. It eventually pulls them tight! Depending on how much skin you have, you may only be able to develop the muscle to a certain point – then surgery may need to do the rest. Regardless, you should be DARN PROUD of that skin and the work you put in to get it!!


Danielle from Middlesex, N.J., asked: What are the best foods to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks? Also how long should I stay at the gym for?

Chris answered: Lean proteins, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some light dairy, and whole grains are the way to go! When at the gym, stay as long as you promise yourself you will be there. This can be 5 minutes or 50 minutes. Remember, any movement is going to send you in the right direction. Health and fitness are totally a choice for a better quality of life – you WANT to do this, you don’t need to!

READ MORE: Chris Powell’s Tips for Eating Carbs to Drop the Pounds


Debbie from San Bruno, Calif., asked: My question for you is what kind of advice can you give to someone with Hashimoto’s disease (underactive thyroid)? I work out three times a week doing kickboxing and boxing, so exercise is not the issue. I eat reasonably healthy, but have an issue with weight, I’m 5-foot-2, 56 years old and weigh about 145 right now. My problem spot has always been my tummy. No matter what I do it never goes away, and weight comes on super fast if I don’t watch it. Any advice?

Chris answered: First and foremost, check with your doctors to make sure your thyroid medication is stabilized. Once it is, you can make a few small changes to your diet to see how your body responds. Try removing most dairy and grains. Some people are sensitive to these foods and they can cause inflammation in the gut, leading to unwanted water retention and poor absorption of your foods. See how that works for you!


Loralee from Ohio asked: I lost 40 pounds on the Atkins diet. Then we got pregnant. After baby arrived I lost all the weight but now it’s back. How does a working mom who works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – plus does all the house chores and cooking – get on a good diet again? The Atkins diet just isn’t feasible at this time because of money issues – we can’t buy the expensive meat all the time like before. Any advice would help. By the time I pick up the baby and get home, cook, clean, give a bath and playtime, it’s time to go to bed. I don’t sit around and eat junk. I hardly sit down at all in the evenings. I also have polycystic ovaries so I definitely need to lose weight. Thanks

Chris answered: Have you tried carb cycling? I’m personally a big fan of it, and it yields pretty amazing results! For your protein sources, try eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or whey protein – they are MUCH cheaper than meat, and a LOT easier to prep – especially since you have your hands full with the baby. Because of the PCOS, you should stay away from processed and refined foods, sugar, etc. Keep it to whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts and olive oil. Hope this helps!


Julie from El Dorado, Ariz., asked: What is the best way to maintain your weight once you’ve achieved your ideal weight? I am 5 feet and hover around 107 to 110 pounds. It is very easy for me to be go above and below my ideal weight. Being so short, a few pounds either way can be obvious. My goal is really to target those problem areas and tone and build a little muscle. Currently, I run to stay in shape. Thank you for any advice you can offer.

Chris answered: In my experience, finding “maintenance” is a highly customized process. You must feel rewarded on a regular basis, whether it comes from personal confidence, feedback from others, reward foods or an event (shopping, nails, massage, etc). If you like to run, you should keep running! Make sure it is something that you truly ENJOY, though. If not, maybe it is time to “date” a few other types of exercise (maybe tennis, hiking, rowing, Crossfit?) If you want to “tone and build,” it is time to pick up some iron – that’s the way we can get a muscle to grow. Keep up the great work!

RELATED: Apps to Help With Weight-Loss Resolutions


Dorothy from Princeton, N.J., asked: How do I get started with exercise when knees hurt, I’ve had one knee surgery, back pain and weak hand strength with numb fingers at age 60? Please give me an exercise to do for stomach weight removal that I can handle.

Linda from Exmore, Va., asked: Seven years ago I had gastric bypass surgery and I did super great and am very proud of my accomplishments. I lost 170-something pounds. I weighed 363 and got down to 189 with no problems. I was very happy with my accomplishments because I was able to shop in regular shops/stores and loved to be able to walk without heavy breathing or sweating. After my husband’s death I started to put the weight back on slowly, not realizing until after I reached225 and kept going up, now weighing in at 248. I want and need to lose this weight but I have very bad knees (and am) waiting to have both knee replacements done. I can’t do walking or active workouts. Question: What is the best way to work on losing the weight that will not put pressure on my knees? Also working on changing the foods I eat? I still can not eat large meals at one sitting, plus I live alone. Please help!!!!!

Chris answered: One word: Swim!! Find a local public or private pool nearby and jump in (er, actually use the stairs). You will feel amazing. You will use every muscle in your body. You will absolutely love it! I have worked with several people who couldn’t even walk – had them swim for their entire transformation and they lost 100 to 200 pounds!

‘GMA’ Jumpstart January: Playlists to Stay Motivated During Workouts


Deven from Clearfield, Ky., asked: I am 21 years old, am 5 feet, 2 inches tall and am just about 200 pounds. I recently had a baby. What are some ways that I can start losing baby weight? I would like it to be something I can do at home with my baby.

Chris answered: Congratulations on your baby! How exciting! To lose the baby weight, breast feed if you can (it burns 500 to 600 extra calories every day!) and walk. That is the best place to start. Get a stroller or baby carrier and start doing laps around the area. If weather doesn’t permit or it isn’t safe outside, then simply walking in place while watching TV is actually a pretty darn good workout. Drive those knees up high and keep breathing. Try making it through an entire sitcom – go get ’em!


Debra from Hendersonville, N.C., asked: I’m so discouraged. My doctor has told me I am a stroke or heart attack waiting to happen. Today is my birthday – I am 49 and weigh 334 pounds. I am so self-conscious – I hate going out in public. I am taking medical leave as we discovered how I had let my fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue grow steadily worse, and of course my weight has been a factor in that. My doctor wants me to consider surgery – where they tie in a band or something like that. I have no motivation and I wish I had someone to show me the way, coach me along the way, and urge me on in the difficult days.

Chris answered: Debra – remember, this is your choice! There is no right or wrong decision in this. There will be difficult days; we all have them. That’s life! But you gotta start small. Lost motivation means that you broke promises to yourself and haven’t corrected them yet. You need to believe in yourself again. This can only happen when you start fulfilling the small promises you make to yourself. Pick one thing with your nutrition that you choose to change. Start by moving just 5 minutes a day. Once you realize that you can do those things, you can make bigger promises. Little by little, you will keep bigger promises (and, oh yeah, the number on the scale will start dropping like a rock). But it’s not about the diet and exercise; it’s about keeping the promises to yourself. Let everything else fall into place!

‘The Biggest Loser’: New Trainer Erica Lugo Talks Reboot, Losing 160 Pounds, and The Special Guests At Her Wedding

Rebooted, revamped. Whatever you prefer to call it, The Biggest Loser is finally back.

It’s got a new host, Bob Harper, who was a former trainer from the original series, plus two new trainers, Steve Cook and Erica Lugo.

New ‘The Biggest Loser’ Trainer, Erica Lugo

Showbiz Cheat Sheet caught up with Erica Lugo to talk to her about what’s surprised her so far, how she herself lost 160 pounds, and who’s coming to her wedding.

Lugo herself has lost a substantial amount of weight

Erica Lugo has lost 160 pounds on her own. That’s no small feat for anyone, much less for this single mom and thyroid cancer survivor.

When we asked her how she lost that tremendous amount of weight, Lugo replied that it really wasn’t at all mysterious.

‘The Biggest Loser’ Erica Lugo’s before and after photos

“Honestly, I started with the basics. I know everyone seems so taken aback by that. I did no fancy diet, nothing special. I just knew, personally, less calories in, more calories out. That’s how I started. Walking on a treadmill, jogging on a treadmill, then running on a treadmill.”

“Then my food choices and nutrition would be, ‘well, let’s just start with cutting down my portions of food that I normally eat. But back then, I was still a relatively not great eater. Pizza, spaghetti, and all that stuff. But I would cut my portions in half, because that’s all I knew how to do.”

So how did she become one of ‘The Biggest Loser’ trainers?

Showbiz Cheat Sheet asked Lugo how she came to land on the reboot of this iconic show. It seems to have happened in a whirlwind of events.

“ reached out to me a couple of times. The casting people had followed me for quite a while and they would reach out to me on Instagram and through email, and I was like ‘No, I don’t know if I’m made for TV, I don’t know if I could do that.’ And they said, ‘Just go through the process, we want to talk to you about how we’re doing a 360 approach to The Biggest Loser, a brand-new reboot, so that caught my interest.”

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Running into premiere week like ‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️ @biggestloser @usa_network

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“And I went through multiple phone interviews, Skype interviews, I actually got flown out to California, I got put on what they call a ‘chemistry test’ to see how well you do on camera, how well you interact with having all these cameras in front of you. It was more interviews and more interviews and I think it was close to a two-month process…And that’s how I got picked.”

Erica Lugo vs. Jillian Michaels vs. Bob Harper?

When we asked her how she compares her training style to that of former trainers Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper, Lugo showed what she was made of, making certain to correct any idea that she would compare herself to anyone else.

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The @biggestloser trio is ready at @todayshow! Tune in tonight, 9 PM EST on @usa_network

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‘The Biggest Loser’ trainer Steve Cook, host Bob Harper, and trainer Erica Lugo

“You know what? I don’t. I don’t compare myself. I get that question all the time. But my attitude is that comparison is the thief of joy. I knew that if I compared myself to any previous trainers, that I would be living up to expectations that are not me.”

What’s surprised Lugo most about the show

We were also wondering what so far, in working with the contestants, had surprised her the most. And she surprised us, by telling us that not only had she and the contestants grown close, but that all of her Red Team contestants would be guests at her upcoming wedding!

Lugo opened up about working with her Red Team contestants.

“The biggest thing is, I did not think how close I would be with these people. When I got the job, I kind of went into it – ‘Ok, this is my job, I’m hired to help these people in more ways than just losing weight, I need to just focus on that end-goal, and that’s it.’ ”

“And then you start building relationships with these people, and you are with them every day for hours a day, and you can’t help but fall in love with them. . . Because they’re just trusting you with their hearts, their souls, and their vulnerability.”

“All of them are invited to my wedding. All of them are coming. We’re family. My team reds are coming, I’ve got red gym shoes under my wedding dress, and they’re all wearing red. They’re excited.”

Catch the premiere of The Biggest Loser tonight at 9:00PM EST on USA!

From Trainer to Armchair Therapist: Bob Harper’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ Journey

Fitness expert Bob Harper spent a dozen years training contestants to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time on the original, NBC incarnation of “The Biggest Loser,” a show he calls “the O.G. fitness reality series.” But in 2017 he suffered a major heart attack that had him rethinking his approach to exercise. So when he received a call from the producers of the new, USA version of “,” he had questions about what their approach would be, given the way fitness is discussed has evolved in the few years since the show went off the air. Ultimately, it was the idea that they would bring his health issues directly into the show that made him want to step back onto the campus: Confronting how important it is to be healthy, not just thin, was relatable to him and, he hopes, everyone who came on the show and would be watching at home.

In the new “Biggest Loser,” Harper is a host, not a trainer. And he also leads a support group where the contestants — on both teams — come together to talk openly and candidly about what they are going through day-to-day on the show, as well as what they have experienced in their past that led them to the point of needing to be on a show like this in the first place. Immediately, Harper tells them about his heart attack because he felt he had to “practice what I preach,” he tells Variety. But just as the contestants opening up with each other helps them heal, he, too, got something new out of the experience.

In the original version of the show, he says, “I was very attached to my team and living and dying for them.” But here, Steve Cook and Erica Lugo are the trainers so Harper “didn’t have the pressure of that anymore, and it was liberating because I got to work with everyone, and I really enjoyed that. When you were in the support group, nobody saw color: it wasn’t about blue versus red, it was about, ‘Why am I here in the first place?’ There were lessons to be learned, and I’m dealing with life and death here, so I’m going to do whatever it takes to help you in any way, as positively as I can also as realistically as I can.”

The support group plays very prominently into each episode, which means the traditional “Biggest Loser” format has been tweaked pretty significantly from its first go-round. Additionally, as Harper previously mentioned, the contestant who goes home each week is the one who loses the lowest percentage of weight loss, not someone voted out by his or her team. And temptation challenges — both on campus when contestants were previously put in a room with high-fat foods, as well as when everyone was sent home for a week and asked to try to maintain their new routines in their old environments — have been eliminated from the show altogether.

“I was really happy to hear that it wasn’t about the temptations anymore, and it wasn’t about the vote-off. It’s very story-driven and there’s a lot of focus on the stories of each contestant,” says Harper. “There’s so many other kind of victories you’re going to see on the show that don’t relate to the scale. And having those talks about, ‘This is what it’s going to be like when you go home’ and ‘The people around you will not have been where you have been,’ and teaching them to be able to ask for what they need, I think that’s one of the biggest lessons to learn when it’s time for them to go home.”

The focus is shifted to balance the physical and mental health of the contestants more than ever before because of how closely tied those elements are with a person’s weight. For some, response to trauma, stress or sadness is to comfort themselves with food. By putting that front and center on the show, the audience watching at home will likely be able to see pieces of their own story reflected and come to more of an understanding about the cause and effect of unhealthy coping mechanisms.

“We have a contestant on the show that really went through a lot of struggles with his mother, who was dealing with drug an alcohol addiction,” Harper previews. “And at one point I was really talking to him about what it was like for him as a kid growing up in a situation like that — and this is a guy who was trying to come to grips with the emotional struggles that he went through and how all of his weight was because of what was going on in his childhood — and he looked at me in this one moment and he said, ‘I’ve gone through thick and thin with my mother, mostly thick.’ That just blew me away. It was so simple and so eloquent.”

Executive producer Georgie Hurford-Jones, who is also now executive vice president of current programming at Universal Television Alternative Studio, says that a big focus in casting the new season of “The Biggest Loser” was to vet that those applying were people who “wanted to be there for the right reasons.” But even when the team felt strongly that they did and chose them to compete, they couldn’t force anyone into “doing what we needed them to do.” When it came to the contestants’ willingness to share the most painful and emotional parts of their stories with each other, Harper and ultimately the American public, Hurford-Jones says it was Harper himself who inspired a lot of the response.

“Having gone through a heart attack and learning to get his fitness back, he had more empathy for what they were going through than ever,” she says. “When they find themselves with like-minded people — with support groups in general, you find comfort in other people — they became like a little family.”

When Harper considers why contestants opened up to him, he says it’s because he has “always been an inquisitive person and, working in the health industry for as long as I have, I’ve gotten to where I know the questions to ask and feeling it out.” He feels the most important thing is to “let that room breathe” and give everyone “the opportunity to say whatever it is they’re feeling. I think the biggest thing is getting people to open up within themselves — to get all the voices in their head out in a room of like-minded people.”

After the contestants shared their story in the support group setting, it was up to them how much they wanted to share with their trainer, Harper admits. But even if the trainers didn’t have the full picture of the contestant’s struggles, they were tailoring routines per person, adds Hurford-Jones.

“A lot of people who have problems with their weight to that extent are hiding — it’s a mask. You can’t just do a blanket, ‘Here’s this diet’ — and we avoided the word diet anyway, and assessed everyone individually,” she explains. “Everybody had a moment and we were careful to make sure to celebrate everybody’s progress, whether it be on the scale or off the scale. We really wanted to focus on mind, fitness and fuel.”

Harper joined the contestants during their weekly fitness challenges this season, too, although on the sidelines as the host, cheering them on and calling out their progress. The first challenge was a simple one: run a mile. But by Week 2, contestants were asked to flip semi-trailer size tires out of a mud pit to a finish line.

“These challenges were really without all the bells and whistles, but there were such victories and how good does that feel?” Harper says. “We’re getting people to things they’ve never done before, whether it’s sitting and talking about something hard, or in the physical challenges. You’d be surprised just how quickly you can adapt, and the teamwork that was involved in that, I found really uplifting.”

“The Biggest Loser” premieres Jan. 28 on USA.

Showing 1 – 8 of 8 articles tagged “The Biggest Loser”

  • Posted Thursday 1/30/20 at 2:29AM EST
    USA’s The Biggest Loser reboot is “the same old sh*t”: The spectacle of fat people’s pain and tears

    With new host Bob Harper, The Biggest Loser promised to be kindler and gentler compared to its previous controversial 2004-2016…

  • Posted Sunday 1/12/20 at 1:48PM EST
    The Biggest Loser reboot defends against fat-phobia accusations

    Host Bob Harper and producers said at the TV press tour that the USA reboot will focus on overall health,…

  • Posted Friday 12/06/19 at 1:05PM EST
    Jillian Michaels says The Biggest Loser is a victim of political correctness: Obesity shouldn’t be glamorized

    Michaels tells Women’s Health UK that the push against body shaming hurt her former NBC weight-loss reality show, which USA…

  • Posted Tuesday 9/24/19 at 1:22PM EDT
    USA’s The Biggest Loser revival unveils its trainers, including one who lost 160 lbs.

    Trainers Erica Lugo and Steve Cook will join Bob Harper when The Biggest Loser relaunches on USA in 2020.

  • Posted Friday 8/02/19 at 1:03PM EDT
    Bob Harper returning as host of USA’s The Biggest Loser reboot

    Harper, who served as a trainer on the original The Biggest Loser, will star in USA’s “re-imagining” of the NBC…

  • Posted Tuesday 5/28/19 at 9:30AM EDT
    The Biggest Loser alum Daniel Wright dies at 30

    Wright, who competed on the NBC reality show at age 20 in 2009, died after a nearly two-year battle with…

  • Posted Monday 5/13/19 at 9:34AM EDT
    USA is rebooting The Biggest Loser

    USA is reviving the 17-season 2004-2016 NBC reality weight-loss reality show with “a dynamic new team of experts” for a…

  • Posted Wednesday 7/18/18 at 11:21PM EDT
    NBC is fighting a subpoena seeking to find out whether The Biggest Loser contestants were given drugs

    The weight-loss reality show was never formally canceled, despite its last episode airing two years ago.

Bob the biggest loser

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