It's OK, you can admit it: you're addicted to reality TV. This is a judgment-free zone, and by now you all know about our slight obsession with The Biggest Loser and The Bachelor. So what's a girl to do when she just wants to see her passion for guilty-pleasure TV and fitness combined? Enter season 2 of Fit or Flop, an online reality series looking for the next big fitness star. Sound right up your alley? We got the inside scoop from all three of the judges: Brett Hoebel, formerly from The Biggest Loser, Allison Ceraso, and Jenna Autuori-Dedic, our very own fitness editor! Keep reading to find out what they're looking for in a winner, then check out their website for a new episode every Wednesday night!
What made you want to get involved with Fit or Flop? Jenna Autuori-Dedic, fitness editor at FITNESS (JA): We have dancing, singing and talent competitions on TV, and since the fitness industry is so popular right now and saturated with many trainers and methods, it makes sense that we put them all together and find the next star! I meet so many trainers who are all so amazing and passionate, but they need the right direction on how to expand their brand and business. Winning Fit or Flop gives you that chance. Plus, it was like an open casting call for me to find new workouts and methods that I could share with our readers! Brett Hoebel, founder of Hoebel Fitness (BH): I really think the fitness industry needs something like this. When I was getting started, there wasn't a lot of access to getting started as a brand, and it was a struggle. If I knew that something like this was available back then, I would have absolutely been going at it. Allison Ceraso, creative director at Havas Life (AC): The concept is so appealing to me. I truly believe that health and wellness are the biggest trends of our time. That, coupled with the takeover of social and digital media, seemed like the perfect pairing. Health is contagious, so it seemed fit to make the branding of the next fitness star go viral!
Are there any traits that really sway you to make a person a Fit instead of a Flop? BH: Star power. To me, that's just "Do you remember the person after they've left the room?" It doesn't mean they have to leave a good impression on you - some people love to hate - but they have to have left a lasting one. I call it stickiness, and that's the kind of personality and program you have to have. JA: Just like all TV shows or big stars, personality and star power sets you apart from everyone else. I gave a Fit if I really saw that a trainer's method would speak to the masses or if they had a great personality and positive energy that would attract a lot of followers. If I felt like I would want to take a class with this person on my own time, they got a definite Fit from me! AC: For me, it was about the ability to inspire. Yes, they had to come in with a solid, unique program that engaged everyone. But they also had to have the ability to connect emotionally with their customers, and most importantly, create an enduring relationship through their brand so it wouldn't be short-lived. They had to be ready to not just create a brand, but be the brand.
Each of you (judges) has a different vantage point, due to your careers, coming into this. How did you each approach looking for the next fitness star? AC: The best contestants had a solid foundation to their workout, but also had a hook. It was based on a unique piece of equipment, branding their moves, or just rooted in their own culture and style. There was always an honesty - without that, things come off as just a gimmick without substance. BH: I've been in this industry for 20 years, so I'm really cracking the whip and working hard as an entity and a company. After being on The Biggest Loser, I've gotten some insight that I'd like to pass on to the contestants about certain things that need to be considered if you want to be a personality-driven brand. Working alongside Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper, who are two enormous brands, definitely had a huge impact on me. But coming into this, I'd say to remember that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. There are certain things I look for, basic things, and I want to see them done correctly over and over again - then it builds from there. JA: In my position as an editor, I was looking to see how the workouts or methods might translate to magazines in the form of a workout, or a new trend that readers might want to get on board with. But if a trainer had great star power and I could see them as the next Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper, that meant just as much to me. If a trainer can inspire or motivate, then he/she is likely to get a good following.
What do you think is the most important form of social media for stars to be on today? JA: Twitter is really powerful. It's a great way to send constant reminders to clients and followers about their method, class times and even give inspiring words of advice throughout the day. Plus, it's a great networking tool. AC: Twitter is a must, but combined with YouTube it has infinite potential. Workouts can be watched, shared and re-shared. Then the ability to use Twitter to build a community and provide continued reach keeps followers engaged. JA: YouTube is a great place to post your workouts to help spread your brand. Virtual training is a big trend moving forward, where people can find new workouts that they can do at home or while traveling. Justin Bieber was discovered that way, so why not you?
Any contestant you're really rooting for? BH: Team Wingate was great - super humble guys that were doing a lot for their community, and the stuff that they were doing was really amazing. I also really like Calisthenics Kingz AC: Andrea and I secretly love Jason Wimberly! Brian Ortiz is one Brooklyn Bada** to follow, but in Brooklyn the competition will be fierce against Team Wingate, who have my heart.
Alright, spill the dirt: got a funny behind-the-scenes story about your co-judges? JA: One funny thing that happened in between auditions (we saw hundreds of people!): when producers were prepping to send the next trainer in, we'd all whip out our cell phones to catch up on tweets, emails and post pictures. There were a few times the Fit or Flop team laughed at us because the second we were allowed, all three of us simultaneously whipped out our iPhones - it must have looked hilarious from the other side of the table! BH: One day I got to the set at 7:30 and we had some time before shooting, so I had to get in my workout. I literally strapped on my gear and just did a workout on top of this teeny little green screen set. Little did I know they filmed it and made fun of me, basically. But I got payback and made Allison and Andrea (the host) do a workout with me later that day - it was classic, the facial expressions! Allison would look at me like, "Really? Really?" I was like, "ABSOLUTELY!"
Now you tell us: What would you look for in the next hottest fitness star?