Written on September 11, 2014 at 8:05 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
Season 16 “Glory Days” premiers tonight on NBC, and you can expect to see some all-around major changes, like the fact that there will be four trainers—two of them are brand new and replacing Jillian Michaels—and all of the contestants are former athletes.
Jessie Pavelka and Jennifer Widerstrom—along with return trainers Dolvett Quince and Bob Harper—will work their magic with 20 different contestants, including former NFL stars Damien Woody and Scott Mitchell.
“These guys have been kind of challenged to the max. So they can take heavy loads of exercises. They can take big moves, and as a trainer it makes it exciting,” Pavelka says. “Obviously they’ve been pushed. Yeah, they have a big issue with weight and a big issue with food, but they can still move well.”
Some of the moves you can expect to see: core exercises, balance and stability training, boxing, weight-training, plyometrics and running. If there’s a particular exercise someone hates, expect to see that contestant doing lots of it. “There’s a lot of empowerment that comes with facing things that are a struggle for you, and that’s what I like to do,” Widerstrom says. There will be lots of dynamic movements, which help to get the brain behind the muscle—super important for anyone physically working their bodies in new ways. “I connect them to the movement. I connect them to the joy of why that inertia in their body is important,” she says.
But the most exciting change with this season? The passionate energy.
“The weight-loss part of this is great, but listen to the words that the contestants using,” Pavelka says. “Listen to the way that they carry themselves—their confidence. Those are the things that I think will stand out even more than the weight loss this season.”
Still not convinced?
“It’s like not even the same TV show,” Widerstrom says. “I really get to connect with people and help share their stories and hopefully inspire people that are at home struggling with similar things.”
Follow the contestants’ journeys every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST on NBC. And in the meantime, check out the changes host Alison Sweeney is making in her personal and professional life.
Photos courtesy of NBC
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Written on February 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm , by Guest Blogger
Written by Olivia Ward
Sitting in the audience during NBC’s live The Biggest Loser finale is one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in my life…and I’ve done it four times. Not to mention I’ve actually had the awesome experience of being on stage and winning season 11. So to say, “It’s not my first rodeo” is probably an understatement. Having been involved with the show for many years, I feel like I’ve seen it all…until recently. Of course, you know I’m talking about the live Season 15 finale, where 24-year-old Rachel Frederickson was crowned the winner at 105 pounds.
I will admit that when she walked out for the first time that night, there was a huge collective gasp from the audience. It was as if all of the oxygen had been sucked out of the room in a single moment, and it wasn’t because everyone loved her dress (although it was stunning). I think, more than anything, nobody thought it was possible to see a contestant get that small. Having been an avid Loser viewer for years, I always expect people to have huge transformations, but this was very different.
My first thought: What happened? Having been through the same experience, I knew Rachel would be small in the end. We both started the show weighing around 260 pounds, and we both left the ranch – as a part of the final four – around 150 pounds. I ended my journey on The Biggest Loser at 132 pounds, which at five-foot-ten, was really, really small. But I was fully aware of that, and I’ll be the first to admit that I never expected to stay at such a low weight for long. Instead, I viewed it as my “prize fighting” weight. Why? I was training (and eating) for 8 to 10 hours a day, every day, for the seven weeks that led to my finale. I was essentially treating the finale like my job, and I was a professional athlete. It wasn’t meant to be sustained for the rest of my life. It was a conscious adult choice I made because I was in a game, and I wanted to win.
Now, back to Rachel. First of all, I personally have never spoken to her (although I can’t wait to meet her one day), but I do have a level of understanding that most don’t. I’ve stood on that scale and I’ve worn the weigh-in tank top. I know what kind of outside pressure you feel at the end to win, along with the self-induced pressure of wanting to win so badly yourself. To train day in and day out like an athlete, you have to have tunnel vision and be extremely focused – clearly, those are things Rachel is extremely familiar with. So if you want my opinion, I think that when it came down to making a choice to really widen the gap between her and the other competitors, she did. By 10 percent. And therein lies the rub. The gap never had to be that big. Now, I’m not shunning her – or defending her – but as someone who’s faced the same situation, I can confidently say that I wouldn’t (and didn’t) make the same decision Rachel did.
Written on January 24, 2014 at 9:32 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
There’s no stopping Jillian Michaels in 2014. She’s prepping for the second leg of her Maximize Your Life motivational tour, working on a new project that could get her into the food market and launched her new partnership with Curves, the international fitness franchise focused on women. Last week I had the pleasure (yes, pleasure) of getting my booty kicked when previewing the new workout program with Michaels herself, and I ended up learning a little more about one of our most beloved trainers in the process.
Michaels’ partnership with Curves is the first time she’s been available in a brick-and-mortar gym. We know—crazy, right? From those at-home workout DVDs to episodes of The Biggest Loser, Michaels is coming to you in the gym. Now any woman training in one of the 3,000 Curves locations nationwide can see her on screen daily when sweating through her high-intensity circuit training workout. “It gives me access to thousands and thousands of women where I can literally affect a change in an environment I have yet to be in, which is really exciting,” says Michaels. “It’s everywhere, it’s affordable, there’s a coach there, it’s 30 minutes. It’s got all those factors, which is not an easy thing to do.”
The “trainer save” on the current season of The Biggest Loser was her idea. Quite a few changes have graced the famous weight loss reality show this season, from shortening episode airtime to one hour to removing the “yellow line” from the elimination process. But the “trainer save,” which allows each trainer to save one contestant from elimination, came from Michaels herself, and she shakes her head at how it turned out. “None of us got to use that thing the right way,” she says. “We all used it the first time; none of us had the ability to hold out and say no.” But she is hopeful about its potentially strategic role next season!
She tells her daughter kale helps Katy Perry “roar” so she’ll eat her veggies. The trainer admits that it’s probably not the best parenting method, but when her 3-year-old daughter isn’t cooperating with Michaels’ healthy eating requests, she turns to pop stars’ supposed habits for reinforcement. Since Lukensia loves Katy Perry and insists on listening to “Roar” constantly, she tells her, “She roars better with kale!” Seems like a pretty harmless—and successful—way to get a little girl to eat her greens, if you ask us.
Her weekly podcast is a must-listen for healthy living tips—and hilarious entertainment. If you want to add an extra dose of Michaels to your week without getting your booty kicked, pop in those ear buds and listen to The Jillian Michaels Show podcast. From “snappy fitness segments” to chats with callers as the self-proclaimed “Love Doctor” to tales of her latest parenting adventures, you’ll get to know Michaels on an entirely new level and appreciate her down-to-earth personality. Trust us, you’ll be laughing out loud at her and co-host Janice’s weekly antics.
She thinks every woman should have permission to be selfish. When we asked for a bit of motivational advice for FITNESS readers, she didn’t so much as hesitate to tell us to simply be awesome. “No one ever gives women the permission to just be awesome,” she says. “Be selfish, focus on you, don’t dumb yourself down for anybody else’s benefit, and go after your goals and your dreams. With no shame and no guilt, go out there and conquer the world.” If that doesn’t ignite a spark in you, we don’t know what will.
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Written on October 29, 2013 at 10:09 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Michelle Bridges means business. In addition to appearing on television and authoring eight health and fitness books, The Biggest Loser: Australia star trainer has helped people across the globe lose a collective 1.6 million pounds with her online weight loss program 12 Week Body Transformation. With the program’s United States launch approaching in January 2014, we just had to try this Aussie’s at-home workout. The FITNESS verdict? Two thumbs up.
We met up with Bridges during her recent visit to New York City for a fat-blasting, 30-minute interval-training session, and man did we break a sweat! Her one-step-at-a-time weight loss strategy resonated in her workout design, which broke the routine down into 5-minute intervals. Within each interval, we pushed through 10 different exercises for 30 seconds at a time, earning one minute of much-needed rest before starting again.
Incorporating cardio and total body strength-training moves, the workout utilized pure bodyweight training to target every single muscle. The intervals also alternated the dominant muscle groups every 30 seconds to keep the body strong and balanced. Bridges combined old-school moves in inventive ways, like plank jack pushups and reverse lunge front snap kicks. And as if burpees weren’t already challenging enough, she had us lift and hold alternating arms and legs during the plank portion. Oh yeah, we felt the burn.
Tough moves aside, the format of the workout made time fly by. With only a few repeating moves, the routine required constant focus and kept the body guessing. And as the body fatigued, it felt far easier to dedicate 100 percent effort to an exercise when we knew it was only for half a minute. The mini goal design not only feels more doable, but also achieves a more effective workout. As far as at-home workouts go, Michelle Bridges knows how to help you make the most of little time and persevere through the pain.
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Written on October 7, 2013 at 9:46 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by editorial intern Gabriella Rello
Danni Allen proves it’s not so bad to be a loser. The season 14 winner of NBC’s The Biggest Loser shed an incredible 121 pounds during her 12-week stay on the show and gained something much greater in the process: a bright future. “It was about winning a life that I never knew I could possibly have,” Allen says. A new life that includes half-marathons, triathlons and daily 10Ks. What’s next for the Loser-alum? Running her first 26.2 before her 26th birthday! We caught up with the speedy long-distance runner and chatted training. Here’s what she had to say:
What was your biggest motivation to lose weight?
The biggest thing for me was when my dad got sick in February of last year. He was actually rushed to the hospital and I get the call that no daughter wants to hear that says, “Bring the whole family in.” In my head, I was like, “If I keep following in his footsteps, that is going to be me at 50.” A miracle happened and he’s okay, but that was my “Aha” moment that I needed to change.
You’re running in the Chicago Marathon on October 13–was this always a long-term goal of yours?
Goodness, no! Before The Biggest Loser I thought running was stupid. I was like, “Who would do this? My knees hurt, my legs hurt; I can’t breathe!” When I got on the show, I knew I needed a goal beyond the finale. I told myself, “If you find something you love, then continue with it.” Running was one of the first things I found I loved, so I really wanted to follow through. In past seasons they’ve always run marathons. Our season didn’t get to because we were so short. I felt short-changed! I’m running with St. Jude now. It was really fun to start doing that.
How are you training for the race?
I’ve had to be pretty strict with it. It’s all about getting your miles in. If you talk to anyone who’s training for a marathon, they have one long run a week. My trainer wanted me to learn how to run on dead legs, so whatever my long run is, I’m running half of it the day before. On Sunday I ran 20 miles, so on Saturday I ran 10. I have an awesome running partner, too, and we turn our long runs into our gossip time. We won’t talk all week and then we’ll get it all out on the road. She’s turning 40 next year and her goal was to run a marathon before her birthday. Mine was to run my 26 at 26.
How do you get yourself excited for races?
I have two pump up songs: “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys and “My Songs Knows What You Did In The Dark” by Fall Out Boy. I just get into it and my head starts banging.
Written on June 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Ever dream about hanging with a celebrity trainer every week while you get your sweat on? Now you can – just head to Flywheel Sports and look for Brett Hoebel on the schedule (you watched – in awe, we’re sure – his capoeira skills on season 11 of The Biggest Loser). He’ll be teaching at their Los Angeles studios, and making guest appearances in New York City. We scored seats in his debut ride at Flywheel’s Flatiron studio, and couldn’t stop raving about his crazy beats on our walk back to the office. But you know we’re not the type of girls to keep those tunes all to ourselves, so of course we nabbed the playlist before we left. Now get on a bike, blast each song and prepare for a serious dose of sweat.
Written on May 28, 2013 at 10:04 am , by Samantha Shelton
If you’re looking for a charismatic personal trainer who knows how to turn into a drill sergeant the second it’s time to work, look no further than Dolvett Quince. He makes up one-third of the trainer team on hit reality show The Biggest Loser, and now that we’ve met the man, we see why so many of the contestants love him. In NYC to promote Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles, Quince put us through a quickie circuit full of step-ups, squats and burpees, convincing us to keep pushing with his mega-watt smile shining after every set. We chatted with him in between gulps of water afterward to find out his favorite part of being on Loser.
Why did you choose the moves that you did for us in this workout?
Everything that I do is a combination movement. I love combinations. Why? Because I don’t have a lot of time. Most people that I train don’t have a lot of time. So what can I do to work the glutes, the legs, the shoulders and the core all at the same time? Do more than one movement in more than one way.
Do you like to do a lot of workouts just using body weight?
I love weights personally. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have them in their homes or offices. I like to show people they don’t need a gym or weights to get in a great workout. You can still do amazing things using just your body weight.
What are some of your favorite workouts personally?
The combination movements. I’m a huge fan of squats, lunges, core stuff, chest. I love doing both cardio and strength training every time I workout. Commit the same time frame – 10 minutes here, 8 minutes there – to maximize my time; maximize my results.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Ever wonder what goes on behind-the-scenes in Hollywood, where celebs strut their stuff and their publicists work tirelessly to make sure they look good? If so, then we recommend picking up The Star Attraction by Alison Sweeney. Available now, the first fiction novel from the host of The Biggest Loser takes us into the world of Sophie Atwater, one of the best publicists in Los Angeles. She loves her boyfriend, Jacob, her job and the thrill of working with the stars. But when hottie actor Billy Fox (think Ryan Gosling-level here, ladies) becomes a client, Sophie’s life quickly spirals out of control as sparks fly and she starts to fall for a client for the first time.
We breezed through this story in a few days, making it a great choice for devouring while lounging poolside or at the beach. Just don’t forget the sunscreen because you might get sucked into the story and lose all track of time. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
And if you want to know what compelled Sweeney to pen her first piece of fiction, we’ve got you covered there, too. We sat down with the actress and author to find out whether the scenes she created come from experience, and if we can expect a sequel sometime soon.
What made you want to dive into fiction writing?
I love to read. I gobble books up left, right and sideways. But I also love telling stories. And being apart of Days of Our Lives for 20 years has given me a million stories to tell. I’m so grateful for that. But you know, sometimes it doesn’t go the way I would want it to go as a fan. I wanted to write something that had the ending that I wanted it to have. It was so fun to get sucked into this girl’s life and tell her story.
You’ve said you read all of the time. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Well, my favorite author alive today is Jodi Picoult.
Yes, it was amazing! I did this book club on Twitter and Facebook and we read it right when it came out. It was amazing. She’s so inspiring and I just love her controversial topics. She’s amazing.
OK, back to your book. Sophie seems like she’s at a very different point in her life than where you are. Did you relate to her at all, or did you pull from your own experiences when creating her character?
Oh yeah, there’s a lot of her that’s in me, and vice versa. I think that her story is so interesting to me because she is growing and learning and finding herself, and that’s such a great thing for people to see and relate to. And the steamy, fun, romantic stuff – all the red carpet gossip – it’s all stuff I’ve seen in Hollywood, been a part of or witnessed, so it was fun to pull the curtain back a little bit.
Written on February 21, 2013 at 10:22 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Don’t be fooled by Brett Hoebel’s new 20-Minute Body workout. It may be quick, but this high-intensity routine is no joke. As the Fit or Flop judge and Biggest Loser’s Season 11 trainer recently tweeted, “We can not become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” Brett’s routine reflects just that, challenging every muscle group with the Brazilian art form of Capoeira. The fluid technique, rooted by movements invented by African slaves to mask self-defense training, shreds and sculpts for a long, lean look.
We recently got a taste of the speedy (but efficient) cardio-kickboxing session with Brett and trust us when we say our buns have never hurt so good after all of the executed squats, lunges, dance and martial art moves! The best part? All you need is a 4’-by-4’ space and your own bodyweight.
To get the blood pumping, Brett started off by leading us through a cardio series full of crosses, jabs, upper cuts, sidekicks and a bit of fancy footwork. Just when we thought we knew what was coming next, Brett asked the burning (literally!) question, “What time is it?” Throwing our hands in the air, we echoed enthusiastically in unison, “Bootytime!” before getting low for 60-second rounds of pulsing squats. Our glutes thanked us later…
A circuit with four sets of minute-long explosive isometrics came next, featuring low runner’s lunge-squat combos, crossover walking planks, jump squats and abs. Brett upped the difficulty each round, adding a “shake ‘n bake” shimmy/kick to the ab roll-ups and a mountain climber variation to the planks. Wobbly legs didn’t hold us back from giving Brett our all. His own beading sweat and encouragement helped us finish strong!
Brett’s new routine is expected for release soon with a soft launch of classes offered through March at 24 Hour Fitness locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. Until then, be sure to check out his other programs, RevAbs and reVamp, for a revolutionary total body tone.
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Written on May 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm , by Jenna Autuori
Usually I give you all a sneak peek into the trainers’ lives who create our popular Express workouts, however, this man really needs no introduction. But so many things are happening for our favorite TV and all-time trainer, Bob Harper, that I had to fill you in on some of his latest projects!
Bob’s first book, The Skinny Rules, was released this month (it’s already a New York Times bestseller!), he’s got a line of supplements called Smart Success on the market, and his new interactive website, BobHarper.com powered by Watch It Now Entertainment, is a totally cool online fitness club that anyone can be a part of. The website is the closest you’ll get to working out with Bob himself, without taking a trip to the ranch. You’ll also get daily videos of Bob leading workouts, giving cooking demos and providing you with motivational tips so you’re inspired to stay on track. Plus, the thinking is done for you—get new workouts to try everyday, three circuit exercises to incorporate into your routine each week and a group fitness class to join to get your social fix from. Of course, you’ll find a place to track your weight-loss progress, food journal and workouts as well as chat with other members (and other Bob-fanatics too). It’s only $9.95 a month, and compared to other weight-loss clubs, this one is truly a deal. And let’s be serious, part of the reason we couch-potato it up every Tuesday night is to see Bob make others sweat on national TV, so why not indulge every single day?
Check out my one-on-one with our beloved renaissance man, Bob Harper and see what he had to say about our 20th anniversary issue!
I love that Ben Ward, husband to Olivia Ward season 11 winner of The Biggest Loser, was part of the reason you were inspired you to write your book, The Skinny Rules. He said he followed you on Twitter and from that guidance he was able to lose 100 pounds before Olivia came home. That’s amazing! [Check out Bob's article "Eat What I Tweet!" HERE.] Do you have one rule that you make sure you never break to stay in shape?
I wanted to give people what I have been doing with my contestants on The Biggest Loser for a long time and that is a set of rules that they could live by that was going to give them the results that they wanted. I think the number one rule that you make sure you never break is to NOT DRINK YOUR CALORIES. All those sugary sodas, coffee drinks, and smoothies add up to a lot of calories and sugar. I would rather eat all my calories.