The Biggest Loser is a transformative show if there ever was one. All of the sweating and squatting means big changes at the scale – but this show is about so much more than weight loss. Biggest Loser legend Bob Harper is back as host and you’ll still find him being a positive force in and out of the gym. Joining him are two new trainers, Steve Cook and Erica Lugo, who are going to take 12 new contestants through the most incredible weight-loss journey ever. (By the way, there will be a mud race this season.)
Things get real
There is no turning back after the contestants drive into the Biggest Loser ranch, and they wouldn't have it any other way. Everyone is wide-eyed and anxious as they pull into the place where dreams happen. “It’s beautiful and scary all at the same time,” said whiskey distillery tour guide and breast cancer survivor Kim Davis, whose son is her motivation to lose weight and live longer. Echoing that were some of the other contestants, including youth football coach Jim DiBattista, who only had to look once to say “It just got so real -- so real so quick.”
The 12 contestants meet Bob Harper, who is basically the unicorn of personal trainers. You can’t think of Biggest Loser without thinking of Bob. He gives them the rundown of what they will be facing. School counselor Phixavier “Phi” Holmes tells him to just make her sexy again (seriously, how can you not be Team Phi after that?). Bob takes the contestants to the state-of-the-art gym fueled by Planet Fitness and introduces them to their trainers. Erica Lugo, a weight-loss success story herself, will get the Red Team in shape while former bodybuilder Steve Cook will power up the Blue Team.
Before they call it a night, everyone has to face the scale. The scale. Seeing their starting weights proves to be scary.
The burn begins
Just in case you didn’t stare in awe the first time you saw the neon lights and shiny machines in the gym, you get more unreal views before the contestants nervously meet their trainers for their very first workout. Erica wants to start them on the treadmill and then level up to hub interval training. Phi reveals her biggest fear is pushing her heart rate to the brink, and suffers an emotional breakdown when she thinks of how the tragic death of her father pushed her into overeating.
Doubt and exhaustion soon take over. Some just don’t believe in themselves yet. Even former college football player Robert Richardson III, who was once scouted for the NFL, almost uses his knee injury as an out. Megan Hoffman, an operations director, admits she’s never been pushed this hard in her entire life.
Challenge: race you
Whether the contestants loved or loathed the mile run, they learn that running is cardio -- and cardio promotes heart health. Most can barely remember the last time they ran a mile, and Phi can’t even fathom it because she never has. The thing is that winning this challenge comes with a 6-pound advantage. No matter how daunting this might seem, a prize like that can save your entire team from the threat of elimination. Whoever is on the losing team and has the lowest percentage of weight loss will be going home.
For Phi, it’s a physical and mental fight. She’s not just up against the course but her personal trauma. Jim huffs and puffs up the hill while repeating the names of his three sons over and over to motivate himself. Katarina Bouton, a nurse who doesn’t want to be what she calls “the fat nurse” anymore, slows down but picks herself back up. Former high school athlete Micah Collum plows his way through the whole thing and snags the win.
Talk it out
Losing weight isn’t just a physical challenge. Bob sits down with the contestants and encourages them to take on what could be the most difficult challenge of them all, delving into the reasons that they turned to emotional eating to begin with. That can be scarier than weigh-ins. Because Bob knows the importance of overcoming these invisible drawbacks, he shares his own story about suffering a heart attack out of nowhere in 2017. It scarred him to the point that just the thought of raising his heart rate through exercise gave him panic attacks.
What frightened the contestants more were the test results from their physicals before the show, which showed everything from dangerously high body fat and cholesterol to type 2 diabetes. Told you Bob wasn’t going to be stepping back.
You can almost feel the pressure of the last chance workout, especially with the Red Team struggling to make up those 6 pounds they could have had on their side if they hadn’t lost the mile. Not that the Blue Team has it easy. The strain is raw and real, whether it gets sweated or screamed out.
The Blue Team is automatically in the lead at the weigh-in. That still doesn’t mean that the Red Team can’t sneak up from behind, because upsets have happened. Will that advantage be enough to carry them?