Executive producer Mark Koops of Biggest Loser calls his trainers, Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels, the “two best trainers in the world.” Few would argue, especially the 100-plus contestants who count themselves amongst the fortunate few who’ve trained with them in America’s most famous gym.
We had a chance to visit with Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels as they prepare for the September 15 premiere of Biggest Loser 8. While filming has wrapped, or is close to it, they’re able to reflect on what is about to be the newest Biggest Loser season.
Listen to a portion of the interview now, and then continue reading to hear more from Bob and Jillian.
The theme for Biggest Loser 8 is “second chances,” and they’ve given 16 people who, in Jillian’s words have been to “hell and back,” the opportunity to turn their tragedies into triumphs. The most striking may be contestants Abby Rike, a teacher from Texas who lost her husband and both young children in a car accident, and Daniel Wright, returning to campus from season 7 and continuing to persevere through his weight battles.
“Every human being has been through tragedy,” remarks Jillian. She explains that we each have the option to see that as an entry point for learning, to find the alchemy that turns lead to gold, or we can “crumble, give up and waste our lives.” It’s clear that this season’s class of Biggest Loser contestants won’t stop until they find that gold.
Another difference this season is that we will see contestants training as singles, not as teams, which is a throwback to the original format of the show. The trainers both enjoy it because it allows them to work with one another and provide each contestant a more hands-on experience. By dual training they can not only rely on one another, rather than competing against, but also give personal attention to each contestant as they work through their unique issues.
“You’ll see our two forces join together and I really think there’s magic there,” says Bob.
Bob explains that the mental aspect of training is as important if not more so than the physical aspect. He says contestants arrive expecting it to be all about diet and exercise, while he and Jillian work to “get to the ‘why’ as opposed to the ‘how’.”
Last season, Jillian announced she was considering leaving the show. Part of the reason she stayed, Bob suggested, was because he’d kill her if she didn’t! She seems much more at ease this season and as if she’s once again found her place on the ranch and with the contestants.
When asked the biggest changes they’ve seen in themselves during the progression of the past seven seasons, Bob replied “The body wants to be healthy… trust the process … you really do make lasting changes,” and that he realizes this every time the contestants’ final health reports come back and he sees what he and Jillian have accomplished.
It’s a reminder to everyone at home that your body does want it, you just have to trust that the changes will come, and if you work for it, they will stay.
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September 1st, 2009