After nine seasons on The Biggest Loser (the tenth is currently shooting with NBC executives taking audition tapes for the eleventh), trainer extraordinaire Bob Harper-- who has managed an impressive track record not only of amount of pounds lost by his team but also for only losing his cool on one-- has seen just about everything. From kids barely out of high school being told they probably won't live to see their thirties to grandfathers on whom others may have just given up, he has worked with those who need a drastic overhaul of their lifestyle. He affects eating habits, exercise regimes, and overall frames of minds.
"I just think that none of them surprise me," he shared with My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture when discussing the tenth season of the weight loss reality show. "In this day and age we all know how to lose weight; it's just putting it into our daily routine. That's why Loser has become such a phenomenon. You get to tune in every single week and see people who are struggling just like you're struggling at home. And that never gets old. You get someone who comes in and says 'I thought I knew how to eat, but I really don't' and still tries to follow these guidelines for something that never really worked for them."
But on The Biggest Loser, Harper does work with some extremes. After all, most people can't take six months (or even six days!) off to devote time and energy to nothing but losing weight and getting healthy. Real lives, jobs, relationships, and unfortunately money often get in the way. Also, The Biggest Loser is all about the "wow factor," so its contestants need to start out super big in order for viewers to see drastic results almost immediately. But even those who have smaller amounts (twenty or forty pounds) to lose often find themselves inspired by this show and what everyone is doing right in front of them, and in front of the nation.
Harper admitted that having more weight to lose means the pounds will come off easier in the beginning so there is less chance of getting frustrated from not seeing results. He pointed out that the key is not giving up and remembering that it's a lifestyle change because "when you're working with someone who needs to lose smaller numbers, it means really having to set a schedule-- making sure you get your workouts in, making sure you really watch everything you put in. It becomes so much harder when you have less weight to lose."
But it's also hard to lose a great deal of weight and maintain keeping it off. The obvious case in point is season three winner Erik Chopin who gained it all back and was challenged by Harper to lose it again and for good. "He did get really thin for [his] finale, and now he's managing, and that's what it's about," Harper explained. "It's not about reaching a goal and 'Great!' Everything becomes hard, and Erik was the poster child for that because he lost all this weight and realized 'Wait a minute, I have to do all of these things to keep it off.' And it becomes monotonous; it becomes boring; it becomes a pain in the ass! We all feel that!"
Season ten of The Biggest Loser will still feature those who have to drop half their body weight to be considered healthy, but just like recent seasons that preceded it, Harper shared that there is something of a "twist." This season it's all about paying it forward," he said. "Jillian and I traveled around the country, and we're picking up contestants from different cities, and they're fighting their way on [the ranch]. And when they get on, they hopefully will have inspired their cities to follow along in their weight loss and hopefully lose some weight, too. We're really trying to get not only these contestants to lose weight but our viewers more and more."
Harper also mentioned working with a kid named Max who was over four hundred pounds at age seventeen. If you remember The Biggest Loser: Couples second season (seventh season over all), Ron and Mike Morelli had a family member (Ron's son/Mike's younger brother) named Max who fit that bill. Inspired by what his family accomplished on the show, he began losing weight on his own at home, with Harper promising to be there should he need some guidance along the way. But as Harper points out, it's not easy to lose weight on your own, so perhaps he needed the extra push and came on the show as one of the season ten contestants? My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture will definitely be tuning in to find out!
You can follow Harper on Twitter where he stays in touch with fans, as well as former contestants and often Tweets photos from the set.