biggest Loser kounikova_quince Bobby

So here we are again, in the 12th season of NBC’s wildly successful weight loss “reality” show, The Biggest Loser, aka the proverbial thorn in my side.

As you probably know, last season two new trainers were added to the Loser lineup, Brett Hoebel – a career trainer and Cara Castronuova – a boxer/model-turned-trainer, to change things up and soften the blow from Jillian’s departure.

I wasn’t a fan of Brett and Cara, and needless to say, neither was America. The two newbies aren’t back this season, but instead, two more new faces appear alongside  Bob Harper.

And guess who they’ve hired? Yep, Anna Kournikova, the famous tennis player. Apparently the production team is going to keep hiring attractive female athletes with zero personal training experience to give the morbidly obese a chance at a new life. It’s ironic, as I have seen all of the casting calls from Biggest Loser producers, in which they clearly state they are looking for seasoned, experienced, career personal trainers that have proven track records of helping clients attain health and fitness goals. Explain to me how Anna’s experience fits that job description.

In addition, production company 3 Ball have also added celebrity trainer Dolvett Quince to the roster, and credit where it’s due, his resume is impressive. Dolvett is a real personal trainer with actual experience under his belt. I could care less which celebrities he’s trained, but at least we have another bona fide trainer on the show.

So what happened on last night’s premiere? I had planned on giving you a rundown on what transpired and actually took notes, but truthfully if you’ve seen one season of Biggest Loser, you know the drill. In classic Loser style, the first workout the contestants had was rough to say the least. And so were the workouts that followed – in typical Biggest Loser fashion the trainees were put through their paces.  We also saw crying, screaming, stories of tragedy and despair, people saying they want their life back, they’re doing this for their kids etc.

Frankly, Kournikova looked absolutely lost the entire episode, like a deer in the headlights. I actually felt bad for her, as she just looked stiff and uncomfortable. Clearly Anna has had no experience in training at all, and it really showed through in her inability to communicate and train her contestants. I honestly can’t believe they chose her, and if I were a contestant, I’d be really pissed off.

Mr. Quince on the other hand, played the villainous tough guy role left vacant by Jillian’s absence – almost too much though, as he puffed his chest, widened his eyes, and intimidated trainees into working out, by telling them “Don’t hold on to my treadmill, that’s my treadmill”. Dolvett is articulate and direct, but it didn’t feel genuine to me, instead his actions and phrases seemed faked and staged. I know Dolvett doesn’t talk to his celebrity clientele that way so why ‘act’ like this now. It’s obvious he’s trying too hard, at least that’s my opinion. Although he does have big shoes to fill.

And Bob, well, he’s Bob, what else can I say? It’s hard not to like him, and he’s a Biggest Loser fixture. When Bob goes, the show is over that’s for sure. That said I think it only took a few minutes before he dropped the F bomb on a contestant. Man, I hate the profanities – it just sounds so unprofessional. The usual Bob pep talks ensued and it’s obvious he’s been at this for a while. He’s knows just what to say and when. I like Bob.

You all know I’ve had mixed feelings on the Biggest Loser. But I will say it upsets me when a  32-pound weekly weight loss looks attainable and ‘labels’ a 4-pound loss as a failure. I think more explanation on the weight loss needs to be written in; perhaps by the show doc telling the  viewing public just how such a huge loss can happen. I know how it happens, but I’ve been a trainer for 20 years.

The truth is despite the show’s use of fancy military helicopters and Hummers in the intro, and a brand new state of the art gym, I found the show a bit stale this season. And at one point, and this is the truth, I actually said I miss Jillian! When I originally wrote my first Biggest Loser posting, I only knew of Jillian from what I saw on the show. However now I follow her on Twitter, check in on her Facebook page, and read some of her commentary in various publications, I’ve grown to like her a lot.  I’ll never like cursing at a training client as  part of the profession, but clearly Biggest Loser isn’t the same without her and what she did worked.

The last point I’d like to make is that this show needs a therapist on board, as part of the weight loss program. And it needs to be televised. When you have grown women and men crying, with low self-esteem, confidence and family issues, feeling like failures, and other psychological and emotional problems, therapy must be an active part of their success. Whether or not it’s healthy and reasonable to drop 100’s of pounds in 3 months is debatable, but it takes years of therapy to change a mindset and rebuild broken confidence. I know the show can help start that process for many people.

But what did you think? Do you like the new trainers? Do you think on air therapy should be part of the Biggest Loser? What else would you change. Start commenting.