September 21, 2011 at 9:46 am , by Ladies' Lounge
The 12th season of The Biggest Loser kicked off last night, and we’re excited to announce that new trainer (and tennis pro!) Anna Kournikova will be recapping each episode exclusively for LHJ.com! Check back here every Wednesday for Anna’s take on the new “battle of the ages” season, which breaks up contestants into three groups: under age 30 with new celebrity trainer Dolvett Quince, age 50 and older with Anna, and between ages 30 and 50 with old favorite, Bob Harper. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, spoilers are ahead!
The Biggest Loser premiered last night and I’m so excited that it’s here and that we can finally start seeing the results from everyone’s hard work! For me, there was nothing like when I landed in the military helicopter and stood beside Dolvett and Bob. This was really happening! I’d appeared on an earlier season and wanted to join the show as a full-time trainer—now I’m finally able to share all of the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years as a professional athlete and apply it to the contestants on the show.
As soon as I saw that this year’s teams were divided by age, I knew it was going to be interesting. As the teams started running towards us, I wasn’t surprised to see the winning team head for Bob. He’s a known entity and obviously a fan favorite. Then the youngsters headed to Dolvett and I knew I had to run out to meet my team and encourage them to finish what they started. It also meant a lot on that first day when the other teams joined us in running to the finish line. It showed the power of the show and its contestants.
Once the pleasantries and introductions were over, it was time to get these contestants to the gym and start working with them to change their lives. Obviously I had to adjust my workout plans given the ages and physical ailments of my contestants. It was important to make sure that my team didn’t get any injuries early on in the season, so my strategy was slow and steady. We worked long hours but we didn’t dive into any crazy workouts that could potentially injure them and keep them out of the gym for any length of time. I needed them to burn calories and sweat, period.
We worked hard that first week to get their heart rates up and really show how tough you can be at any age. We also learned a lot about each other. To hear Bonnie talk about losing her husband and surviving Hurricane Katrina showed me that she is a woman who continues to be a survivor, for herself and her family. Then when Becky found out her dad had passed, we gathered around to support her and I was impressed by the determination she had upon her return.
In the gym, Debbie was probably the most challenging for me because she kept trying to get out of working out and I had to balance encouraging her with continuing to push my other team members. Then there was Johnny who kept wanting to quit and walk out. I was relieved when he came back into the gym because he has so much to work for—himself and his family, as we learned in the kitchen conversation where everyone opened up. I started tearing up because I realized what an important part of these people’s lives I can be, and how I can truly help them be around for their families for as long as possible.
During the weigh-in, when I told Alison that I was as nervous then and I was on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open, I wasn’t kidding. I wanted all of my team members to succeed. We started off so strong with Johnny but then when Bonnie only pulled 4 pounds, the reality set in and I hated seeing her so upset. In the end, we lost Debbie but I know she’s determined and I was proud of what she had already been able to accomplish at home.
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