The Biggest Loser

Anna Kournikova’s Biggest Loser Blog: Season Finale!

December 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm , by

It’s hard to believe this season of The Biggest Loser is over! The finale was such an incredible celebration of everything the contestants accomplished. With all of their friends and family in the audience, the atmosphere was absolutely electric. It was so much fun watching them strut their stuff across the stage. Everyone from my original blue team—Becky, Bonnie, Debbie, Coach Mike and Johnny—looked fantastic! Obviously, they had all been working hard at home. And a big congratulations goes out to John, who won with a 220 pound total weight loss! Even though Ramon wasn’t crowned the biggest loser, he and all of the other contestants are still walking away with a prize because they’ve learned how to live a healthy lifestyle. I am so proud of each and every one of them and it was truly an honor to be a part of their journeys.

Thank you to all of you wonderful Ladies’ Home Journal readers who have followed my blogs throughout the season. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.  Now let’s go into 2012 inspired and ready to take on the new year and new challenges!

Anna Kournikova’s Biggest Loser Blog: Episode 12

December 7, 2011 at 10:15 am , by

It’s the last episode before the season finale, and the final four contestants left the ranch to continue working on their weight loss at home. John, Antone, Becky and Vinny got to show off all of their hard work to everyone in their hometowns, and it was really touching watching everyone welcome them back. You could really see how much all of the contestants have changed, both inside and out. Hearing Becky say that she was determined to finish what she had started was amazing. She is a true fighter. It was funny to see Antone really put his time management skills to work when he used his kids as weights. And with so many of his health issues under control, Vinny proposed to his girlfriend!

Later, all of the contestants and trainers traveled back to the El Mirage desert for the final challenge of the season—the biggest loser marathon. The winner would get a guaranteed spot at the finale as a finalist! Seeing how far the eliminated players had come while they were on their own was great. I was especially proud of Joe, who has grown so much since that first mile walk. Even though Joe was pulled out of the marathon, he’s still a winner for beginning the journey to reclaim his health.

The race for first place between Ramon and Courtney was really close! But in the end, Ramon won the marathon and $25,000 from Walgreens. And just like that, he’s back in the competition to become the biggest loser of the season! After a very long day in the desert, I went out to meet my original blue team members, Johnny and Debbie, to finish the marathon with them. Just like in the first challenge, we crossed the finish line together! It’s truly incredible how much all of the contestants have accomplished in such a short amount of time. Running a marathon is just the beginning!

At the weigh-in, we got to see how much work the final four contestants did at home. Unfortunately, Becky and Vinny fell below the red line, but either of them could come back and be the winner of the at-home prize. The three finalists competing for the official title of the Biggest Loser will be Ramon, Antone and John. Tune in next week for the live finale to see who wins!

Anna Kournikova’s Biggest Loser Blog: Episode 11

November 30, 2011 at 10:00 am , by

This was the last week on the ranch for the contestants, and it was makeover week, so they would get new looks to complement their new bodies! But that also meant that I got very little time in the gym with Sunny, so we really had to maximize our time together.

We kicked things off with their final challenge where they had to “wear” all of the weight they’d lost so far. The winner would get a one-pound advantage on the scale, and I was really rooting for Sunny because after losing 75 pounds, she was one of the smallest people in the house. She came in third and it was amazing to see how emotional she got during the challenge. I could tell that she’s really determined to keep the weight off for a long time. And really, everyone was a winner for this challenge because they each got a year’s supply of Progresso soup and $5,000!

Makeover week officially started at the spa, where the contestants got pampered in true Hollywood style—Sunny got a facial done with 24 karat gold! It was fun watching them experience Beverly Hills at its best with celebrity stylist Jeannie Mai and celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves. They even got to walk the red carpet at the Kodak Theater. Seeing everyone with their families was really touching. It was like they were introducing their selves as completely new people.

I had the opportunity to meet Sunny’s husband, Blake, and talk to him about the routine he and Sunny will need to start after she leaves the ranch. It was important for her to tell him that she expected him to hold her accountable in the future. I think he’ll be a great support system for her—he already signed them up for a mixed doubles tennis league at home!

The last chance workout was the first time this week that I really got to spend time in the gym with Sunny. We did circuits and finished the workout on the tennis court. Sunny got emotional because she realized that after all of her hard work, she’ll finally be able to live the active life with her family that she’s always wanted.

At the weigh-in, Sunny’s goal was to be under the 200 pound mark. It was a big shock when she didn’t meet her goal and only lost one pound. She’d come such a long way and was an incredible student. I really had no words to explain such a small weight loss. Unfortunately, Sunny fell below the yellow line and was eliminated, but with her new-found confidence and strength, I have no doubt that Sunny will come back to the marathon and amaze everyone.

Tune in next week to see all 15 contestants return to compete in the marathon!

Anna Kournikova’s Biggest Loser Blog: Episode 10

November 23, 2011 at 11:11 am , by

It was Thanksgiving on the ranch! The blue team kicked off the week with a lot of momentum—at the last weigh-in, neither of my team members fell below the yellow line and Sunny was the biggest loser of the week!

Before we got to work, the contestants were faced with a temptation that most people can relate to—Thanksgiving dinner. The average American eats 4500 calories on Thanksgiving. It’s important to learn moderation, so I was glad that Sunny only ate one dish and Ramon limited himself to two. It showed me that they’re really embracing their new healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, neither of them won a challenge prize. Both of them would have a three-pound disadvantage at the next weigh-in, so our work was really cut out for us. At this point, both Sunny and Ramon knew how to work hard and eat right, so it was important for me to help them push even more in the gym. We worked out at the tennis court and it was incredible to see how much they have improved. They could actually rally with each other!

Bob, Dolvett and I decided to surprise the contestants by making healthy versions of their favorite holiday dishes for a Thanksgiving dinner. Going around the table and sharing what we were all thankful for was really special. It was nice to forget about the competition for a little bit and just enjoy each other’s company.

Judging by the contestants’ comments during the challenge, it was the hardest thing they’d faced on the ranch so far. Seeing the looks of sheer determination on Sunny and Ramon’s faces made me proud. They both gave everything they had and finished the challenge in second and third place. I was happy that Sunny won the six-month biggest loser meal plan and that Ramon also won $2,500, which I thought he truly deserved for pushing himself so hard in the challenge.

For the last chance workout, I had Sunny and Ramon do all of the exercises they were used to, but added resistance bands for a new challenge. Adding resistance to certain exercises is a great way to shake up a routine workout and take it up a notch!

At the weigh-in, it was great to see how happy Becky was when she lost five pounds. She was a completely different person than the woman I walked with on the first day in the desert. I was nervous about who John would pick for the one-pound disadvantage, and he chose Sunny, which was really devastating because she pushed herself all week. Unfortunately, because of the disadvantage, Sunny fell below the yellow line with Ramon. Ramon got eliminated, but he can go home with his head held high because he accomplished so much at the ranch and I know he will go far on his own. I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes at the marathon!

Anna Kournikova’s Biggest Loser Blog: Episode 9

November 16, 2011 at 11:11 am , by

It was a special week on the ranch because we introduced the yellow line at the weigh-in. From this point forward, the contestants would compete as singles, so my focus was on making sure that Sunny and Ramon were above the yellow line.

For the first time ever, the contestants competed in a biggest loser pentathlon. I wanted Sunny or Ramon to win because there was a huge prize at stake—immunity at the next elimination! It was fun watching the contestants compete in all of the activities, and my blue team members were definitely at home on the tennis court for the first challenge. I couldn’t believe Becky missed the math question in the nutrition challenge because she’s a teacher! I bet she’ll never forget that you have to cut out 500 calories a week to lose one pound.

Going into the last chance workout I was really happy because Sunny was in first place in the pentathlon. But at the same time I was nervous because Ramon was in last place. He knew he was going to have to work harder than everyone else to make sure that he wouldn’t get the one pound disadvantage at the weigh-in.

Eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno stopped by the ranch this week to motivate the contestants through the final pentathlon event—a one-mile run. It was incredible to see how far the contestants have come in such a short time. The first week, Ramon could barely walk one mile, and now he was able to run the race in under ten minutes! It was also great when everyone walked with Bonnie to make sure that she crossed the finish line. Despite all of the competition, the number one goal is to make sure that everyone gets healthy.

When the rankings were finalized at the weigh-in, Sunny moved to second place and Ramon was no longer in last place. Sunny lost 9 pounds, which was a great reflection of all of her hard work. Her body was finally accepting her new lifestyle. And Ramon lost more than he needed to be above the yellow line, so the blue team would be safe for another week! Bonnie volunteered to go home, but she has such a supportive family that I have no doubt she will come back for the marathon stronger than ever.

Anna Kournikova’s Biggest Loser Blog: Episode 8

November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am , by

Going into this week, my team was split. We won last week’s weigh-in, but Joe and Sunny voted to send Ramone’s girlfriend, Jessica, home. I was worried they wouldn’t be focused, so we needed to forget about the past and focus on the present task—getting back to work and being a strong team.

On the way to the first workout, Alison stopped Bob, Dolvett and I to tell us the twist for the week­­. For the first time ever, the trainers would get to choose one player whose weight would count for the entire team at the weigh-in. The decision was ours to make, and the three of us definitely felt the pressure.

During the first workout Sunny wasn’t feeling well, but I wanted to make sure she still pushed through to the end. After such a great weigh-in last week, I knew this week wouldn’t be easy. I tried to reinforce to her that everyone is allowed to have bad days, but it’s what you do with those days that matter most. I kept a close eye on her that day and tried to give her a lot of positive reinforcement.

I got to participate in a fun cooking challenge with my team this week. We had to make a healthy and tasty dish that would be judged by Olivia Ward, the winner of season 11, and Devin Alexander, author of The Biggest Loser Quick and Easy Cookbook. Having Olivia at the challenge really motivated my team because she’s proof that the weight loss can be maintained after you leave the ranch. I really wanted us to win so my team could get the one-pound advantage, and as an added bonus, our recipe would be published! The hardest part of the challenge was making the dish before time ran out, and even though we didn’t win, this challenge definitely brought the blue team closer. Read more

Anna Kournikova’s Biggest Loser Blog: Episode 7

November 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm , by

We kicked off this week just like the first week on the ranch—the contestants competed to pick their new trainers and create new teams. It was pretty clear that a lot of them were a little comfortable with their routines and trainers, so some of them weren’t really eager to mix things up.

It was fun watching the contestants compete in the nutrition challenge to decide their new trainers. I couldn’t believe some of their eating habits before they came on the ranch. Ramone used to eat 12 tacos in one sitting! Seeing them admit that their old choices weren’t necessarily the best options showed me that they really have been listening to our advice about living a healthier life. And by the end of the challenge, I had a new blue team—Sunny, Joe and Ramone.

I knew Ramone was still upset from the weigh-in last week, and I quickly learned that Joe was very dependent on Bob. So before we even hit the gym, I decided to have a team meeting. They needed to understand that even though the trainers are helping them on their journey at the ranch, it’s the contestants who are really accomplishing the amazing things, and they need to take responsibility for their own goals and successes. I knew the week was going to be hard for everybody, myself included. But my goal was to push Joe, Sunny and Ramone harder than they had ever been pushed before.

In the first workout, my focus was on making sure that the new blue team came together as a mentally and physically strong unit. I wanted to prove to them that even though we didn’t start as a team, I was completely committed to them. Change is never easy, but it’s bound to happen, and the gym is an amazing place to work through the frustration of uncertainty. Read more