Jillian Michaels has returned to The Biggest Loser after a two-year hiatus and, let us tell you, motherhood—her partner gave birth to a boy in May and she adopted a 2-year-old girl from Haiti a week later—has not softened the infamous tough-love trainer. If anything, the petite five-foot-two powerhouse has come back fiercer than ever, ready to scare the fat off contestants!
The only ones who may be safe from her head-rearing wrath are the three teens—a first ever for the show in an effort to raise awareness about the country's childhood obesity epidemic. Lucky for Biingo, Lindsey, and Sunny, they can't be eliminated and will never have to deal with nerve-racking weigh-ins on camera.
Best of all, Michaels, who was heavyset in her youth, can relate to these kids' stresses and offers great advice from the get-go, telling them “Let's talk about the bad things you say to yourself and see if we can change that conversation." You can't help but wonder, would the adults appreciate this approach too, rather than hear her bark orders or offer harsh ultimatums? ("Door or workout?” she tempted one particularly weak and weepy contestant.)
RELATED: Check out Jillian Michaels' top advice for the new year (and no worries, she's not yelling).
But don't be fooled by her gotta-love-to-hate-her antics: Behind Jillian's fear-inducing strategy is a wise woman who knows exactly what she's doing. Sure, it may seem totally unreasonable to rip the heads off of her team as they drop like flies, passing out, puking, and crying after just 20 minutes on the treadmill. It comes off as even more extreme when juxtaposed to fellow feel-good trainer Bob Harper's friendly, almost cuddly plan. (When Gina, 47, freaked out during a workout, he pulled her aside for a heart-warming pep talk: "You are competent, strong, and smart,” he said.)
And then there's trainer Dolvett Quince, who joined the show in 2011 to replace Michaels and has stayed on to man a third team of contestants. Wearing his tight-fitting Nike tops that hug the contours of his well-defined body, Quince is exactly what you'd expect your coach to look like—and has a nice personality to boot.
Harper and Quince may sound like the kind of guys you want in your cut-me-down-to-size corner, but Michaels may be the one you need, as one contestant found out before leaving the ranch.
“I hated Jillian from day one and wished I had never had her as my trainer, but now that I'm leaving the ranch, I couldn't think of anybody else who'd be better for me,” said 31-year-old T.C., who was the first to get sent home after week one's weigh-in. “She showed me that I had to fight for myself."
The method to her madness is simple: Her goal is to get people, who are used to quitting on themselves, to stop and actually make a change, once and for all. But not everyone was ready to make this life-altering commitment.
It's easy to blame Micheals for Nikki, 26, deciding to leave the ranch rather than confront her demons. “Jillian got to her,” said 25-year-old Francelina, revealing the sentiment of most at the ranch.
But the truth is Nikki got to Nikki and Michaels was good enough at her job to call her on it. This kind of confrontation not only makes for good TV but is also the kind of stuff that makes you think—regardless of whether you need to lose weight, improve your diet, or just change your lifestyle for the better—when have you quit on yourself? And how badly do you want it?
Tune in to find out which one of this season's 15 contestants want it just bad enough every Monday on NBC at 8 p.m. EST.
Meet the Season 14 Contestants:
Dannielle "Danni" Allen (advertising account coordinator), 26, Wheeling, IL
Jackson Carter (volunteer coordinator for LGBT resource center and movie theater assistant manager), 21, Layton, UT
Nicole "Nikki" Davis (make-up artist), 26, Chatsworth, CA (quit)
Michael Dorsey (college professor and communications consultant), 34, Baltimore, MD
Pamela Geil (executive assistant), 43, New York, NY
David Jones (police officer), 51, Kiefer, OK
Cate Laughlan (student), 28, Ransomville, NY
Gina McDonald (attorney and law firm owner), 47, Hoover, AL
Nate Montgomery (financial advisor), 25, Colorado Springs, CO
Francelina Morillo (student and store manager), 25, Albany, NY
Jeff Nichols (pharmaceutical representative), 24, Monroe, MI
Joe Ostaszewski (senior sales executive), 43, Williston, FL
Thomas "TC" Pool (purchasing manager), 31, Albany, OR (eliminated)
Lisa Rambo (high school special education assistant), 37, Houlton, WI
Alexandra "Alex" Reid (legal assistant), 24, Carrollton, TX
Noah “Biingo” Gray, 13
Sanjana “Sunny” Chandrasekar, 16
Lindsey Bravo, 13