The Biggest Loser Is Coming Back to TV—and It's Going to Be Totally Different
Rather than focusing only on the number on the scale, the show will prioritize overall health and wellness.
The Biggest Loser became one of the most successful weight-loss shows of all time since first airing in 2004. After a whopping 17 seasons, the show took a three-year hiatus. But it's now set to return to USA Network on January 28, 2020, with a 10-episode season featuring 12 contestants.
For those familiar with the show, the new season is expected to be quite different than what you've seen before. Rather than highlighting only how much weight contestants can lose, the revamped Biggest Loser will focus on overall health and wellness, USA & SyFy Networks President, Chris McCumber told People in May of last year.
"We're re-imagining The Biggest Loser for today's audiences, providing a new holistic, 360-degree look at wellness, while retaining the franchise's competition format and legendary jaw-dropping moments," McCumber said in a statement at the time.
The revamped version of The Biggest Loser will also feature a "dynamic new team of experts," according to a press release. A recent trailer for the show reveals that that team will include OG Biggest Loser trainer, Bob Harper. "We're doing something different," Harper is heard saying in the trailer. "These are 12 people who have struggled with weight their entire lives and are desperate to make a change. They want to get healthier. They want to change their lives." (Related: How Jen Widerstrom from 'The Biggest Loser' Crushes Her Goals)
For a while, it wasn't clear if Harper would return to the show, especially since his shocking heart attack back in 2017. Despite being the picture of good health, the fitness guru wasn't able to escape his predisposition to the cardiovascular problems that run in his family—something he's continued to be vocal about on social media. (See: How Bob Harper's Fitness Philosophy Has Changed Since His Heart Attack)
Now, Harper hopes his journey back to health will give him a newfound perspective as he returns to The Biggest Loser, he shared in the trailer. "After my heart attack, I was starting back at square one," he said. "True change happens when a situation drives you over the edge."
Harper will be joined on the show by two new trainers: Erica Lugo and Steve Cook. Together, the three trainers will work with contestants not just in the gym, but also during team challenges, and even in group therapy, as shown in the trailer. Participants will also be paired with chefs and life coaches as they work toward establishing a well-rounded healthy lifestyle, according to the show's press release.
"This is not just physical fitness, this is mental fitness," Lugo tells the contestants in the show's trailer. "This is a competition to lose weight. But this is also a competition to change your life." (Related: How I Learned My Weight-Loss Journey Wasn't Over Even After Losing 170 Pounds)
For those who aren't familiar with Lugo, the mom and trainer spent years struggling with her weight. She's inspired thousands of people on social media with her 150-pound weight loss journey, which involved making small changes that ultimately delivered big results.
Cook, on the other hand, is a longtime trainer and fitness model whose mission is to prove that the Biggest Loser isn't about perfection, but rather passion, effort, and "getting crystal-clear on what you want your life to look like," he says in the trailer.
Throughout its 12-year run on NBC, The Biggest Loser saw its fair share of controversy. In 2016, The New York Times published a long-term study of 14 Season 8 contestants, which showed that extreme weight loss, when done in such a short amount of time, could be too good to be true in the long run.
Researchers found that six years after being on the show, 13 out of 14 contestants regained weight, and four weighed even more than they did before participating in The Biggest Loser.
Why? Turns out, it was all about metabolism. The contestants' resting metabolism (how many calories they burned while at rest) was normal before starting the show, but it had slowed significantly by the end, according to the Times. This meant their bodies weren't burning enough calories to maintain their smaller size, which led to their eventual weight gain. (Related: How to Increase Your Metabolism By Boosting Your Mood)
Now that The Biggest Loser is shifting its focus to a more holistically healthy weight-loss experience, there's a chance this type of relapse can be prevented. It also helps that after the contestants leave the show, they'll be given resources to help them sustain their new healthy lifestyles, Harper recently told People. Regardless of whether they win or lose, each Biggest Loser contestant will be given a free membership to Planet Fitness, access to a nutritionist, and will get set up with a support group in their hometown, explained Harper.
Of course, only time will tell if this new approach will truly deliver long-term, sustainable results.