Big changes are coming to The Biggest Loser! New trainers Jessie Pavelka and Jennifer Widerstrom stopped by Us Weekly‘s New York City office ahead of the NBC show’s season 16 premiere on Sept. 11, and dished to Us about their fitness philosophies, the contestants, and how this go-round is different from any other in Biggest Loser history.
For one thing, they explained, all the contestants on this season — titled The Biggest Loser: Glory Days — are former athletes looking to reclaim some of their past athleticism and fitness. Among the group are ex-NFL players Scott Mitchell and Damien Woody, Olympic gold medal-winning tennis player Zina Garrison, and WNBA alum Vanessa Hayden.
“We’re looking at people that are very coachable,” Widerstrom told Us. “They’re picking up the cues very quickly.” Added Pavelka: “The first workout is insane.”
That said, both trainers — who replaced former BL star Jillian Michaels — have had to be flexible with their programs. “It is custom to each person,” Widerstrom noted. “I really need to uniquely find what formula works with each contestant on the inside and the outside.”
Pavelka agreed. “It isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach,” he told Us. “You have to look at the individual. What does this person need?”
Time will tell how successful each contestant is, but the season ahead should be an interesting one regardless. “They’ve kept us on our toes,” Widerstrom quipped, noting the athletes’ big personalities. “You kinda see the swagger come out in them,” she said. “You guys will see…that the layers peel back, not just in their weight loss, but you see it in their attitudes, in their little smack talk. The energy elevates week to week.”
Watch the video for more from Jessie and Jennifer, and tune in to the premiere of The Biggest Loser: Glory Days on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.