The Biggest Loser is back. Nearly four years after the reality show went off the air, USA Network is bringing it back — and it’s the perfect time.
“I feel like America needs this show more than ever. So many other shows have tried to do the weight-loss experience and no one’s ever been able to really do it,” host Bob Harper told Us Weekly exclusively during a set visit in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “What I’m really excited about, what’s gonna be so different, is we’re really focusing on the stories of the contestants even more. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s the whole wellness experience and I love that. We have new trainers, new doctors and new nutritionists.”
Harper, 54, was a trainer on the show’s first season in 2004. Now, he has stepped into the hosting role, while also starting a new segment: a group forum where the contestants can talk about their experiences freely. “We share our experiences of what we’ve gone through and how we got to where we are now. I feel like that’s gonna be so fresh and relatable to the audience,” he told Us.
The new trainers — Steve Cook and Erica Lugo — have also been through a lot and couldn’t have been more excited to be on the journey. While Cook, 35, is a fitness trainer and former bodybuilder, he was looking for a fresh way to help people and take on something new. “This opportunity reminded me of when I was working with my dad and he lost 80 pounds and it was life-changing,” he told Us. “People literally go from having chronic diseases, having issues that are life-threatening, to then getting healthy. It’s a lot more work but it’s a lot more rewarding.”
Lugo, 33, overcame the contestants’ challenges herself. Six years ago, she decided to start her own weight-loss journey, then weighing 322 lbs. She dropped 160 lbs over the next two years. In October 2018, she passed out while driving and was unconscious when a stranger pulled her from the car. When she woke up, she underwent an MRI and doctors found a lump in her neck. A month later, she was diagnosed with stage 2 papillary thyroid cancer. In January 2019, she had her thyroid and 33 lymph nodes removed, plus radiation treatment. So, when Lugo got the offer to help others — she jumped at it.
“I did the show to really show anything is possible,” she said. “Going from 322 lbs to now a trainer on The Biggest Loser just gives hope, and at the end of the day, that’s all these people want. You can hear someone say over and over, ‘It’s possible and you can lose weight and keep it off,’ but [it’s different] until you see it. I want people to change how they think of fitness too. It’s about being healthy. You don’t have to have abs and sculpted arms to be considered healthy. I’m a size 8, have a mom belly and loose skin from weight loss but that doesn’t make me or anyone else less than anyone else.”
However, it’s the contestants who are front and center on The Biggest Loser. While on set, Us Weekly sat down with the cast after filming had begun to get to know why each had embarked on their journey.