Ignoring the hate — or at least trying to. The Biggest Loser trainer Erica Lugo has been through the wringer over the last few years of her life. She lost 160 pounds, became a trainer and opened her own gym, found out she had thyroid cancer after a freak accident — and beat it.
In 2020, she became a trainer on The Biggest Loser and was determined to show the world that fitness does not have a body type. However, even she can’t help but worry about what people think — something she still struggles with today.
“I’ve always wanted to change the way people viewed fitness because going into the fitness world, I’ve always felt very unwelcomed and I’m still struggling with those demons now because I am 5’11. My hands are bigger than my husband’s. I’m just built bigger. I’ve always been a bigger built person,” Lugo, 33, says on the Thursday, July 9, episode of the “Watch With Us” podcast. “I’m not going to be smaller than a size 8 or 6. It’s not my build and I’m from Latin descent. I have curves.”
When arriving on the set of The Biggest Loser, Lugo explains she “felt really awkward” at first because she told wardrobe right away she didn’t want any crop tops.
“I actually had conversations with them. I loved everything about them and the set. They were so welcoming, and they listened to me,” she shares. “They were so used to the trainers wearing crop tops all the time that they just had to change what they gave me and I loved it. … I’m like, ‘I had a baby, I weighed 322 pounds, that’s just not gonna work because I have stretch marks and loose skin that will hang out, and I just don’t feel comfortable showing that on national television.'”
After the show wrapped, Lugo took a different approach than others. She didn’t take on new clients at her FitLove gym, because she didn’t want people who only wanted her because she worked on The Biggest Loser. Instead, she scaled back and focused on body positivity. Not everyone on social media, however, agreed with her methods.
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After losing 150+ lbs and having a baby Loose skin Stretch marks Wiggly parts It’s happens. But I’ve spent too many years never wearing bikinis because I felt I shouldn’t. Because I don’t have a bikini body like all these women I seem to scroll through. They didn’t have the loose skin, the cellulite, the stretch marks or jiggles therefore they should be able to show their bodies right? If they are so proud they DON’T have those things I should be ashamed I DO. Yep. That’s how I felt years ago. Insane, right? But ya know what? This body lost 150 lbs This body created life. This body beat cancer. This body is working through an auto immune disorder. This body is worthy despite society standards and my own negative self chat and it felt good to slip on a bikini for the first time in years and truly be COMFORTABLE. And after I was done- I slipped on little Jean shorts and rocked the top. A day ill always remember
“I got a lot of heat for my body-type being a trainer on the show, and I wanted to kind of be like, ‘Screw you. I’m very proud of it,'” Lugo says, noting that thousands of women reached out with stories about finally feeling accepted as a size 8 or 10. “I’ve got cellulite and stretch marks. I’m strong as hell, but it does not make any impact on how awesome I can work out and how strong I am or how knowledgeable I am about fitness. … I’ve gotten some DMs from some well-known fitness influencers who are like, ‘You should probably tone down the way you preach about fitness’ or ‘You’re not really that great of a trainer.'”
Although the trainer wants to shake off the haters, it’s tougher than it looks. When the show wrapped and she watched, she realized she still cares what people think, but hopes that over time, that will change.
“I think once I started seeing people of influence say stuff, I [realized] I still care about what people think. I think to some degree, you’re always going to care,” she says. “But for me, it’s more than just to some degree. So I’ve gotten much better since the show’s come out. And I think the more and more I progress in my career, I’ll get better.”
The Biggest Loser is streaming now on Hulu.
Listen to the full interview with Lugo above and subscribe to the “Watch With Us” podcast for free on iTunes for more exclusive TV news and interviews.