‘The Biggest Loser’ interview: Jill and Bob talk fitness

NBC’s The Biggest Loser winner was Ali Vincent – announced on Tuesday night.

The hairdresser from Mesa, Ariz., has a whole new perspective and  lost more than half her body weight.  “I am a whole new woman,” Vincent told the TODAY show.  “There are no limits. There are absolutely no limits and I started to dream big again.”

Vincent, 32, ended the show weighing 112 pounds. “The Biggest Loser” winner is determined by weight-loss percentage.   She lost a whopping 47.86 percent of her weight.

Monsters and Critics had a chance to speak to her trainer, show star  Jillian Michaels.  “She’s sending a message to women out there that when you connect your mind and your body and your attention, anything is possible.”

“The Biggest Loser” star trainers Jillian Michaels,  Bob Harper, and Executive Producer, Mark Koops took some time out to answer a few of Monsters’ questions.

A lot of people in the country are hurting right now and they don’t have Pilates money. They don’t have organic baby greens money. They’re really stressed; it usually goes that poverty and obesity go hand-in-hand.

What advice could you give if you were talking to people that don’t have any real means on how to shop in the market or what they can do in their daily life if they can’t afford to go to an expensive gym or hire a trainer?

Bob Harper: Well I think — and I’ve been out kind of talking to a lot of people right now about this exact same thing — and I was really – kind of got into that trap of like I eat all organic. These are the kind of foods that I really want.

But I realize that it’s really not easy for a lot of people to go to the grocery story and spend a couple hundred dollars a week, especially when they’ve got a whole family.

And so there are ways to do it. There are great frozen food – frozen vegetable products. You can go to Costco and you can still shop healthier in these inexpensive places where you’re buying in bulk and still be able to eat the way that we would want you to eat on the show.

Jillian Michaels: Yeah, he’s absolutely right. You get fruits and vegetables that are frozen. You buy things that are in season. You clip coupons. You go to Costco and you buy in bulk.

When you go to fast food, pick the healthier places, make the healthier choice. Don’t get the Big Mac and the fries. Get the Grilled Chicken Sandwich and the apple slices.

When it comes to exercise, you don’t need to go to a fancy gym with a fancy trainer. Time Warner has something called Exercise TV. All of -they have over 200 videos you can download for free in your living room.

You can buy Bob’s book and for the price of – how much is your book?

Bob Harper: Twenty-two dollars.

Jillian Michaels: Twenty-two dollars, you get the world’s greatest trainer. All you have to do is read it. It’s a one-time investment. And when you have the information, you’re empowered to make the right choices and you can create any destiny that you choose by making the right choices.

So a small investment of $22.00 is going to save you thousands with a trainer by buying a book from somebody who knows what they’re doing.

Bob Harper: And the main thing is to not use the excuses like I can’t afford a trainer. I can’t afford organic food. Don’t use the excuses. Work with what you’ve got.

A follow-up question. There’s so many overweight kids. Do you guys think you’ll ever take on a huge project, like an entire school?

Bob Harper: I would love – I think it would be great to see Jillian and I at a school together. I think it would be a lot of fun. And I think that when it comes to overweight children, I really believe that it is so much of the school’s responsibility and the parents’ responsibility above anything else.

Jillian Michaels: There’s a woman named Chef Ann and she has a website called chefann.com. And she is basically single-handedly revitalizing school cafeteria lunches. She’s working on something called the Farm Bill which is allowing more money to be allotted towards the quality of foods that go into public schools.

You need to do research as a parent. You need to educate yourself – things that are going on at federal levels, at state level, at local level. And then as Bob said, you need to bring it home and take responsibility, and change things.

On top of that, I’m getting involved in a health fair that Dr. Oz is doing at the end of the month. It’s –  we unfortunately have to make contributions wherever we can because we are shooting for nine months out of our year now.

But my best advice to parents is to do a little recon, get involved. Find out what bills they should get behind politically and then bring it back in-home and take responsibility.

If you could – if any of you could eliminate one junk food item in the store, what would it be? Each of you?

Bob Harper: Oh, mine would be soda.

Jillian Michaels: Mine would be anything with trans fat.

Mark Koops: I would make fast food more expensive than healthy food.  I mean, I think that’s the biggest problem. I mean, the cheapest food is the worst food for you and I think that’s a very real issue.

Jillian Michaels: Yeah.

Mark Koops: And so as you said, it’s very hard for people who are living from paycheck to paycheck to make the right choices even though they may want to because it – and I think that’s why some of the advice Bob and Jillian gave earlier is critical.

And it’s taking the little steps and step-by-step making that change and committing to that change.

Mark, can you tell us a little bit about the origination – the genesis for this new season?

Mark Koops: Yeah. I mean, I think obviously every season we’re looking to keep it fresh and obviously the fans of the show are very avid fans of the show and follow the twists and turns.

We wouldn’t stop after this journey all four were deserving of an opportunity to make it to the final and what better way than to let the fans just follow the incredible personal tales of transformation through 15 weeks -have a say in that have a voice in that process.

Bob and Jillian would agree deserve a place in the final; unfortunately two of them will be up for elimination.
And we just thought, what better way than to sort of again, try and encourage a dialogue between ourselves and our viewers, , and really let them have a voice in the process.

Jillian, can you tell us a little bit about what Bob is like as a trainer? And Bob, can you do the same for Jillian?

Jillian Michaels: He’s a great trainer. I mean, he’s – I think that he’s a lot tougher than a lot of people would imagine him to be. And I mean, yeah, he’s a great guy, obviously.

He’s very nice and very caring. But when he gets in the gym, he’s definitely all about business.

Bob, what about Jillian?

Bob Harper: I think Jillian is probably one of the best trainers in not only the country, but the world. And I’ve seen them all. And she actually has made me become a better trainer.

It’s always been fun being in the gym with her because it’s like when she and I are in the gym together, it’s like a dance off. She’ll be with one of her contestants and she’ll just be like doing something crazy with them.

And I’ll be like oh, okay. Well I’ll show – I’ll try that and I’ll raise you one.

Mark Koops: And I just add something. I mean, having watched these two, , work together – I mean, it’s – we hired them as trainers but they’ve become so much more than that in terms of how important they are to the show – but also how important they as mentors and as role models, not only to the contestants that they train, but the wider public and members of the crew.

I mean, they’re just  – the dedication – if everybody were as dedicated and as passionate about what they did as both of these guys, then the world would be a better place.

They are there for their contestants 24/7 and it’s like that’s why we see such extraordinary results and extraordinary life changes because they just – , they are there relentlessly and (powerlessly).
I think, one of the key reasons why we have such a huge success on the show.

You just mentioned how much time they spend with these folks and we only see a little bit of it on TV. Are there some things that happen behind the scenes or in the training sessions, or at any point that you wish you could get on TV but were missing?

Mark Koops: I think we could fill the primetime schedule, , of NBC and still not even cover and still just cover a small fraction of of what they do.  You sit there and, we see the success of Bob and Jillian in their own endeavors in the bigger world outside the show.

I think it’s because they get people to have these incredible moments where, , they come to the launch and they –  the campus and they know they’re overweight and they want to make a change.

There’s always that moment when we see each contestant walk through that final door where we know they’re not going to turn back because – I mean, the catharsis and the passion – Jillian had a great connection with Brittany this cycle.

I think like we can do the whole primetime schedule and still have more stories to tell.

Bob Harper: I just wish that they really could see that kind of commitment that Jillian and I put in because we’re not only in the gym with them. I mean, we are there on-camera, off-camera.

I mean, Jillian’s team is at her house and my team is at my house. I mean, we just – we have this relationship throughout the whole season and it’s just – it’s so much more than just Jillian and I in the gym training with each other or us in the kitchen cooking up meals together.

We’re completely bonded with our contestants.

Mark Koops: And I think unlike any other show, it becomes – , they become families. It doesn’t mean we’re, , both – I know Bob is dealing with mainly types of (abs), , the previous contestants as of, , the show.

And the finale, I think, , you’ll see a lot of, , familiar faces because they become family, not only to the trainers but to everybody who works on the show.

The show has used some different formats: individuals, couples, families. Bob and Jillian, which do you – which do each of you enjoy the most?

Jillian Michaels: I’ll start. I personally like to work with individuals. I do appreciate the fact that you need to help the contestants work on their interpersonal relationships and deal with their codependency, and their unhealthy behavioral patterns within the context of their relationships.

But as the game began to dwindle down and family members began to go home, it allows you – or I’ll speak for myself. But it allows me to work one-on-one with them and they don’t have the security blanket, they don’t have that person to run to – that comfort zone.

I like for them to be uncomfortable. I like for them to be vulnerable and raw. And to me it helps them open up and it helps them become a new person which is hard to do when you define yourself within the terms of your relationship. So I like working single.