The Biggest Loser got its own makeover in season 16.
“I think it was refreshing for the show,” said Bob Harper, who has been with Biggest Loser since the beginning, of Comeback Canyon, which was introduced this season. “I think it was a good shot in the arm for me.”
Comeback Canyon gives eliminated contestants the chance to train with Harper and then compete for a spot in the semi-finals.
“I have absolutely loved this season doing Comeback Canyon,” said Harper, during a holiday lunch for The Biggest Loser: Glory Days at Eveleigh in West Hollywood, Calif. on Tuesday. “I got to be in my own place. I got to work with all the eliminated people. It wasn’t about a team. It was all about just working with someone one on one, which I really, really enjoy doing.”
Season 16 also saw personnel changes with show staple Jillian Michaels leaving and trainers Jennifer Widerstrom and Jessie Pavelka coming on board.
“I had no idea what to expect,” said Widerstrom. “So, it was actually kind of a perfect position to really identify what made me happy, what made me frustrated. I just love the people.”
She added that she wanted to be authentic with the contestants.
“I want them to know that I am really here for them,” she said. “I’m not here for a TV show.”
Pavelka, who has appeared as a trainer on other series, said he didn’t know what was going to happen on The Biggest Loser.
“I was curious,” he said. “I had no idea what was really going to be happening. In fact, you never really know what’s going to happen with the challenges. What’s going to happen with the weigh ins. Because at the end of the day I don’t really decide who wants to be there and who doesn’t. So, I was more curious and I guess, I’ll admit it, a little afraid.”
Season 16’s contestants were all athletes and both the trainers, including show veteran Dolvett Quince, and host Alison Sweeney felt their competitiveness.
“They all sort of really found their competitive spirit really early on, and I really bond with that obviously because I’m so competitive, even in every little thing,” said Sweeney.
Harper saw that spirit in even more of an extreme when the eliminated contestants came to him.
“Athletes don’t like to lose, and every athlete that came to me had lost that weigh in,” said Harper. “So they were just like, ‘Uh uh. This is going to change, and it’s going to change right now.’”
Sweeney said that she really looked up to the contestants this season and recognized them as kindred spirits.
“This season is particularly close to my heart and I really admire all of them for the changes that they have made and what they, who they are and how they allowed themselves to let this process mean so much to them,” said Sweeney.
B&C asked trainers Harper, Quince and Pavelka if they could give any piece of advice, what would it be? Here’s what they had to say:
Bob Harper - “Set up a goal that you know you’re going to be able to obtain because you’re going to be able to move from there with that success.”
Dolvett Quince - “Be better than yesterday and if you can carry that on, your tomorrows are magical.”
Jessie Pavelka - “You can f*ck up but don’t give up. That’s a big one. Because a lot of times you’ll have a bad day and then that turns into three or four.”
The Biggest Loser: Glory Days airs this Thursday, Dec. 18 on NBC and then returns to the network on Jan. 1 with the season finale airing live on Jan. 29.