Excited about the eliminated contestants’ return to The Biggest Loser ranch tonight? ME TOO. I can’t wait. Especially since I spent some time a couple weeks ago with eliminated players Damien Gurganious and Nicole Brewer of the red team (all of the contestants are in the at-home stage of the competition right now, and they’re pretty great at keeping secrets, so I have absolutely no spoilers for you). The engaged couple from Brooklyn works out at the same New York city gym as I do, and after a couple of weeks of open-mouthed staring every time I saw them ellipticizing (ellipticaling? ellipping? Or…on the elliptical?), I finally introduced myself. As a gym newbie, I must’ve seemed in a little over my head because the couple took pity on me and began giving me tips and exercises each time I saw them. Finally, I asked them to do their worst: Give me the full first-day Biggest Loser ranch experience. They laughed. Was I sure? Well, no, but I wanted to do it anyway. See how I fared, after the jump…
Armed with sturdy sneakers, my best red gym shirt, and a liter ofwater, I arrived for my one-hour workout, which was split into threesegments: a 15-minute warm-up, 30-minute circuit, and 15-minute cooldown. Nicole and I hopped on adjacent stairmasters for 15 minutes ofspeed intervals, where she confessed that because she was only on theranch for a week before being sent home, she had to teach herself howto work out. ”I’ve been making it up as I go along.” Her latestexercise aid: a 20-pound weighted vest. She lifted her hoodie to reveal what looked like a bulletproof vest. Though it probablywouldn’t actually stop bullets, it did help increase the intensity andresistance of her workout.
Next was Damien’s circuit, a mini version of their first workout onthe ranch. For comparison’s sake, I did this for a half hour using myown body weight for resistance. They did it for four. With weights. Thecircuit consisted of six sections, which we did for 30 seconds to aminute each. Then we did the whole thing over again.
1. Squats (Sort of like this, but without standing on one foot in the middle)
2. Sprints (Like this, but a shorter distance)
3. Crunches using a bosu ball (Like this)
4. Balancing on the bosu ball (Like this, but without the pushups. I’m a weakling.)
5. Pushing a giant weight across the room (Sort of like this, but moving, and pushing a weight)
6. Plyometric platform steps (Stepping up and down using one of these, 10 sets for each leg)
I’m not going to tell you how quickly I broke a sweat (like aminute) or how many times I had to refill my water bottle (twiceduring, and once more before I went home), but I will tell you that Ifinished it all without wussing out and was pretty proud of myself atthe end. When I was having trouble, I asked what Bob told them whenthey needed a push. Damien told me, ”If you don’t do this, Nicole’sgonna pay for it later. That’s when the cameras weren’t on.” Harsh.
If we were on the ranch, we would’ve finished with an hour ofincline walking, some standing lunges, and some yoga. But we weren’t,so Nicole and I did some incline intervals on the treadmill and calledit an afternoon. Well, I called it an afternoon, they stayed at thegym. Because the two are both self-employed as a wardrobe stylist(Nicole) and an industrial designer (Damien), they’ve been able tospend practically every day working out.
Commiserating in my post-workout exhaustion, Damien assured me thatit was totally normal. One day on the ranch, Damien sat down on the endof a treadmill to take a rest before heading to lunch. He woke up anhour and a half later when the rest of his teammates were returningfrom their meal – he was so tired that he fell asleep and missed thefood completely! Apparently, this phenomenon wasn’t uncommon: During oneyoga session with Bob, Filipe and Ron both started snoring mid-pose.
Though Damien and Nicole occasionally get recognized on the streetor the subway, they say it’s becoming less and less frequent as they get smallerand smaller (I couldn’t take any photos because NBC owns their
souls likenesses until the finale, but trust me when I tell you they look gooo-ooood.)Asfor how I felt later that night when climbing the steps to my fourthfloor apartment, I’ll sum it up with this quote from Nicole: ”Afterthe first workout, I couldn’t walk up stairs. I couldn’t sit down atthe dinner table. I could barely sit on the toilet.” Sounds aboutright. When I finally regained full motion (four days later, no joke)and returned to the gym, Damien laughed at my stilted gait: ”That’snothing. Next time you’re doing it with ankle weights.”