Yahoo! TV Blog
Newfound Respect for 'The Biggest Loser' Contestants
By Liz Coughlin | Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 1:00 PM
Climb, climb, climb!
Over the years I have been spoiled by spending time with "The Biggest Loser's" casts and trainers up at the Ranch. I kept telling my coworkers how special (and difficult) the show experience is, and most didn't believe me... until a few weeks ago!
The producers called with a gift: They invited us up to the Ranch for an afternoon. We jumped at the chance — until we heard there was a catch. "We need some help testing a challenge and you guys will see just how hard it really is for the contestants." As fans, we were all excited; how hard could it really be? We got a little cocky: Some of the contestants still have a ways to go, and most of us are in decent-enough shape. A water challenge or a cool heights-based challenge sounds like fun, right?
[Check out photos of the Yahoo! TV team at the "Biggest Loser" ranch.] Slide Show Photos
Sure, we had fun for a few hours, touring the Ranch, meeting the crew, hanging out with the remaining cast in the kitchen and the gym. I tried on one of Darrell's first 6XL shirts in the wardrobe room, and it was an enormous dress on me. And Chrissy, Yahoo! TV's managing editor, told Sam in the gym, "Wow, you look HOT!" (and he is, I promise). He was so psyched, he couldn't stop grinning.
But then we drove out to the field at the edge of the Ranch, and we saw the ladders and the beam 50 ft. in the air, and the 20 members of the challenge department with their helmets and safety harnesses. My team looked at me and said, "Liz, you stink. Do we have to do this? It looks terrifying." Since I had an injury and couldn't get medical clearance, I said, "Just try it. Give it your best." (Ha! I didn't have to do it! But it actually looked like fun to me.) With snide comments here and there, they all agreed to at least try.
For those of you who watched the episode, here's the reality of OUR experience:
* It was a lot taller, and a lot scarier looking from the get-go. For the actual contestants, they removed one length of the ladder, which made it less imposing, plus the climb was a little easier and quicker for them
* We had legitimate engineers on our team — and they knocked out the challenge in record time (Mike, our Sr. Engineering Manager, even beat the time posted by the challenge department, who creates these shenanigans!
) But the non-engineers in our group certainly struggled with how to construct the base (check out the photos), and the non-athletes were challenged by getting themselves up their structures and then onto the ladders. Watching Daris and Sam struggle at that point was reminiscent of our team, for sure.
* But just like the contestants, NOT ONE of our staff gave up. They were so thrilled by the challenge, that even though they were grumbling, they all pushed themselves to finish. The Yahoo! TV team really hustled — the contestants were moving pretty slowly at the beginning, and my team was running, carrying, and throwing those big wooden blocks just to finish as fast as they could.
Thankfully, though, no one on our team was injured. Watching "Unc" (O'Neal) fall and hurt himself made us cringe while watching the show. It reminded us of just how difficult this challenge was. My team was exhausted afterwards, and they were sore and a little bruised (scrapes and cuts from the wood, harnesses, ladder climb, you name it). But they ALL said to me it was one of the greatest work-related experiences of their lives. While I couldn't actually participate, as a fan of the show, I was thrilled to watch this contest live in all of its glory.
"Biggest Loser" contestants deserve a lot of credit — they are pushed to their limits and way beyond every week. They are a great source of motivation for the rest of us, as this challenge proved to us. It was really hard!
Talk About It: What has been your favorite challenge on "Biggest Loser"?