Reality shows like "The Biggest Loser" can give you that boost of motivation you need to get back in shape this season or undergo your own weight loss makeover. Contestants on the show spend months working out with personal trainers, learning new eating habits, and pushing themselves through grueling workout sessions just to drop the most pounds each week. But what do the contestants really go through to lose the weight? And, how do they get chosen to share their experience on national television?
I talked to Brandon Nickens, Supervising Casting Producer of "The Biggest Loser", to learn more about the contestants' weight loss experience and what it will take to be selected for the next season. Casting for Season 14 has officially begun and contestants will be competing to win a $250,000 cash prize. The competition is geared toward those who have a desire and passion to make this big change in their lives, and need to lose at least 85 lbs.
Here's a Q&A with Brandon Nickens about "The Biggest Loser" Season 14:
Q: How do you choose contestants for "The Biggest Loser"?
BN: "For Season 14, we're doing things a little differently. Instead of looking for someone that meets a certain profile, we're asking the question, 'How deserving are they?' We're looking for real, genuine people who will appreciate this opportunity to change their lives! It's really a golden ticket! We spend four to five months searching for the ideal candidates for this show and we listen to their personal stories.
Q: What are some qualities that make selected contestants stand apart from other applicants for this show?
BN: "We're looking for people who are willing to be vulnerable…give in to the process. We're also looking for strong personalities and positive energy - no drama or conflicts. Our team is really serious about making this a 'feel-good' show."
Q: What type of time commitment do the contestants have to make for this show?
BN: "From the day they arrive on the ranch to the finale, contestants spend a full seven months with us. They can train for up to five to seven hours per day with their personal trainer, seven days a week. The schedule varies though and some days are much shorter. Nutritionists help them create a basic meal plan but it's up to each contestant to prepare their own meals. They are weighed only once a week during the weekly weigh-in you see on the show."
Q: Do most contestants keep the weight off after the show? How?
BN: "About 60% of our contestants stay within a 25-pound weight range after the finale. We've found that contestants who create goals are the most successful with maintaining a healthy weight. Many start new careers in the health and fitness industry after the show! Those who really deal with the emotions related to their weight problems are usually very successful."
Q: Any changes we can look forward to for Season 14?
BN: "The next season will air on January 1, 2013 to kick off the New Year! We're all very excited to bring together a new cast and a slightly different approach to the show."
You can keep up with the new season ahead and updates about the show on the official NBC site for "The Biggest Loser".