The Biggest Loser: Season 7

Meet Joelle: The Inside Scoop

This is the first of weekly updates on CoachMeFit’s celebrity client, Biggest Loser contestant Joelle Gwynn. Joelle has been training at CoachMeFit West Bloomfield with owner/trainer Catherine Munaco since early January. At stake is a $250,000 prize for losing the most weight by the season finale on May 12, 2009. The Biggest Loser airs every Tuesday at 8pm on NBC.  Catherine will be blogging weekly first-hand updates from Joelle’s training

I met Joelle for the first time on Thursday and was immediately impressed with her work ethic and excitement. What I noticed first, though, was how much she needed a personal trainer from CoachMeFit. She was strictly following the nutritional program given to her by the show’s nutritionists, but she wasn’t exercising nearly as often or as intense and she needed to be. She told me accountability was key for her—when she goes to the gym, she works extremely hard, but waking up and getting to the gym was the difficult part (sound familiar?) I assured her that we had enough time to reach her goals by the finale on May 12, but we needed to—literally– get moving.

It didn’t take long for Joelle to show me how hard of a worker she was during her workouts. My favorite quote from her was “I can talk and work!” She didn’t want to take breaks. She didn’t want to go half speed. She wanted to do every exercise correctly and to its full capacity. It’s a personal trainer’s dream to have such a motivated client! (Of course, a live finale on national TV doesn’t hurt either.)

Joelle also told me she is extremely anxious about Week Two’s episode, set to air Tuesday January 13 at 8 pm. Apparently, she is yelled at by Bob and is portrayed as wimpy and lazy. It’s ironic, actually, because she’s probably the least lazy client I have ever had. But we understand the show needs to pick villains for dramatic flare, and I guess Joelle got picked to be one. There are multiple cameras running 24 hours a day, so in a week they get hundreds of hours of footage and have to cut it down to 2 for the show. Its unfortunate, but a part of being on the show Joelle will have to deal with.

I was also surprised with how little contact the show keeps with the contestants once they are at home. Keep in mind, week eleven was taped over a month ago—so ALL contestants are home now, whether they’ve been eliminated or not. Joelle had a comprehensive nutritional plan and access to workout clothes (hard to find for extremely plus sizes!) and caloric expenditure monitors. A trainer from the show had come to her gym in Michigan and showed her some workouts to do on her own, but after that there was little to no feedback. Joelle said she really missed the immediate feedback and accountability that she had while she was at the ranch, and that training with me at CoachMeFit made her accountable to working out even when she didn’t want to. As well, I could give her feedback on the types of workouts she was doing and how to improve them to burn even more calories. We forget that contestant have a maximum of eleven weeks on the ranch to learn about nutrition, exercise, and weight loss. I spent four years studying the same things at the University of Michigan. It’s unrealistic to think contestants return home as exercise gurus, and Joelle needed the guidance, accountability, and expertise that CoachMeFit personal trainers provide.

All in all, I can tell Joelle will be successful at her weight loss this time. Stay tuned…

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