‘The Biggest Loser: Glory Days’ weighed into a brand new season on Sept. 11, and HollywoodLife.com has the scoop straight from trainers Jennifer Widerstrom and Jessie Pavelka.
Jen Widerstrom and Jessie Pavelka have some tough shoes to fill. The Biggest Loser trainers are officially in for Season 16, Glory Days, coming on after Jillian Michaels‘ exit. Read on to meet the newbies, plus find out what they think about the contestants so far!
‘The Biggest Loser’: Meet Trainers Jen & Jessie
“I got an email that expressed interest in working with me,” Jen tells HollywoodLife.com exclusively about her casting onto The Biggest Loser. “I kind of got the call that I got it and was like, ‘Okay! Holy cow! I’ll do it!'”
Jessie had a few fitness TV shows under his belt before coming onto the show. “I did one in the UK and one in the US, and I think they had kind of seen some work that I had done.” He gushes getting the gig is simply a dream. “You don’t think about weight loss without thinking of The Biggest Loser! So for me it was an opportunity to do what I do on the biggest platform available.”
Jen brings raw emotion to the new season, while Jessie brings tough love.
“I have a lot of emotion and feeling and I have a deep connection with my contestants so you’ll see intensity, but passion, joy and emotion from me,” Jen says. “I think that the first week of filming, I cried during half the episodes!”
Jen says that she’ll be working closely alongside the contestants. “To me, there’s an unspoken dialogue that happens when you’re working alongside someone. There’s involvement, there’s eye contact, there’s an emotional connection that’s made when you see someone working alongside you, experiencing the same hardship and it also empowers”.
Jessie has a different method. “I want to listen and find out what’s going on,” he tells HollywoodLife.com. “I don’t want to judge at all. I don’t want these guys to feel worse about themselves. Yes, I can be hard. But I always come from a place of compassion. I’m not here to beat them up!”
How Will Jessie & Jen Fill Jillian Michaels’ Running Shoes?
Both trainers agree that viewers can expect a different direction to be taken on the show, after Jillian’s departure.
Jessie admits that although Jillian has had a massive influence on the success of the show, he warns that he will be different.
“I’m nothing like her. My training style is different. I’m a male — that’s a start!” he jokes. “The way I work with my people is totally different. I never wanted to compare myself, in a healthy way to Jillian because she did what she did, and I respect that. Now I want to do what I do.”
Jen looks upon her stint at The Biggest Loser as a chance to come into her own, rather than to continue with Jillian’s way. “This is kind of my opportunity to make my stamp, my imprint, on the hearts of these contestants and hopefully America. So I don’t know, it hasn’t occurred to me to be worried. I can just do the best with who I am. And so far, it’s going well.”
The Trainers Weigh In On The Contestants
Here’s what Jessie and Jen had to say about some of the contestants, agreeing that it could be anyone’s game!
Sonya Jones: “She’s a bright light,” Jen gushes. “She offers me just as much support as I offer her. She’s this very special person.”
Scott Mitchell: Jen calls him a “workhorse,” admiring his dedication to working out and working hard. Jessie also raved over the former Detroit quarterback: “He’s an amazing athlete.”
Toma Dobrosavljevic: “He’s a guy that’s gained and lost a lot of this weight, multiple times over. So I know he can go the distance,” Jen says about his resilience.
Lori Harrigan-Mack: According to Jessie, the three time Olympic gold medalist is “an incredible woman..”
Damien Woody: “A guy to watch,” said Jessie.
Some of the contestants bring on the tear-jerking moments, too. “You have gentlemen like Howard ‘Woody’ Carter, who lost his wife to cancer, and you have another like Mike Murburg, who lost his son,” Jen says. “It’s deeply touching to see how some of these men allow themselves to be vulnerable and come through it.”
“I have a kid and because I’m married, that’s a tough one,” Jessie adds. “Cause you can’t imagine…that pain sits so close to the surface. That’s something I wouldn’t want anyone to go through, in fact ,I don’t even like talking about it to be honest, but if you think about what we do, he’s going to leave the ranch ready and like a different man. He came in with so much pain and we’re 10 weeks in right now. And it’s incredible to see what this show can do for people. It’s absolutely incredible.”
We agree that this season is off to an incredible start.
Are you watching, HollywoodLifers? Let us know, and tune into The Biggest Loser on Thursdays nights (8/7c) on NBC!
— Maryam Rasheed