While ‘The Biggest Loser’ fans wait to find out who will make it to the finale, trainer Erica Lugo gushes about which contestant has wowed her the most.
When it comes to The Biggest Loser contestants, Erica Lugo is like a mama bear with many cubs. Ask the trainer who has impressed her the most this season and she’s initially reluctant to give an answer. “That’s so hard for me to say,” the 33-year-old says during an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. “Just because I say, I love all of my children. It’s hard for me to pick one because so many of them dealt with things that other people didn’t deal with. They all were battling their own demons.” That said, the mom-of-one admits that one contestant in particular stands out for her – Teri Aguiar.
Fans watched in horror during Episode 6 when the flight nurse from Columbia, Illinois broke her ankle while powering through an obstacle course. But Teri didn’t let that derail her weight loss goals and – not only did she go on to lose 6 pounds that week – she has made it to the top four and is within reach of the finale. Her commitment is not lost on Erica. “It was impressive knowing that Teri had an injured leg and was still able to lose weight while she was on campus,” the trainer says. “I think that goes to show anyone that you could have a physical setback, but that doesn’t mean that your goals of losing weight are stalled. You can still eat well [and] you can still modify your workout. She just proved that to everyone.”
Clawing your way back from setbacks is something that Erica is familiar with herself. Just six years ago she weighed 322 pounds, more than twice as much as she does now. After being heavy for most of her life it was her son Connor, now 9, who motivated her to get fit. “He was on the floor, looked up at me and asked me to play with him and I was sitting on the couch eating Cheez-Its or Goldfish [crackers] or Lord knows what, and I told him, ‘No,’” Erica says. “Something about telling him no was a light bulb moment for me. It was me thinking, my goodness, I brought him into this world. He didn’t ask to be here, and I couldn’t even play with him…? It was like, whoa, I’m in my 20s and I can’t even play with my kid. Something has to change.”
Change for Erica involved starting small – walking for 20 to 30 minutes, four times a week and trimming her portion sizes by sticking to 2,000 calories a day, which she calculated on a fitness app. It took her two years to lose 160 pounds. But, in 2018, the day after Thanksgiving, she was hit with a scary health challenge. She was diagnosed with Stage II thyroid cancer. Surgery followed and a course of radiation. A year on from her final radiation treatment, Erica is cancer free and exudes positivity.
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Progress 𝗡𝗢𝗧 perfection 💯 I’ve fallen flat on my face more times than I can count. I’ve eaten terrible for multiple weekend in a row. I’ve skipped workouts and even gave half my effort on probably hundreds. But overtime I kept going and continue to strive for optimal health and my goals. 𝗧𝗛𝗔𝗧𝗦 what you need to shoot for. Progress.
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Maybe it’s why the woman who has survived divorce, bankruptcy and cancer to go on to become a personal trainer and a coach on The Biggest Loser can appreciate Teri’s refusal to let a broken ankle impact her fitness. “The only thing I can control is my attitude and effort,” she says. “I think my life story has always kind of been rise from the ashes, as cliché as that sounds.” The Biggest Loser airs on USA Network on Tuesdays at 9/8pm Central.