Town gets toned
If anyone can whip an entire Aussie town into shape, it’s The Biggest Loser trainer Steve Willis. Guy Davis talks big- time weight- loss with the man known as the Commando.
Steve Willis, probably better known to viewers of Ten’s popular weight- loss challenge The Biggest Loser as “The Commando”, knows he can come across as a bit intimidating.
“I’d be injected in at various times to scare the bejesus out of the contestants,” he smiled when asked about his early days on the program.
But since joining The Biggest Loser fulltime four years ago, Willis has softened a little. Well, as much as a person who looks like he’s carrying zero per cent body fat can soften, that is.
“Back then, it was what the show wanted from me as a trainer, that stone- cold approach,” he said.
“And transitioning out of the army after 10 years, it suited me as well, drawing that kind of line.
“But it’s not all about the physical realm, where I lived quite a few years of my life. You can’t survive in this world without engaging in the psychological and emotional sense.
“In the civilian world, if you want to get the best out of people, you need to tap into all of it.”
Don’t be mistaken, the Commando hasn’t gone all warm and cuddly. He’ll still do whatever it takes to whip the overweight contestants on The Biggest Loser into shape. And working alongside fellow trainers Shannan Ponton and Michelle Bridges on the ninth season of the program, he’s certainly got his work cut out
This time, it’s not only individuals shedding unwanted kilos ... it’s a whole town.
It’s the Victorian town of Ararat, to be precise, which has been dubbed one of the most overweight towns in Australia.
“And we were presented with the challenge of transforming it into one of the fittest,” Willis Wi said.
A pretty big ask, and Willis isn’t afraid to admit a he and his Biggest Loser colleagues c were taken aback by b the idea.
“We’d never neve been to Ararat, we didn’t even know if the townspeople were w willing to engage,” he said. sa
“But as soon soo as we arrived in town and started st talking with the mayor mayo and the residents, they were ready to take the challenge challe and run with it. They were w over the moon.”
Once the c challenge had been laid down, the process of selecting sele 14 “town champions” who w would undergo the fu full- on training and nutrition program at the Biggest Loser house h in Sydney began.
“This year was the first time we got to select the contestants we w would work with,” Willis said. sa
“We went through t an audition process proc where they got to express exp to us the reasons why they t should be a contestant on the show.
“And once we’d chosen a number of people, pe it was time for them to put pu their money where their mouth m was – the physical stuff started!”
Putting wo would- be contestants th through their paces this way enabled the