Weight off his mind

Shan­nan Pon­ton has had a long, hard look at him­self, writes Erin McWhirter

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

THE Big­gest Loser per­sonal trainer Shan­nan Pon­ton never en­vis­aged that gain­ing a pub­lic pro­file by help­ing oth­ers would leave him feel­ing ex­posed and hurt.

When the celebrity trainer read ac­cu­sa­tions made by his for­mer girl­friend in a news­pa­per last Novem­ber that he’d ver­bally and emo­tion­ally abused the model dur­ing their six-month re­la­tion­ship, Pon­ton was shell-shocked.

Though the claims stung, Pon­ton says he has a clear con­science.

‘‘It was prob­a­bly the tough­est three weeks I’ve had in my adult life,’’ Pon­ton says. ‘‘I never saw it com­ing and in a philo­soph­i­cal way it made me re­alise what pres­sure can come with be­ing on TV.

‘‘I had to take a good hard look at my­self and I didn’t re­ally need to change any­thing be­cause there’s noth­ing I’d done that I would change.’’

Pon­ton wasn’t the only Big­gest Loser star to have his name up in lights for all the wrong rea­sons. Host Ajay Rochester was given a 12-month good-be­hav­iour bond last month for wel­fare fraud.

In a bid to get on with their lives, Pon­ton and Rochester have thrown them­selves into their pas­sion — The Big­gest Loser and the show’s over­weight con­tes­tants.

‘‘Ev­ery year the con­tes­tants blow me away and this year we have record re­sults to prove the show is just get­ting bet­ter,’’ Pon­ton says.

In a twist, sea­son four fol­lows the plight of cou­ples. From fa­ther and daugh­ter to best friends and The Big­gest Loser, PG Chan­nel 10, Sun­day 6.30pm, week­nights 7pm Fight­ing the flab Du­ra­tion: varies hus­band-and-wife teams, the con­tes­tants be­gan their weight-loss chal­lenge on Fitzroy Is­land in far north Queens­land be­fore go­ing to Syd­ney’s North Head Sanc­tu­ary for 12 weeks.

Un­der the guid­ance of Pon­ton and ri­val trainer Michelle Bridges (both right), con­tes­tants com­pete for a $200,000 cash prize, which can dou­ble with the in­tro­duc­tion of a ‘‘dou­ble’’ bracelet.

But flip the coin and com­peti­tors could lose ev­ery­thing if they end up with the ‘‘noth­ing’’ bracelet at the end of the se­ries.

The stakes are high, but as Pon­ton ex­plains, the cash is a bonus. Their main mo­ti­va­tion is beat­ing de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and self-es­teem is­sues and ul­ti­mately shed­ding the weight most have been car­ry­ing for years.

‘‘Be­ing a per­sonal trainer is be­ing able to fig­ure out some­one psy­cho­log­i­cally and get the best out of them,’’ he says.

‘‘With cou­ples in this com­pe­ti­tion you can have them stand­ing next to each other and say, ‘Get on the ground, I’m go­ing to kick your a--to king­dom come’, and one per­son will get on with it and the other per­son will turn away cry­ing. The skill of a per­sonal trainer is be­ing able to un­der­stand peo­ple and un­lock their po­ten­tial.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.