The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SEANNA CRONIN

The Big­gest Loser is a show known for its jaw-drop­ping trans­for­ma­tions, but it’s the weight-loss show it­self that’s get­ting a makeover for its 11th sea­son.

Pro­duc­ers are tak­ing a more well-rounded ap­proach to fit­ness; temp­ta­tion chal­lenges are out, and mind health ses­sions with psy­chol­o­gist Glenn Mack­in­tosh are in.

Guest chefs bust food myths and share recipes for healthy, nu­tri­tious meals.

This year’s 16 con­tes­tants still sweat it out in the gym with train­ers Shan­nan Pon­ton and new­comer Libby Ba­bet, but they’re work­ing to­wards life­long change rather than just the num­bers on the scale.

“There was an un­der­stand­ing that the past few se­ries we’ve done just didn’t re­flect the changes in weight loss, nu­tri­tion and health that have oc­curred in the past decade,” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Paul Leadon said dur­ing a visit to the show’s new Syd­ney set – an old naval yard in Kir­ri­billi.

“The folks this year are far more re­lat­able. They’re 20 to 40kg over­weight.

“They ad­mit they’ve let them­selves go ... we all know some­body who’s been there.”

This is a full re­boot in­tended to shed the show’s “train­ers yelling at peo­ple” im­age. Leadon ad­mits some of the se­ries’ pre­vi­ous as­pects were plain wrong.

“There was that whole counter in­tu­itive thing of temp­ta­tion where you’d put a choco­late eclair in front of some­one and say this is so many calo­ries, if you ate it,” he says.

“The train­ers used to hate it; that was us cre­at­ing mo­ments (for tele­vi­sion) but we were work­ing out­side the brief of weight loss.

“It was wrong.”

And pro­duc­ers of in­ter­na­tional ver­sions of The Big­gest Loser, in­clud­ing in the US, will be ea­gerly watch­ing to see if the new Trans­formed for­mat is a suc­cess.

“We’re proudly lead­ing the way,” Leadon says. “Ev­ery­one is look­ing at how we’re go­ing to go, and if it works then they’ll all do it.

“There will be many eyes on the num­bers.”

Pon­ton, who has been on The Big­gest Loser since day one, says this is the show he’s al­ways wanted to make.

“It’s about the en­tire per­son and the whole pack­age,” he says. “We are not just teach­ing them how to ex­er­cise, we are teach­ing them to be the best ver­sions of them­selves.”

He’s also full of praise for his new coun­ter­part, Sun­shine Coast-raised journalist turned per­sonal trainer Ba­bet.

“Libby is one of the best train­ers in Aus­tralia,” he says. “We have very dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to how we get results and I think that’s what will be a good change.

“But I’m not go­ing to take it easy on her.”

The Big­gest Loser: Trans­formed pre­mieres on Tues­day, March 14, at 7.30pm on Chan­nel 10.

The Big­gest Loser: Trans­formed train­ers Shan­nan Pon­ton and Libby Ba­bet are ex­cited about their new-for­mat show.

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