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Book Excerpt: Getting started with The Biggest Loser Bootcamp

Excerpted from The Biggest Loser Bootcamp. © 2015 NBC Studios & Reveille LLC; THE BIGGEST LOSER is a trademark of Reveille LLC and its related entities, and is used under license. Reprinted with permission from Time Home Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Bootcamp Philosophy

The Biggest Loser Bootcamp program and experience is about getting real and getting results. Forget excuses. Forget shying away from something because it might be hard. You’re committing to a lifestyle change, and it doesn’t happen just in your kitchen or only while you’re doing physical activity. These changes apply to all aspects of your life.

Meet your trainers

Fitness experts Jennifer Widerstrom and Jessie Pavelka joined veteran trainers, including Dolvett Quince, on The Biggest Loser in Season 16.

Committed to helping people live their best lives through health and fitness, Jennifer was a star of the NBC series American Gladiators. She strives to make her workouts challenging yet inclusive. A native of Lisle, Illinois, Jennifer is very experienced in guiding people through the dramatic changes that take place — both physically and emotionally — while losing weight.

Jessie Pavelka is an internationally recognized fitness expert known for helping others develop practical solutions to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle. A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, and a former professional bodybuilder, Pavelka’s passion for fitness inspired him to become a trainer and help others embrace health and wellness.

A leader in the field of health and fitness, Dolvett Quince joined The Biggest Loser in Season 12. Known for his passion, regimens, and dramatic transformational results, Dolvett is one of the most in-demand fitness specialists in the country.

Each season, trainers on the Ranch guide people who have spent their entire lives giving up and making excuses as they take on big challenges and discover that they are made of tougher stuff than they ever thought. And that stuff? It’s not a secret ingredient they add to their smoothies or some fancy gadget that does the work for them. It comes from inside. It’s been there all along, just waiting to be uncovered. We are here to help you tap into the same stuff inside you. It’s in there—and we know it’s just waiting for you to rediscover it. A big part of that process is opening your mind and embracing some key imperatives:

     • Get Real
• The Whole Package  
     • Believe in You
     • Challenge Yourself

1. Get real

This program is about getting real and keeping it real. That goes for the expectations you have about the process, the food in your meal plans, the hard work you’ll put in during your workouts, and the accountability that will keep your eyes on the prize. Most importantly, it’s about getting real from the inside out and remembering what it is that’s inspiring you to do this. That’s right; you’re going to take a long, hard look at the person in the mirror and discover what it is that’s holding you back. Together, we’re going to help you be who you’ve always wanted to be.

If you want to get results, you’ve got to get real. Here’s how we’ll help you make that happen.

REAL FOOD: As you’ll hear throughout the program, the keys to weight loss are found in the kitchen. No matter how much work you put in at the gym, you can’t outrun a bad diet, and you can’t load up on junk food, thinking you’ll just burn off the calories during your workout.

“Eat clean. It’s for you and no one else.”  —Nia, Arlington, Massachusetts

WHAT GOES INTO YOUR BODY IS WHAT YOU GET OUT OF IT: If you want to see results and have energy for your daily workouts (not to mention the rest of your life), you’ve got to eat real food—that is, whole foods that are minimally processed and packed with nutrients to fuel your body and help you create this new life.

One of the reasons the contestants post such huge losses those first few weeks on the Ranch is that they’re eating real, clean food—no more processed sugar and no more fast food. Without all that salt, sugar, and the bad kind of fat, the body can focus on fueling itself, growing stronger, and keeping you healthy and happy.

Fitness Foremost: A beginner's guide to starting your own workout routine

​Though you’ll be eating clean and healthy foods, we also know that indulging from time to time is part of life. Therefore, it’s also part of the program. We show you how to balance special-occasion eating with your everyday clean meals and snacks. As long as you’re counting your calories, measuring your portions, and making smart food choices, you can indulge sometimes. You will learn that you don’t have to deprive yourself to reach your goals. This helps you develop a healthy relationship with food and can even end the cycle of emotional eating.

One essential step in achieving your goals—whether or not they involve weight loss—is getting your head around giving up on junk food, diet food, and starving yourself of calories. Those tactics don’t work, and we’re going to help you repair your relationship with food and eating.

REAL WORK: Changing your diet is necessary if you want to lose weight, but you’ll quickly hit a weight-loss wall if you don’t also include exercise. And working out is key to building a stronger, leaner body with the energy to live the full, active life you want to live. Our program includes six days of workouts a week, with one active rest day, one do-your-own-workout (DYOW) day, and five prescribed daily workouts created by Dolvett. (Of course, you should listen to your body and rest as needed, especially if you’re new to exercise. We also encourage you to see your doctor or health professional before starting a workout plan.)

The workouts won’t be easy, especially in the beginning, but they were designed with beginners and more advanced exercisers in mind. They’ll challenge regular exercisers, yet they’re suitable for those unaccustomed to breaking a sweat. You can do them at home or in a gym, and you don’t need any equipment beyond a towel. We even give common modifications for those with physical limitations. The workouts use your own body weight as resistance to burn calories and build muscle, which will help you look leaner and more toned as you slim down. Building muscle will also help you burn more calories.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. You’re going to be challenged, and if you do the work, you can change over the next eight weeks. It doesn’t matter where you’re starting. We all start somewhere. What matters is that you keep coming back, day after day, and strive to be a little bit better than you were yesterday. No matter what happens, just don’t quit.

“I often tell my friends that the reason The Biggest Loser diet worked for me is because I didn’t have to cut anything out of my diet. I’m allowed to eat fruits, rice, pasta, and even an occasional candy or sweet treat. The main thing I keep in mind is that it’s all about portion control and I can continue to eat almost anything I like, within reason.”  —Lenida, Sunnyvale, California