Every Tuesday night – rain or snow, hell or hangover – I grab my things and walk over to my best friend’s house. Immediately upon arrival, I grab the ice cream sundae she’s expertly prepared and curl up under my favorite blanket on her couch. She hits play on her DVR and our (four years running!) Biggest Loser date night begins.
OK, so the ice cream sundae is a little counterintuitive, but it’s tradition. And we use low fat ice cream. And try as we might, we just can’t get enough.
Just like we can’t get enough of this show. It’s got all the makings of a great reality show (the characters, the challenges, the dramatic music, the alliances) paired with the happy ending of a Disney movie (and sexy bodies of a GQ shoot). And who can ignore all those tear jerking moments or the always-exciting Makeover Week?
The Biggest Loser to us is what football is to our guy friends.
We know every player, we know every challenge, we know the exact moment there is gonna be Ziploc bags/Yoplait Yogurt product placement. The only thing we don’t know is what life is really like on the Biggest Loser ranch. Well, not anymore. I sat down with this season’s most-talked-about player, Frado, to get a behind the scenes look at life on the Biggest Loser. From workouts to scheming to all that grunting, Frado explained it all.
CC: So, Mr. Frado, why did you decide to apply for The Biggest Loser? Was it your choice? Your family’s urging? A deep desire to have your butt kicked by Bob and Jillian?
Frado: Honestly, I did it to change my life and it’s really done that. I wanted to do this to save my life; I did it for my kids, I did it for my wife, and those are honestly the reasons I did it. I wanted to my kids to be healthier; I wanted to lead by example. They gave me a shot and I’m grateful for that.
CC: Yeah, the changes we’ve see on you so far have been incredible. How do you think you got to the point and weight you were at when you applied for the show?
Frado: You know I had stopped working out. When I started on Wall Street I had two or three jobs on the side. I used to run but I stopped doing that [because I was too busy] and my caloric intake stayed the same until I was, like, 300 pounds. I went from 210 to 300 in a year or two and that’s only because I didn’t adjust my caloric intake the way I needed to because I wasn’t working out anymore.
CC: Yeah, I remember when I stopped working out my freshman year of college. It’s amazing how quickly weight can come back. Freshman 15? Try Freshman 30. Anyways…I’ve been a big fan of the show for many years and I always wonder what life is really like on the ranch. So what is it like? What is something that happens there that the viewers don’t know?
Frado: Honestly, a lot of the work is tough to do. The trainers come and train you as much as they can, but a lot of it is up to you on your own time. There’s a lot of filming involved, it’s 8 or 9 hours a day. There’s this interview process that goes on, there’s a lot involved and you’ve got to find your way around to get your workouts in when the trainers aren’t coming. We did a challenge once where we had to carry sugar cubes back and forth. I thought it was ridiculous; it was one of the stupidest challenges I’ve seen. But that being said, I carried them for an hour and a half, I ran back and forth 30-40 yards. I got my workout in even there wasn’t a scheduled workout that day. You’ve got to figure it out, you’ve got to do the work anyway. Some people figured it out, some people didn’t figure it out.
CC: Right, so do you do anything besides work out? Do you ever take a day off? Do you ever relax?
Frado: There’s people who take days off. There are dark days with nothing going on, there’s no filming. There are two or three off days a week, depending on the week. Um, those few days you could do what you want, you could not work out, eat how much food you want. The food’s all there, it’s totally up to the person on the ranch and the lifestyle they want.
CC: Wow, so it really is up to each individual. I guess that’s better, though. It teaches you the tools for success much more quickly. What is the one biggest thing you learned during your time on the ranch that viewers should incorporate into their own diets?
Frado: The one thing that I think is to count your calories as far as what your body needs to burn with regards to your metabolic rate. It really is calories in and calories out. Calories are calories. You can eat 1000 calories a day and be full. Eat the right food. If you eat 2,400 calories of good nutritious food or if you eat 2,400 calories of crap it makes a big difference.
CC: And how are you incorporating that into your life now that you’re home and back in the real world?
Frado: I mean I’m going to have pizza again. I’ll be a regular human being. I love pizza; everyone loves pizza. I’m going to have a slice but I’m not going to at a pie, you know what I’m saying? Make those changes. Some people can eat a pie and not gain a pound. I’m not that person. You can have pizza once a week, twice a week, not seven times a day.
CC: What would you say to somebody who just doesn’t think that they can work out?
Frado: You’ve got to do it for yourself.
CC: That’s a great lesson for people to take with them. You can’t diet for someone else. You have to want it. I like that. OK, tell me – what was your favorite challenge that you’ve participated in?
Frado: The tennis challenge with Anna Kournakova.
CC: Ah, of course. Is it because she’s such a smokeshow??
Frado: [No,] because I won it and won immunity. And I needed to win it because I was already injured my second week on the ranch. I had pulled a hamstring. I don’t know if you could see that on TV, [but] I thought I was going home after I fell of the treadmill.
CC: So that win couldn’t have come at a better time in terms of the game. Speaking of the game, it seems that this season is a lot more game playing than in seasons past. That everyone is very strategic and smart with their every move. Were you surprised by that?
Frado: It’s like that every season, it’s just what the producers want to show. Every season is the same.
CC: So how do you feel about your role as the “villain” of the season?
Frado: It’s okay. It’s perception. I’m going to take the bumps and bruises that come along with being on the show and having this chance. You know what I’m saying? Would I have been happy to be the golden child like some of the others? Yeah, [but] I know who I am, people [I know] know who I am. I do good things and I feel sorry for people who can’t handle that.
CC: I don’t mind you being a villain, but I do wonder about all that grunting and screaming in the gym. Does that make the workouts more effective? Help you drop the weight faster?
Frado: Well, honestly I was injured so that’s where a lot of the grunting came from.
CC: Ah, that makes a lot more sense. I’d probably be screaming if I had to work out with Bob and Jill with an injury. Actually, I’d probably be crying even without an injury. Anyways, we viewers don’t really know what you look like or how much you weigh at this moment, but now that you’ve lost all this weight, what is your new favorite thing about this new person that you’ve become? The way you feel, the way you look, shopping for clothes?
Frado: It’s not vanity, it’s really not. The best thing is my health. I can run 15 miles now. I’m back to where I was in my Marine Corps days. I can go to the gym with my wife, work out with my kids, I play basketball with my son. Those are the things I cherish the most. And buying a pair of jeans off the rack doesn’t hurt.