Welcome to my weekly round-up of Channel 10′s The Biggest Loser, Challenge Australia.
During late March/early April 2013, the Biggest Loser team came to Ararat to entice the community to change the label we had been given as one of Australia’s Fattest Towns, to one of Australia’s Fittest Towns.
They inspired us, motivated us and provided some fun opportunities to develop our fitness levels and to shed some kilos for just under 6 months.
Finally, after a long wait while the program was pieced together, it has hit television screens across Australia, showcasing the efforts of our town champions and the Ararat community in general.
Week 2 and Week 3 were MASSIVE weeks on The Biggest Loser Challenge Australia. MASSIVE. Here’s a brief rundown of what happened…
* The contestants arrived in Sydney, and were faced with their very first challenge, known to us now as The Opera House Steps Challenge. They had to run up and down the steps of Sydney’s world famous Opera House in groups of 2, until they reached their target.
The bottom 2 teams to finish were to face the very first elimination before anyone even entered The Biggest Loser house.
* In a ‘Survivor Style’ ceremony, the 14 were given the choice to eliminate the losing contestants from the steps challenge, or as a one off, save all members of the Ararat Heros team. Community spirit was strong and each team member voted to send ‘NO ONE’ home in the first elimination.
* Once settled in to The Biggest Loser House, Shannan and Commando chose their teams, one by one and put them all straight to work in their training sessions.
* The strain and pressure of the session got too much for Cameron and he walked out of the gym. After some wise words from trainer Shannan Ponton, Cameron returns and makes the choice to devote everything he has got into making his fitness dream come true.
* It’s during Episode 4 that the viewers discover that Michelle Bridges has been sneaking around Ararat, training the town members and holding challenges for the 500 pebble people.
* The first town challenge takes place where the community members were set the task of shifting 26,000kgs of dirt and rubble, to show just how much weight Ararat has to lose. Pebble people were given blue and black t-shirts, a bucket and a shovel and were told they were competing to win their colour team an advantage back in the TBL House.
Black team won the town challenge and won the advantage for the Commando’s team in Sydney.
* Chains of Pain was the title given to the challenge that the contestants were faced with once they were in their colour teams. This involved excruciatingly heavy chains and obstacles in the sand along the beach front.
Mary struggled to keep up and the blue team fell apart while trying to motivate Mary to continue on. On the home stretch, Mary drops to the ground and required medical attention. As the Blue team soldiered on, we watched as the Black team made it over the finish line, taking a 2kg weight advantage into their first official competition weigh in.
* Contestants weigh in and the numbers are astounding. Cameron breaks a record with the highest number ever recorded in Biggest Loser history, shedding a whopping 15kgs after their initial starting weight weigh in.
* The blue team are faced with an eviction, and Rodger and Mary are put up. The black team vote and decide Mary needs to be in the house longer so Rodger is sent home from the first eviction of the season.
* Despite voting to keep Mary in, several of the contestants begin to have doubts as to whether they have made the correct choice. Mary is adamant that she will prove herself and show change in the coming week.
* Hayley surprises the contestants with their first taste of temptation. An old fashioned country fair, where all things fatty and delicious were available to eat.
If the contestants chose to consume any food, the person who ate the most calories, would be in the running to win themselves $30,000. This saw a couple of them being sneaky only consuming a sachet of sauce in hope that the few calories it contained was enough to score themselves the $$$$.
One contestant however, went right out and consumed huge amounts of take-away food. That contestant was Cal.
* Once Hayley revealed that Cal had eaten from the food stand, the black team became divided and their faith was lost in their ‘leader’. During the following training session, The Commando asks Cal to train outside of the group, for letting the team down.
* During the Blue Team’s training session, Cameron falls to the ground with heart pains and Shannan insists he get professional medical advice ASAP. The doctors send Cam for more intensive testing and bar him from training and participating until the results come in.
* Team challenge #2 see’s the contestants find themselves in a shipping container yard. To make numbers fair, only 4 contestants from both Blue and Black teams are chosen to be in the challenge, with help from their respective trainers.
This challenge involved rolling the shipping container along in a line on top of steel poles until reaching the end. Once at the end they were required to drag bails of hay towards the container stack in order to make stairs to get up 2 levels to the top.
The blue team won this challenge and won for their team, what was in the very top shipping container.
* The Blue Team’s prize was BIG KEV. A previous season’s contestant.
This coming week we will find out how Big Kev is fitting in, being that he is the only contestant NOT from Ararat, the fate of Cameron and see the contestants from both teams slug away at shifting their weight.
So….WHAT WAS GOING ON IN ARARAT??
Well, as a pebble person I was absolutely stoked at the idea of competing in a Biggest Loser style challenge. It’s not something that you get the opportunity to do everyday, and the mystery surrounding it all was too much for me not to put my hand up!
We arrived at the location only to be surrounded by massive mounds of red dirt and rubble, and while we had no idea what was in store for us, as we walked closer and closer to the start points, we soon figured out that we would be shoveling dirt… And LOTS of it!
Michelle arrived and gave us all the motivational boost we needed before we started the first town challenge. Watching this on the TV, didn’t quite show the true extent of how hard it really was. I was at the very start of my journey, with basically no fitness at all, running in the blazing sun with 15kg buckets of dirt, back and forwards for what seemed like hours.
I think in fact it was around 20-30mins.
While the television showed the teams to be neck and neck, the black team were actually miles ahead of the blue team thanks to some savy leaders that worked out a team system and got us all moving accordingly.
It was only after completing the challenge that we found out who was in each team, so although I competed in the black team during the first town challenge, I swapped to blue for future events.
Aside from the dirt challenge, I, like many had adopted a daily walking goal, and my walking buddy and I dragged ourselves out of bed each morning for a 6am walk.
By the time I had weighed in at the week 3 mark, I had discovered that the anxiety medication I was on was the reason I was not losing any weight at all, despite plenty of exercise and healthy eating. With the support of my doctor, I was weaned off my medication and prescribed as ‘active life script’ to help manage my post-natal depression and anxiety.
The doctor also confirmed that the medication I was taking was responsible for the 20+kgs I had stacked on in as little as 3mths prior to the pebble challenge starting. 20+ KILOGRAMS!!! That’s not cool at all.
So with no medication holding me back, I pushed on with my goals and hoped that all the fresh air I was getting would help with my mood.
If you missed the first weekly round up, you can find it HERE.
Stay tuned for the next installment!