The Biggest Loser 3, Episode 5: Blindsided!by Brian Towers -- 10/20/2006
Welcome to the fifth episode of The Biggest Loser 3! This series focuses on teams of overweight contestants and their competitive struggles to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar their way to a $250,000 cash prize.
And… are you ready to take a survey? More on that later.
Well, I seem to be having trouble with my tables this season – last week’s table had errors in both teams total line. It’s not worth a full table reprint, but the right numbers are that the Blue Team lost 26 pounds (1.92%) while the Red Team delivered a winning 2.41% change from a 30-pound weight-loss. With Melinda sent home, both teams find themselves down to five players each.
As the episode begins, we learn that so far this season, our contestants have lost 496 pounds together. Well done!
Action begins as both teams arrive at the gym, only to find it closed. In fact, it’s padlocked! Kai figures out that this means they will be working out in different locations and not using traditional equipment this week. Not one to be deterred, Bobby gets in through a window, but the trainers come jogging up to nix that plan. Trainer Bob announces, “It’s gym-closed week!”
Kim tells us they felt it was time to break the monotonous routines that have been developing. It seems like a good idea to me as in the real world, rigidly predictable workout schedules and locations are not always possible.
Trainer Bob’s Blue Team only has one female left, Amy. He tells her she has to “work out like a man.” That worries me a little because I don’t think she spits or scratches the same way, and that could hold her back. Amy tells us, “I know I’m pushing myself way beyond anywhere I’ve ever been before. It’s time to bring it on.” Bob says to her, “I’m working you out like a man, huh?” and she replies, “I can take it!”
The Red Team is working out inside on the staircase by stepping, bending, and stretching. Kai confesses she’s nostalgic for the gym. Trainer Kim tells us she sees body changes in Wylie and Ken especially, and we learn Pam is now wearing a tee-shirt that no longer has a size beginning with “X.”
Bob needs to coach Erik a bit because he feels Erik is holding back. As the biggest guy, Erik sees the total poundage he needs to lose is insurmountable. Bob tells him, “I know what you are capable of.” Inspired, we see him jogging up the driveway. Clips from week one remind us how far Erik has come. Bob has him check his heart rate frequently, but keeps pushing him to excel.
It’s time to check in on one of our “ghosts.” “Ghosts” is my term for the 36 contestants sent home from the ranch but who are still in the game. Linda in Boise, Idaho has dropped almost fifty pounds in three months. That’s about half of her goal. Initially it was a little frustrating but by week four she found she had a waist and today, she’s jogging at a rapid pace. I admit it; I’m rooting a little bit for Linda because of all fifty competitors Linda is the oldest. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled if she reads that! You go, Linda!
I the next scene the teams are given the treat of eating out at an El Pollo Loco outlet, which I understand specializes in Mexican style chicken. The trainers reason that contestants need to learn to deal with food outlets in the real world.
One tip we get is that getting skinless chicken saves 34 calories and almost half the fat, and we get a warning that each tortilla chip has a little more than one full gram of fat in it. The trainers admire that unlike on the cruise, the contestants are authoritative in asking the right questions and they make the right choices.
The next scene is a reward challenge. They have a great location – the L.A. Coliseum, home field for the USC Trojans and site of the 1984 Olympics.
Series host Caroline Rhea is present, and she has a surprise for our competitors. After about two months on the ranch, she has messages from loved ones at home played on the stadium video screen. Bobby’s young daughter is especially cute. Needless to say, all are deeply touched, and all are newly motivated.
The challenge works like this – each team has to do the wave. Specifically, it must be performed 510 times! The process is that a team does the wave, then shifts one seat to the side and repeats the process until they are done. The prize is some nice workout clothing worth $2,500.
Bob and Kim are on hand to cheer their teams on. Both sprint across the field to get to their teams first, and despite some impressive foot speed from Kim, Bob wins by a few paces.
The challenge begins and both trainers are acting somewhat like a coxswain, setting the rhythm for their team. Trainer Bob is all over Erik to keep the pace up but soon, the Red Team has a big lead. Worse, they are visibly out-hustling the Blue Team. However, the pace is too aggressive for Ken and his back, and he has to take a break. The teams are virtually tied with about 130 waves to go.
It turns out Ken is, in fact, done. The whole team is upset with him, but no one is more livid than Pam who says later, “I just wanted to reach over and strangle Ken.” She adds, “Ken said his back was hurting, I don’t know how true that is, I don’t really know. The only thing I know about Ken is that he quit!”
In cameos, all the women are sure they’d have won if Ken wasn’t there. Wylie is the most invisible 264-pound man you ever saw.
The rest of the Red Team decides to finish out the exercise anyway. And as they all cross the line together the Blue Team FINALLY wins a challenge. They are one-for-five now – there’s no stopping them.
One notes the Red Team does not finish together.
Still upset, Pam says, “If my legs had fallen off, I would have finished that challenge. I would have drug my body over those chairs with my arms, then drug my bloody stump across that finish line!” Ken has detected the animosity but tells us, “They’re just going to have to get over it, because I did what I could do. I did my best.” Still, I hope he sleeps with a light on tonight.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (really this time) there’s a chef in the kitchen – chef Devin. Devin is in fact Devin Alexander, author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook. The Red Team decides on burgers while the Red Team opts for pizzas. It’s all done healthy style, of course, and as the items are made up, these good tips are issued:
The recipes are on the official website for those who are interested.
Last-Chance Workouts are a time when everyone gets extra serious. Bob directs another indoor workout while Kim has her squad outside on the grass. I find it very discouraging to see them work so hard while all I can think of is that bag of potato chips in the kitchen…
And now, it’s time for the weigh-ins. Both sides are nervous about how it may play out. Ken knows he needs to do well or he’s in BIG trouble. Listed alphabetically as usual, here’s how the weigh-in went.
So, the Red Team wins the weigh-in! This surprises me, but perhaps the Blue Team is building healthy-but-heavier muscle with all that lifting of furniture? Maybe they should focus on boring, repetitive cardio next week?
As the biggest percentage loser on the losing Blue Team, Brian is again exempt from elimination. Caroline Rhea announced that Erik has lost 56 pounds so far and even the Red Team applauds. Perhaps I am in error but this is the first time I remember seeing them offer support to a Blue Team member.
This prompted me to check my seasonal statistics. I note that both Marty and Red Team’s Ken have lost 57 pounds so far! For the ladies, Amy leads the way with total losses of 41 pounds, followed closely by Kai with losses totaling 39 pounds. Brian leads all with a percentage of 17.11%, and Pam trails at 11.74%. But really, all the numbers are pretty close, and certainly, very impressive
Alone in the kitchen, Bobby and Amy discuss how they are going to vote. Bobby wants to eliminate the threat that is Marty while Amy thinks dumping big Erik is better for the team. I can tell you that over the season, Erik has the lowest percentage loss on the team by more than a full percent, so it’s a valid viewpoint. Bobby says, “The game has started,” and Amy agrees, “The game is here.”
A little later, the entire team meets to discuss the upcoming vote. Erik and Marty both make tearfully emotional appeals. Bobby confesses he now has a knot in his gut and isn’t sure how he’s going to vote.
The Blue Team sadly files into the Elimination Room to a waiting Caroline Rhea. Marty votes first, and Erik gets his vote because his overall loss percentage is lowest. Amy concurs, and that’s two votes against Erik.
Erik votes next for someone he thinks is young enough to continue losing weight outside of the ranch… Amy! She admits to being “very surprised.” Is this a good time to point out that Marty is two years younger than Amy?
Bobby is next, and admits he’s voting for someone who doesn’t deserve to go home and that his decision was a last-minute change made to best suit his own needs… to Amy. Amy whispers to Caroline, “Blindsided!”
This brings us to Brian. Caroline points out the unpleasant possibility that if he votes for Bobby or Marty, it’s a 2-2-1 tie and then the Red Team will cast the deciding vote – and we all know how unpleasant that can be. Brian agrees with what the others have said and has decided that his chances are improved if Amy is the one who goes home. So, Amy is sent back to Maryland.
After prompting from Caroline Rhea, Amy admits she didn’t see this coming “from a million miles away.” She doesn’t understand why it happened and after some fuzzy arithmetical analysis, ends off a little bitter. She says that the vote makes no sense and she hopes they don’t regret it. She reminds everyone that she lost the most of any of the women.
As she leaves she has hugs for all the guys. But she’s still pissed off.
Caroline Rhea says, “I have to say, I didn’t believe any of you guys when you were telling Amy why you were voting her off. Is that really why?” Brian says, “Absolutely. She lost 41 pounds and that is an amazing sprint. But she has less of an area to go, and we have to put up big percentages. She kills herself in the gym, kills herself for that four. If it becomes a three, a two…”
My own opinion is – I don’t know but I think Caroline caught them. Perhaps the vote was gender or alliance based? Or, I wonder if the guys are just confusing raw tonnage with percentages? At this stage, by less than 0.05%, five pounds on Amy is the same as seven on Marty or eight on Erik.
However, Amy’s thinking that having light people on the team is an advantage makes no sense either. Percentages, and who can maintain or increase them – that’s the correct criteria. I also think that at this stage it’s a tough call to decide who is closest to their goal weight and therefore likely to stop losing big numbers in the near future. It seems to me that all five have a way to go yet.
Over the last couple of weeks, the percentage difference between the two is trivial, but it does slightly favor Amy. Can Erik realize his as-yet untapped potential for big losses? Was Amy far enough from her goal weight that she could resume posting good numbers, or had she hit a wall after two average weeks? (God, did I just belittle a pair of four-pound weight losses? I’m getting jaded!) We’ll have to wait and see.
In her funeral video, Amy reiterates that she didn’t expect any votes tonight. She says, “I think I’m ready for the real world,” and is proud of herself for getting off her couch and taking charge of her life.
In more current video, we learn that Amy has dropped another 47 pounds, for a total of 88 since her first day on the ranch. She has a very nice shape and enjoys the diet-and-exercise lifestyle and has gone from a size-22 dress to a ten! She is running and kayaking, and has competed in two triathlons. Good for you, Amy!
Some final words… not only does 88 pounds represent an impressive 34%, but it backs up the argument that she could have continued contributing good numbers to the team for several weeks yet. We’ll have to see if Erik can put up some equally-solid numbers in the weeks to come.
Here’s my early-season poll! There are three small screens of questions, plus start and end pages and a chance to enter your own feedback. Give it a try, I’m always interested how readers view the series. Why, it could be the most exciting web poll ever! Click here to take poll!
Join me here next week for a recap of all the action, sprinkled as usual with my own reactions and opinions. Can the Blue Team turn things around? Not only are they losing challenges but they’ve also lost three of the last four weigh-ins!
And don’t be shy about dropping me a line at the eAddress below!
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at Uncle_bto@rogers.com. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.