We dare you not to cry during the season-eight premiere of The Biggest Loser. In fact, make that a double-dog-dare.
Goosebumps ran up and down our arms as we watched Tracey Yukich, 37, try to crawl to the finish line of the one-mile mark only to be taken away by medics. Our eyes welled up as Abby Rike, 35, told the tragic tale of losing her husband and two small children in a car crash.
If anyone dismissed The Biggest Loser as just another weight-loss show, think again. Now is the time to get into what is arguably one of the most emotional rollercoasters on reality TV today.
We chatted with tough-as-nails trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper today to find out what's in store for the new season, and we can tell you, they are taking no prisoners...
Jillian on Abbey: "We have these contestants who have been to hell and back, to be quite frank. The most extreme was this woman who lost her entire family in a car wreck. The idea is how do we heal these old injuries and rehabilitate these contestants, not just physically, but emotionally. The loss of a loved one is something I have always struggled with and never seemed to overcome in my own life, and working with Abbey, it brought about a lot of personal realizations for me, which begin in episode one. It sends a message to America that we can overcome any tragedy and turn it into triumph with the right skill set and mind frame."
Bob on the Show's Mission: "We want to get to the why as opposed to just the how. They're going to come in thinking, 'OK, I'm going to know how to work out. I'm going to know how to eat right.' No, we're going to be looking at every aspect of your life."
Jillian on Working With Bob: "This is how the show should've been since its onset. Personally, I never want to see it go back the other way. The competition exists between the contestants and should not involve the trainers whatsoever."
Bob on Working With Jillian: "She is the one person I can go to and have always been able to go to. But in seasons past, you never really got to see that. Now all of a sudden you see our two forces really joined together. I really think there is magic there."
Jillian on Daniel Wright's Return: "We were excited. We were really happy that the show was taking responsibility and seeing his journey through. Here is a kid that came in last every challenge [on season seven], and the very first challenge [on season eight] he comes in first."
Bob on Getting Emotional: "I don't think that I went as nuts as I did last season," he laughs. "Last season, I'm the guy that's always going to have some emotional breakdown. I think that we do take our jobs, like I said, so personally. It becomes matter of life and death—not to sound dramatic. It's reality. These guys are coming to us with one foot in the grave. We do take it personally, and we do want to make a change. It's hard for it to just be a job because it's not just a job for either of us."
Jillian on Getting Emotional: "I've been therapized since I was 5 years old. I know that I should not be putting my personal issues on the table or letting them affect my work with the contestants. And I try not to. But as you'll see in episode one, when Abbey is talking about losing her family, I had a personal identification with it, and I had a reaction, which I was disappointed in myself for doing because I don't want the contestant to turn around and think she has to take care of me. I'm working on containing that as much as possible. I have yet to be successful."
Bob on Tag-Team Training With Jillian: "It was relentless. I'm literally taking every amount of energy this one girl has got, and when she thinks she's done, all of sudden Jillian is like, 'my turn.' It was unbelievable. We felt bad for the contestants."
Jillian on Tag-Team Training With Bob: "They were getting it from all angles. It was awful."
She said that with an evil giggle, of course.
Does this sound like the best season of The Biggest Loser yet? Sound off in the comments below.
Missed the lineup for this season? We got it covered right here.