Good morning! A friend of mine went and saw O'Neal Hampton from The Biggest Loser speak. Here is her recap.
For all who are interested in hearing how it went when I saw O'Neal Hampton, here is an overview...
First of all, O'Neal was SO incredibly friendly, sweet, open, honest... I could go on and on. Seriously, the man is a sweetheart. He told us of how God's grace and his own faith were what got him on The Biggest Loser and nothing else. At the time of the BL auditions, Sunshine was in AZ visiting a cousin. She was encouraged to try out for the show and decided on the spur of the moment to do it. She drove 2 hours from where she was to the audition which was held at a casino. She slept in the parking lot overnight and when the sun came up she went and stood in line. She ended up being number 50 in line and later the line stretched for 2 miles!! It was July in Arizona and the heat was unbearable - people were passing out left and right and water was being handed out to those waiting. O'Neal said if Sunshine hadn't gotten her great place in line, she never would have auditioned.
So, this season was a "couples" season and Sunshine had shown up without a partner. There were 3 audition rooms and very few made it past room 1 and obviously even fewer made it to the other rooms. O'Neal had no idea that Sunshine was trying out and she showed up by herself. She surprisingly got through 1 and 2 by insisting that her partner was around somewhere and would show up. Meanwhile, hundreds were being turned away in each room. When she got to room 3 she was honest and told them that her dad was in MN and was not with her. Several judges got angry and told her she wasted their time and she ran out of the room crying. But the producer asked if she had a photo of her dad and she did and showed them the pic. They took a look at it and accepted her onto the show right there! She ended up calling her dad in the middle of the night to ask him to be with her on the show. O'Neal packed up the next day and flew out to do this for her daughter because she told him that they needed help. :(
O'Neal encountered many obstacles when he got there. One of his hips and one knee were were bad and it was incredibly painful to do the daily 6-8 hours of working out. He said it was God's grace that allowed him to do it. At one point when he was injured on the show, they took x-rays of him to check for damage. They saw that the hip and knee were "bone on bone". When he returned to his room later, all of his belongings were torn apart and strewn all over his room. The bosses on the show pulled him into a room and interrogated him, insisting that he had to be smuggling pain medication. to work out with his body in such bad condition. He insisted he was not and said he would happily leave if they didn't believe him. Of course he wasn't taking anything, and of course they ended up believing him and keeping him.
Another time, he was told to cover up a tattoo of Jesus that he had on his arm. He had disclosed the tattoo early on and signed a form saying he had it, but was never told it was a problem. But suddenly the director was freaking out saying they couldn't show that on TV. Again, they told him if he didn't cover it up he would need to leave. He stood his ground and said he absolutely would not cover it up and if they wanted him to leave he would. And again, they allowed him to stay. Honestly, I can't say that I know for sure I would have made the same choice being put in that situation. He's such a man of conviction!!
He was the first contestant ever to insist on leaving the ranch on Sunday for church. They laughed at him and said nobody leaves the ranch because you can't have any outside contact. He was the first ever to get permission to do that. He also insisted on praying before each taping and was the first to get to do that as well.
It was so amazing to hear how many times he was faced with an ultimatum of "do this or go home" and he stood his ground and wouldn't change! He has opened up a fitness resort on Lake Superior near Bluefin Bay Resort called "Fitness North". So now he's busy with that and with speaking engagements. On TBL during Thanksgiving week they will be doing a "Where Are They Now" segment and he and his fitness resort will be featured. Sunshine has moved to AZ for now to go to nursing school.
Oh, and one little fun fact... He says Jillian is just as hard as she comes off and called her a "worldly woman" and swears like a sailor. Remember the shot of Ashley falling off the treadmill? He says it happened after Ashley kept saying she couldn't do it anymore and Jillian kept telling her to "get back on the f***ing treadmill"! When Ashley said she was going to throw up Jillian told her to throw up in her mouth and swallow it!! She did, and that's when she fell off. Wow.
Hope this wasn't too long, but I had to get in all that really interesting stuff!! :)
My take? Interesting to see an insider-take on the show. It may be life-saving for some, but at what cost? I thought that about Jillian even before I read this post. In my opinion, there's working people out and pushing them beyond their own limits and then there's just plain being abusive to get results. I'd rather not support the latter.
Question for my Readers: Do you think there's a point when trainers can push you too hard? Is there a line for pushing you and line for being abusive? Have you ever personally experienced a trainer as cross as Jillian?