The Biggest Loser: How I Lost It
After spending a week at The Biggest Loser Resort Niagara, our Jonna Gallo breaks down what a week's schedule and menu look like.
A TYPICAL DAY
When more than five hours of hard-core exercise are on your agenda, you need to be up and at it EARLY. Here's a look at a typical day at Biggest Loser Resort Niagara. Note that I visited in the dead of winter, with snowy conditions prevailing. Daily schedules vary with resort, season and weather. This is just to give you an idea of what goes on.
6 a.m. Stretch
7 a.m. Breakfast
8 a.m. Cardio Intervals
9 a.m. Circuit Training
9:50 a.m. Snack
10:30 a.m. Choice of Pool, Stretch or Cardio (In case you're wondering, there's no opting out here. It's your choice, but you have to choose something.)
11:45 a.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. Education (diet and nutrition lectures, with topics including Fundamentals, Facts of Weight Loss and Intuitive Eating)
2:00 p.m. Outdoor Hike
3:00 p.m. Snack
3:30 p.m. Total Body Toning H20
4:45 p.m. Education
5:45 p.m. Dinner
THE LOWDOWN ON FOOD
Menus vary from week to week and season to season. Expect somewhere around 1500 calories per day, spread over three meals and two snacks. There is always a well-stocked salad bar at lunch and dinner. Meals are carefully balanced to provide an optimal mix of protein, fats and carbs to fuel intense exercise and keep you feeling full. At the beginning of your week, you meet with a dietician to go over everything and request substitutions as needed.
Typical Breakfast Options
- Quinoa cereal with almond milk and chia seeds • Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie • Scrambled Eggs with Veggies
Typical Lunch Options
- Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup, Greek Chicken Salad • Minestrone Soup, Asian Chicken Wrap • White Bean, Fennel and Tomato Soup, Steak and Feta Pizza
Typical Dinner Options
- Chicken and Sausage Quesadilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge • Turkey and Vegetable Stuffed Peppers, Sliced Fresh Strawberries • Grass-Fed Beef with Roasted Veggies and Poblano Vinaigrette, Chocolate Pudding
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
I drank more water when I was at Biggest Loser Resort Niagara than any time in my entire life. As someone who pretty much always hated sipping H20, I can say that I definitely got used to drinking more of it, and my stepped-up consumption has continued. The BL recommended intake is 100 ounces per day. Helpful hint: If you're going at it on a piece of cardio equipment and drain your bottle, a trainer will gladly take it off your hands, refill it and return it to you. They're like that.
I loved the food at BLRN — fresh, scrumptious and extremely satisfying. Here are a few of my favorite recipes.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
3 cups crushed ice
2 cups banana
1/2 cup powdered peanut butter*
1 cup yogurt, nonfat
1 1/2 cups chocolate almond milk
2 scoops protein powder
Add all ingredients to blender pitcher. Blend until smooth.
* Powdered peanut butter is typically available at health food stores or online.
Nutrient info per serving: 169 calories, 3g fat, 25g carbohydrate, 13g protein, 2g fiber, 269mg sodium
6 10-inch tortilla shells
24 ounces deli turkey breast, sliced very thin
12 slices turkey bacon, cooked crisp
12 slices tomato, 1/4" thick
1 cup avocado, diced
1 1/2 cups arugula
Lay tortilla on flat surface. Place 4 ounces turkey on top, then add 2 slices crisp bacon, 2 slices tomato, 1/6 of the avocado and 1/4 cup arugula. Fold and roll into a wrap.
Nutrient info per serving: 434 calories, 17g fat, 46g carbohydrate, 30g protein, 10g fiber, 1006mg sodium
Steak and Feta Pizza
1 gluten-free pizza crust
2 tablespoons sundried tomato pesto
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
4 ounces beef tenderloin
6 Kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup arugula
2 teaspoons lemon oil
Preheat grill for beef. Preheat oven to 375 degrees for pizza. Smear pesto over the crust, add chopped olives and feta. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, grill beef to desired doneness, then let rest. Remove pizza from oven. Slice beef very thin and place on pizza. Add lemon oil to arugula and place on top of pizza. Cut in half and serve.
Nutrient info per serving: 415 calories, 21g fat, 32g carbohydrate, 27g protein, 2g fiber, 884mg sodium
Chicken and Sausage Quesadilla
1 cup roasted salsa
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped
12 ounces chipotle chicken sausage
6 gluten-free brown rice tortillas
3/4 cup green bell pepper, sliced thick
3/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced thick
3/4 cup Spanish onion, sliced thick
1 teaspoon chipotle, canned, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro
3 ounces cheddar-jack cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam pepper and onions over low heat. (No need for oil because the onions have natural oil.) Add remaining ingredients except salsa. Divide among tortillas and fold. Bake until crispy. Cut into 4 pieces and garnish with salsa and cilantro.
Nutrient info per serving: 397 calories, 15g fat, 32g carbohydrate, 30g protein, 5g fiber, 1114mg sodium
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
Blend all ingredients until combined. Let stand 1 hour before serving.
Nutrient info per serving: 113 calories, 11g fat, 4g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 465mg sodium
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
3.5 ounces Callebaut dark chocolate, melted
1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
1/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt chocolate using a double boiler. Heat the evaporated milk in a small sauce pot, then add the powdered peanut butter to the warm evaporated milk. Add melted chocolate and stir to combine. Pour into a shallow pan lined with parchment paper. Spread fairly thin, about ?" thick. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into 2" x 2" pieces and serve.
Nutrient info per serving: 112 calories, 6g fat, 12g carbohydrate, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 36mg sodium
All recipes reprinted courtesy of The Biggest Loser Resort.