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The Biggest Loser Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with Thomas "TC" Pool and Nathan Montgomery on January 10, 2013 about the show The Biggest Loser.

Thomas Pool

Question:
TC, in the short time that you were there, you've obviously learned some things about yourself. How has the experience changed how you live your life now?

Thomas "TC" Pool:
Before going on the ranch I had this idea in mind of wanting to be healthy and I tried. I'd lost actually 40 pounds before getting on the ranch. But, I still was struggling because I gave up on myself often and I would feel like I needed somebody to do it for me - to push me because I just couldn't do it myself. And on the ranch, one of the things that Jillian did was make it so that I had to make that decision for myself how bad do I want it? Am I going to push through and work hard even though I would usually quit?

So coming home, I've just had to focus on that every day because it's hard at home. It's hard to do it and be in your daily life and work out. But I know from how bad I had to push through wanting to quit on the show and not work out, that I just know how bad I want it now, so I just focus on that every day when it gets tough.

Nathan Montgomery:
I learned a lot while I was on the show. The biggest thing that I think I learned on the show is from Jillian is that fitness in my life is health is not about how I look to people and what they think of me. And so to focus on that means to just better myself every single day and not worry about what other people think. It's not to get into this size of the clothing; it's can I climb that mountain? Can I beat my time running a mile? Things like that. And so bettering myself every day has been really important to me.

Question:
Thinking back to when you first arrived on the show, how different were your expectations from what the reality was?

Nathan Montgomery:
I think it's pretty apparent day one that I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I fell down on the treadmill three times within ten minutes. So you know, I'm a big fan of the show and always have been. And so I knew it was going to be tough, but I thought you know I'm a big guy but you know maybe not that big. I thought maybe I could handle it. But to have Jillian in your face yelling at you and pushing you, it's unlike anything you'll ever experience unless you actually - unless you're actually there. So it was really tough.

But the thing that was most unexpected for me was the mental part of it. I was going in there looking for a physical change, looking to change my body and look good. Then I realized real quick that that's the smallest part of it. It's more about getting your mind right and getting your mind about being healthy. And not just for the show, but for the rest of your life.

Thomas "TC" Pool:
I went into the show thinking I was scared. I started off with the show worried about how I would do. I was lacking self-confidence and where I could go. But, I felt like I could do it. After watching the show so much and wanting it so bad, I felt like I could work out. But I knew going into the show I did not want Jillian because I was afraid that she would be extra tough from being off the show. And then when I saw her, I think I got some preconceived notions and went into that first workout even like extra scared and more in shock.

So when she did get tough and stuff, I think I started almost shutting down a little bit and took it a little bit harder because I psyched myself out to speak. So I wasn't prepared mentally for that first workout like I should've been. And as soon as I could wrap my head around it, the workouts got better, as you could tell.

Question:
What was your favorite memory from being on the show?

Nathan Montgomery:
My favorite memory from the show I think was my really big turning point, and that's when on day one Jillian asked us to think about why is it that we gained weight? Why is it that we're fat, because being fat is a choice? And so it took me awhile to think about that. And they show it on TV when I'm talking to Jillian and it really comes to me that the reason I decided to make this decision was because I feel like I've never been good at anything. And to stay overweight gives me a great excuse why I'm not good at anything.

But, she taught me that if I would just stop worrying about other, what other people think or stop over-judging myself and just be willing to be a novice at something for a little bit to get good at something then I'll get good at something. And, that really stripped away at my layers and why I made this decision really helped me into the right mindset of losing the weight.

Thomas "TC" Pool:
My best memory is the last chance workout where I pushed myself past the limits and I've never done that before. Every time I get to a place where it hurts or was too painful, I would back off. And, I didn't do that that last chance workout. That's changed me forever because it showed me for the first time that I'm willing and able to push my limits, and I just refocus on that all the time. So, that's something that I will always have for the rest of my life that will - I will say has changed my life for better since then.

Question:
Nathan, one of the sweetest moments in the first episode is when Kate came to speak to you and sort of motivated you a bit more. Did you both feel that there was a big support system with the other contestants?

Nathan Montgomery:
Absolutely. On the ranch I was so surprised at how we were such a big family. Seeing some other reality television shows, you see a couple people get along but not everybody is friends. And to be a part of this season of this show works for the exact opposite. Every single person was friends.

And when Kate came in and sat me down and was talking through the day with me and really kind of breaking down the day and what's important, it helped me realize that this isn't a red, white, and blue team. This is three different colors all on one team. And we kept that mentality throughout every single person throughout the whole show. It was miraculous. It was awesome.

Question:
Obviously going home quite early when you had worked hard as well, how did you kind of keep yourself motivated when you got back home?

Thomas "TC" Pool:
I went home on an upswing definitely. I went home feeling really good about myself and really feeling very eager to continue my working out, so that helped a lot. Now as you get through the daily grind of you know working full-time and having a family, and continuing to work out every day, that's when you start digging down deep and realizing, ???Okay. How bad do you want this???? And you know you can do this. You just push through.

So when I first got back I was gung ho, and then as you get through and get tired, you end up having to push yourself even more, and that's where a lot of that I went through on the ranch comes handy.

Nathan Montgomery:
For me, my time there was only two weeks, but you learn so much in two weeks on the ranch, and I learned a lot from Jillian and the other trainers about what's important. And for me, it wasn't just about coming home and looking good by the finale. It was coming home and starting my new lifestyle that I'm going to maintain for the rest of my life.

And so coming home wasn't I don't think too hard for me because I was in the right mindset and the mentality of I got to do this for me, I've got to do this for my girlfriend, and I need to live a healthy lifestyle not for three months. Not for six months. You know forever. And so you know what I learned on the ranch, just the mental part of it made things so much easier. I had a real breakthrough and it's something I'll never forget.

Question:
I know one of the things that is being discussed with the new season is how Jillian's back and tougher than ever. Were we seeing the TV Jillian, or did you all get to experience like the softer side of Jillian?

Nathan Montgomery:
What you're seeing on TV is the real deal Jillian. There are two sides of her. There's kind of like in the gym and she can tell when you're not motivated. She can tell when you're not in it. And so when that's the case, you get the really mean Jillian. The one who's in your face pushing you. That's all absolutely 100% real.

But when she can tell, like you can see it in Episode 2 when you really commit yourself to her and commit yourself to the process, she knows that you're pushing yourself and she doesn't have to push you like that. So, she lightens up and she's there as your teammate to push you a different way. She's a very multifaceted trainer, and those are just two of her types, both of which are very effective and 100% real.

Thomas "TC" Pool:
I agree a lot with what Nate said. I only got to have that one week with her, so I got to see the real intense Jillian, and I got to see it when you're not doing as well as you should and how intense she can get. And also, when you do everything she asks and how pleased with you she is at the end. And she's very intense, and at the end she definitely cares. But I'm sure if I was there longer, I would've you know seen a less intense Jillian as it went on. But she does what she needs to do to get you to find the motivation inside yourself.

Question:
In the past, especially early on, there have been the elimination through the elimination room and people picking names, but this time around both times there was the red line. How do you feel about the red line versus the elimination room as far as having the responsibility placed in a different way?

Nathan Montgomery:
I was happy that I didn't have to vote anybody home because like I previously stated, we were all a big family and I loved everybody there. It was like going to war with these people and there's no really tighter bond than that. The red line unfortunately is an elimination. And as being one of the people who got actually eliminated, it's unfortunate you know I don't really get a chance to fight for myself to stay.

But, it is what it is. And I was really sad that it was on Week 2, because Week 2 is so unpredictable on The Biggest Loser ranch. So I just became a victim of the Week 2 jinx with the red line. It was just a deadly combination.

Thomas "TC" Pool:
The red line definitely takes game play out of it or takes a lot of that stuff that might break up a team's chemistry. So, I like the idea of the red line, but of course I went home with it, so you know you go, ???What if,??? if it wasn't a red line. Everyone there on the ranch had amazing weight loss. And so, it's hard to sit there and wish somebody else would've gone home when everybody worked so hard and did well. And I know that I was one of the persons who lost the least. So, it's hard to wish for a different outcome and it's just not worth focusing on. So the red line had some good points and down points, but I think it was mostly good actually.

Question:
I noticed in your bios you both mention that you were very active like growing up and in high school, and you were very into athletics. And then after high school you kind of lost it. Why do you think it's important to maintain good health in your early years? Why is that important?

Thomas "TC" Pool:
High school is when I started becoming less athletic and gaining weight. And I can remember my junior high school when I quit basketball for the first time, and I'd been playing since I was in Kindergarten, and I did it because I had a low self-image and I was afraid of how I would look going into basketball tryouts. And I could see that right there was the decline of my self-worth and going from someone who was slightly gaining weight, but I really wasn't overweight as much as I thought I would. But, I fulfilled that how I thought I was the next few years by just continuing to gain weight every year after that.

And the more you go without doing and being active, the harder it is to get active again. And that's why I think kids today need to learn to just keep taking little steps and keep being active, because it makes it so much easier down the road to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As soon as you stop doing sports or stop doing active lifestyle, it just gets harder and harder the more weight you gain to start up again.

Nathan Montgomery:
I agree with a lot of what TC said. We kind of have a similar back story. For me, I've always eaten badly. That was something that happened in our family. We ate a lot of fast foods all the time. Home cooked meals were pretty rare, but it was okay for my image because I played sports all day long. That's all I did. I moved out to a new area after high school and I had no friends and I started playing baseball, which I've played my whole life. And you know, I wasn't the absolute best on the team. And so to me, that makes me think in my head that people are judging me and you know thinking I'm not the best or I'm not good, and so that discouraged me from playing.

I started to live a sedentary lifestyle at home and get into different things or just socializing or just playing video games and eating the same way, which in turn I gained a lot of weight. And just like TC said, when that happens and you want to go back and play baseball, well now you're even worse than you were before, so what's the point? And it's that bad mentality that you get yourself into, and that's why I'm glad that this season of The Biggest Loser is focusing on children and teens, because it's so important that these kids realize that life is about them. Life is not about what people think about you. Life's what you think about you.

And if you can get up every morning and do what you want to do, and regardless of what people think, and just live an active lifestyle and enjoy everything life has to offer; you're going to be so much healthier and so much happier and not have to go through these really sad moments that TC and I both have gone through.

Question:
How did As far as me thinking about leaving the ranch, there is a time during that first workout where I would be hard pressed to think that nobody goes through, ???Can I really do this,??? and, ???I wish I would quit.??? Because we all have gotten to where we are by probably having a mentality of that way, of not following through. So the thought crosses your mind. But, we worked really hard to get on that show and we went through a process showing how much we wanted to be on it, so you just dig deep down inside and think about the reasons why you want to be on the show to push through.

t the time, that's why I wanted Nikki to stay is because it was tough and we knew how hard it is. And we knew that she really wanted to be on the show because she didn't just get it by happenchance, so she worked to be on that show. I wanted her to stay because I knew that's what she wanted when she got on the show. Now it might have been the best choice for her. I don't know. But as far as at the time, I really wanted her to stay for her because I didn't want her to have any regrets later.

Nathan Montgomery:
This show is so important and it's so helpful. When Nikki quit, we didn't want her to leave, absolutely not. I mean not only was she one of our team members, but she was part of our Biggest Loser family. And you never want to see anybody quit on themselves because that's what had gotten us to this point. So, we were really sad to see that. And you know the Butterfly Effect of that, you know, was detrimental.

I can say I did not ever want to quit. I think there were times where maybe I had a mental block like in the first workout, and I thought maybe I couldn't push past where I actually could. But, I never wanted to quit. She kicked me out of the gym and I didn't want to leave, but I had to. And there's a reason why she does what she does and it helped me out. But, no; I never wanted to quit. And if I could ever go back, I would.

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