|Jackson Carter of "Biggest Loser" now at 180 lbs. by Valerie Phillips|
I interviewed him yesterday at the Clearfield Aquatics Center where he works out. He's just as warm and personable in "real life" as he was on TV — what you see is what you get. Unlike some of the past contestants that you hear about, who start packing on the pounds the day after the finale, Carter is planning to lose 20 more pounds. He works out 60-90 minutes each day.
"I weighed in at 190 at the finale, and my goal weight is 165, so I still have a little bit to go," said Jackson, who started out on the reality weight-loss series at 328 pounds.
His time in the spotlight isn't over. He and fellow finalist Jeff Nichols are working on an idea for a web series called "Mancation." The idea came out of "The Biggest Loser" Week Nine, when he and Nichols spent a week living away from the ranch.
He's also planning to do speaking engagements. People can contact him on his website, www.jacksoncarterspeaks.com.
I'll share a lot of Jackson's weight loss tips in a story for the Standard-Examiner that will run next week. But I also had a chance to ask about the behind-the-scenes things we've all wondered about:
Were contestants portrayed accurately? "We filmed 12 hours a day for an entire week for a one-week show, so there's no way that everything could be shown. But everyone was portrayed very accurately. the Biggest Loser sticks true to the story. When you cast good people and good things happen to them, you are going to get good TV."
But what about last season? I brought up the point that a lot of viewers didn't enjoy Season 13, where there was continual drama and backstabbing.
Jackson was carefully diplomatic in his answer:
"The last season was trying to make it an interesting story to pit the loved ones against each other. But people don't watch the Biggest Loser for the drama, they want to be inspired to make a positive change in their lives, whether it's quitting smoking or losing weight or whatever it is. Maybe that's why this season the cast was full of stellar all-stars who kept the fighting to a minimum, and we were supportive of each other. "
Speaking of supporting each other.... That's when I had to ask Jackson about episode 9, when one contestant would have to leave the ranch for the week, and Jackson insisted he go instead of the group's obvious choice, Gina. It appeared that Jackson was sacrificing himself in order to give Gina a chance to get back in good graces with the rest of the contestants.
"My reasons were two-fold," he said. "I wanted the challenge of leaving the ranch, so I could see where I was still struggling while I could still go back to the ranch and get my ducks in a row before I got home," he said. "But I had seen Gina go through a lot of trouble. She was struggling and I know what that's like. I know why she was so emotional. I wanted her to know she had my support."
Pretty generous words when a $250,000 prize is at stake.
How did you spend your time? "TV is a lot more fun to watch than it is to make," he said. "Production days were a little crazy. There's a lot of production time. We would film 12-15 hours a day. And we worked out 4 to 8 hours a day, between the trainers and our homework."
Are there any weight loss tricks? There were no pills or gimmicks, "It's strictly diet and exercise," he said. "They really teach you how to be successful for the future. The nutritionist who comes in and teaches us how to prepare food so that it's healthy. And we learn the numbers -- how many calories you are taking in and burning, and what that translates to on the scale.
He still wears a Bodymedia device on his arm, that monitors your body temperatuire, how many steps you take and how fast you're moving to track how many calories you are using all day.
"It's one of the most helpful tools that we got on the ranch," he said. "We needed to know how many calories we were expending. It takes 3,500 calories to burn a pound of fat."
Why aren't the players shown using the swimming pool more for workouts?
"We did use the pool, and it's great because it the water takes stress off your joints. But we couldn't be miked up in the pool, so that's why it wasn't shown very often during filming."
But at one point, he both of his ankles were sprained and he still continued to work out.
"Bob is good about working with injuries — 'If this isn't working for you, let's try this.' "
About those trainers....Is Jillian really that mean? Again, Jackson tried to be diplomatic.
"What I will say about Jill is she's very passionate about what she does. I try to remind myself of that when she's screaming at us."
He added, "Every trainer has his own method. Bob is very much about measuring yourself against yourself and making improvement; you don't have to be the best, just the best you. Dolvett is 'I see the potential in you, let's find that together.' With Jillian, it's motivation through fear, it's all about the iron fist. That works for some people. Look at Danni."
He concluded, "I think I did so well because Dolvett helped me realize me realize that not only was I good enough, I was better than any expectation I had of myself."
Although Danni Allen ended up winning the $250,000 grand prize, Jackson contends that losing weight was "worth something that no amount of prize money could ever buy."