“Biggest Loser” Trims the Fat: Brett & Cara Are Out

It was a joy to watch Olivia win last night's season finale. Congrats!

Editor's Note:  NBC has announced Dolvett Quince as the newest trainer to join Anna Kournikova and Bob Harper this season. Last night's finale of "The Biggest Loser" was poignant as two sisters hugged and the confetti rained down.  Another typical end of the season filled with hope, amazing transformations, and lots and lots of tears.  Major props to Olivia for winning handily and to Hannah for being right behind her sister in total percentage of weight lost.  I wish them nothing but the best and lots and lots of success. The finale was also filled with big announcements.  Anna Kournikova is joining the cast to replace the departing Jillian Michaels. Perhaps what you didn't know is after the show it was announced that Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronuova, the "mystery" trainers from this season, will NOT be returning to the ranch.   The Hollywood Reporter also has a story on their departure. The Producers On the one hand I appreciate the producers dilemma.  Long-time trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels are good TV, they hit their shots, they emote appropriately, and they motivate the contestants.  Brett and Cara seemed to struggle with their on-air work and as the season progressed you saw them less and less on screen.  Not surprisingly, it was only Jillian and Bob's contestants that made it to the final four.  Despite the fact that I have some major problems with their training styles, they have proven, quite definitively, that they know how to get the job done and the pounds off. Clearly, the producers and medical staff of the show have come up with a system that is highly effective and difficult for newbie trainers to grasp. Enter Tennis Pro So where does Anna fit into all this?  Well, she's been a celebrity for years, perhaps even more so than an athlete, and is quite used to the limelight and being on camera.  She's remarkably pretty and has a very confident attitude. What she doesn't have is ANY experience as a trainer, but Cara barely had any, so that obviously doesn't bother the producers at all who are more focused on ratings than a proper training background.   Honestly, at this point, I'm wondering if the on camera trainer really matters ... is it really more about the "machine" of "The Biggest Loser" and the trainers and medical staff that you don't seen on TV?  Maybe ... Show Style Change Producer Todd Lubin said the show will be "getting slightly away from just the tape measure, and getting into overall well-being and health."  The show was already shifting in that direction this season as more and more contestants had one-on-one camera time talking about their lives and you saw much less of the actual training regimen in the gym.  It was quick glimpses of exercises and time on the treadmill and not a whole lot else by the end of the season. So "Biggest Loser" is going in a new direction.  It really didn't have a choice with Jillian announcing her exit.  She has outgrown the show, apparently not for the baby she planned as she said last December when announcing her departure, but to work on two new shows which will raise her profile.  Maybe she thinks "The Biggest Loser" has jumped the shark and she wants off.  Who knows. What do you think of the changes planned for the show?  How do you feel about Brett and Cara as trainers?  Do you think it was right to get rid of them?  What do you think about bringing in Anna Kournikova, another "trainer" with limited credentials? Cheers, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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46 Responses to “Biggest Loser” Trims the Fat: Brett & Cara Are Out

  1. Greta May 25, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    I thought Cara had a lot of experience as an athlete and as a certified trainer. I liked her. Thought she’d be out though…why oh why didn’t she take my constant requests for an interview about how she wouldn’t be going back?? why!?

    Thanks for the post!

  2. Melisa May 25, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    I couldn’t stand them. I’m sure they’re very nice people and very good trainers but they were not a fit for the show. When I was watching on the DVR, I always fast forwarded through their segments, especially Cara’s. I appreciate her success as a fighter, but her one-track mind/strategy with it (or the way they edited her!) made her seem very two-dimensional.

  3. Heather May 25, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    I wasn’t happy with Cara because she only seemed to excel at the boxing and nothing else, but I’m not really sure Anna Kournikova is going to be any better. She doesn’t have any credibility (except for tennis) and looked extremely unhealthy on the finale last night.

  4. Anne May 25, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    I wasn’t thrilled with them. But Anna’s involvement is just so strange.

  5. Ang May 25, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    The structure of ths show didn’t give the audience enough of a chance to get to know Bret or Cara. Even at the end I still didn’t like Cara, but Bret was starting to move up the ladder. I especially liked the fact that he mentioned last night on the finale that he used to be overweight and had his own struggle. I think if the background of the trainers were provided earlier on, people can relate better.

    Ana, I just don’t understand. I don’t like the idea and think it was a really bad decision.

    My thought is to bring back a now certified trainer who was a contestant on the Biggest Looser like Ali, Tara or Sam. They know what it takes, they know the emotional side of the problem.

    As far as the structure of the show with more “interview time” I don’t like it. I fast forward through it all the time. you hear their story once, twice maybe three times but over and over show after show it is annoying. Get back to the foods they are eating the the excersing, seeing their struggle to lose the weight.

  6. Anita May 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I agree with Ang. I love this show but it has become an interview show. I have loved these contestants but am frustrated by all the interviews – yes we know the sisters love & support eachother, we know Bob loves everyone, but come on! We’re watching to find out how to change our lives – a little back story from contestants is great but not the same crap over and over every week.

    The finale was rubbish – so rushed cause they put in all the stuff we’ve seen 100 times before and didn’t take time to talk to the contestants.

    They should also have given Brett & Cara another season to grow. Ana K is a mistake – she’s not a great tennis star (she is more famous for her looks than the few trophies she’s won) and is too young and inexperienced to sufficiently help the contestants. What does she know about being overweight and struggling in life?

    Sorry to ramble on, I’m just so mad that NBC are wasting such an opportunity to actually help people, going for good looks & ratings instead – very sad.

  7. Tara Burner May 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    In my opinion Anna Kournikova is better known for her modeling, Maxim photoshoots and topless sunbathing here in Miami than anything…sorry I dont think she’s that great of an athlete, doesnt even have any real accomplishments in tennis…much less training ability/experience/education to assist morbidly obese people…I seriously don’t get it?!

    as for Brett, I can see him daily while I do my RevAbs workout! LOL

  8. Lisa Johnson May 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    I have to say, I’m surprised by how many people are unhappy with the direction of the show. I usually get blasted by loyalists! LOL …

    That said, the format change does go a lot more touchy-feely and I also find myself zooming through the “emoting” parts.

    As for Anna coming on board, it’s nothing but a ratings ploy. That’s it. Her voice is a little harsh and I wonder if the audience will attach that feeling to her. Also she is definitely an accomplished athlete (she’s been ranked top 10 for women’s tennis, but she’s never won a singles tournament). But being an athlete doesn’t make you a good trainer. In fact, it can sometimes work against you … what you do naturally can be hard to explain to someone who doesn’t “get” it.


  9. westwood May 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    JM has proved a shrewd businesswoman before. I think she foresaw the end and jumped the shark.

  10. Bob Choat May 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    The thing about reality television shows, like The Biggest Loser, it’s not about the qualifications of the trainers so much as one comes across on the screen. Also, having a celebrity status already adds to the equation. Ann K has that. Maybe not the skill-set as someone, such as Cara has, but she is known and looks better in front of the camera. Second, she didn’t have the personality of Jillian. Remember, this is for the audience and ratings, not for real PT. If that was true, then we’d be seeing someone such as Lisa Johnson instead (who has the looks and the background).

    Nah, it gets back to what the audience wants. And therefore, the sponsors. It’s a business after all.

  11. Lisa Johnson May 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Westwood, or avoided jumping the shark … that’s quite possible.

  12. Lisa Johnson May 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Bob, LOL, thanks for the vote of confidence … part of me wouldn’t mind being on the show so I could make a difference and part of me would HATE being fed to the machine. I honestly don’t know if I’d do it if they offered and I’m quite, quite sure they won’t be offering … pretty sure they know my blog well. ;-)

  13. Jessica May 25, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    Hi Lisa!
    I read the announcement that Anna Kournikova is joining the show and immediately wondered what you thought of it. I don’t know what her certification is and read a bit about her ‘experience’ in the fitness industry. Most of it seemed to be limited to PR type stuff: “Boys & Girls Club of America, Cartoon Network’s “Move it Movement” campaign to get kids active during summer months. She also worked with the organization, PSI, which focuses on children’s health around the world and she has toured with the USO to meet the troops and speak to children about staying healthy and active.” (via the Chicago Tribune) Her resume seems really thin to me and I would put money on her not having spent much time in school learning anything about health and wellness. I know I’ve said over and over that I would like NBC to feature trainers who have rigorous certifications and education, but this is just another step in the wrong direction. I’ve stopped wondering if NBC is going to get it right with their casting, because they seem determined to cast for the sake of ratings and have instead started wondering how more more gratuitous they can get with their casting.

  14. Jay May 26, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    Well, Season 11 is over, and looks like Brett and Cara are out. Was curious, so I googled and found your 12/16/2010 blog and the ensuing entertaining comment wars.

    On the topic of qualifications.. every time they mentioned how Brett took pre-med classes so “he knows the science” .. I want to throw something at the tv. I’m a doctor, I went the whole way, took ALL the classes.. and believe me, I’m in NO way qualified to be anyone’s personal trainer. And who do they pick to join the team for Season 12? Anna Kournikova?! WTF… Cara is a Rhodes Scholar in fitness compared to AK. What are AK’s trainer qualifications? Besides being ESPN’s Hottest Female Athlete and having a sexy Russian accent?

    I had no probs with Cara.. she was attractive, and I thought the boxing/martial arts angle was an intentional (& refreshing) change from the usual Bob/Jillian circuit torture-fest.

    It’s entertainment.. ok? People need to chill.. I have no problem with them hiring hot chicks and spoon-feeding them “Trainer Tips” to regurgitate in front of the cameras. Heck, for all we know, that’s how Jillian got her start?

    Honestly, I think Kournikova is going to be a flop. We’ll see..

  15. Lisa Johnson May 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Jay, awesome comment! Yes the comment wars on the other thread were getting out of hand. I was glad when they died down … lol. Cara was a trained athlete with I believe very little time training clients before joining the cast. Possibly none. I asked her point blank and she dodged the question. I guess the real problem for me is I want it to be motivational show with great advice to help the obesity epidemic in America. Instead what I get is a bunch of fluffy crap that doesn’t really help people. The contestants themselves are inspiring and I wish them all well … but the trainers … sigh. L–

  16. Lisa Johnson May 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Jessica, they didn’t mention her personal training credentials at all and I’m willing to bet she doesn’t have any. They’re just going to push her as a “tennis pro” who has “proven herself on the courts.” As someone who has “taken punishing workouts” to “become one of the top athletes” in the world. Blah, blah, blah …

    A separate point for everyone, who’s going to giggle hard when she has to start shilling for Brita Filters and Jennie O? lol.

  17. Jessica May 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    NBC claims she has a personal training certification in their press release, but I haven’t been able to track down a copy of it to see which one she has. Just to get in one last bit of snark: I’m surprised nobody has yet mentioned Anna Kournikova’s frequent appearance on ‘Most Overrated Athlete of All Time’ lists.

  18. Lisa Johnson May 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Jess, she’s got an ISSA cert, it’s an online only cert but there is quite a bit of study material to cover. She got in October, I called them personally to double check. She probably got it just before or just after the show started taping … She is also certified as a boxing coach in New York state, which according to one of our community members Bob Choate, is difficult to get and means she does know how to teach boxing. Hope that helps.

  19. Foodie McBody May 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    I’m disgusted. I think Anna K comes across as a total airhead and I don’t see her having the depth of emotional maturity to deal with peoples’ issues on this show. I actually really appreciated them going beyond peoples’ workouts (although I LOVE the workouts and really miss them on the finale episode, which to me is the most boring part of the season) and into the deeper sources of their emotional eating and self-esteem. I really think Anna is going to be way over her head on this – what is she, like 12?!?

    Also, I think they could bring in a successful BL winner alum like Ali Vincent. Someone who has BEEN THERE could be very motivating for contestants.

    I thought Brett and Cara gave it a good shot. They worked really hard, they were very earnest, and I think several of them had truly meaningful connections with the contestants (some of them). I wish that Cara had had a little more in her repertoire other than the boxing, but she did bring something (that fighting spirit) to some of the contestants. I was excited to see them and I think they did a good job although they didn’t end up knocking it out of the park. I wish they’d stay though, because I think in 5-6 seasons they could grow to Bob & Jillian’s level. If they keep changing up trainers every season, they’ll never rise above a certain point.

    I think they ought to have brought in Richard Simmons!!! Or (RIP) Jack Lalanne. Now those are people with Experience.

  20. Lisa Johnson May 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Foodie, I agree … I’d rather see a contestant returning than Anna K … I’m surprised at the lack of support for her, that’s not usually the case for the BL stars on my blog. The producers might be in trouble … perhaps they are about to jump the shark.

  21. Misty May 29, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    I really was starting to like Cara. She seemed a little camera shy but she was real. There was nothing fake about Cara. I think in another season she may have been able to do a lot more. Brett was a quality trainer and has plenty of experience. Plus, his history makes him a great add on for Biggest Loser. Anna Kournikova’s voice is annoying and I will have a hard time listening to her voice. If they are adding her to get more men to watch the show, then it might work. However, when I saw her on the finale, she didn’t look healthy like Jillian Michaels does. She looked underweight and unhealthy. I hope they really think about what they are going to do. They may lose a lot of loyal watchers if they think we care anything about seeing a celebrity on the show who really isn’t qualified to be doing the job. I just hope they come up with something that works. I am just glad Bob Harper is still there. He’s amazing!

  22. Lisa Johnson May 30, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    Misty, I wonder about her voice too, it does come across as harsh to me too … I agree Cara was real but as far as I can ascertain her qualifications to train are about the same as Anna’s. A tremendous athlete with little or no prior experience teaching others anything. I suppose Anna will be “real” in her own super athlete / super model way. ;-)

    Thanks for dropping by and adding your comments. L–

  23. Nancy June 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I like Cara and am disappointed to hear she won’t be returning. Her illustrious boxing career, tragic family background, physical beauty, and sincerity made her a compelling trainer. I hope another show snatches her up, if that’s something she wants.

  24. Lisa Johnson June 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Nancy, I understand that she is still trying to make things happen in that regard. I think she’s establishing a personal training type of biz too. We’ll see where she lands. L–

  25. tam June 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    I am VERY puzzled by NBC’s decision to ditch Cara (and Brett) and install Anna K.

    Cara needs an additional season on the Biggest Loser where her true character and commitment to the contestants, without being overshadowed by Jillian, is highlighted. The viewers and NBC need to allow her time to grow into the show and diversify her technique. We came to love and trust Jill and Bob because we watched them for 10/11 seasons.

    If we want the organic nature of the show to remain I really think that the celebrity factor of a Anna K needs to be undone. This is the wrong direction for this show….and, a major disservice to the loyal viewers of the show. Clearly the network did not do it’s homework. What a way to wreck a franchise…

    If you want Cara back on Biggest Loser(give the new gal on the block another chance!!!!!)
    Join the following Facebook campaign:


    And,she also has a fan site: http://www.caracastronuova.org/home.html

  26. Lisa Johnson June 6, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Tam, good luck with your campaign. I appreciate your heart. :-) L–

  27. kate August 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Supposedly Brett and Cara didn’t “have what it takes” to train the biggest loser, but did anybody else notice that for around half the season Brett & Cara’s teams had more players left than Bob and Jillian’s? It seemed to me like once too many of Bob and Jill’s contestants had been eliminated they stared playing with the elimination rules (e.g. surprise – TWO people get eliminated this week! or “Tim Gunn miraculously saves you from elimination” type thing). It seemed to me like NBC made a point of shimmying the game around to guarantee that one of their Big Guns’ players would win.

  28. Lisa Johnson August 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Kate, you make a good point and I was wondering that myself. To have a newbie win would rock their two franchise trainers and that would cost them money. Brett I know will be fine, he was doing well before. Not sure what will happen to Cara … she was actually an actress, not a trainer so perhaps she’ll go back to that.

  29. tony September 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    the biggest loser is gonna loose huge in rating i predict this is the last year dropping to appz 5-6 million pershow from 8 million they shoulod of kept brett he is by the the most trained of any triner in any bigest loser usa or even around the workd he even has degrees which took years to get his master on mkineceology and 2 other degree i can remeber and is a proven top notch trainer who has months waiting list time at thousands per session huge mistake to bring in a non trainer and a new jack city character look alike this is the biggest losers demist last year was my favorite,jillian ais gonna and now bret my 2 favorites ,im done watching personaly bad choice should have left brety on instead of joe who,or evne anna kournikova shje is smart but has no taining in her reetoire bad move stupid producers and they even changed tomondays even worsr with danicing with the stars and wwe wrestling those 2 shows pull off 25 million together 7 mill for wwe and 17minimum for dancing with stars they get uo over 20 some nights so big trouble in the biggest loser dummies you cant add 2 trainers which got great reviews eso bret and bring in nobodies bret and anna could of been better than jillian if where together sonow only 3 trainers with one in biggest loser exoerience shame shame too bad iat lease australia will hav eit their shows are 10 tiiimes better easily stupid exec prod and whiole crew team loers down townnnnnnn

  30. Lisa Johnson September 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Thanks Tony. I could be wrong but I believe Brett has an undergrad degree in pre-med. I don’t believe he has a master’s …

  31. Abby September 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    I was not a huge fan of Cara at all but Brett was starting to grown on my a little. I think Anna is a bad choice, she just looks so unhealthy herself and its hard to see her as a trainer…..just a pretty face and an athlete but not a good pick for biggest loser. I will watch the first couple episodes to see how it goes with her but I know she will not be a good thing for the show. I love Bob though if he was gone not sure if I would even watch it. There has got to be some good trainers out there that would be great for the show. I’m still on board for now anyway.

  32. Lisa Johnson September 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Abby there are definitely lots of good trainers out there with real trainer chops who look good on camera too … L– Thanks for stopping by and your comments. :-)

  33. Kelly September 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    OK, if they brought Richard Simmons to “The Biggest Loser”, I would have to take a gun and shoot my TV!!! That guy is just way too high strung for televsion! I think Brett did way more for the contestants in his care than Cara did…and I also know Gillian will be sorely missed.
    I am not a tennis fan, and only know Ana Kornikova by news reports, but I think she’s highly overratted. Bringing on a former contestant like Ali who is now a personal trainer would have said more for the integrity of the show than AK or DQ (haha, kind of funny initials considering what we’re talking about!)
    I guess we’ll have to follow the show to see how it goes…and isn’t that the point after all? The people there are still inspirational to all people battling with their weight!

  34. Lisa Johnson September 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    Kelly you’re absolutely right about the show being inspiring … :-) and I agree a former contestant who is now a personal trainer would be very inspiring, I’d love to see that as long as they’re properly certified! (Always my sticking point …) L–

  35. ZaneyC September 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    I have two words for you; Tara Costa. She would have made an incredible addition to the trainer cast, and a fitting replacement for Jillian (if there truly is such a thing?).
    Dolvett has the right stuff for the job, but I am not getting on board with Anna. She is already crying way too much when she should be showing her contestants tough love.

  36. Lisa Johnson September 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Thanks Zaney and I do think Tara would be an interesting choice. She struggled a bit after her season was over and then found her footing and flourished. She’d really be able to help contestants with the workouts and the transitions …

  37. Shauna September 28, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    I wonder if the problem and one of the reasons they seem to go for “trainers” who have little training experience (ie Cara and Anna) has something to do with the huge amounts of weight the winning contestants expected to lose. While I find the show inspiring like everyone else, I worry it gives people at home unrealistic expectations about how much weight they can lose in a short amount of time and/or the safety of such dramatic weight losses. I wonder if more qualified trainers are not wanting to endorse the unrealistic/unhealthy weight loss presented on the show.

    PS Anna proved her lack of experience with her team’s extremely low week-one numbers.

  38. Lisa Johnson September 28, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Excellent points Shauna I’ve wondering the same thing several times myself. It’s disappointing that a show with the influence on American health like the Biggest Loser has can care so little about excellence in the very field it promotes. It’s sad. L–

  39. NETTE October 19, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    im a huge fan of biggest loser and i really didn’t care for brett and cara, and im not sure anna can get the job done either, i do miss jillian but i think she must have left her handbook for bob it is really working it this season, i like the other guy, he is not joke either \

  40. Lisa Johnson October 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Nette, it’s kinda weird to me, there is very little in the way of ripples over Dolvett … there just aren’t that many people talking about him … kinda strange. He seems ok to me too.

  41. Kim October 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    I’ve been a fan of the show for a LONG time. I love how it’s not just about cardio for weight loss; Bob and Jillian incorporated lots of strength training. I’m huge fans of Bob and Jillian – Cara and Brett gave workouts but not of the caliber and they weren’t well-rounded. I’m less than enthusiastic about Anna for various reasons. Dolvett gives great workouts and has the mental portion of the program but can’t vary from that monotonous yelling when in the gym. I’m hoping to push myself in the next 2-3 years to audition/interview/whatever for the show as a trainer. I’ve been overweight and understand what it’s like to get past that. I’m certainly no hardbody but I have a great personality and I can train anyone. I can’t wait for the future possibilities to really make a difference for people! (even if it’s not on television!)

  42. snaz November 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Gosh I want Cara back… maybe because I have a crush on her but also because she is so much better than Anna. I’m a tennis fan and honestly Ana Kournikova is a joke in the tennis world.. as quick as she entered the tennis world she was already retired. As far as I remember she didn’t even win a tournament yet alone a grand slam… The only big accomplishment she had was beating Lindsay Davenport.. and no one even cares about Lindsay!! BTW Anna is not coming back next season hip hip horray! Now the question is will they bring Cara back?

  43. Lisa Johnson November 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Snaz, there’s no way they’re bringing Cara back … you could push me over with a feather if they did … L–

  44. roman June 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    anna being more a celebrity than athlete?
    are you serious? you are being a prejudiced because she is successful and a beatifull girl too.
    she is probably a better trainer than you. all you do is selling dvds while anna was a pro tennis player

  45. Lisa Johnson June 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    No actually I’ve been a trainer for 15+ years and have about 15,000 hours of training time. Yes Anna was a solid tennis player/athlete but that doesn’t make you a trainer … if it made her anything it would be a good tennis coach … not what she did for Biggest Loser.


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