The end is near on Day 6 of the Biggest Loser Retreat

WHAT'S life really like at the Biggest Loser retreat? Sunshine Coast Daily editor Darren Burnett can you tell you all about it. In fact he is  - in a day-by day description of life at a fat-loss farm.

Visit each day to keep track on how things progress.

Day 6

THIS is it.

It's the last day of fat-burning fun on the retreat's seven-day program. Tomorrow is the seventh and final day but I'm heading out tonight.

The pile of work that awaits me from my day job is growing by the minute and threatens to topple if I don't start chipping away at it.

I note that the final day's program is a celebratory affair, involving pool parties and final weigh-ins … and rest after a week packed with exercise classes so I'm happy that we've taken in all the fat-burning fun.

Today's activities start with the usual 6am bushwalk, although anyone feeling a bit muscle sore can opt instead for a pool exercise class. My daughter and I want one more crack at the Matterhorn so we leg it up the blue track.

Following brekky, we sit down for our final lecture - which is entitled "Personal Action Plan".

This last hurrah of theory wisely addresses the subject of "going on with it".

Andrea and her crew wisely tailor the theory in their program to the goal of ensuring guests are equipped to go home and continue healthy eating and exercise habits, and not slip back into bad old ways.

I applaud this focus as it ensures the retreat does more than provide a one-off spring clean for our bodies; it resets our compasses to true north (or, in this case, true health).

And while I won't be giving up coffee any time soon, I plan to adopt much healthier exercise and eating habits simply because I feel so damn good.

If every person in Australia was made to eat this healthfully for just one week, fast food sellers would go out of business.

It's only because people don't know how good they could feel if they gave their body the right fuel that so many of us fill our bodies with chemical-laden crap (or, as Andrea describes it, "food your grandmother wouldn't recognise").

We head up the hill to the Hangar for one last full-on training session, which the program dubs "Team All Out Training".

My daughter and I pair up for Andrea's boxercise class.

We're throwing combinations of punches at a frenetic pace, stopping only to change gloves for impact mitts, then continuing.

Andrea then ups the ante and directs us to drop and do pushups and run at changeovers.

I relish the chance to throw punches until my arms go shaky and try to put on my best Rocky Balboa face.

Apparently my Rocky looks more like a confused monkey and my daughter drops the mitts in a fit of laughter.

We then hit the oval for a tug-o-war challenge.

Naturally, all the men suddenly go all primal and take it all very seriously. Damn that brain-dulling testosterone.

But no one is hurt and we have a great contest, which ends up in a pleasing two-all result.

After lunch, we take in one last stretch class.

The legs aren't quite as rusty as they were earlier in the week so even the body's flexibility is improving a couple of notches.

Following the 1.30pm stretch class, the afternoon's activities on offer include tennis, beach badminton, yogalates and meditation.

I opt, instead, for remedial massage.

After a week of working out muscles that have been dormant for decades, this hour-long massage is bliss.

I try to maintain a friendly conversation with my skilled masseuse but stop when I'm slurring my speech as the relaxation kicks in.

Our last official duty is a weigh-in and body scan.

My daughter goes first. She is delighted at the readings. She has toned up and dropped almost two kilos of weight.

Her body strength has improved and her body fat percentage dropped.

I weigh in, keen to see what I've achieved on this program.

When I weighed in on day one, my weight was 94.7kg. Six days and a whole lot of exercise and healthy eating later, my weight is … 94.9kg.

I'm shocked and a little devastated … until the trainer points out that it's actually a great result.

The machine's print-out shows I've dropped 1.9kg of fat and put on 2.1kg of muscle.

I've also decreased my body fat percentage from 22 to 20%.

OK, so I'm not about to challenge the Commando for his job as Biggest Loser trainer but I'm on my way and feeling more energetic than I have since the days when The A-Team was showing on prime time TV.

After dinner, my daughter and I bid our fellow guests and the trainers goodbye, hop into the car and make the two-hour trip home up the highway.

We had initially planned to stop into a Maccas on the way home but no longer feel the urge.

My daughter instead opts for a Cadbury chocolate bar and I reward myself with a bottle of sparkling mineral water.

Day 5

FINALLY, a day that doesn't start with a 6am trek over the mountain goat country that is the Gold Coast hinterland.

No, today's early bird training session is much tougher than that.

With a nasty smile and an evil glint in his eye, former Biggest Loser contestant and current personal trainer and TBL staff member Shariff Deen orders us into groups of four for a rowing-machine race.

Fortunately, my group was the odd one out and only had three members. That means we all got to hit the rower for high speed sessions so much more often than folk in the other groups. So more exercise for me!

Naturally, my Type-A personality competitiveness kicks in and I go harder than my 42-year-old body should allow while doing my row …  so I spend the next few minutes gasping for air and fighting the urge to vomit whatever food I could find in a pre-breakfast belly.

Head trainer Andrea then informs us, with an equally James Bond villain-esque leer - that the rowathon was only the warm-up and we are now to all hit the top oval for interval training.

Shariff and Andrea then proceed to empty what little energy is left in our tanks with a series of exercises such as burpees, push-ups, sit-ups, walking lunges, squats and short runs.

After we've all done 30 or so minutes of this and are sporting red faces that any ranga would be proud of, Shariff asks if anyone wants to do the whole circuit again.

We all slap our thighs and Shariff's merry jape and prepare to shuffle off to the main hall for a hearty brekky. Of course, Mr Deen is not joking but genuinely testing our mettle, seeing who wants to "leave it all on the exercise floor".

Thankfully, with age comes wisdom, so I politely decline this generous offer. I fear that if I was to take it up I would be leaving a 42-year-old carcass on the exercise floor.

My teenage daughter, however, shows some surprising grit and joins a very small band of hardy souls who step up and do the whole painful circuit again. For a second I consider sucking it up and joining my brave daughter … then I remember those simply awful walking lunges (you know the ones - with each step your knee must touch the ground). Most uncivilised.

So, like the perfect dad that I am, I stand to the side, let the hardcore exercise junkies do it all again, and proceed to take happy snaps of my daughter and her fellow sufferers as they sweat their way through some serious exercise.

Of course, those of us who piked out of round two are now feeling tired AND guilty. So in a way, we're suffering more than the huffing, puffing sods doing burpees.

The sweat has barely cooled on our aching bodies and we're sitting down to a restorative breakfast of fruit cups with yoghurt and omelets with mushrooms. Outstanding fare. Even the sugarless coffee tastes good.

After breakfast, Andrea switches from drill sergeant to motivational speaker and delivers an inspiring talk on creating new habits and overcoming obstacles to change. Nothing wishy washy, here. Just brilliant, scientifically sound strategies and advice.

As a motivational talk junky, I'm impressed. These guys are all practical solutions and zero froth and bubble. We haven't been asked to group hug or share our feelings once.

As Andrea says, the talks are all about giving guests more tools to take home with them so we don't lapse back into unhealthy habits.

In another change of pace, we then all line up around a table and make our own wraps for lunch. The ingredients are so tempting it's a testament to our character that we don't mob the table and start scarfing down the food like a pack of hungry Labradors. Choices include egg, avocado, chicken, cheese and salads.

Of course, we only get one wrap each and Andrea says 2cm of filling is the maximum height under this "building code".

I'm glad she stipulates this before we make our wraps as I was planning a veritable Empire State Building of eggs, avocado and chicken for mine.

However, following the laying down of the game rules, I restrain myself to a single-storey sandwich.

The team challenge is an interesting affair. We break into teams of six and proceed on sort of a scavenger hunt - in which we have to jog, shuffle or walk to about nine different stations - located at the top or bottom of every hill in the retreat, perform some kind of exercise and pick up written clues.

Oh, and we have to carry a car tire and a bucket of water the whole way.

Because there are only two blokes on my team, we naturally shoulder these loads for most of the way.

We weren't asked or anything, but it just doesn't seem very gentlemanly to let our smaller team members haul a car tire up hill and down dale.

Is that a bit dated of me? I don't know, but given the late morning heat was now hitting us like a fan-forced oven, no one is complaining when I don the tyre and hot foot it.

The team challenge is a brilliant way to get us to push a little harder and burn more calories than we would do on our own steam.

All of our team members - um, especially the girls - feel the competitive rush and we're literally jogging up hills carrying tyres and buckets of water - the same hills we normally moan about as we amble up carrying nothing more than a water bottle.

Only after the exercise is done and dusted do we realised that we've just spent an hour running up and down hills carrying cumbersome loads in the blaring almost-summer sun - and we feel good, if a little flushed.

Cool down is a stretch session on the top oval, followed by picnic lunch, in which we eat the wraps we made a couple of hours earlier.

Unfortunately, my emails and phone calls are banking up so my afternoon confines me to my chalet to do some work.

Dinner is a tasty vegetarian lasagna with a big side dish of fries … just kidding, there are no fries on this diet. But the vegie lasagna is amazing and the side dishes of salad are nothing if not cleansing.

When we started this week's camp, my daughter was fantasising about buying a Maccas meal on her way home on day six.

By this point, we've worked much too hard to even consider one bite of fatty fast food. Even my daughter is now content to set her sights on a bar of dark chocolate rather than a Big Mac.

We're almost there.

One more day of serious exercise and this camp is about over and we head home - hopefully a few kilos lighter.

The Biggest Loser Retreat guests are put through their paces on exercise bikes in the “Hangar”.
The Biggest Loser Retreat guests are put through their paces on exercise bikes in the “Hangar”.

Day 4

The rain is long gone and clear, blue skies bathe the valley in which the retreat is nestled with a balmy, gentle light as we make our way to the meeting tree for the morning walk.

The walks are getting easier - and we're actually enjoying the crisp rainforest air in the cool of the day before the sun starts to pack a punch.

Before the walk, head trainer Andrea tells everyone to partner up.

Because I'm here with my daughter, we naturally form a pair.

Andrea then instructs one person in each pair to give the other person a shoulder rub to ease any of the aches and pains they're feeling from the previous days' exercise.

Like any good teenager would, my daughter rolls her eyes and gives me a look of utter disgust.

However, I won't be dissuaded and immediately give her the shoulder massage as directed.

A couple of minutes later, Andrea tells us to apply gentle karate chops to their back to ease any tension and soreness there. I obey, even as my daughter's look of misery and disgust slightly intensifies.

Then, with a broad smile, Andrea instructs all the would-be masseuses to make a fist with each hand and gently punch their partner's buttocks to loosen up their gluteus muscles.

My daughter leaps away like a frightened gazelle and says something like "No …. freakin' … way!"

I agree heartily and we take a few steps back from the throng of chortling folk who are now either sparring with someone's butt or having their own buns punched.

I'm all about quality time with my family but gluteus massages are way out of bounds.

After our gentle stroll up the easy track, we sit down to brekky, which consists of the now standard fruit cup with yoghurt followed by a surprisingly delicious nutty porridge.

After this, we're treated to a highly informative and entertaining talk on diet and food choices by celebrity GP, Doctor Chris.

It's not hard to see why Dr Chris is a celebrity. She's a natural communicator, bubbly, warm and engaging. Her talk on making wise food choices is very practical and empowering. 

After this, it's time to pay the ferryman and we trek up the long hill to the "Hangar" for some mettle-testing circuit training.

After a few merry laps of the nearby oval, we are divided into three teams, and then put to work on a strength circuit - which involves such delightful exercises as twist sit-ups, push-ups, step-ups, squats and, my least favourite, the plank. We work each station for one minute before quickly moving on to the next.

For the next task, we partner up, don boxing gloves or impact mitts, then throw combinations of punches - again for one-minute intervals. Of course, I partner up with a bloke who must have been George Foreman's training partner.

The bloke punches like a sledgehammer. It's supposed to be training, not the heavyweight titles, fella. My only goal is trying to keep my dodgy right shoulder from snapping like a twig as thunderous punches slam into my outstretched right-hand mitt.

Our final circuit is a series of sprints and hill climbs on exercise bikes.

After this, we hit the pools for post-workout cool-down.

Lunch is a brilliant marinated fish on some kind of rice base, with the usual mandatory servings of salad on the side.

After lunch, we take in a stretch class which involves the use of Therabands (think giant rubber bands that you hold and use to stretch your legs). My daughter keeps breaking into fits of giggles as each move demonstrates how I have the flexibility of a rusty tin.

Today is the day when, according to our trainers, some guests experience nausea as their body goes through a detoxification process. One guest, who had a penchant for diet cola, looks seasick.

I feel great and lighter than I've felt in years. The only symptom of detoxification is a slight sensation of nausea that disappears not long after it arrives.

Dinner is broccoli soup (not as bad as it sounds), followed by fritters and salad. Surprisingly satisfying.

After the hike back to our chalet, I hit the showers. As I disrobe, I check out my reflection in the mirror.

First thing I notice is my nasty middle-aged belly glaring back at me with disdain, almost audibly uttering "What, you think you're getting rid of me that easy? Twenty-odd years of fast food, beer and stress doesn't disappear in a week, matey".

But I note a couple of pleasing signs - my face looks less puffy, the bags under my eyes aren't as dark as usual - and my tongue has lost its usual stressed-out white coating and is a healthy pink.

Damn, I'm not sure I can eat as healthy at home as I do here but I kind of wish I could because I'm starting to feel good and my body is showing signs of health I haven't felt since I was in kindy.

The Biggest Loser Retreat guests perform the reverse hill shuffle.
The Biggest Loser Retreat guests perform the reverse hill shuffle.

Day 3: Doing the reverse hill shuffle

I WOKE before dawn as a thunderstorm hit. I spent the next 30 or so minutes, praying the storm will wash out the 6am bushwalk.

Alas, the fickle clouds dump their payload, then disappear. The sun comes out in all its blazing fury …. and turns the rainforest-cloaked hills and valleys into one giant steam room.

Of course, this fails to dampen the spirits of the keen resort guests, who are dashing up and down the steep hills of the dreaded green track with all the energy and vigour of five-year-old children on Christmas Day.

Breakfast is the best yet - poached eggs, mushrooms and even my beloved avocado on toast.

While I'm savouring the closest thing we've had yet to a big fry-up brekky, the long-term resort guests  warn me that a hot brekky means a bigger workout to come. Damn.

It's calories in versus calories out here. So if they give you a few more calories to take in, they want you to burn those calories back out.

After brekky, we are entertained and informed by the resort's most energetic live wire trainer, Duncan MacDonald.

Duncan may be 45 years old, but he looks about 30 and acts 13 - an attitude to life I admire and respect.

After Duncan's highly animated talk on the science of exercise, we grab water bottles and head outdoors for our toughest workout of the day.

Trainer Michael Kirby - who often punctuates his training commands with comic routines - most of which inevitably involve Duncan - explains the morning's toughest challenge - a fun drill called a reverse hill shuffle.

We're soon jogging backwards up a reasonably steep road to a series of markers that increase in distance the longer the drill goes.

So it's jog backwards up to marker one, then jog forwards back down the hill to the start, then jog backwards up further to marker two and repeat.

Now the beauty of this drill is that each time you head back up the hill, your legs quickly flush with painful lactic acid. And the longer the drill goes, the faster the acid flush hits you.

However, and this caught me by surprise more than anyone, the drill was a lot of fun.

Because we were all laughing and groaning in equal measure, it became a great bonding exercise. We all finished, laughing, at the top of the hill, with leaden calves and flushed faces.  

Naturally, the reverse hill run was only the first half of our morning's workout.

We then jumped on exercise bikes in the resort's largest gym - affectionately called the "Hangar" and were put through an exhausting session of interval training by Andrea.

After half an hour or so on the bikes, by which time we were all disgusting, sweaty messes, we all gingerly walked over to the lap pool (thankfully on the same level as the Hangar) for a pool recovery session.

Trainers Duncan and Michael were in a particularly cheeky mood and soon ordered everyone to form trains - grabbing the waist of the person in front of us - for laps around the pool.

Much mirth and awkwardness ensued, as trains of giggling people collided and broke apart.

Lunch is a sumptuous spinach pasta, accompanied by a whole array of salads including, my favourite, a brilliant beetroot salad.

Following lunch,  I see resident naturopath Peter Rule for a private consultation, during which he discusses various aspects of my lifestyle and diet.

We gather again for dinner at 5.30 - early I know - but no one's complaining. We're all doing more exercise each day than most of us have ever done before so the early nights are most welcome.

Dinner is a tasty cottage pie and salad.

The walk back up the hill actually hurts less than it did on day one.

Of course, when you've spent half an hour jogging backwards up a steep hill, a hike up a similar incline holds no fear.

The latest offer

Experience the new The Biggest Loser Retreat on the Gold Coast before the end of the year and you can bring a friend or family member for 50% off. Seven-day programs at the dedicated weight-loss retreat are priced from $2495* per person twin-share (or from $1871.25* per person if you share the saving) and include seven nights' accommodation in a hinterland cottage, all meals, snacks and beverages, daily fitness and movement sessions, information seminars, cooking demonstrations, and full use of Retreat facilities. Or, embark on a solo weight loss journey and receive 15% off single stays. Call 1800 816 906 or email
* Valid for sale and travel until 15 December, 2013 (inclusive and subject to availability). Valid for a maximum 21-day stay.




The Biggest Loser Retreat guests head out on their 6am morning bushwalk.
The Biggest Loser Retreat guests head out on their 6am morning bushwalk. Darren Burnett



Grey leaden skies greet us as we shuffle down the steep road from our chalet to the meeting point for a 6am bushwalk.

I was so dreading the early rise, which I knew would be only the entrée to a morning of serious exercise, that I kept rolling over in the bed to check how much time I had left on the clock.

After almost half-hourly checks, I groaned and rolled out of bed about 5.40am.

My sleepy, somber mood is only darkened by the roar of a group of disturbingly cheery retreat guests and staff which greets us as we arrive at the gathering point. Apparently, the prospect of marching over steep hills at an ungodly hour is a right lark.

The cheery instructor tells us we have a choice of two tracks - a reasonably easy 2.2km track that meanders over a few hills, and a 2.4km walk up and down hills that would look more at home in the Himalayas.

So, green track for a leisurely stroll and blue for K2.

My daughter and I shuffle off, surrounded by the merry hordes. Some of the crazy buggers even take off on a merry jog - no respect for late risers, these people.

Being a wonderful dad, I offer my daughter her choice of tracks. She says, 'Oh, blue, definitely'.

I'm surprised but a little impressed by her gumption. So up the blue trail we go. After about the fourth incline, at which point the hardiest mountain goat would pack it in, my daughter stops, panting like a black Labrador in the midday sun.

"This sucks," she tells me. "I thought this was supposed to be the easy track."

"Ah, no," I gently reply. "The instructor told us green was easy, blue was hilly. In fact, if you look to your right, way down there in the valley below us, you can see folk walking along the green trail. They're the ones laughing and talking like a gaggle of galahs."

"Crap, I thought green was hilly."

After a seemingly eternal series of calf-burning inclines, we wind our way back to Biggest Loser HQ.

Breakfast awaits - and thankfully, it's not wheatgrass and tofu.

A refreshing parfait of diced strawberries and yoghurt is followed by raw muesli.

And in deference to the small number of coffee junkies, the resort even puts on brewed coffee at brekky. Of course, the only adornment is skim milk - not a sugar cube or some delightfully carcinogenic artificial sweetener in sight.

After breakfast we enjoy a civilized sit-down to listen to a naturopath speak on diet and health.

Resident naturopath Peter Rule is a great ad for his profession. He's informative and entertaining but grounded - and exudes an air of calm that most of us stressed-out resort guests would like to bottle.

Once the talk is over, we break up into groups for circuit training.

Can't say circuit training is on my usual list of exercises so I'm wary this is going to be a little more intense than my usual stroll along the beach.

I cleverly shuffle away from trainer Michael Kirby, who is promising some brutal training session with tyres and ropes and other implements guaranteed to raise blisters on my girly journalist hands.

Instead, my daughter and I opt for training program manager, the always smiling Andrea Baker.

Our group plods down the hill - yes, there are hills everywhere at The Biggest Loser Retreat - to the new Biggest Loser training gyms.

I soon discover that Andrea isn't about to let us off easy either.

We perform a group circuit training program, involving exercises like wall sits, kettlebell swings, planks and standing on one leg while raising dumbbells.

Our class does one round of all stations, before being ordered out the door to run a lap of the tennis court.

We return, red faced but pleasantly stuffed …. And then, with a broad smile, Andrea tells us we're going to do the whole program again. Ouch.

We eventually emerge from the gym with shaky legs and bright red faces before marching up another steep hill to the resort's lap pool.

Guests are then divided into two teams for a game of water polo.

It's fast, it's furious, and we males get a bit too competitive but it's a lot of fun.

The trainers tell us that pool exercise after a heavy training session is a great way to flush the lactic acid out of sore muscles. They're right.

Given how poor my conditioning is, after doing a heavy hour-long circuit training session, I should be in a body cast.

But, thanks to the pool cool down, I feel only mildly sore. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say I feel pretty good.

Lunch is another surprisingly satisfying affair, involving chilli beans on rice with salad (yes, there's always salad).

Because the food is so healthy, you feel pleasantly full, but not stuffed or heavy as you would after your standard western fare.

By the way, there are no seconds at meal time here. This is a calorie controlled diet and a little sign on the serving table reminds all guests to take just one serving.

While the morning's exercise classes are mandatory, each afternoon's full schedule of classes is optional. The afternoon exercises are also at the gentle end of the exercise spectrum.

I opt for Feldenkrais and a breathing class. These low-impact classes are just what the doctor ordered and, by dinner time, I'm feeling as mellow as Pete the naturopath.

Dinner is even more impressive. It's probably too tasty to even label health food.

Of course, the heavy morning's exercise has the metabolism fired up so everyone rips into salmon, mashed potatoes and veges and salad. No dessert again but I suspect ice cream treats are never going to be on this menu.

We march back up the hill of sorrow to our chalet and it's straight to bed - at 7.30pm.

Another full day awaits and we want to give ourselves every chance to recover.


Welcome to the Biggest Loser Retreat.
Welcome to the Biggest Loser Retreat.



DO you hear that? No, listen carefully. Now can you hear it?

That's right. Nothing. You can't hear anything. I'm sitting at my laptop at 8.10pm on a Sunday night and the absence of noise is so delicious, I can almost taste it.

Well, OK, yes, I do exaggerate just a little. I can hear an occasional cricket chirping but that's about it. Honestly.

I'm sitting in my chalet - tucked away in pristine Gold Coast hinterland rainforest at the beautiful Golden Door Health Retreat.

Of course, if I had been fortunate enough to be staying at the Golden Door in the good old days, I would be indulging in a hedonistic feast of massage, spa soaks and tai chi classes on the lawn at twilight.

Unfortunately, at least for my comfort zones and penchant for self indulgence, the Golden Door retreat has added a new moniker to its title - the official Biggest Loser Retreat.

So my itinerary for the next seven days is packed with bush walks, gym sessions, group training exercise and even an ominously titled "mystery exercise program".

Now the Golden Door hasn't just slapped a few Biggest Loser signs up and added a few more spin classes to its itinerary. No, this tranquil health resort has just built a "Biggest Loser retreat" training station, which includes new gyms and a  Commando outdoor training centre, which includes an ominous array of devices of torture … I mean exercise.

Looking at tomorrow's Day 1 itinerary, which includes a schedule of "compulsory" activities that run from 6am (surely they jest) until 12.30pm, I'm wondering whether this is going to be the most relaxing way to spend a week's holiday.

I will reserve judgment.

My daughter (who also serves as my photographer) and I arrived at the resort bang on check-in time - 11am - after an easy two-hour drive down the highway from the Sunny Coast.

After a tour of the resort, we settle in for a surprisingly tasty lunch, consisting of spaghetti bolognaise and salad - lots of salad.

There is no salt, no sauces, no sugar, no coffee (except at breakfast for us hard-core coffee junkies), no tea - with the exception of herbal infusions, very little dairy and certainly no dessert.

We're surprisingly satiated, although my stomach is actually asking me when I'm sending some coffee its way.

We spend the afternoon doing one-on-one health checks with the trainers. The high tech scales - that also measure body fat, bone and muscle composition - announce that I should lose exactly 10kg to reach optimal weight.

I'm impressed by the diplomacy of the trainer, who, after clearly ticking all the boxes of categories I scored well on, places a tiny scratch that looks like a tick's runt brother in the "overweight" category under the body fat section.

We then have the afternoons to ourselves. Naturally, my 17-year-old daughter puts this to good use by lying in bed and watching movies on her iPad.

Being much older and much wiser, I put the time to even better use - by sleeping. Strangely enough, even this afternoon granny nap is sweeter here. The air smells like forest and my brain actually switches off effortlessly, probably due to the total absence of sounds of civilization and technology.

Dinner is steamed chicken, roast beans, beetroot and few other low-cal veggies (not a potato to be found, damn it) and lots more salad.

Following the dinner, we are officially welcomed to the Biggest Loser Retreat, during which time I realise beers and cheese platters are not going to be following mains.

Fans of The Biggest Loser TV series will be impressed by the inclusion of several Biggest Loser TV show graduates as trainers and guests at the retreat.

One of these graduates - Shariff Deen - leads the welcome and tells us about his experiences on the show, including his bromance with Commando Steve.

Shariff is the ultimate Biggest Loser TV show success story. At his heaviest, he weighed 210kg. He now walks around at a lean 105kg and works as a personal trainer.

Possibly the reason why Shariff has kept the weight off and made a career in the exercise industry is his intensity.

He's a classic Type-A personality, driven and absolutely committed to living and preaching the benefits of healthy diet and regular exercise.

Following dinner, it's back up to our chalets. And I use the term "back UP" literally. The chalets line a road that winds its way up an unpleasantly steep hill.

While walking back to our chalet, I realise why the retreat trainers confidently expect to send guests home a shadow of their former selves.

Marching back to our accommodation is a feat akin to reaching Mount Everest Base Camp. I'm not sure if I'm just breathless from the hill climb or if the oxygen is thinner up here.

Given next morning starts with a 6am bush walk, an early bed time beckons.

At a glance

  • The Biggest Loser Retreat by Golden Door Australia's dedicated weight loss retreat, The Biggest Loser Retreat by Golden Door on the Gold Coast, opened on 30 June 2013 to guests of all ages and lifestyles who want, or in many cases need, to begin a health and wellness overhaul.
  • Embodying Golden Door Australia's key philosophies of movement, food, coaching and education, the dedicated weight-¬‐loss retreat in the peaceful hinterland provides a compassionate, yet firm, environment, with a band of professional health and fitness experts on hand to train, coach and mentor guests, guiding and inspiring them along their path to adopting positive and sustainable lifestyle changes while losing weight along the way.
  • The writer was a guest of the retreat. He paid for his daughter to attend and share the experience.

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