Who is 'The Biggest Loser's Jennifer Widerstrom? The New Trainer is an 'American Gladiator', For One

In the 16th Season of a show, it's safe to assume that the producers know they need to mix it up a little, but keep the successful staples consistent. On The Biggest Loser, trainers other than Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper have never been received too openly by viewers, and Dolvett Quince only became a welcome new addition when in tandem with the trusty originals. So, the producers surely know they're taking a risk with the loss of Michaels this season, and the addition of two new trainers, Jessie Pavelka and Jennifer Widerstrom. But on top of the interesting new twist of all former athlete contestants in Season 16, Widerstrom also seems to be winning over contestants and viewers alike in her new high profile gig.

Anyone who watches The Biggest Loser is accustomed to the "tough love" approach to training, where relative softy Harper has still been known to scream, "Now do it again, FASTER," shortly after a contestant has recovered from keeling over/throwing up into a bucket/weeping. Jennifer is plenty tough, sure, but she's also been vulnerable with the contestants, telling them that becoming a Biggest Loser trainer was "a real personal mission" because she comes from a family of obesity. But don't let the sweet smile fool you: Widerstrom also brought about the biggest weight loss from her team, who collectively lost 100 pounds in the first weight in. This woman is the real deal...

First things first: she was an American Gladiator

That's right, Widerstrom has made the NBC rounds before, on the reboot of American Gladiators as the fuchsia-haired "Phoenix." Much to my own despair, American Gladiators was short-lived in its second life, but Widerstrom has gone on to have a varied and booming career in health and wellness: she is an expert for Women's Health, where you can find her training videos, as well as the the Wellness Life Coach for MSN.com.

A woman of principle

Widerstrom clearly has a good head on her shoulders. In addition to her commitment to improving the lives of others in the States, she also regularly takes on philanthropic efforts abroad, taking part in Goodwill Military tours for troops stationed out of the country, and volunteers at orphanages and schools in Africa to help children advance through sport and play.

Audiences have taken to Widerstrom's positive attitude, ans especially her many mantras. "Choose love, not fear," is one that's inspired her White team through three episodes without a loss yet, and I especially like when she reminds the contestants to "get uncomfortable." Ain't nothing comfortable about the Biggest Loser ranch.

Health Comes First

The Biggest Loser is Widerstrom's first tango with reality TV training, and it's clear that her main objective is health, not competition or looks. She's keeping her wits about her, staying true to her commitment to "healthy nutrition, dynamic physical exertion, mental well being and most importantly, having fun," above all else. She told Zap2it that for her, "being healthy is more important than looking good naked, and part of what makes me feel healthy is feeling strong, feeling connected, feeling balanced." So far, it's a winning methodology.

Images: Jennifer Widerstrom/Instagram (3)