Whether he’s training Hollywood’s finest or causing viewers to choke up as they watch him drastically better the lives of contestants on season 16 of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Dolvett Quince spends a whole lot of time in the gym. And while you’d assume that means he’s exercising, he’s actually there just doing his job. This Biggest Loser veteran still has to find time to fit his own workouts into his daily routine — which can be especially difficult this time of year.
“The holidays can be stressful,” says Quince, a Connecticut native and New York Times best-selling author of The 3-1-2-1 Diet. “Even the most dedicated fitness fanatics neglect exercise — and themselves — during the holidays.”
So how does this busy gym rat keep up with his personal sweat sessions? Read on to learn his sneaky stay-fit tips (ab workout included!), which festive candy he can’t say no to, and how one Brookstone device helps him give the best massages ever. Plus, find out why this Biggest Loser season (his fifth) has been the hardest one yet, and how one difficult contestant changed his life forever.
What do you find is the biggest motivator for contestants on the show who have a long road ahead of them?
A specific goal or a number. That idea “can I lose X amount of pounds this week?” That’s the residual thing, constantly having a goal to reach. You have wearable devices now that tell you if you reached those 8,000 steps today. Anything that you can attain and feel accomplished about is a good goal.
While viewers may not be the same shape or size as the contestants, what is it about the show or journey that makes it so relatable?
I think that for people who watch and aren’t obese, they relate to the heartfelt stories of their struggles, because everyone has a struggle. Yours may not be your weight. It could be emotional, low self-esteem, or maybe someone you know who has a weight issue. The connection is emotional.
But then, there are also the crazy workouts we do. The fact that these individuals might be 40, 50, 60 pounds heavier than the person sitting on the couch watching… If they can do it, it motivates viewers to say, “I definitely can, too.”
Through being a Biggest Loser trainer and a trainer in general, how have you found that fitness can empower a person in a way that nothing else can?
How great do you feel when you’re a badass? Like when you think, “There’s no way in hell I’m going to do that Tough Mudder, sliding in mud and getting electrocuted.” And then you do it and you’re like, “I did that!” and you suddenly have this huge sense of accomplishment. What that does to you psychologically is take the impossible and make it probable. Not possible but probable, because the probability of you doing it is the “I think I can.” And then when you do it, it becomes a possibility. So you go from doubt to maybe, from maybe to yes, from yes to hell yeah! And that elevation is the best high you could ever live in.
What was the biggest lesson you learned — about yourself or something else — on this season of the show?
This season was my most difficult for a few reasons. I came back as a veteran trainer on the show. There was no Jillian Michaels, and Bob Harper had a smaller role off campus. So the other trainers were kind of looking up to me. Sometimes you’re almost as good as your adversaries, but I didn’t have any anymore. I was the guy that everyone was looking to, so there was that pressure…
…There was also one contestant who gave me the most trouble. Not because he was a bad person, but because when I thought I gave him the tools, the belief, and I’d done my job — the next time I come to work, he took two steps backwards emotionally. Long story short, he ended up being the last person that stayed with me the entire course.
In one particular scene we were doing a huge obstacle that was fearful for both of us because I’m afraid of heights and so is he. We get to the bottom where we had to climb and I’m doing an interview. The producer said to me, “It’s so ironic that the person who gave you the most difficulty this season is the last person who’s with you. You ever thought maybe he is here to coach you as much as you’re here to coach him? That his position in your life at this very moment serves a purpose not just for you, not just for him, but for both of you?” That stands out in my mind. And I absolutely think there was a purpose. The difficulty I had with problem-solving his issues is going to prepare me for what’s coming next season.
What do you find is the biggest excuse people have for skipping a workout during the holidays?
Stress. No time. Other people come first. People don’t add themselves into their day. Kids, parties, other things like travel. Everything else has priority but you.
What’s your secret to fitting in workouts this time of year?
My life is based on a schedule so I build my workout in that schedule. And I stick to it. That’s my time and I commit to it.
Fitness aside, what other factors play a role in creating positive lifestyle changes?
In order to have the best day, you have to be the best you, and a lot of people don’t get to because they direct all of their energy towards other things. It’s important to attack your day stress-free. You want to get a good night’s sleep, and make time for recovery, which is one of the reasons I’m working with Brookstone now. I use the Brookstone Max 2 Cordless Massager to warm up my muscles before a workout and to cool down after. Recovery is as important as training. Period.
Should recovery be thought of as part of your workout?
Yes, it is a part of it. My concern as a trainer is that people don’t know that you should do recovery. Think about when you did have a trainer or if you do currently: How awesome was it at the end of your workouts to get stretched? Because you’re not going to do it yourself. How awesome is it to go get a massage? But what if we had massaging tools that we could use ourselves at home? Take advantage of it because you’re producing healthier muscle and with healthier muscle you can get better results. And who doesn’t want better results?
There are so many temptations this time of year from cocktails to cookies and desserts. How can people not deprive themselves while still keeping their waistline in check?
People crave sugar and it’s hard not to think about cakes and candy time of year. I think my favorite candy is peppermint bark — it’s so good! But my advice to people who have a sweet tooth is just not to limit it to that stuff. Also have some higher-quality food around. Cut up some tasty protein bars and have them accessible in the office and in home. This way, because it’s there and accessible, you’ll probably give yourself a 50/50 chance of having balance, versus if all you’re seeing is peppermint bark.
Dolvett Quince’s 20-Minute Ab Workout
Want to try one of Dolvett’s intense workouts? Find 20 minutes in your day to fit in this quick core routine. It works the upper, middle and lower abdominals as well as the glutes and thighs. (Note: For people with back issues, we recommend rolling a towel and the resting it between your lower back and the exercise mat.)
How to: Lie flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hands behind your head. Keeping your chin lifted, brace your core and abdominals and quickly crunch upward until your shoulders are off the ground (a). Return back to flat for one rep (b). Do three sets of 30 reps, resting 30 seconds between sets.
2. Leg Raises
How to: Lie flat on your back and lift your legs up 90 degrees so they’re perpendicular to the floor (or as close as you can get them), engaging your lower abdominals (a). Bracing your core, glutes and hamstrings, lift your butt and hips off the ground, pushing your legs straight up towards the ceiling (b). That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 20 reps, resting 30 seconds between sets.
RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day
3. Isolation Oblique Side Crunches
How to: Lie on your right side, elbow bent, propping yourself on your forarm, hand in a fist. Make sure your shoulder is aligned with your hip and feet so your body is in a straight line. Bracing your core and abdominals, lift your hips up towards the ceiling, then return back down (a). (You can raise your free arm up towards the ceiling or keep it on your hip). Do five reps. After the fifth rep, stay down and lift your top leg, and free arm and connect the elbow to knee, performing a side crunch (b). Do five reps. That’s one set. Perform 5 sets with no rest. After rest 30 seconds before you switch sides and repeat.
4. Butterfly Reach
How to: Lie on your back, legs in a butterfly position with knees open to the sides, soles of feet touching, arms flat on your sides. Bracing your core and abdomen, lift your head, neck and shoulders slightly as you slowly reach your right hand down to try to touch your right foot (a). Repeat on the other side, reaching your left hand slowly down to try to touch your left foot (b). That’s one rep. Do eight reps slowly, then 30 seconds of quickly alternating (c).
How to: Get into push-up position but with your forearms flat on the floor, body in a straight line from head to toe. Brace your core and hold for 30 seconds (a).
“The healing part of training has been neglected for so long,” says Dolvett. “You’ll go to SoulCycle or yoga class, and never do any stretching after. What better way to tackle your body after you’ve just ripped it up than to do some healing?”
How to: Sit for at least 10 minutes and give yourself a massage with an at-home product, roll out on a foam roller or stretch your muscles. This will increase blood circulation to the areas you just used and help lower heart rate.