On Wednesday, April 13 at 9 p.m., NBC will debut their next great reality show, STRONG, with a special two-part premiere and before continuing in its regular time slot on April 14 of 8 p.m. on Thursdays. STRONG pairs 10 women with 10 elite trainers, and puts them on a journey like no other. Two of those trainers, Chris Ryan and Todd Durkin, have worked with Cybex for many years, and we are proud to watch and root for them on the show.
As a weekly bonus, we'll recap the previous episode of STRONG with Chris right here on the Cybex blog. Chris will give us an insider’s perspective on each episode and maybe a hint about what's on tap in the next episode. Today, we talk to Chris about the experience, and his thoughts and expectations leading up to the show's debut.
Chris, what made you want to be on a reality show?
I think there is a vast array of reality TV out there which broadly falls into two camps: entertainment and education. STRONG is a great combination of these two aspects. Being on the show would allow me to practice what I love to do: coach, motivate and compete. Now I'm able to broadcast my message to a much larger audience and positively impact many more people. Instead of helping only my immediate clients get in touch with their "inner athlete," I could now literally do that with millions of people! How awesome is that?!
What were your expectations heading in to shoot the show?
I was really excited about the show because of the amazing team behind it. David Broome is a creative genius and has had an awesome track record with his franchise shows like "The Biggest Loser." Adding Kevin King Templeton from the movie "Creed" and Holly Wofford from "American Ninja Warrior" only added to the excitement. Lastly, a childhood film hero of mine, Sylvester Stallone, is an executive producer?! I mean, Rocky is throwing his hat in the ring with us too?! And NBC and Sony Pictures are on board? Pinch me, please, to make sure I am not dreaming. This show is going to be epic!
How much did you know about STRONG before you arrived at the set?
We were very limited in our knowledge of anything other than the overall premise of the show. We didn't know anything about the fellow trainers or the trainees. All of our moments are "real" on camera. The executive producers knew they had to protect the integrity of the show by keeping things under wraps until the time was right to unveil our stories, and the amazing journey and challenges before us.
What were your thoughts once you got on set?
It was a massive production with hundreds of people working together. I had been on sets before for modeling and commercial work for a couple days, with maybe about 30 people involved. Now I was living on a massive Hollywood-style set in Malibu with nine of America's most elite trainers, a crew as big as a summer blockbuster movie, and of course 10 amazing women who were looking to find the best version of themselves. Seeing so many people with one common goal, coming together to make a spectacular show, is an experience I will never forget.
What makes you most proud about this experience...that you can tell us before the show's debut?
I am proud of how I was able to pour my heart and soul into another person to make her the best version of herself, not only physically but also mentally. To take someone that was a suburban housewife and mother of three, and help her understand that she is an athlete and bad ass, and could push herself to the highest of highs and even come back from the lowest valleys that life throws at her stronger than before, is something that's hard to even put into words.
I am excited for people to see an amazingly fast-paced, exciting, invigorating show that will motivate people to be the best version of themselves. I am excited to inspire women and show them that being STRONG is sexy and does lead to better quality of life both physically and mentally. Be sure to tune in!
"STRONG" is produced by Dave Broome and Sylvester Stallone. The competition is hosted by Gabrielle Reece and premieres April 13 on NBC at 9 p.m. before moving to its regular time slot of Thursday nights at 8 p.m. Be sure to tune in and see how Chris and his partner stack up to the competition, and check back here weekly for his recaps and thoughts from the episode.
To learn more about the show, visit nbc.com/strong.