This past April, NBC debuted their latest fitness reality competition: STRONG. Airing on Thursdays at 8/7c, 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. Although he is now eliminated, Chris is still providing insight, and speaking to those still in the competition, for the blog. Follow Chris on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more photos and insight from the show.
The level of competition between the final two teams seemed to be at an all-time high. Talk a little bit about their mindset, prepping to compete for a huge cash prize, wanting to be the first STRONG champion and not knowing what was in store for the three legs of the challenge.
Both teams are battle hardened at this point. It's just like two teams who have made it all the way through the playoffs and are now ready for the Super Bowl, or in this case an unknown gauntlet of challenges that will test their willpower, mental fortitude and physical strength.
Bennie and Jill won the first leg. They chose to take a five second advantage in the Tower versus additional medallions. Do you think that was the right call?
Most definitely, the play here was to be conservative for sure. Remember, the Tower runs have all been extremely close in the latter half of the show, so every second counts. There are no points for second place, or in this case any sort of monetary reward. So having a few hundred grand to split is better than having $500k but losing the Tower by a couple seconds with no financial reward.
The Yellow Team, Todd and Brittany, always seem to pull out a victory when they least expect it. Winning the tug-of-war and then the second leg with the kettle bell challenge was truly impressive. How did you feel about their strategy and only playing “offense” in the pyramid, versus the defensive strategy the Blue team took?
I am a fan of any strategy that works and in this case, it worked for them. Great coaching strategy by Todd on this one.
Again, the winning team chose the time advantage instead of additional medallions. This one seemed like an easy choice, as it brought the playing field back to even. Did you agree?
Most definitely! Leveling the playing field back to par for both teams was a good call in this case. It's better to have a little of something than a lot of nothing, right?
The final Tower introduced a couple of new wrinkles. What did you think while you watching it live, and how do you think the teams did, even with the struggles we saw with the new obstacles?
I loved it! I remember all of the cast members coming in and seeing the Tower being changed for the final, with a battering ram and the heavy wall push–eyes widened and some big smiles came across our faces! We were huge fans of those changes. I think Bennie and Jill did an amazing job. A big congrats is well-deserved to them for winning the first Tower run of the season and the last Tower run of the season. And Todd and Brittany were so beat up. They reminded me of Rocky just hanging in there, somehow. Just showing the grit, tenacity and truly the hearts of the champions they are. Awesome runs by both teams!
This was an incredible season of STRONG. We saw 10 elite trainers help to transform 10 truly STRONG women and change their lives. Give us your final thoughts on the entire process, from being on the show, to seeing the women come into their own, to the friendships you’ve built.
It's surreal to think we have already wrapped the first season. I want to thank the whole team from the executive producers David Broome, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin King Templeton and Holly Wofford, to Sony and NBC that made this show such a success. And thank you for entrusting me to be a huge part of it.
I have made amazing friendships with nine other trainers that I never knew before. I have so much respect for all of them. I look forward to our continued success on all levels.
I put my heart and soul into training and competing with Giovanna, and couldn't be more proud of the transformation she made under my coaching and continues to make on her own. From her daily training schedule, to working on her healthy food blog, NotJustAPrettyPlate.com. That tells me I did my job right. I always share with my clients my goal of wanting to show them how to fish and feed them for a lifetime, not just give them a fish and feed them for a day.
I also think America and the world truly NEEDS this show! I hope there is a second season that I am fortunate enough to be a part of again. Heck, I hope there is a tenth season! We need to see everyday people having remarkable mental and physical transformations to help society transform their own lives for the better. Our society needs to know that being STRONG is not just about having "muscles," but rather the way you carry yourself and operate your day after the mental and physical transformation you have put yourself through. STRONG is not just a realty show; it truly is ahead of its time in helping people see that we all can be the best versions of ourselves. We just need to put a little more blood, sweat and tears into ourselves, which makes the rewards that much more fulfilling.
"STRONG" is produced by Dave Broome and Sylvester Stallone. The competition is hosted by Gabrielle Reece and airs in its regular time slot of Thursday nights at 8 p.m. To learn more about the show, visit nbc.com/strong.