Last month, 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. While Todd was eliminated in Week 3, Chris and his Orange Team are still very much alive in the competition as it hits the halfway point.
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 Thursday's episode, and all of the emotions associated with the show. Follow Chris on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more photos and insight from the show.
Congrats on Team Orange’s first Power Challenge victory! Tell us about the challenge, and what it felt like to grab a medallion in the competition.
Thanks! Yes, this was a HUGE win for us on many levels. It was a very emotional night for Giovanna with the loss of her mother-in-law. A thousand things are going through your head as her coach, trainer and friend of how to best proceed for her.
Hanging from a bar for over 40 minutes with me on a cold night, somehow helped put things in perspective--she realized what it was like to compete, tap into her inner-athlete and not only come away with a win, but honor her family and mother-in-law with her mental and physical toughness. I was beyond honored to compete alongside her and coach her through this challenge.
During the second challenge, we saw some real game strategy, as the Purple Team essentially “threw” the challenge to give the Gray Team the ability to miss the Tower for a third straight time. What were your thoughts on this – showing compassion vs. “going for the kill"?
You always want to compete against people at their best. And at that moment the Gray Team was far from their best. Our competition schedule was in full swing by that time, which allowed for little recovery. It was an interesting call by the Purple Team for sure, and one that I fully support. The Gray Team had won the tower a couple times already, but just needed a few extra days of recovery.
We saw even more strategy as the Gray Team chose who to send to the Tower with their newfound power. The Blue vs. White combo was a bit of a shocker to us, how about you?
No, not a surprise to us at all. We had safety, and Blue and White made the most logical choice. It would have made things even more interesting, though, if they picked Purple to go.
That was easily the most competitive Tower battle yet…what was it like watching it live?
The Tower is always the highlight of the week and this battle did not disappoint.
Now, the twist! We loved seeing the 5 eliminated teams return. What was running through your mind when you heard Gabby announce they were back?
I felt like something would happen, I just didn't know what to expect. As a fan, I love seeing the eliminated competitors coming back and battling it out in the Tower to earn their way back into the game. As a coach and trainer though, I was envious of these teams. They were well-rested, fresh from the nicks and scratches of the recent challenges. Also, they had already been in the Tower once, and now they would be in the Tower again; knowledge is power and we (the Orange Team) still didn't have that "Tower knowledge" yet.
It looks like next week is about the eliminated teams fighting for their second “opportunity.” What should we expect next Thursday?
Did you see the eliminated teams come back in? They all had that "eye of the tiger" look in their eye. They are out to prove to themselves and to the world that they deserve another shot. It's definitely going to spice up the competition! The next episode is a can't miss one for sure.
"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. Be sure to tune in and see how Chris and his partner Giovanna 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.