“We’re doing something different,” says host Bob Harper

By Julie Mazziotta
January 16, 2020 05:54 PM
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For the new season of The Biggest Loser, “we’re doing something different,” says host Bob Harper.

Ahead of the reality show’s Jan. 28 premiere, Harper and the two new trainers, Erica Lugo and Steve Cook, say they’re focusing on helping the contestants improve their health in a new trailer, shared exclusively with PEOPLE.

“These are 12 people who have struggled with weight their entire lives and are desperate to make a change,” says Harper. “They want to get healthier. They want to change their lives.”

In the trailer, Harper, Lugo and Cook are seen working with the contestants in the gym, during team challenges and in group therapy.

“This is not just physical fitness, this is mental fitness,” Lugo tells the contestants, adding in another scene, “This is a competition to lose weight. But this is also a competition to change your life.”

The Biggest Loser
| Credit: Richie Knapp/USA Network

Lugo herself underwent a major change — the single mom lost 160 lbs. after recovering from cancer.

“I had to get healthy for my son,” she says. “My journey was scary, and overwhelming, but I stayed strong.”

RELATED VIDEO: Meet the New ‘Biggest Loser’ Trainers — Including One Who Lost 160 Lbs. Herself!

And Cook, a longtime trainer and fitness model, emphasizes that weight loss success comes outside of perfection.

“We can’t be perfect, we’re not here to be perfect,” he says. “The times that I’ve tried have been the loneliest times of my life. It’s about passion and effort.”

The revamped version of the show comes after the previous iteration drew criticism for using extreme weight loss methods, and studies later found that contestants had typically gained the weight back, and permanently damaged their metabolisms.

Harper previously told PEOPLE that this version, which will air on USA Network instead of NBC, takes a more holistic approach to weight loss, with a focus on support groups, sleep and managing stress. And after the contestants leave the show, win or lose, they will get a free membership to Planet Fitness, access to a nutritionist and will get set up with a support group in their hometown.

“It’s not about getting skinny, it’s about getting healthy,” he said. “You see people getting off medication, reversing their type 2 diabetes, lowering their blood pressure.”