By People Staff
Updated October 19, 2007 12:00 AM
Credit: Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

After a very poor showing in this week’s weigh-in, trainer Kim Lyons told her Red Team in no uncertain terms who their strongest members were. That left an emotional Amy out to dry. Even with Kim’s exhortation to not leave the decision up to another team to oust a member, Red Team split itself with a tie between Amy and Phil. Ultimately the Blue Team chose to send its most feared competitor, Red Team captain Phil Hawk, the 27-year-old contractor from Powell, Ohio, back home. Fortunately for the 6-foot-5 Hawk, he has now lost a total of 108 pounds! Hawk spoke to PEOPLE about his ouster, getting fit and eventually becoming a firefighter. –Cynthia Wang Was it tough to leave knowing the Blue Team voted you off because you were a threat in challenges?I don’t look at myself as the strongest person. I was hoping it wouldn’t go that way but in the same breath I was happy that a) it went to the Blue Team and b) I still had the possibility of staying there. The Blue Team, we were the closest with them because we had those few extra weeks there. It’s the final goodbye and if I had to go, at least I get to say goodbye to all my friends.

By the end of your time at the Ranch, you had already lost 61 lbs. Was your wife surprised to see you?Yes. I didn’t call her; I flew in the next day and had to track her down. She was over at her mom’s and when I went in… just to see the look on her face! She was talking to her sister on the phone and she dropped the phone on the floor and she was in shock! Currently my weight is 279. My goal for the purposes of the show is to get to about 250. I don’t even remember when I was at this weight I am at now, much less 250! And shopping, it’s like role reversal. My wife’s like, ‘what did you buy now?’

Your goal shirt said, “To be a firefighter.” How big is that shirt now and how close are you to your goal?The shirt is big! I have my certificate, my Firefighter 240 card and my basic EMT but to try to get on some place was impossible at the size I was; now I shouldn’t have any problem passing any test they put in front of me. Hopefully sooner than later it will become a reality.

What is your routine now?Day to day, I get up and eat my breakfast before I work out. I found a place here in Columbus, Ohio, called HIT (High Intensity Training). It’s more on the lines of having a sandpit there, obstacle courses, and changing it up every day–that’s a huge benefit to me because I always kid that I am too ADD to stay on a treadmill for too long! I go in there for about an hour or an hour-and-a-half each morning. I also try to do some type of exercise in the evening, either an elliptical or bike ride or even a walk. I usually do it after dinner to burn off the calories I have taken in during the day.

What habits have you changed?Everything was a habit! The main habit was when we have a day on the weekend when we weren’t doing something; I used to do ‘bored eating.’ Now, instead of me sitting on the couch and wanting to eat, I catch myself and say, ‘you’re hungry? No you’re not; you just had your meal. You’re fine. Let’s go do something!’ So I guess it is more in my head to stay active to take my mind off of it. Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC