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.
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.
What was it like to watch an episode of the show that you knew you weren't a part of?
Terrible. As an athlete, it's like watching a game from the sidelines when you want to compete. As a coach, you want to be right there hitting that heavy bag with Giovanna.
As a friend to the rest of the teams though, I couldn't be more proud to see them getting after such a hard event on a cold night. This event took place one day after our Tower run, and I knew how everyone felt: tired, beat up and ready to go home. But they put on a great show and fought hard, which made me very proud.
What did you think of the challenge that the remaining teams went through?
It looked fun to me. Love the speed/strength stuff, which is my specialty. And it's always fun to hit something!
The decision to put Lime in the Tower ended up being debated more than we thought. What are your thoughts on it: did they need to compete to make the final four, or was the “ask” to go in the Tower a bit of gamesmanship?
I think the lime team, especially Mahogany, finally was ready to go to the Tower. Dan, as her coach, wanted her to remain in the game as long as she could--the same as all the coaches, myself included, wanted for their trainees. You become so invested in your trainee the further the game goes and Dan is an amazing coach and did a tremendous job training Mahogany. He was obviously taken a little off-guard when she volunteered for the Tower though, but it made for a great TV moment. You could literally see right before your eyes, Mahogany "spreading her wings to fly out of the bird’s nest." That is what STRONG is all about.
I also think at this point the lime team needed to prove something. They had not gone to the Tower, had not won a medallion or a power challenge yet the way the rest of the remaining teams had. I think they needed to prove something to themselves and the rest of teams, that "Yes, we can win and do deserve to be in the final four!"
We saw Todd & Brittany head to the Tower for the THIRD TIME, and for the second time, they came out on top. You’ve been in there, how are they able to pull that off with such success?
Yes, a huge congrats to Todd and Brittany on the yellow team for their Tower win! As I have said before though, experience and going in at the right time, against the right teams plays a huge part in your Tower success.
We know you were able to talk to one of the eliminated team members, Dan, from the lime team. What did he tell you about their journey?
Dan said, “it was always about the transformation. I had a job to do and that was to help this girl change her life forever. The reason we wanted to stay on the compound each week was so that we could ensure that we would make an impact that would be lasting. Fortunately, Mahogany and I built a bond of trust and mutual respect along with a great deal of skill sets during our time there. When she returned home to Atlanta she was able to carry-on our training and complete her 41 pounds of fat loss along with 10 pounds of muscle gain. I'm proud to say that she is stronger in both mind and body and she's now carrying that positive energy into her community.”
Any thoughts on the Final Four?
Good luck to all the remaining teams, they have played the game well. At this point though, it really is anyone's to win. The final episodes will be can't miss TV 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.
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