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Take it off


‘Biggest Loser’ player Roger Shultz reveals all before finale

By Ginny

Trainer Bob Harper, left, and Roger Shultz

He may be better known these days, at least by the ladies, as a record-breaking competitor on “The Biggest Loser” than as a linebacker for the Crimson Tide. But Roger Shultz owes it to an intense focus on weekly weigh-ins on the NBC reality competition.

The season concludes at 7 p.m. Tuesday, where the Enterprise native could win $250,000 during the live broadcast.

Shultz talked by phone about his experiences, his chance of being chosen for the final three, and being identified by his missing tooth.

• I have to know: Was chef Rocco DiSpirito’s pepper steak really as good as your mama’s?

It was pretty good. It was different. He added peppers at first thinking it would be a Chinese dish. (laughs)

• Did you ever think you would make it to the final four?

Realistically, no. All I thought was, stay above the yellow line and good things will happen. I took it one week at the time. And then, things happened like (the final twist where America votes).

• That final weigh-in was intense …

You should’ve been there with me! But it was still exciting-losing the most weight of anyone on campus. It was the first time I focused in on a number and really fine-tuned my diet and workouts to reach it for the final weigh-in.

Unfortunately, that was a motivator for everyone.

Roger Shultz

• Do you feel like the voting is not just your fans vs. Mark’s fans, but actually your fans vs. Mark, Jay, Kelly and Ali’s fans?

Absolutely. But don’t ever count out those Alabama voters.

• Did this season have even more twists and turns than before? How did you navigate them?

It did. But I understand that those are for the viewer.

I could give a flip about the challenges. I hated being away from training, and I just wanted to get to the weigh-in.

When I was a fan of the show, I thought the weigh-ins took forever. In the game, that was all I focused on.

• You had Mark keep his word and “sacrifice” himself for the blue team, keeping you in the game. I thought that was maybe the greatest strategic move in the show’s history …

(laughs) Thank you!

• When the producers allowed him back as the male evictee who had lost the greatest percentage of weight, were you angry?

Hey, it is what it is.

• Was it a good move for Bob the trainer to choose all strong players for his team after the couples’ concept was dropped?

That was not strategy. Bob doesn’t play the game. He’s genuinely there to help us all lose weight and get healthy.

Jillian (the other trainer) is always playing the game. After she said the first week, “I’m tired of a middle-aged white guy always winning this thing,” I thought, do I want someone training me who doesn’t want me to win?

If we hadn’t gotten to switch (from Jillian), she would’ve had (the rest of her team) waterloading to get rid of me. I was so glad I was able to switch.

• You haven’t been home as long as in previous seasons, right?

No, usually players get 12 weeks at home, and we’ll only have five. And the first week, I was still working out a little bit and watching my calories, but it took a while to get used to being home. I was also busy seeing everyone; I don’t say no to too many people.

• Have you had people recognize you?

I have. I mean, I’m used to people — middle-aged men — recognizing me from playing ball. Now it’s women, and not just in Alabama.

I was working out on a treadmill in New York, and this girl kept staring at me. Finally, she said, “Are you who I think you are?” I said, “George Clooney?”

“You’re Roger from the Biggest Loser! I was looking for your tooth!”

I thought, don’t you know that the first thing I did when I got off the plane was go get that tooth fixed?

• You have a giant tattoo that says “Pride,” and she was looking for a missing tooth for confirmation?

(laughs) Yes, the pride tattoo.

pride tattoo

• How does your wife Paige feel about the tattoo?

Oh, she likes it. Her mom hates it, though.

• So, were you disappointed that fashion guru Tim Gunn didn’t pick a wilder outfit for you?

(laughs) A little bit! It was a good-looking suit, but I would’ve liked something a little more stylish, like what Mark or Jay got. I’m gonna work on that for the finale.

• And tell me about those beards.

Honestly, I grew mine out because my face just looked so gaunt to me. I think Mark did the same thing.

Plus, Bob had one. And, you know, I don’t know if you noticed what Jay was wearing when he went home, but (in the last episode), I have on the same thing: dark jeans and Adidas, just like Bob always wears.

We’re so pitiful. We just copy whatever Bob does.

• What happened with losing your job as associate athletics director at Jacksonville State?

Well, I learned about it the same way you did.

It’s never a good feeling to lose your job. I think it would’ve been better if it’d been for something like sleeping with my secretary or stealing money.

But there was no way to know when I’d be home, and I felt like I represented myself well on the show. I mean, I didn’t run around naked or anything.

• So, you weren’t on “Big Brother.”

(laughs) Exactly. But when doors close, others open, and I have a lot going on.

Trent (Patterson, his teammate on the show) and I are looking into opening a fitness program along the lines of “The Biggest Loser.” No Internet, TV or phone for 21 days. We’ll teach you what we know. We’re gonna bust your ass. We’ll also address the mental aspects with a psychologist.

• Jillian’s mom?

No. (laughs)

Join us at 7 p.m. Tuesday for the Wade on Birmingham live blog of the season finale.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at blog.myspace.com/whiskeytangofoxtrotblog.

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Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at biggestloser.wadeonbirmingham.com.

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