‘Biggest Loser’ contestant brings knowledge home to Cache Valley

Since reality television show “The Biggest Loser” star Justin Pope lost 173 pounds and shaved his face, even some of the show’s faithful viewers are having a hard time recognizing him.”I even had somebody ask me if I ever got confused with that Justin Pope that was on ‘Biggest Loser’ when he heard my name. He knew my name, knew who I was. He just thought he was talking to someone different,” Pope said.When the Cache local first stepped on the show’s scale, he weighed 365 pounds. The nation watched as he lost weight and pushed his teammates to meet their personal goals.Pope was runner up for the Biggest Loser at-home challenge, but he learned more at the Biggest Loser Ranch than just how to lose weight.”It changed my mindset, it changed my attitude, it changed the way I think, and it inspired me,” he said.Full of knowledge when he returned home, Pope hoped to help others who need a push in the right direction. When Pope first came home from the show, he began seeking out those in the community he thought needed a call out – a friendly push to look in the mirror and re-evaluate their health – but these days people come to him asking for help from him.”You can never call somebody out unless you’re willing to call yourself out,” Pope said.Over time this developed into a program called

<a href=””>Justin’s Call Out</a>

, an exercise and support program that brings people together who want to become and stay healthy and shows them the ropes.Pope started his program at the Rulon Gardner Elite Training Center, of which he shared ownership with fellow Biggest Loser contestant Rulon Gardner. This training center has recently merged and been turned into a Gold’s Gym. Pope’s share in the business was bought out, which was a “mutual decision between Rulon and Justin,” said Kari Gooch of Gold’s Gym management.The program currently operates out of

<a href=””>Spring Creek Fitness</a>

in Logan.While Pope is not a certified personal trainer, he watched and learned from the show’s trainers, specifically new-comer Brett Hoebel. Pope even took it on himself to write up exercise and diet plans when the trainers weren’t around, pulling from what he learned while at the ranch.”I’m not a trainer, but I can mimic the hell out of a good one,” Pope said.Pope is currently working on becoming certified.Justin’s Call Out program participants meet at the gym and exercise together. It may start as Pope doing the motivating and calling out, but Pope said eventually participants get to know each other and begin look after one another’s goals.”I’m accountable to them, they’re accountable to me, but mostly what I like is they’re accountable to each other,” he said.Pope doesn’t believe most people need to be lifting weights or using heavy equipment, but encourages physical activities, like spinning, that burn calories and put on a little muscle. In the future, Pope would like to get more involved in family and teen fitness and create family events like a community race.”Any time that I can help people get an education and inspire them, whatever or however that works, it makes for a better world, and it’s kind of what makes me tick anymore,” Pope said. “I never would have thought any of this stuff would have interested me a year ago.”The first time Justin Pope called someone out was on “Biggest Loser.” Another contestant, Ken Andrews, picked a treadmill close to Pope’s, saying he had noticed Pope worked himself hard. From there, Pope would get frustrated with anyone who wasn’t putting in full effort, and he took on himself to motivate his team.”It wasn’t a holier-than-thou thing. It was like, ‘I found something; here it is. Please, come join me,’” Pope said.Those who are interested in Pope’s Call Out program can find contact information

<a href=””>online</a>

. T-shirts for the program are also available

<a href=””>online</a>

for $20 each.- rachel@cvdaily.com

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