Utahn hopes to be the winner of 'The Biggest Loser'

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013 12:15 p.m. MDT

Candy doesn’t necessarily tempt 26-year-old Hap Holmstead, but the double cheeseburgers, steaks, ice cream and milkshakes while eating out did.

His weight, which had been hovering around 330 to 340 pounds, steadily rose to about 400.

“I didn’t count calories and drank what I wanted to and ate what I wanted to,” said Holmstead, who lives in Pleasant Grove.

Holmstead is one of the 15 contestants who will be competing to be the winner of “The Biggest Loser.” Season 15 premieres Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. on NBC. Other contestants include “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard.

When Holmstead’s friend, Sione Fa, who competed on “The Biggest Loser” during Season 7, suggested he audition for the show, Holmstead blew him off. Holmstead had only seen a few episodes of the show. But after he was weighing in at about 400 pounds, he reconsidered.

The day of “The Biggest Loser” auditions in Salt Lake City, Holmstead’s plane landed at 5:15 p.m. His wife picked him up and they made it to the auditions just before they closed at 6 p.m.

His boss, who had done some fitness and weight loss challenges with his employees, rerouted Holmstead’s cross-country business trip to give him a layover in Salt Lake City while en route to San Diego.

“I sent my videos in like everyone else,” the 26-year-old sales consultant and entrepreneur said. “Two months later, I got the good news.”

His goal isn’t necessarily a pound amount but rather keeping an eye on his percentage of body fat. He went into “The Biggest Loser” weighing 403 pounds and had 39 percent body fat, and his goal is to be at 12-15 percent body fat.

Holmstead and his wife have three children — daughters who are 2 and 3 years old and a newborn son.

Holmstead pitched and played first base for the American Fork High School baseball team and was a Major League Baseball prospect before serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Ohio Cincinnati Mission.

He came back and trained to play football for Snow College.

Holmstead has also competed in powerlifting and strongman competitions, placing fourth in Utah in 2010.

While working and traveling, he didn’t work out like he used to when playing sports or powerlifting and ate what he wanted to.

“I don’t need to be heavy anymore,” Holmstead said of his realization that happened when his wife was pregnant with their son. “I’m killing myself carrying around all of this extra weight.”

It’s more than just the weight loss and playing competitive sports again. He wants to be physically fit enough to play with his children and also help them be healthy, too.

He’s not a stranger to working out but tried to make sure he was prepared mentally for the show.

“My goal was to finish the first week of workouts,” Holmstead said. “I had no idea how hard it really was.”

This season, trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince each get a “trainer save” to prevent an eliminated contestant from being sent home. They also had a hand in picking the contestants.

The show includes 15 contestants, who have regular weigh-ins and compete in challenges, both on teams and, as the season progresses, individually. Those who win the challenges and lose the most weight have immunity from elimination. The winner gets $250,000.

Other Utahns have competed on “The Biggest Loser,” including Fa of Ivins, Jackson Carter of Layton, Deni Hill of Bountiful, Burgandy Keel of Eagle Mountain, Heather Hansen of Bountiful and Justin Pope and Rulon Gardner, both of Logan.

Email: rappleye@deseretnews.com Twitter: CTRappleye

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