Claim to Fame: All eyes are on Dolvett Quince, and it’s not just because of his rock-hard physique: The tough-as-nails celebrity trainer, now on his fifth season of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, is quickly rising up through the ranks to become one of the hottest names in fitness. And he’s come a long way to get there. In his new diet and lifestyle book, The 3-1-2-1 Diet, due out November 12th, Dolvett opens up about his inspiring rags-to-riches journey, detailing how he overcame an impoverished childhood in the foster care system and eventually catapulted to TV stardom. Growing up in Stamford, Connecticut, Dolvett’s upbringing was marked by poverty, heartbreak and neglect. After discovering his passion for fitness, Dolvett worked at the desk of a local YMCA for several months before eventually opening his own personal training studio, Body Sculptor, in Atlanta, Georgia. Dolvett’s motto was, “Changing lives one rep at a time,” and the formula stuck—in time, the trainer garnered a robust client following that included several celebrities, ultimately catching the attention of NBC, who signed him onto the Biggest Loser cast in 2011. During his five-season stint on The Biggest Loser, Dolvett has inspired countless contestants to push past their physical limits. Now, he brings his no-nonsense fitness approach to the masses with the release of two home workout DVDs, The Biggest Loser: 8 Minute Body Blaster and The Biggest Loser: 6 Week Cardio Crush, which will hit store shelves Dec. 3. Below, Dolvett dishes about his new diet plan, discusses the key qualities he looks for in Biggest Loser contestants, and reveals his favorite Thanksgiving indulgence.
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Favorite holiday indulgence: “I have a sweet tooth, but I’ve learned how to not put as much sugar in my body,” Dolvett says. “One of my signature dishes is my mother’s sweet potato casserole. Instead of sweetening it with brown sugar, I’ll use Truvia, orange juice. I try to make it as healthy of a sweet potato casserole as possible.”
Favorite motivational saying: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
Biggest Inspiration: “I’m inspired by successful people. I love watching how a man treats his woman, how he conducts his business, how kind he is to strangers. I strive to be more like that every single day.”
Favorite Workout: A mix of high-intensity cardio and strength training. “I’m in and out of the gym very quickly, but I’m going back and forth between weights and cardio on the treadmill. It confuses my body and it leans me down and sculpts me to a T.”
Spry Living: On the first page of your weight loss book, you state that the 3-1-2-1 Diet is the “best, simplest diet out there.” Why is this?
Dolvett Quince: I think it’s because I cheated a little bit—I really shouldn’t use the word “diet.” It’s more of a lifestyle book. It’s a way of living book. Oftentimes a diet book suggests some form of deprivation. The Atkins diet, the South Beach diet—those types of diets advocate that you eat a certain way, but people aren’t accustomed to that strict lifestyle. My experience has been that if I allow people the opportunity to cheat occasionally but eat cleanly the rest of the time, their bodies actually react in a positive way. This, to me, is very much where we are today as a society. Saying to people, “Guess what? If you eat clean, you can cheat every once in awhile.”
SL: What is the structure of the 3-1-2-1 Diet?
DQ: The structure is this: for three days, you eat cleanly. Plenty of vegetables, a little protein. And during that time period, you’re working out for three days straight. On the 4th day, which represents the “1”, you get to have a cheat meal. Then the next 2 days, you go back to eat cleanly. Lastly, on the seventh day, it’s another cheat meal. So the whole idea of the diet is that you’re tricking your body to work to your advantage.
SL: In your book, you reflect on your impoverished upbringing and broken family life. How did you discover your passion for fitness, and did fitness help you rise out of your circumstances?
DQ: I don’t know if I discovered my passion for fitness as much as I discovered my passion to help people. I think because of all the things I went through in my life, I was able to adopt a voice early on. I thought that if I could empower people to have that voice, that it would empower me, in turn. So I guess I would say that fitness found me, but I’ve always pursued an area of my life where I wanted to help people.
SL: Tell me about how you got approached to be on The Biggest Loser—I understand that you were given a second shot at scoring your dreams.
DQ: I had a very popular gym down in Atlanta, Georgia, where I trained celebrities and clients. Then NBC called me one day and asked me to come to California and audition for The Biggest Loser on the ranch. It was a magical moment for me because the first time I auditioned, the first time they called me, I didn’t get the gig. They gave it to two other trainers. But the second time NBC called, they said, “We made a mistake. Would you mind coming back out and auditioning again?” So, you know, just being in that position was pretty awesome.
SL: For many people, finding the motivation to stick to their workouts is the hardest part of a fitness program. How do you new DVDs—8-Minute Body Blasters and 6-Week Cardio Crush—provide that extra motivation that people need?
DQ: I think people aren’t motivated to exercise because they see it as interfering with their time when they have other, more important things to do. With the 8-minute workout, however, we created a program where you can get a complete workout in 8 minutes. You can do anything for an 8-minute segment. But we also have 2 or 3 different 8-minute segments so you can mix and match if you want a longer workout. That’s the whole key: Make it fun, keep it interesting and maximize your time. If it’s fun, you’ll want to keep doing it again and again.
SL: This is your fourth season participating on The Biggest Loser. This season, they mixed things up and introduced the “trainer’s save,” allowing each trainer to save one eliminated contestant from going home. What do you think about this new rule—do you like it, or do you feel like it puts a lot of pressure on you?
DQ: I like it and hate it at the same time. Yeah, it puts pressure on me, because obviously when the first person on your team is sent home, you want to save them…but on the other hand, you also want to wait and keep your trump card, so to speak, in your pocket because you see that there are other people who will give you more, who truly deserve it. It’s a bittersweet kind of a thing. I’m glad we’re using [the trainer’s save] now…I think it’s an amazing tool to have, and I’m definitely going to take advantage of it.
SL: On your time with the show, you’ve seen a lot of people who have enjoyed weight loss success, but you’ve also seen others who’ve failed. What would you say are some of the key qualities that are needed for long lasting weight loss success?
DQ: I think a big part of it is being educated on what to swap out when you’re eating. Listen, the key is in the kitchen. If you know the difference between eating spinach versus eating iceberg lettuce, you’ll probably eat more spinach, because you recognize the nutritional level is higher. If you realize that having smaller portions will benefit you, you’re probably going to do that. More importantly, it’s about setting a plan to move. Oftentimes people get so consumed with what they’re doing that they neglect to do something for themselves. One of the best things you can do for yourself is move and exercise. So set a timetable to move, and you’ll always be fit.