Robert Richardson II may have been the first The Biggest Loser contestant to go home, but his time on the competition series changed things permanently both for the other contestants and his life back at home. Ahead of Tuesday's all-new episode of the USA series' revival, Richardson opened up to PopCulture.com about his effort to be a leader both on campus and back at home.
Stepping up as a leader during the premiere episode of the revival series, Richardson points to his long history playing football and a natural inclination to push forward during difficult times as the reason for his protectiveness of the rest of his team.
"I've always been that kind of leader," he reflects. "I genuinely care about the people around me. I don't want anyone to fail."
Despite his 13-lb. weight loss in the first week through a combination of diet and exercise changes, Richardson was "shocked" to find himself going home first.
"I was still sitting there like, 'Huh? What's going on? I'm in jeopardy going home?" he remembers. "I was like, man what did I do that was so wrong the first week … to me it just shocked me."
Leaving his team behind was difficult, but back home, Richardson has continued his journey on his own, dropping another 15-20 lbs. since the update at the end of last week's episode, which had him down an additional 48 lbs. Part of that has been working out at Orange Theory, a group setting that energizes and inspires Richardson but in which he previously felt "embarrassed of [his] size."
"The Biggest Loser taught me to accept who I am, to love who I am, and to reawaken the confident person I am," he told PopCulture. "They thought me not be afraid of food, but to enjoy life. Not to let food handcuff you."
The rest of the season might be missing Richardson's warm presence, but he implored viewers to keep the tissues nearby as the end of the season reveals the whole cast's progress.
"Enjoy the entire season, because yes, it's heartbreaking I went home, but the impact I had there lasted the entire season," he said. "The end result of the season will floor you."
The Biggest Loser airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on USA Network.
Photo credit: Richie Knapp/USA Network