‘The Biggest Loser’ Features Cardio Tennis

October 6, 2010

Professional tennis player and glamour sensation Anna Kournikova surprised the 15 contestants on the hit TV show “The Biggest Loser,” then put them through a rigorous Cardio Tennis workout as a key part of the show’s weight-loss and fitness program. The episode aired on NBC on Tuesday. See video recap at

“Tennis is something that your whole body gets a huge workout,” Kournikova told the contestants. “We’re going to be doing Cardio Tennis. This is not about becoming great, amazing tennis players. It’s about getting a great workout, about burning tons of calories—about high, high energy.”

Kournikova led the 15 contestants through a fat-burning Cardio Tennis workout, encouraging them to keep moving and keep their heart rate up. Cardio Tennis is a fun, healthy group activity featuring drills and play-based games to give players of all abilities an ultimate high-energy workout that burns calories. “Tennis overall is a lot of cardio; your heart rate has to be up,” Kournikova said before starting the Cardio Tennis workout. “The key is to move, move, move, have fun and have a great attitude about it.”

“You’re not only here to lose weight and get healthy, you’re here to learn as much as you can so you can take it home, and pay it forward to the millions of Americans who can learn from you,” the show’s host, Alison Sweeney, said as she introduced Kournikova. “Not everybody loves going to the gym. Tennis players are some of the most fit athletes in the world. I want you to take some lessons from an amazing tennis pro.”

“Man, she looks good,” said 31-year-old contestant Mark when Kournikova walked out to the courts. “Just like the poster I had in my room in high school. She looks as good in person, if not more beautiful.”

“This is awesome,” said 32-year-old contestant Brendan. “We’re getting exercise but it’s more fun than just being on the treadmill or walking around. It’s awesome.”

Kournikova had suggested Cardio Tennis to the show’s producers in May, in conjunction with her scheduled appearance on “The Biggest Loser.” She had been familiar with the popular Cardio Tennis program ( and thought it would be a perfect tool for contestants to use to get in shape. For Tuesday’s episode, filmed at the Edmund D. Edelman Tennis and Swim Center in Calabasas, Calif., the 15 contestants were divided onto two tennis courts, alternately working with Kournikova and Cardio Tennis National Program Manager Michele Krause and trainers Chris Ojakian and David Schwartz.

“I thought it went fabulous,” Kournikova said afterward. “I really hope I inspired all of the contestants. They inspired me.”

Taught by tennis teaching professionals, Cardio Tennis includes a warm-up, a cardio workout, and cool-down phases. Participants consistently keep their heart rate in their aerobic heart-rate zone, allowing them to burn the maximum amount of calories. Most of the contestants on “The Biggest Loser” had limited tennis-playing experience, but one of the features of Cardio Tennis is that it is designed for players of all levels, from beginners to advanced.

Cardio Tennis was developed in 2005 by the Tennis Industry Association in conjunction with the U.S. Tennis Association as a fun and healthy exercise to get in shape and lose weight. It is a high-energy fitness activity that combines the best features of the sport of tennis with cardiovascular exercise, delivering the ultimate, full-body, calorie-burning aerobic workout. There are now more than 1,700 Cardio Tennis sites in the U.S. To find out more about Cardio Tennis, including where to find a program near you, visit