Vinny Hickerson's outlook has changed since being one of the four finalists on NBC's The Biggest Loser. In fact, after losing 200 pounds, the Trailer Choir singer says the show saved his life.
"I'm just rocking less of a beer gut," he told CMT.com, referring to "Rockin' the Beer Gut," the band's fun-loving country single. Referring to the song as "more of a mindset," he acknowledges, "It's definitely cool not to be carrying the beer truck around with me anymore."
Hickerson says the key to losing weight is to find the reason you want to lose it in the first place. During a visit to CMT to share his experiences on the show, he discussed his transformation to "Skinny Vinny" as well as future plans with Trailer Choir.
CMT: What has The Biggest Loser done for you, career-wise and personally?
Hickerson: My everyday walk has just changed the way I live, changed the way I look at people, changed the way I eat, changed the way I treat people. It used to be that every day was about me, and that's what I lived for, like how I can make my career better and how can I make things better for me. ... My driving force behind succeeding in anything I want to do is much stronger than before.
How do you motivate yourself to work out even when you don't feel like it?
For me personally, and it's going to be different for everybody, you have to find your reason why. You have to find your reason that you're going to do something. Once you find that thing that's going to motivate you to do it in the first place, all you have to do is think back to where you were when you started this. Why did you start this? Why are you doing it? Your reason is going to remind you to do it, even if you feel tired.
What didn't we see on The Biggest Loser?
When you watch the show, it looks very intense and looks very hardcore, and they work us out. But what you don't see is that's two hours out of a day, and we go eight hours. It's so much more intense and over the top than what you see.
You don't see how much the trainers care for you because you only see them in workout mode. They spend so much time with us, especially Dolvett [Quince]. He was there with us every single day and would come and hang out with us and talk with us and take us out to coffee every now and then. He treated us not as if we were something for the show. He treated us like we were friends, which we are, and we are friends to this day.
You don't see how much the show cares about you. The show doesn't look at you as a way to make money. They actually care about you. They talk about the next five years and keeping the weight off. It's not just about what you can do here to make us look good on TV. They don't care about that. They want to see you actually lose real weight and maintain the weight loss.
Is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans and supporters?
Number one thing is thank you. Every time I get a message from someone that says, "I'm proud of you" or "You helped me change" -- all that stuff keeps me going. It's fuel for me to continue being that role model. So just thank you to everyone sitting out there that decided to come to my Facebook page, click "like" and share their story with me or say how I helped them in any way.
What is going on with Trailer Choir now that it's just you and Butter?
Crystal [Hoyt] came to us a little over a year ago, and she just decided she wanted to go do her own thing. She wants to try out a solo career, and that was her biggest dream coming to Nashville. We miss her. She's a sweet girl, but we got another girl to come in and sing background [vocals]. We would never get back in the trio situation unless Fergie wants to come and be in the trio with us. Then we would. But we're just going to do it with me and Butter. That's how it all started anyways. We love Crystal, and she's phenomenal and a great singer and a great friend.
Do you have any other projects you're working on?
We're working on a bunch of stuff right now. We actually have our own record label now called Hollaville Records. One of the things that we like about it is that Trailer Choir is always going to have good times with that and put out songs. But we might put out Trailer Choir Presents Big Vinny. We might put out a couple songs that's just me and let people hear the songwriting side of me. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with the fact that I can play the guitar and sing, as well, and I'm not just a 400-pound break-dancer anymore.
Your fans love to see your dance moves onstage. Can you still do the worm?
I can still do the worm. I can still dance, and it's just not as big as it used to be. I love it. I'm just way more physically able to do more stuff now than I ever could.
View before and after photos of Big Vinny.