The Insider: Knox fitness trainer adds muscle to MTV series

Chris O'Hearn is a life coach who helped a Seymour teenager on the MTV show 'I Used To Be Fat,' which is from the same people who brought us 'The Biggest Loser.'

Chris O'Hearn is a life coach who helped a Seymour teenager on the MTV show "I Used To Be Fat," which is from the same people who brought us 'The Biggest Loser.'

Chris O'Hearn is a life coach who helped a Seymour teenager on the MTV show 'I Used To Be Fat,' which is from the same people who brought us 'The Biggest Loser.'

Chris O'Hearn is a life coach who helped a Seymour teenager on the MTV show "I Used To Be Fat," which is from the same people who brought us 'The Biggest Loser.'

Knoxville fitness trainer Chris O'Hearn wanted a challenge, and he got one with MTV's teen makeover show "I Used To Be Fat."

"'I looked at it as a good way to challenge myself," says the 31-year-old Knoxville Catholic High School graduate who took on the one-episode job of helping a 17-year-old Seymour girl get into shape before she entered college. "That's what I stayed focused on."

"I Used To Be Fat," which airs 10 p.m. Wednesdays, pairs a trainer with a recent high school graduate during the summer before the student enters college. The idea is to give the student a fresh start after high school.

O'Hearn was the trainer to Holly (whose last name has been withheld by MTV). O'Hearn responded to an e-mail from a casting agent who was seeking a local trainer to help her.

O'Hearn and Holly trained during the past summer. The episode has yet to air, and MTV had no air date to announce.

Filming took place over two months in Knoxville.

Most of the teens are trying to lose between 50 and 100 pounds. O'Hearn says Holly was "on the lower end of that scale," though he would not talk about specifics.

Being on a makeover show, of course, meant built-in drama.

"The most difficult part for me was how I specifically do my training," O'Hearn says. "I am a life coach as well, and I believe in working with the spirit and the mind before the body. The hardest part of that was to help someone see something in a different light."

With Holly, "there was a resistance," he says. "With any change (and in a) new program, there's usually going to be some resistance.

"Because of our habits, our brain wants to stick with what we are comfortable with. That was mostly the resistance I was seeing with her."

For O'Hearn, "it's never about just weight loss," he says. "If you're looking at a scale, you're always going to be chasing the weight, and you're never going to be happy. I can't (define) my happiness (by) what somebody else does.

"It's about someone reaching for their best. I saw a lot of changes with Holly."

The two have not been in contact much since filming ended.

Dress up

Bearden native Dale Dickey isn't usually the type to dress fancy. But now that she's in the thick of the Hollywood awards season for "Winter's Bone," she has to start thinking about those kinds of things right away.

She may be wearing a Hugo Boss design when she attends the Independent Spirit Awards later this month in New York City.

"They want to put me in something fun and new," she says.

Dickey will be comfortable in it since the Spirit Awards are more casual than, say, the Academy Awards.

"I like to get dressed up," she says, "but I am more the dressy cocktail-affair type."

Dickey has been nominated in the best supporting actress category at the Spirit Awards for her role as a hardened Ozark woman in "Winter's Bone." The film is up for best picture and best actress at the ceremony, too.

Coming distractions.

Dolly Parton's new flick 'Joyful Noise' is not ready to hit theaters yet, but you can catch her — or at least hear her — in the animated comedy 'Gnomeo & Juliet,' in theaters Feb. 11.

The Sevier County native voices a very busty Gnome (who'd have thought?) who helps start a lawn mower race. The character also reappears in a dance number at the end.

Parton is currently shooting 'Joyful Noise' in Atlanta with Queen Latifah. The film may be in theaters by early 2012.

Terry Morrow may be reached at morrowt@knoxville.com or 865-342-6445. His blog can be found at http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/telebuddy/.

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