She shredded 121 pounds and 46.9 percent of her body weight in front of millions.
Today, Danni Allen is managing partner of One 2 One Yoga & Fitness in Evanston, sinking some of her $250,000 prize money from winning Season 14 of "The Biggest Loser" into continuing her healthy lifestyle.
"I have had the best time discovering all the possibilities," said the 27-year-old winner of the NBC reality show. "My life can best be described by Willy Wonka. Before the show, my life was like a regular elevator: It only went up and down. Since winning 'The Biggest Loser,' it's like the Wonkavator: It goes sideways and slantways and longways and backways and frontways and squareways."
Allen has run a number of races, including the Chicago Marathon last fall, and officially became a certified yoga instructor before opening her own yoga studio in February.
"To me, yoga is the everything fitness tool," she said. "You can sweat and get a killer workout, or you can relax and unwind. Most importantly, it teaches you how mental strength is more important than physical strength."
Are you currently training for a 5K? 10K? Half-marathon or marathon? We asked "The Biggest Loser" champion some questions about training, nutrition and more.
Why is fitness so important to you overall?
To me, fitness is more than a jean size, it's a lifestyle. It has allowed me to be active in so many ways. If I want to join a race this weekend, I can. If I want to go on a family bike ride, I can. I can, I can, I can! I have the energy and ambition to try so many things and to bring other people along the way. Not only did I lose 121 pounds, I gained at least 20 more years.
What's your favorite post-workout snack or meal?
I am a Larabar girl. I love to have their Uber bars on me at all times, but if I need a solid meal, nothing beats a nice, juicy steak.
What is your favorite workout move/regimen?
It's hard to pick just one workout regimen; I believe in mixing it up! I get bored easy, which is why my training is all over the map. That's why I fell in love with yoga. It's never the same! Running has also become a new passion of mine. If the pre-"Biggest Loser" me could see me now, I think she would be shocked. I used to hate running, and now I have a new race practically every month.
Is there any one junk food that is still such a tough temptation for you? How do you fight cravings?
Yes! Peanut butter M&Ms! The best way is to not have them around, and I will have a celery stalk with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips on it as a much healthier substitute.
What's the best piece of fitness advice you've gotten that's really stuck with you? And who said it?
"It's not about perfect. It's about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that's where transformation happens. That's how change occurs." —Jillian Michaels
>>We also asked Allen to answer a few questions submitted anonymously from RedEye readers:
"I want to run a 5K, but I hate running. My feet hurt and I get bored. What do I do to change that?"
Find a running buddy! Having someone to run with always helps and keeps you accountable. Get sized for gym shoes by a running store. Please don't go to any of your big-box stores and don't be afraid to change your shoes around until you find the right pair."
"What should I eat while training for a race? What works for you?"
This is different for each person. Try different things and see what your body tells you. I'm a protein girl! I usually up my lean meat intake if I have a big race coming up and increase whole grains in the mornings. If I am running more than 45 minutes, I will keep energy chews on me to keep calories going, and anything more than two hours, I will eat half of a Larabar. It took me time to find my magic formula; pay attention to your body. Always eat the same way you trained on race day.
"If I'm used to running 3-6 miles at a time but want to run a full marathon later this year, how do I get started? Just running longer distances as the weeks go on?"
No, you need a plan. When I ran my first marathon, I used an 18-week training plan and stuck to it! You can look up several plans online or ask an acquaintance who has run one in the past. You should definitely talk to people who have run them before; they will let you know all the ins and outs.
"Any recommendations on fun running paths or scenic routes in Chicago?"
There's nothing like running around Wrigleyville and the lakeshore. If you want something a little quieter, the Half Day Forest Preserve in Vernon Hills has multiple running paths and is beautiful.
>>Yoga with Danni
For more information about Danni Allen's yoga studio, One 2 One Yoga & Fitness, visit one2onelifestyle.com. "Our mantra is, 'It's not what it looks like, it's what it feels like,' teaching people to tune into their own bodies," Allen said. "One 2 One has become my home, where I can show people, if I can do it, anyone can."