We’ve been refining the judging process for the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge since 2012 and over 34 challenges.
Some people have been asking how the process works, so here’s a behind-the-scenes look:
Step 1: Photo Approval Process
We have a dedicated team member who is responsible for managing all of the “Before” and “After” photo approvals.
As the after photos get emailed in and she approves them, our team member downloads all submissions.
Once photo submissions are closed, she started sorting through them.
Step 2: Sorting and Elimination
This is a process of elimination where she is looking for people who AREN’T “transformation candidates” first.
These are essentially people who are still quite overweight (perhaps candidates for the % weight loss category instead) and not lean enough to be in the running for the transformation category.
These people get extracted into a separate folder for us to verify before/after weights via their scale photos for the % weight loss category later.
So we are now left with those who are lean enough to be transformation candidates.
Step 3: Refinement
She continues the refinement process by extracting those who have no or extremely little visible difference between their before and after photos.
Those people are also eliminated and extracted into a separate folder for us to review again later to double-check.
Step 4: The Top 200
This leaves us with roughly 200 of the top transformation candidates who are lean enough in their after photos and have made significant visible progress between their before and after photos.
Elan and Eric then join here to review the top transformation candidates and together we start narrowing it down to 10-15 men and 10-15 women.
This top-of-the-top will get sent to our independent judging panel.
This process takes us many hours because we’re extremely thorough and often go back and forth a lot to make sure we truly have the top candidates.
Step 5: Double-Check
Before we send the top results to our judges, we go back and double-check ALL previously eliminated photos.
Now that we know what the top candidates look like, we have a reference point to work with to make sure that no other previously eliminated candidate was overlooked.
Step 6: Formatting
Next, Eric spends about 3 full days cropping and resizing the 60-90 front/back/side photos of the top 10-15 candidates for men and women.
He carefully puts their before and after photos side-by-side, resizing them to make sure that they are close to the same size as possible.
Challengers take photos from all different angles and submit them to us in different shapes and forms. Eric does his absolute best to put all candidates on the same level and make all of their side-by-side photos look equal to one another.
For example, someone might (accidentally or intentionally) submit their photos where their after photo looks slightly smaller than their before photo which can give them the appearance of being leaner and smaller. It gets resized to be the exact same size as the before photo.
Or sometimes the photos are just put off center where one is shown higher than the other, this can be disorientating and misleading so it is centered to make sure the judges are presented with easy-to-judge photos.
Step 7: Judging Time!
After that, it’s up to our independent panel of 5 judges to vote on the top 5 placings for men and women.
We send them two presentation files, one for men’s results and one for women’s results where the candidates are listed alphabetically.
We give them the front, side, and back photos of each candidate as well as their starting weight and ending weight for reference.
The judges then individually vote for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place and send their votes back to us.
We tally up the votes to determine the transformation WINNERS!
Step 8: What About Weight Loss?
When it comes to % weight loss, everyone is automatically included in that category.
We take the before/after weights that get submitted to us via the Before Measurements form and sort them to find the highest % weight loss.
We then go check their scale photos to make sure that their scale accurately reflects the weight that they submitted in the form and that it’s legit (sometimes people make typos, etc).
Once we get the results back from the judges, we cross-check Transformation winners with % Weight Loss winners. If someone happens to fall in both categories (which is fairly rare, maybe 1-3 people per challenge), we assign them to the category that they got the highest placing in.
We also look for Buddy / Couple winners too. These are the challengers who placed the highest collectively as a couple or a pair of buddies.
We’ve been refining this process for over 10 years and 30+ challenges.
With our dedicated photo approval team member checking, then Elan and Eric getting involved, doing one last double-check again, and finally the judges having a final say has always resulted in a fair placing.
We’d like to stress that the quality of photos is really important here for judging.
Judging only happens based on the photos sent in. We don’t see behind the scenes, we don’t see any other photos in different lighting or different angles. It’s 3 sets of photos and we have to make a decision.
Between our whole team, there are thousands of photos to work through. So if someone’s photos are blurry, or dark, or with a weird/flexed posture, or they’ve got a busy background, or they’ve dramatically changed their clothes between before and after, all of that likely counts against them in some way.
Always do your best to make your photos as easy to judge as possible by following the instructions in the vault.
And of course, all non-winner photos get deleted once the winners are announced and no issues are picked up. We keep winner photos in an archive for marketing purposes.
That’s it! I hope you found this interesting 🙂