The Amazing Race has always been known for its physical challenges, but the teams faced one of the most physical ones yet last Friday in Bali, Indonesia, when a Road Block had teams cultivating their own sea salt.
Unfortunately for fan favourites Zach and Rachel King, the newlyweds assumed the challenge was some sort of cooking one based on the clue and sent poor Rachel out there to undergo the task alongside all the guys.
In the end it came down to a close boat race, but the Kings were forced to “walk the plank” when they became the next team eliminated.
We sat down with the L.A. couple to pick their brains on the trick to a healthy relationship, find out how their adoption process is going and learn what host Phil Keoghan is really like.
How many times have you kicked yourselves over that Road Block?
Rachel: It’s a tough one. We wished that Zach had done it, but we couldn’t see what it was when we made the decision. It was one of those unlucky calls.
Zach: It’s unfortunate. It happens, that’s kind of the luck of the Race.
Rachel, you still stuck it out and were the only female to do that challenge; that must have felt good too, right?
Rachel: Yeah, after I finished it there was definitely a sense of pride considering how hard it was. Even though it took me longer I didn’t stop and I didn’t break down—although I wanted to. So it felt good to just have that under my belt and know that I did it no matter what the outcome was.
Looking back, what do you think you underestimated about The Race?
Rachel: The physical endurance aspect. We knew there’d be strength challenges here and there, and we knew there would be puzzle challenges, but the endurance aspect physically of just running from challenge to challenge and then doing a physical challenge and then waking up the next day and doing the same thing… that was really hard on our bodies.
Zach: Yeah we started training a few days a week but we had no idea… the second leg of The Race we ran like a half-marathon with a backpack on each. It was gruelling. At that point we were like, ‘What did we sign up for?’ It’s not just physical but mental as well. If I were to redo it, I would have been on a stricter training schedule. I think mentally we were there.
Some of the other couples got a bit snippy with each other but you guys seemed pretty in control — what’s your secret?
Zach: That came down to going into it with a really good relationship. Even though we’re newlyweds — it sounds cheesy — we are a great match for each other. Even before this, how we solve problems and stuff. We don’t usually yell at each other or have those loud fights. We’ll be frustrated with each other but we’ll figure out what the problem is and figure out a way to address it. That skill helped us naturally on The Race.
Rachel: We were intentional about how we dealt with each other going into it. We knew that the more we had conflict and kind of bit each other’s heads off the less successful we’d be. We tried to respect each other and have that be one of our tools on The Race.
Zach: We also knew we were being filmed and this would go out to a large audience, so we were not holding back on ourselves like how we’d normally be, but censoring a little bit because the camera was there.
Is there anything you learned about each other in doing this?
Zach: Rachel needs words of affirmation, and the specific kind of encouragement, not just like, ‘Hurry up, babe,’ or, ‘You got this.’ But letting her focus during the challenge and then afterwards giving her that affirmation. I noticed she really responded to that.
Rachel: I kind of already knew Zach was a go-getter and a competitor before The Race, but I sometimes have a tendency to want to stop and be overwhelmed, break down or whatever. The more that I forced myself to kind of stick with him and just push through it kind of encouraged him even more to be supportive of me and to help us work as a team more. We just learned how to work together in stressful situations in a way that some married couples don’t face for years. We faced them right away and that’s helped us in our marriage a lot.
What’s Phil Keoghan like in real life?
Zach: Phil was awesome to hang out with. We had a little bit of time on the mat each time with him off-camera and it was good. He’s just a cool guy and genuinely loves travelling around the world. He has so many stories — hearing some of the ones he’d never share on TV was really cool.
Rachel: I’d agree, he’s awesome to hang out with and very down to earth.
Zach: It goes to show … I loved being around the production. Going into it, it’s a reality TV show and you hear horror stories. Phil and the rest of the cast genuinely love that show and are passionate about that show in particular. So it’s cool to be around people like that as we were running.
What’s next for you guys?
Zach: I don’t think we’d do any other reality shows, but one thing we had talked about at the end of The Race was starting a family and doing adoption. We started the application process for becoming foster parents here in L.A. just because there are so many kids that don’t have a bed to sleep in in a safe home. So we’re going to be just turning our house into a foster home for the next couple of years.
Rachel: Social media-wise Zach’s business is growing so that’s been a cool thing that we’ve been pursuing and he’s pursuing so we’re excited to see where that goes as well. It’s been keeping us pretty busy. I don’t know if we’ll have another reality show in the works, but there’s a lot going on.
Zach: Maybe a reality show called Keeping up with the Kings.