Jodi Theriault says she’s the kind of person who doesn’t know when to stop.

Or even if she should.

That’s why Theriault, a fitness trainer and mother of three from Gray, finds herself this week on a reality TV show where her physical and mental toughness will be put to the test. Again.

Theriault will be on the premiere episode, Thursday at 10 p.m., of a new History network reality series called “The Selection: Special Operations Experiment.” Some 30 men and women with no military experience will be seen each week going through the same physical and mental challenges faced by recruits to elite military groups like the Navy SEALs or Army Rangers.

In February, Theriault was on a CMT reality show called “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge.” She lasted one episode and was off the show after losing a brawl that involved seven other women. She also ran in 100-degree heat with a 45-pound log on her back.

So why would the 36-year-old want to go on another show that promises to punish her body and mind? Well first of all, she’s in demand. Producers of other physical challenge shows saw the 5’2″, 130-pound body builder on the CMT show and have been emailing her with other opportunities.


She liked “The Selection” because it’s more about mental toughness and finding a person’s breaking point. The idea of mental toughness and conquering her fears intrigued Theriault. She’s been hit by a car, runs marathons and can fight with people a lot bigger than her. But she’s always been afraid of the water.

So while filming “The Selection” last summer in California she was faced with a dilemma: jump in the water and swim as part of the training, or quit and go home.

“My whole life I’ve been scared of the water. I always put on a life jacket. But filming that show I learned a lot about myself,” Theriault said. “You realize, going through something like this, that your mind can stop you from doing a lot of things.”

Theriault is no stranger to putting her mind to something. In 2014 she was training for the Boston Marathon, running along Route 302 in Naples, when she was hit by a car. She flew onto the hood and found out later she had sciatic nerve damage and couldn’t run for three months. After physical therapy and treatment by a chiropractor, she started running again. She often runs with her oldest child, 10-year-old Kaine Karp.

To get on “The Selection” Theriault had to go through a long process of mental screening. She had to take a lie detector test and be evaluated by a psychologist. The show’s screeners wanted to find out if she could handle being left alone in the dark for hours, or if she would freak out being blindfolded.

“You think you can handle those things, but it’s different when you’ve gone 30 hours without sleep, and you’re hungry, and you have no communication with your family,” Theriault said. “The whole point is to find people’s breaking points. Some people quit before their breaking point, and they had regrets. Others hit that breaking point and in their minds, they’ve won.”


During the filming, instructors with military experience even used tear gas to test the toughness of the contestants.

Theriault can’t say how she did on the show, and publicists for the show wouldn’t say how many episodes she’s on. The show is scheduled to last for eight episodes. It’s not a competition and there are no prizes. The focus is on watching the participants get closer and closer to their breaking point.

Theriault said that during filming she had to learn to dig a hole in the dirt and sleep in it. That, she said, has broken her of her worrying about her kids tracking dirt into the house.

“It’s changed the way I am as a parent,” she said. “It doesn’t matter to me what they track in the house. I tell them, ‘Go roll around in the sand if you want.'”

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