Stan Turek had no idea that he wasn't starting The Amazing Race Australia at the same time as the other teams.
The Cobbitty resident arrived in Coober Pedy, South Australia, with his teammate Wayne Marino completely shocked to find out the race was already well under way.
The bodybuilder and local business owner said the production team were "good at keeping a secret".
"We had no idea at all until the day we arrived," Mr Turek said.
"We were blindfolded and driven somewhere - we thought we were the first team!
"We just tried to make a joke out of it - I know we're supposed to look intimidating and tough, but that's not me at all."
The bodybuilding duo will become the second team of 'stowaways' when they join the race on Sunday night's episode.
Mr Turek said he'd always been a fan of the show and "never thought in my wildest dreams" that he'd one day be completing challenges and racing to meet host Beau Ryan at the pit stop.
He said his biggest aim in joining the competition program was overcoming his fears.
"The biggest fear is fear itself," the Body Beyond owner said.
"I wanted to challenge myself and get past my fears. I'm not the biggest fan of heights or tight spaces, but I knew if the cameras were on me I have to get through."
Mr Turek said he'd been enjoying watching The Amazing Race at home, and especially getting to know the teams who were eliminated before he and Mr Marino joined the program.
"I'm relieved they all got lost and stuffed up," he joked.
"It wasn't just us."
Mr Turek said he learning opportunity for teamwork and cooperation, even outside of one's own team.
"I learnt a lot about the other teams, about being open to other people and connecting with them," he said.
"Everyone has fears of their own and we need to overcome them and help each other.
"You've got to be willing to help others while you're competing.
"It's also a great weight-loss opportunity - I lost eight kilos in my time on the show."
The 36-year-old said he was so impressed by the hard work that went on behind the scenes to bring the show to life in a pandemic.
He said it was amazing to race around Australia and he was grateful to Network Ten for securing the teams in a bubble to allow the race to proceed.
"It's unbelievable some of the things that we do in these challenges," he said.
"It feels like life and death sometimes."
Mr Turek hopes, at the very least, he and Mr Marino can help shine a more positive light on bodybuilding through their appearance.
"I hope people realise we're all equals and we're all in this together," he said.
"My goal was to shine a good light on bodybuilding - it can cop a bit of a flogging with the egotism and narcissism - so I hope people see it in a new light."
The Amazing Race Australia airs Sundays-Tuesdays at 7.30pm on Network Ten.