Tuesday, February 5, 2013

246.6 - My problem with "The Biggest Loser"

'cause whether it works, or it doesn't
you're still a loser, right!?
In the course of my life, and for the sake of this blog I have experimented with and exposed myself to a variety of exercise and diet programs.Nothing I did was ever easy, no technique was ever immediate, and in some extreme cases I saw remarkable progress, but those were usually gained using the most unsustainable methods. When I watch the Biggest Loser, and I see people being bullied (call it motivation all you want, but being yelled at by some muscle bound 'expert' doesn't inspire me) punished with food penalties and held to unreasonable standards of weight loss, I worry about the message that sends. If the goal of the show is to inspire people to take on their own fitness routines, based on what they see, then shouldn't they see best practices for fitness?

I get it, showing people living their lives, making modest changes to their routines, and seeing small, but incremental changes in their weight, all in a supportive and healthy environment is boring! I wouldn't watch it, and I wouldn't expect anyone else to enjoy it. Still, watching contestants struggle through berating workouts. Watching people cry and be disappointed with what are reasonable changes for average weight loss, because of the specifically high expectations in the challenge. I can't seem to find any model for how these actions could be applied to a normal healthy lifestyle.

I formed this opinion some time ago, and it's been supported by every piece of footage I've ever seen, but I can't say I've really seen it all. So perhaps I'm wrong, and someone gleaned something positive from this show that motivated them to get going. I would appreciate any such rebuttal in the comments.


  1. Couldn't agree more, slow and steady also helps avoid injury. These people never seem to get injured but if you're unfit and overweight surely it must be an ever present danger. In the real world most people pull muscles, sprain ankles and worse. I wonder what they are not telling us.

    1. I'm sure the one trainer per candidate and the several hours of video monitoring helps, but since people injure themselves trying to match the Olympics, I think it's reasonable to set achievable expectations if your goal is really to help people adopt healthy lifestyles.

    2. Definitely support your opinion here. Although I do not regularly watch "The Biggest Loser", I don't feel that what the trainers are doing is realistic. I read an article once that interviewed one of the trainers (can't remember which one) and he/she said that what the cameras do not show is the pain and recovery that these contestants go through.

    3. Right! I want people to see the full model. Get a realistic view, and take the necessary steps to better themselves.

      Nice blog btw!