Biggest Loser, Good or Bad?
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Feb 14, 2012

Biggest Loser, Good or Bad?

I used to be religious about watching The Biggest Loser. Even though I would record it on the trusty DVR, I would still watch everything. The contrived product placements, the grunting and sweating, Bob and Jillian yelling out “last chance workout” while looking like angry parents. Even thought the show clocks in at a whopping two hours (and it could easily be 20 minutes long) I still watched the whole thing.

But now, for a variety of reasons, the bloom is off the rose. I can no longer bring myself to watch this show, and I think your own personal DVR needs to lose some much needed, Biggest Loser weight. Here’s why:

  • It’s not actually motivational – if you’re like me, you watch this show with a combination of morbid curiosity and incentive/hope that it will encourage you to actually work out and be healthier your own self. But does this ever really happen? Does anyone actually step into a gym to get their work out on because they just watched a 450-pound man lose 2.1 pounds last week and get sent home? Sadly, I don’t think so. Since the show is two hours, I get hungry watching and find myself eating lots of junk food. 
  • Trainer carousel – This show was at its best when Bob and Jillian were murdering their teams of portly people with death stares and yells. Jillian is now departed and we’ve had a pair of “mystery trainers” for three weeks, Anna Kournikova for one very brief season, and another random trainer this year that I don’t even want to get to know. When contestants have been on this show longer than the trainers (Daniel, Shea) that’s a bad thing. 
  • It’s actually unhealthy – there, I said it. And it’s not like I’m some huge fitness freak or anything, but I really think that the model of the show (work out and continue to lose weight every week while you compete for a $250,000 prize) does not lend itself to creating actual fitness. Do they create some incredible body transformations? Absolutely. But the way that they go about it is inherently unhealthy. Limiting large people to an 800-1200 calorie diet per day and then expecting them to burn 5-6,000 calories per day means that they’re going to be burning valuable fat AND muscle and also, not getting enough food to actually fuel their body. The fact that this show runs for 12 weeks and the expectation is that they need to lose at least 100+ pounds to be successful simply means they don’t have the time to lose weight in a completely healthy manner. 
  • Unrealistic cardio – To achieve their daily “burn” these poor people are sometimes working out 6-8 hours. A day. This is all fine and dandy while they’re on the show and they have literally nowhere else to go, but what are they supposed to do when they’re released back into the cruel, unforgiving real world? Quit their jobs so that they can work out? And what are the rest of us supposed to do if we’re trying to attain their “healthy” lifestyle? Work out for a living and eat postage stamps for lunch because that will be all I can afford? Maybe if Jillian shows up to explain the fiber content for me.
  • It doesn’t really work - According to Season 1 contestant Ryan, the outward effects of the show only lasted for a month. And after finishing the season at 208 pounds, he now weighs 300. These are people that have struggled with weight for most of their lives and if they’re not able to focus on it at an exclusive ranch, they’re most likely not going to keep it off. Erik Chopin went from 407 pounds to 193. But a few months after being on the show, Erik was back up to 368. Bob Harper told him that he understood how hard it was to keep the weight off, however "You know how to take it off and you know how to put it on, what you don't know is how to live your everyday life," Exactly, Bob. Learning how to live their everyday life should be what this show is about. Instead we get circus freak transformations that are fun to look at, but simply aren’t realistic enough.

What are your thoughts about the show? I would love to hear your point of view.

Author Bio: Tyler watches a lot of TV and when he is not watching it he is blogging about it. He is a writer and marketer for you can follow more of his posts @TylerBMoore