The Biggest Loser is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the fitness industry today.
On the surface, it appears to be a show that helps people lose weight. But in reality, The Biggest Loser exploits obese people for profit.
You might be surprised that I feel this way.
If you’ve been reading my blog you would assume that I love the idea of seeing people transform their lives for the better — because I do!
This brings me back to a conversation I was having a couple of years ago with my friend, Ramsey, and my girlfriend. They were talking about how much they enjoyed the show and were surprised when I said I didn’t like it and thought it was a sham.
They know I don’t watch TV much and especially not reality TV, but they were surprised I wouldn’t be supportive of a show that helps people lose weight.
I felt, and still feel, that the show is designed solely for drama (ratings) and promoting the celebrity trainers and their fitness products.
It turns out, I was right. I recently found these enlightening articles featuring former contestants speaking out against the show. Take a look for yourself:
- The brutal secrets behind ‘The Biggest Loser’
- ‘We’re all fat again’: More ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants reveal secrets
In summary, most of the contestants have gained all of their weight back and more. They were forced to work through injuries, use drastic starvation and water-cutting techniques to make weight, and exercise for at least 4 hours per day.
Following and during the show, many contestants suffered serious health repercussions, such as:
- Urinating blood (likely from kidney damage or failure)
- Hair loss
- Inability to sleep more than 3 hours a night
- Thyroid problems
- Short-term memory loss
Weight loss is inevitably uncomfortable, sure, but when done in a responsible manner it actually improves your health. There is nothing healthy about what The Biggest Loser contestants are put through.
Fitness Scams Are Unsustainable Long-Term
There are several reasons that fitness scams are designed to not be sustainable over long periods of time.
- Massive output in a short time frame creates a dramatic change, which is inspiring and easy to market.
- Selling a long-term fitness plan is difficult. Why would someone buy a long-term plan, when they can get results in a shorter amount of time?
- The body adapts quickly and extreme weight loss methods become ineffective in a short amount of time. Just in time, however, to sell you a new program or diet.
99% of fitness and diet products use the same formula for one good reason — it works.
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The average person can’t maintain the workload prescribed in The Biggest Loser without risking injury and dedicating their life to fitness as a full-time endeavor.
Even if you did decide to take their approach, there’s still the problem of adaptation.
That’s why progressive overload is the key driver to success with building muscle. You are constantly forcing your body to adapt to a new challenge. Whether that means lifting more weight, performing more reps, or increasing the time under tension with slower reps.
The same principle applies to caloric intake and cardio output for losing fat.
If you go from 300 lbs to 200 lbs by eating 1,000 calories and working out 5-7 hours per day, your body will eventually adapt or breakdown. Either way, you’re fucked.
Where do you go from there?
You can only starve yourself so much and there are only so many hours in the day to workout.
Fitness Scams Hide Their Dirty Secrets
The Biggest Loser would like you to believe contestants lose weight with diet and exercise, but that’s only part of what’s going on.
One contestant noted they would spend up to 6 hours a day in the sauna, wrapped in trash bags. This is a common technique that amateur wrestlers and professional fighters use to make weight before a bout, but even they don’t take it to the extreme of losing 30 lbs in a week.
The numbers might be going down on the scale, but it’s not just fat being lost. It’s muscle tissue and a lot of water.
They were also told to eat food that was filling, but offered no nutritional value such as Jell-O to keep them well under 1,000 calories for the day without completely losing their minds.
This is similar to how fitness gurus sell their bullshit “natural supplements” on the premise that these products have attributed to their chiseled physique. Meanwhile, they’re sticking more needles in their ass than a pin cushion and popping stimulants like their Skittles.
Dramatic transformations make for great television, but they aren’t realistic.
Fortunately, it’s not necessary to do anything extreme to lose weight.
- Learn how to track your macros (counting calories)
- Gain an understanding of how to make and break habits
- Be sure to drink plenty of water
- Allow yourself to have a few cheat meals
- Prevent injuries with foam rolling and stretching (yoga)
- Recover from workouts with epsom salt baths and deep tissue massage
- Always keep things in perspective
- Get the right mindset
- Keep making progress
The most important thing is to be consistent. A bad workout is better than no workout.
Your body won’t continue to burn fat without your help.
Until next time,
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What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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