The Biggest Loser – A Personal Trainer’s Perspective

The Biggest Loser – A Personal Trainer’s Perspective

Every March, Australia becomes glued to the television to tune in to the Biggest Loser, and while we ride every bump with the contestants along the way, we don’t necessarily get a good look at what happens once the competitors have gone home and don’t have the intense household training regime to live by. VFA Learning’s Alana Coleman thinks that while the show can be a good way to get people enthusiastic about making big changes in their lives, it’s also a good opportunity for personal trainers to step in and make sure contestants don’t fall into bad habits. We caught up with Alana for a Q&A to discuss the realities of the reality show. What are some positives of a show like ‘The Biggest Loser?’ The fact that millions of people tune in and watch The Biggest Loser every week night is a positive in itself as it creates awareness on healthy eating, regular exercise and the difficulties that individual’s experience on their weight loss journey. For many, it also does a play a role on motivating them to get out and exercise and make better eating choices based on what they see the contestants doing in the Biggest Loser House. It creates exposure for Personal trainers, which are now more accessible and affordable the everyday person and not exclusively for the rich and famous. The more we spread the message and portray the importance of being fit and healthy and get rid of the stereotypes in the media the better it is for everybody. What are the negatives? Whilst it is fantastic that the contestants on the show drop enormous amounts of weight rapidly, it is completely unrealistic for the general public to obtain these kinds of results in that timeframe. A number of the exercises that you see on the show are reckless and dangerous for the clientele they are training. None of your textbooks will tell you that it’s a great idea to give obese individuals burpees, squat jumps and various other high impact activities. These all increase the risk of injury and if you think about the excessive amount of weight these people are carrying, it exacerbates the chances further. If people try these exercises at home without supervision from a trainer, it becomes particularly hazardous. It also gives people a false impression that, at home, they can achieve the enormous weekly weight loss figures that those in the house obtain. This can have a negative impact on these individuals and could result in them giving up. What’s the likelihood of weight gain once they leave such a strenuous household? Everyone knows that it is much easier to resist temptation when it is not right in front of you and external influences are eliminated, as is the case when the contestants are in the Biggest Loser house. Making it highly likely that a lot of the contestants would put on some or all of their weight lost on the show. For example, past contestant Artie Rocke went from 160 to 98 kilograms on the show but quickly put on nearly all the weight he’d lost. There are many other examples that I found to support this claim. It is very easy for this weight gain to occur when you think that there is now chocolate in the cupboard, beer in the fridge, work to go to, family to attend and life to live. Making healthy eating choices and including exercise and physical activity in and around these daily occurrences can pose a challenge at times, and the contestants whilst told about what to do on the show, may find the practical application of these lifestyle skills much more difficult to implement when they are out home with no support from the trainers and the other contestants. What can these contestants do to ensure they don’t put the weight back on again? We cannot neglect the importance of the psychology behind weight gain and how crucial it is for these contestants to work through their issues and deal with past events that hold them back from achieving their goals. The trainers on the show help to break through perceived barriers and challenge them to believe they are capable of achieving great things which is fantastic, but majority of the contestants need to see a qualified psychologist to assist them through this process and to give them the tools to deal with future events that may cause them to relapse into old behaviour patterns. Also things like setting health and fitness goals in relation to nutrition and exercise will assist them to keep on track with their achievements in the outside world. It is really important for people to set SMARTER goals and to keep a food diary so they are accountable for both aspects of their well-being.

  • S – specific
  • M – measureable
  • A – achievable
  • R – realistic
  • T- time bound
  • E- evaluate
  • R- Re-do

Joining a health club, support group, sporting or leisure clubs and having the support from people who they surround themselves with on a daily basis will also ensure they have a high success rate following the show. How can Personal Trainers help to ‘stabilise’ those dramatic results? Personal trainers can assist these contestants by helping them with the above mentioned goal setting, keeping them accountable to their training and making it fun, varied and interesting. This will help keep them motivated and on track with their new fitness goals and healthy lifestyle. Trainers can also provide nutritional guidance and refer them to gain further support in this area if required. At VFA Learning, we encourage our students to learn how to work with clients so that they always feel comfortable, while always achieving their goals SMARTER. If you’d like to learn more about our courses, please head over to our main site today.   References

  1. http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/celebrity/article/-/16493179/the-biggest-loser-heatlh-concerns/
  2. www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu – UC Davis health system