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Friday, October 7, 2011

"The Biggest Loser" Part 1: Competition or Life Changer?

"The Biggest Loser" has been one of the most popular shows on TV the past few years.  Being part of the fitness industry, I of course have a lot of opinions on the show.  My next few posts will be about what I like, and dislike, about the show...

Most of you know the premise of the show.  A bunch of obese people go to a ranch for a few months and a couple trainers whip them into shape.  Every week a contestant is voted off.  The person left at the end of the show, who's lost the most weight and hasn't been voted off, wins the tittle "The Biggest Loser".

The idea of a weight loss competition has taken the nation by storm.  Throughout the country, gyms and workplaces have held their version of "The Biggest Loser".  We even had one here at Fitness Forum a few years ago.  Having a competition like this is a good starting point for a lot of people.  It is a good way to kick start your journey to a healthier lifestyle.  But there is one problem... Most people don't view the competition as a kick start.  They see an 8 week, or 3 month competition.  They work their butts off during that time period, lose a bunch of weight, then go back to their previous lifestyle.

NBC's Today highlighted some of the former Biggest Loser contestants to see where they are now.  Some of the former contestants have done very well for themselves after being on the show.

  • Season 4's Jim Germanakos:  Starting Weight 361,  Finale Weight 175,  Current Weight 198
  • Season 5's Ali Vincent: Starting Weight 234,  Finale Weight 122,  Current Weight 125
These people took the lessons learned on the show; lessons of hard work and proper nutrition, and changed their lives.

Then there are people like...
  • Season 1's Ryan Benson:  Starting Weight 330,  Finale Weight 208,  Current Weight 300
  • Season 3's Eric Chopin:  Starting Weight 407,  Finale Weight 193,  Current Weight 368
These people treated the competition as a competition.  As soon as it was over, so was their dedication to a healthier lifestyle.

Most contestants seem to be somewhere in the middle.  They lost a bunch of weight while at the ranch.  After returning to their normal lives they gained a few pounds back.  They are much healthier than they were to start with and are still working toward a healthy lifestyle.

Weight loss competitions such as The Biggest Loser should be about changing your lifestyle.  They can be a great way to kick start your journey.  You can gain a lot of exercise and nutritional knowledge in a competition like this.  To get the full benefits of a weight loss competition, it is very important to not view it as just a competition.  You must continue these healthy habits throughout your life.

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