Biggest Loser 2020 – Fat Shaming and Dangerous
Truth be told, I haven’t even watched the full episode. I could barely get through the highlight reel during the show’s introduction before rolling my eyes.
Because I work as a personal trainer and helping people to lose weight, get fit and transform their bodies and therefore their lives is what I do. I wouldn’t simply be a viewer sitting at home watching tv. I see the way they train these people and I am absolutely appalled at their approach.
So a couple of things. The main argument for the benefit of this show is it inspires people to get in shape.
I really question that. For one thing, a lot of times when people are overweight, they know it, they don’t like it, they want to do something about it but they are either confused about what to do or completely overwhelmed by the perceived amount of work it would take to get healthy.
I think that for every person it inspires, it probably scares off a whole lot more. In the opening sequence, I saw a woman throwing up into a bucket and I know from previous seasons there is a high injury rate. Not to mention that previous contestants have been unable to maintain their weight.
Yeah, totally inspiring.
Second, for every person that actually makes a decision to get up and take back their health, that person is likely looking for ideas about how to train and eat. They see a severely overweight person do box jumps and think “Hey, that’s probably what I should do!”
Box jumps, in particular, are an exercise with a high risk to reward ratio. Even for a coordinated lean and athletic person, they don’t land quite right and they can gouge their shin, injure their knee, fall backward and hit their head, etc.
There is plenty that can go wrong with that.
Now you have someone who is likely uncoordinated, unsure of themselves and have extra weight and it’s not a matter of if they get injured, it’s when.
In Russia where plyometrics (box jumps are a form of plyometrics) was pioneered and studied they determined that a person wasn’t really ready for plyometrics unless they had a double bodyweight squat. The reason being their tendons hadn’t thickened enough yet.
Should a person that is just starting their fitness journey be doing this?
As with anything, start with where you are. Stay within your current capabilities and expand them. I’m not saying plyometrics are completely off the table…I’m just saying not right now.
I think a properly performed kettlebell swing can accomplish most of what box jumps can and more…and do it safely but that’s another article for another day.
Another thing is it sets up unrealistic expectations. For one thing everybody lives in a bubble set up for weight loss to occur, training 4 hours a day and taking drugs. This quite simply doesn’t fit with the lifestyle requirements of most people (having a job, a family etc.).
Here’s another article about it https://nypost.com/2015/01/18/contestant-reveals-the-brutal-secrets-of-the-biggest-loser/
Second thing is that it will show things like them losing 10lbs per week. The truth is the weekly weigh-ins are actually closer to monthly weigh-ins. Why? I don’t know, filming schedules? That’s Hollywood for ya.
And one last thing. The supposedly world-class trainers. Fat-shaming banshees with either questionable knowledge or questionable ethics, possibly both.
For a person that is looking to start their fitness journey, they might admit to themselves that they need help (a monumental step). They might even push through their apprehension of picking up the phone to reach out to a personal trainer to help them.
But then again, that apprehension may cause them to second guess whether or not they are willing to put up with being yelled at and shamed, and they put the phone back down reverting back to their old ways. That’s a person that could have benefitted from my approach, a bit more conservative but consistent and more positive.
If that person is you, you can do it. Take it step by step, build upon your current capabilities, hang in there and one day you’ll wake up look in the mirror and say “Damn! You got it going on!!!”
If you need my help, send me a text at 973 476 5328.
Eric Moss is a world-record-holding professional performing strongman, author, motivational speaker, and personal trainer. In the tradition of the strongmen during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.