My wife (and 4 year old daughter) love to watch The Biggest Loser. I am vaguely interested late in the season when the character transformations are really taking hold in the people I consider the “real winners” (independent of pounds lost). Until then all I get are post-hypnotic suggestions to eat. (Tonight it was ice cream when it aired and sandwiches at 10:30pm when my wife re-watched the end!)
My wife knows that I love kettlebell training so she has mentioned that they’ve used ‘bells on Biggest Loser. Now, I have never been a gym rat but kettlebell training has been the only form of strength training that I have ever stuck with beyond the learning stage. (I’ve got Heidi and Zar at Firebellz to thank for getting my momentum working out and a solid foundation in technique!) Meanwhile, back at the ranch, reality TV demonstrates less than stellar form while using ‘bells.
Normally I would shrug it off as the effects of media on the “real world” except that one of my friends, who is a new RKC (kettlebell trainer), has been venting every Tuesday night about how horrid Jillian’s kettlebell swings are, etc. Again, I agree that it shines a poor light on kettlebell training, but it wouldn’t typically stick with me for any length of time.
Enter another facebook friend who posts this evening “Tip: online trainers that mock the biggest loser or the trainers. You’re not advancing yourself/name, you just look stupid.” Ironically, I “liked” this just after “liking” the first friend’s post (“you want to see how NOT to train? watch the Biggest Loser tonight”).
Now, it got me thinking about eating nutritious foods. Not the usual “I should eat more healthy food” that I hear from friends. No, I started thinking about my friend Scott Tousignant’s claim that it is cheaper to eat good food than not. My initial reaction was “BS!” — until I read more of what he was saying. He was taking people from eating fast food continually to cooking some lean foods at home. Okay, I concede that eating at home is less expensive than eating out while also being more health conscious. My reaction was going from cooking our primarily vegetarian meals to minimizing processed flours and sugars, eliminating high fructose corn syrup, using produce grown without pesticides, and getting fresh foods as straight from the farm as possible. From my starting point I called BS because getting organic foods at the grocery store is much more expensive than the chemical coated stuff. We both were correct, we just each had different starting points!
I believe The Biggest Loser is similar. Taking people from “remote control curls” to finding out how far they can push their bodies in the gym is a huge accomplishment (especially the ones that manage to do it without whining!). Taking 250-450lb people and getting strength training equipment in their hands is a good start.
That does not mean the people who are wanting to lose 20lbs are going to find Biggest Loser useful. These are people who need to learn safe, solid techniques so they can have an intense workout and be able to go to work the next day. (And sure, we can understand the trainer having issue with someone misusing their tool of choice. And it doesn’t help that it’s a public figure who is marketing a branded version of that tool. However, you don’t see Bob Vila getting upset over someone misusing a hammer. But that’s an argument for another day.)
What this is really about is knowing the context in which each of these behaviors is most appropriate. When you tie in knowing where you are now (present state/context) and knowing where you want to be (your desired state/context) then you can make informed decisions.
Where do you stand on The Biggest Loser? Share below.
P.S. You’ve got to love the opportunity we are given to analyze the changes in contestants’ language patterns as they progress in their journey. Or am I the only one tracking that?