Gripes about The Biggest Loser

After Alex visited my blog this week I had a read of her blog ‘Try a Little Harder, Honey‘ where she was talking about ‘The Biggest Loser’ (thanks for the pic too Alex, it is on my bathroom mirror now). Now Alex has a little workout where she does specific exercises for various parts of the show – you know burpees for tears, plank in sympathy with the contestants, squats for a product plug etc. I like it. Though I generally have found myself sitting on my backside telling them to get a grip or cheering on those who just get on with the job.


I have a few gripes with the Biggest Loser. I have been watching it since the start, also keep an eye on the US series when they are shown. Most of my issues have been with me for many seasons now, so here they are in no particular order:

  • I think the formula is wrong – this whole lose the most weigh concept is flawed. Do you remember Chris Garling? He won season two (I had to go searching for all this) after being secretly trained by the Commando. But when he appeared at the finale he looked terrible! I think he had stripped too much weight rather than go a healthy weight. If anyone saw the ‘Excess Baggage’ that was on Channel nine a while ago. They used a whole set of parameters to measure improvements. Now forgive my ailing memory but it included a fitness test, body composition and a measure of their efforts for the week. That sounds much better and in support of a healthy lifestyle, rather than lose the greatest percentage.
  • The women rarely look like they have been provided or have correct underwear for exercise? Now some of the women have seriously big boobs and rarely are they contained when the contestants are running or on a bike. You watch some of the challenges and these poor women are working their guts out and look to be doing themselves a serious injury. I find it disappointing that they don’t make a point of ensuring the puppies are restrained and even making it a teaching point for the audience. Given Michelle was a the poster girl for Triumph sports bras.
  • Back a few seasons ago of Loser they had a Friday night ‘masterclass’. I really wish they would bring it back, it really gave some great tips and insights into how the contestants are coached to live in the house. I am sure that quinoa took off after it featured on the show. I think this was a real loss to not have these sessions the next year. It meant the show could have a real impact on its audience by teaching about food, correct exercise etc.
  • There is much talk in the weight loss world and on the show about self sabotage, also about keeping those who stand in the way of your progress, away from  you. So why do they insist on games, twists and turns in the show that are detrimental to their progress? I would prefer less scheming and game playing and watch people get a grip on their lives, beat their demons, kick some arse in training sessions and learn something than have some of the antics in the house. You know the ones – where people are forced to order from takeaway menus all week, or only eat one colour all of those sorts of things. I think it is detrimental to the contestants and often demeaning.
  • Perhaps my biggest gripe is the lack of technique correction when the contestants are exercising. The other night Amber was doing shoulder shrugs as an excuse for pushups. They were rubbish, but no one told her it was crap and she needed to do them properly! People can be seen on the rowing machine with atrocious technique, chain flapping, uncoordinated arm/leg action – it drives me nuts! Michelle makes a point with her snip tips in the 12WBT to show people how to do it, but there are lots of clips of awful technique in the show. I know you only seem a portion of the work the contestants are doing, but I don’t think it helps people watching when they are demonstrating terrible technique.

Now I know pretty much all of the women who watch the show reckon the Commando is pretty good and I have to say, I count myself as one of them. Having done LOTS of PT under Commando types during my 20 years in the military, I think he has softened up in his old age! But I can’t help but smile when he shows the old PTI tendencies (Physical Training Instructor) on the show. Once a PTI, always a PTI.

I am always keenly interested in the workouts and love watching Michelle, Shannon and Commando as trainers and being trained. You can’t help but admire them, each so different, but strong in their own special way. I love their drive and passion, they are inspiring to me. I hope to find passion like that for my next career.



4 Comments on “Gripes about The Biggest Loser”

  1. daisy says:

    I love the biggest loser, but there are plenty of things about it that are a bit iffy! It concerns me that they’re open about putting the contestants on a 1000 calorie diet and doing 1200 calories of exercise a day.. but then on the 12wbt forums they say “no don’t do that in the real world it’s bad!”. And god yes, someone buy those women a decent sports bra!! 😛

    • buckers26 says:

      I hadn’t realised the 1000cal thing until I heard it mentioned this week with the big fella (so vague I can’t remember his name). Fancy a bloke SO big only having a 1000cal a day. Seems crazy given his size. No wonder the nutrition is so hard for them to master. So yes, 1000cal cal in 1200cal out, is not a good message.

  2. Alex says:

    Hello lovely! I seriously BURNED on Monday from that little game. Goodness, must they cry so much? New set coming on Sunday.

    Now, though a touch addicted to the show this season the concept does my head in too! Weight loss =/= health gained! These guys are putting on muscle like crazy and we all know that that weighs more than fat so why is weight loss the ultimate goal? I know, I know… because it’s a show and they need easily measurable goals. But it’s not quite the right message now, is it?

    I agree with all of your gripes (Amber’s pushups! Ouch!) and would also add that I dislike the promotion of packaged snacks. Not sure if this is on the Australian show as much as the US version but I don’t think “lowcal” bars and the like should be promoted as part of a healthy lifestyle. Clean eating is the way to go surely…. (but who makes money off that?)

    Overall, I think the shows does far more good than harm but there are certainly aspects of it that I dislike.

    • buckers26 says:

      Sometimes Alex I wonder if their programs are limited to do minimal strength – Chris from a few years ago, I am sure he kept clear of using weights much just to get his percentage down. I do think these people are desperate and good on them for getting there. I would love to be locked away to work on myself like that!

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