By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Kelly Farris,  ACSM CPT

Reality TV vs reality: The Biggest Loser is just a game
By Kelly Farris,  ACSM CPT
Owner of Ladies Workout Snellville

“I want to hire a trainer…but what I have seen on TV is scary. I don’t want to be yelled at or humiliated as part of the weight loss process. Will it be like The Biggest Loser?”

I touched on this back in December, however, The Biggest Loser has been in the headlines, so I think it merits further discussion.

Rachel Fredrickson was the recent winner of The Biggest Loser. She is a 24 year old former high school athlete who began the show 5’4” at 260 pounds and won the show 7 months later at 105 pounds. Losing 60% of her body weight in that short time has stirred up controversy in the press and on social media.

I feel they have truly set this young woman up for future failure. Looking at her, I think it is evident that the pendulum has swung very far in the opposite direction for her. The average loss of 20 pounds per month is dangerous. Athletes in training need more than 1600 calories per day. The foundation that the show has set up for her is unsound. I wish her all the luck in the world.

The Biggest Loser is a game show. End of story. The contestant who wins, achieves the magic number at whatever cost. The more dramatic, the better. It makes for good TV. The show is NOT about making healthy, sustainable, real world changes.

Contestants are sequestered, exercising 6-8 hours a day, eating calorically restricted food that is prepared for them by chefs on the show. They don’t go to work or the grocery store. They are completely removed from their normal daily lives. They have no outside influences on their lives.

The internal influences on the show have no basis in reality, either. Often on the show trainers are seen yelling and screaming and doing things that in a gym setting (or in any given setting) would be considered unprofessional, unsafe and completely unacceptable. It’s an intimidating scenario that would scare most people away from a gym and portrays the wrong connection between trainers and clients. Personal training is vastly different than what is produced and edited for TV.

Let’s talk about trainers in the real world. Trainers are there to encourage. To be your personal cheerleader. To guide you and teach you the right ways to change your lifestyle.

In a real gym setting, we would set small goals that carry you to the big goal. To lose 3 to 5 pounds a month. To correct your gait so you can walk tall and stand up straight. To get up and down in a chair without pain. To hold your baby correctly to reduce back strain. To play in the floor with your grandchildren. To begin to train for a 5k…and then maybe a marathon.

Whatever your fitness goal, trainers listen to you and set goals with realistic expectations. Trainers don't want a quick fix. We want to teach you how to maintain your ideal body weight for a lifetime! Please send your questions to: 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Kelly Farris is the owner of Ladies Workout Snellville, Time4 Results Personal Training and the President of KLF Fitness. 

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