Mike Boyle On The Biggest Loser
Mike Boyle was on The Biggest Loser?!!
Not quite. But I did get his take on the show. Those who follow Boyle’s work know he absolutely DESPISES The Biggest Loser. Well, I put him on the spot with a little Q&A and, straight from the horse’s mouth, here’s why:
FitnessMASH: Why, specifically, don’t you agree with the training methods used on the show?
Boyle: They are totally inappropriate for overweight clients. Running, for example, produces forces around 10 times body weight. Obese individuals will break down orthopedically with this type of program.
FitnessMASH: Generally speaking, what would you consider safe and effective methods for weight loss that differ from those seen on the show?
Boyle: Obese clients should be non-weight bearing or partially weight bearing during exercise. Walking is the only fully weight bearing exercise I would have them do; I’d get the interval work done on a stationary bike, preferably an AirDyne. Strength work is fine as long it is well-designed.
Well, my DVR is programmed to tape the entire season of The Biggest Loser. Each week, my wife and I watch intently as the contestants lose an inordinate amount of weight, all the while going through TV-enhanced drama that rivals MTV’s Real World.
As a trainer, I agree with Mike. I know that the last things obese clients should be doing are jumping on a high step, doing heavy leg presses that compromise the lumbar spine or trying to run a marathon. Actually, I just found out about the show’s past marathon scam. There was also a contestant (Laura) who got a stress fracture in her hip. This season boasts the show’s heaviest-ever contestants; but check out this article discussing their hospitalizations, severe cramping and exhaustion – it’s nothing to brag about!
I’ve brought up The Biggest Loser show a few times during roundtable discussions with Focus trainers and, come to find out, there are a handful of other devout watchers in the group. We’ve even taken to texting one another late at night with comments about the results. It’s funny because, although I disagree with a lot of the training methods employed during the show, I naturally wish that some of my own clients would get the same results as the contestants!
After some careful thought, however, I always return to reality and remember a quote from an old Abs of Steel video I did religiously in the early ’90s: “The slower the weight loss, the more permanent.”
This mantra may not be as exciting as the false promises seen on the covers of muscle mags, but I believe it rings true.
Now…where’s my wife? I need to ask her when American Idol is on!