Are You Watching the Biggest Loser?

January 6th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

A lot of bootcampers have been buzzing this week about the Biggest Loser reunion show and new season.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen a full episode (I did just hear you gasp at me) but I appreciate that many regular folks find the participants inspiring.

Since the show has been on for a few years, most of you have probably realized that it isn’t easy to lose 18 pounds in your first week.  Nor, for the record, is it a good idea.  The recommendation of 1-2 pounds per week doesn’t sound good when you’re first out of the gate, but it can last for a good long while if you do it right!  It took years to get to your current weight and it will take a while to get where you want—there are no easy short cuts when it comes to your body!

Runner’s World did a spread in their February 2011 issue and consulted with Robert Huizenga, M.D., the designer of the show’s fitness regime.  He gave some recommendations for those of you unlucky souls who didn’t make it onto the Ranch… and who don’t have five hours a day to spend exercising!!!

  1. Work Out Twice A Day—an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening for a total exercise time of 10-12 hours every week.  Huizenga also advised to go to bed early so you can get up early, as sleep is essential to weight loss.  (Sounds like yesterday’s recommendation to recover just as hard as you work!)
  2. Walk, jog, or run for your morning workout.  Huizenga says “people naturally use a higher level of exertion—and as a result burn more calories—with jogging compared with exercising on equipment like a stationary bike or elliptical machine.”  (Think about having to support your entire body and move it simultaneously and you’ll see why.)
  3. Mix It Up Huizenga recommends you alternate circuit training with any aerobic exercise for your afternoon exercise.  Strength training with weights will build muscle mass and speed your metabolism all day long.  (Circuit training = an alternating mix of weights and cardio.)
  4. Work out at an intensity that feels difficult.  This one is tough for a lot of us: “you should find it hard to carry on a conversation for as much of the workout as you can” Huizenga says, and suggests you increase your intensity with each workout.  He also says that an obese adult would have to walk for more than 33 hours at a moderate intensity to lose one percent of their body weight in fat; jogging would result in the same fat loss in 11 hours.

So does this mean you should go out, join a gym, exhaust yourself and starve yourself to be happy?  I don’t think so, and I can’t imagine the folks at the Biggest Loser think so either.  Recognize that long term dramatic weight loss is best done slowly, and you must be committed for a long time to that goal.  You will have to weather some storms, some plateaus, some frustrations and celebrate every victory possible in order to remain focused on the goal of a healthy body.

The best thing is?  This isn’t for only the people lucky enough to win a place on the show.  YOU CAN DO IT TOO.  Sure, the scenery may not be as nice and you won’t have maid service for your stay at the Ranch, but every single thing they do there, you can do, too. 

This one isn’t an elite group: fitness is for everyone.


(Don’t forget I’m here for you and I’m on your side: let me know if you’re looking for specific help from me as a trainer and Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach.  I’ve been there and I know how it feels.)

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