The Biggest Loser Season 8: Make Overs, Inspiration, and Fears

This week's episode was the make over show which has been done as long as I can remember on the series. The only major difference that I noticed was that instead of the makeovers preceding a photo shoot for Prevention Magazine they were for inspirational speeches the contestants had to give in front of an audience of three hundred and the sponsor was TV Guide. In addition to their make overs and a new outfit the remaining contestants got the gift of visits by their loved ones.

Biggest Loser Make overs

This is something you should take note of if your working hard to drop the fat pounds- the reward system. After all the weeks of hard work and effort that go into training toward your goals it is good to give your self a reward to recognize your accomplishments. It can help you stay on track knowing once you make it to a short term goal you'll be receiving your reward. I don't know how many men would have chosen make overs but for many ladies that is definitely  an appropriate reward. Guys might choose to treat themselves to something different that appeals to their hobbies or interests, as would some females. But the one thing to try to stay away from is what got you to the level of over-fatness that you are battling. Picking a meal at your favorite restaurant, or some kind of sweet treat does not serve the purpose. Choose wisely!

The big physical reward challenge was something that I personally would have had a difficult time with. They had to traverse 700 feet across a 200 feet deep canyon harnessed on a tiny clear Plexiglas seat. Liz was clearly the most scared to do this. If I was there I would have been just as terrified. And ironically it followed another of my biggest fears- public speaking! It was Rudy that won the challenge. The reward was a two week vacation to the Fitness Ridge Resort in Utah.

The trainer's tips this week coincided with NBC's green week. One of Bob's tips was to buy local and preferably organic produce. Again I'll suggest going one better and start growing your own garden. The nutritional benefits of eating your own fresh produce are obvious but most people(non-gardeners) are unaware of the many health benefits from working in your garden such as improved self esteem, and reduced stress and improved blood pressure.

Another of Bob's green tips which was placed strategically during his private talk with Allen was to put his almonds in a plastic baggy. Wouldn't a reusable container be greener? You can use it more often right? And that advertiser does have their own line. Jillian suggested to bring your own thermos or cup when you stop for your java fix. Doesn't anyone brew their own coffee at home? Wouldn't it be greener to make one trip to get a pound of coffee that will make dozens of cups of coffee rather than driving to a coffee shop or convenience store and get something that hopefully tastes as good as what you could have made?

There are two positive spots from Tuesday that I want to point out. The first is actor Quintin Aaron's segment at the start of a commercial break. He gave us a brief look at what he had to go through to lose 100 pounds for his role of Michael Oher in The Blind Side- 14 workouts a week! Hopefully viewers stuck around long enough to learn how much effort is required to drop that kind of fat.

The other thing I wanted to emphasize was Jillian's remark to Allen when he expressed his frustration over only losing 5 pounds at the weigh in. Anyone trying to lose fat needs to look at any and all loss as a positive. It may not be the amount you wanted to see but it is a loss and that is good.

Rebecca
Now that Rebecca is gone I have her as my top pick for the $100,000.00 at-home winner. She looked amazing when they showed her running the half marathon after having left the ranch. Danny is still going to be the Biggest Loser. Watch. Speaking of watch be sure to catch Wednesday's special THE BIGGEST LOSER: WHERE ARE THEY NOW? starting at 8. I have been waiting for this show for a long time, but not to see anyone former contestant in particular. What about you, is there a former contestant you are curious about?

 

That's Not Boot Camp!

One of the most popular trends in fitness is the new group training format combining strength training, cardio, interval training, and various other modes of exercise, some of which can be called functional, some not. There are probably dozens of such classes or programs available in your town. Some are hosted inside of gyms or training studios, some are held at local parks, and you'll find one at just about every beach. Some of the classes will vary greatly depending on who formed the program and who runs it. But it seems too many have one thing in common- the inappropriate title of "boot camp".


As much as I love working out and fitness, the one thing I don't like is the hype involved with some fitness marketing. The term "boot camp" is one of my top fitness peeves. I realize "boot camp" sounds catchy- a training program similar to those of young men and women who have enlisted in the armed forces. Well, as someone who has spent 14 weeks at Parris Island (bonus days in a receiving platoon waiting for more to arrive), let me tell you, that one hour workout you choose to go to doesn't come close. Sure there may be difficult physical exercises, it may take place at an early hour when most people are still in bed, and it might even go on as usual regardless of the weather. But face it, it is a group exercise program with a name to make it sound like more than it is. Much, much more!


You don't get startled awake by bright overheads blinding you through your eyelids as your ears are blasted by the booming voice of a Drill Instructor. Your "boot camp" is optional, if you don't feel like going you can turn off your alarm, roll over and keep snoozing if you please. Not in real Boot Camp. It's out of the rack, toes on the line, and count off! Then seconds to get dressed(don't be last!) then your day, a full day of training begins. You don't get to choose what to eat, when to take a break and when you'll go to bed. Oh, and it's no big deal deciding what you'll wear to your workout. Your a Boot, that along with everything else is decided for you. But a Boot is training for different reasons than the average boot camper. And no one should be complaining.


DrillInstructor

So when you are searching for a good (tough? challenging? fun?) group workout and you see the term "boot camp" just remember it's only a catchy name for group exercise. It is Not Boot Camp. And those of you already attending a group fitness class, it doesn't matter how many push-ups and sit-ups you perform, or how many times you swing a kettlebell, when the session is over and you are free to go about your day That's Not Boot Camp!

 

The Biggest Loser Season 8: Over-training syndrome finally appears.

The Biggest Loser started off with positive statements from the contestants about making it to week nine and losing large amounts of weight only for them to be jolted with the news that two contestants would leave the ranch this week. One would be automatically eliminated for having the lowest overall percentage of weight loss and the next two lowest losses would be up for elimination by vote. I thought this would lead the contestants to resort to drastic measures but instead it was both Bob and Jillian. They proceeded to push the contestants harder than ever as if it would produce the impossible- keeping everyone above the red line, although for many of the contestants it did result in great losses . One thing that can be said is that it shows the benefit of having an external incentive beyond the ultimate goal. In the contestants' case it was the goal of staying above the red line, hopefully by at least three spaces.

The first over-training syndrome victim was Danny. The only surprising thing about that was that he has been the only one pointed out so far. Sadly  the show did not go into much detail to explain what it is.  Basically over-training is a condition of chronic fatigue resulting from exercising at a high intensity over a prolonged period of time. Symptoms include a chronically elevated resting heart rate, a plateau or decline in performance, excessive muscle soreness, reduction in appetite, unwanted or possibly excess weight loss(usually from lean tissue), plus changes in sleep patterns and habits. A person with over-training syndrome is at greater risk for exercise induced injuries, illnesses and a reduction or loss in motivation. The lack of progression and the constant increasingly high intensity workouts, which the contestants have been enduring from day one, are the perfect recipe for bringing on over-training syndrome. Over-training can be prevented by proper periodization of training, something that you do not see on The Biggest Loser.

I disagree with both Bob and Jillian regarding what to do about my pick's condition. Jillian was wrong to bench Danny. He is not an invalid at this stage, just reduce the intensity to give his body a chance to recover. Bob's statement was that he(Danny) could "rest after the finale." With that attitude Danny will be lucky to get to the finale without having been voted out by falling below the yellow line or without being  limited by injury.

Later in the show my thoughts about the contestants resorting to extreme measures proved right. The former pink and orange teammates showed the exercise equipment they stole from the gym and put in their rooms to get in an additional 2 hours of exercise each day. It did not pay off because it was Daniel(orange) who lost the smallest percentage of weight, followed by Amanda(pink) then Shay(orange). I guess they haven't realized the importance of getting proper rest in regards to fat loss and fitness.

Daniel, Amanda, ShayThe last chance workout was two parts this week, although the contestants did not know it ahead of time. Their first last chance workout was a field trip off the ranch to do a trapeze workout. What they did appeared to be more like a suspension workout using a bar instead of individual handles which are normally used. They never did really fly through the air with the greatest of ease as I would guess that they were possibly expecting or fearing. The second last chance workout was just business as usual.



This week my questions about Daniel's former partner from last season, David Lee, were answered and unfortunately he has not gotten hooked on exercise. He told Daniel that he had more important things to do than lose weight. Again, hopefully he'll come around soon.


The best piece of advice on last nights episode was their introduction to Lara Bars. They are the best tasting, healthiest, most nutritious bars on the market. If you have not tried them go get some right now. GO!!

 

The Advantages of Exercising at Home


In an earlier post "Before You Sign Up For a Gym Membership..." I pointed out the three main advantages of having a gym membership. For some people 1, 2, or all 3 of those reasons are extremely important to keep them exercising regularly. For others 1, 2, or again all 3 can be major reasons to not consider a gym membership. But can you get as good of a workout at home as you could at a gym? Of course you can! First let's look at some of the advantages of doing your fitness routine at home.

1. Convenience: It's at the perfect location. You don't have to leave home or make a pit stop between work or school and home. Just a short walk and you're there. No worrying about whether or not you packed your workout clothes.
You have access to the gym and all the equipment, your equipment, at any time you wish. In a crowded gym you may have to wait for someone to finish using the equipment you were planning to use, or you may even need to switch to a Plan B Workout if the place is too packed. Not at home. Your exercise equipment is there and waiting just for you.

2. Privacy: Some people don't like the thought of others looking at them while they are exercising. If you fall into this category I suggest you start thinking about what kind of exercise you can do with minimal equipment or start planning to equip your own home gym.
If you feel you just need to be a bit stronger and fitter, and more confident before setting foot in a gym you can certainly get a jump start by exercising at home without investing in any equipment.

3. Environmental Control: Depending on the gym or health club, you may not have any say so as to what music is being played. In your own home gym you have complete control. If you want music playing you get to pick. Want to watch a certain show on television while doing cardio? It's your gym, the choice is all yours!
Wondering what slob left their sweat all over the bench you were getting ready to use? That's just one more thing you don't have to deal with when doing your fitness routine at home.

Most people may wonder about not having access to all the equipment that is found in gyms. Too many choices can have its drawbacks. For a beginner it can be overwhelming seeing all the unfamiliar machines and gadgets and not knowing what to do with them, or feeling like you need to incorporate them into your exercise plan.
Depending on your ultimate training goal many of the machines found in health clubs are not necessary. Every major muscle group, joint action, or movement pattern can be adequately trained using the most basic equipment like elastic resistance, dumbbells or even just your body weight.

A gym or health club is not the only way to go about finding proper exercise instruction. There is the ongoing problem of exercise newbies asking questions to the 'gym rat' who appears the "fittest"(slimmest, biggest, most ripped, lifts the most weight, or whatever) but who may not have enough knowledge about proper training or exercise technique to be of the most help.
You can learn many new exercises freely by doing research online, checking out current books on exercise from the library and even by watching some fitness shows(not reality TV) on television that are hosted by real, professional trainers. There are numerous exercise DVD's. You could start by seeing what is available at your library and try before you buy. Another consideration is using ready made workout programs that you can access on your computer or download to an MP3 player or smart phone. The best option is to hire a certified personal trainer to come to your place, design a routine based on your physical abilities and needs, personal goals, and available exercise equipment.

If the social aspect of a membership sounds good but some of the other factors are still not that appealing you always have the option of finding a workout partner to join you during your home gym workout, or find a local group fitness program, often referred to as 'boot camps.'

One thing to keep in mind is that your decision to exercise at home or in a gym does not have to be a 'one or the other decision.' I know many people, myself included, that have a gym membership but also perform some of their workouts at home or outdoors. You may find at some point that a change of atmosphere is just what you need to rejuvenate your motivation and keep your fitness routine on track. If that is the case, go ahead and try a 'change of place.'

 

The Biggest Loser Season 8: 3 November


 The show is now down to 9 contestants, and after lasts night's show no one is over 400 pounds. They are no longer split into two teams but are competing as individuals. This week's episode took place in Washington D.C., airing appropriately on election day in some places. Being at the capitol gave the contestants and their trainers a chance to address Congress about the nation's obesity epidemic. Unfortunately it was a very small audience, one senator from Pennsylvania and one from New York. Daniel's remarks about the need for more physical education and health education in schools was highlighted. I think it would have been better to see representatives from Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and Tennessee, since their states have the highest rates of adult obesity. I would also like to see The Biggest Loser follow up on what impact their lobbying attempt had on the lawmakers, if any. But again, I'd also like to see an update on every contestant from all the past seasons.

Biggest Loser

There were two challenges last night. The first, to get the most people to participate in a group workout led by Bob and Jillian, seemed more like something from The Apprentice than Biggest Loser. As incentive to participate the people recruited by the winning contestant would get a free meal from that sandwich shop franchise that Biggest Loser viewers know all too well. It appeared that Amanda and Daniel would be able to use their 'celebrity' status from last season to their advantage. Liz won by 1 point, beating Allen who enlisted the help of his firefighting brothers. Hopefully Liz and her crew had Extra gum for desert  instead of cookies.
The second challenge was four stages, eliminating contestants at each stage until it was heads up between Rudy and Rebecca. Rebecca was victorious, proving she just may be the one giving Danny a fight for the title. The first stage was a one mile foot race, which brought back strong emotions(tears) from Tracy who is lucky to be alive and well after the season opening stunt. I mean challenge. Other than that it was not one of the most teary episodes , although Jillian, who admits to not liking Tracy did succeed in making Tracy cry during a workout. Oh, and Tracy cried again when she fell below the yellow line. And again when she was voted off. So, except for that crybaby Tracy there weren't too many buckets of tears.

WhiteHouse

At the White House the contestants and trainers visited and picked vegetables from the 1st Lady's garden. This is something viewers watching the show for inspiration and motivation should seriously consider- raising your own fresh produce. I think for lots of people part of their reason for not caring much for fruits or vegetables is that they are used to the stuff from the grocery store that was never given a chance to fully ripen and be enjoyed at its' peak flavor.


The trainer's tip dealt with exercising away from home. Bob Harper's suggestion was to find stairs and build a workout around them. I suggest finding a park. In addition to running or walking for cardio you can do push ups and dips as Bob suggested, but you can also use park benches for step ups and a more challenging version of dips. If you're at a park that has a jungle gym set you can use the monkey bars for hanging knee or straight leg raises, and depending on your strength and fitness level, one of my all time favorites- pull ups.

 

The Biggest Loser: Season 8- "I don't hate Jillian..."

It was not the most entertaining episode of the Biggest Loser but probably one of the most dramatic? sensitive? A big portion dealt with the emotional difficulties affecting Amanda, Abbie, and Shay, all black team members. Jillian as usual brought her subjects to tears and then attempted to play the role of psychologist, again out of her scope of practice. After listening, she should have asked them if they had talked to a professional and if the answer was no she should have strongly suggested they do so. I may have missed it but the commercial break immediately following Shay's segment would have been the appropriate time for a public service announcement for victims of abuse.

Jillian Michaels

Are these contestant's not already out of their comfort zones? Amanda did not appear to be getting the kind of support she needed at the moment. Maybe she asked for it (cameras in her face 24/7) by agreeing to go on the show, but again her trainer might need to adjust her tactics to make the entire process just a little more endurable. Working out can be intimidating, scary, and mentally and physically unpleasant for some beginners. The trainer should do his/her best to alleviate the fears and negative perceptions to best suit the client and their success. It's not one size fits all. Apparently Jillian is trying to use the same tactics for them all as shown by her asking Daniel why he was not progressing like Danny. She said they were on the same program. What works for one may not be the best for another.

Bob introduced his team to aquatic training. The show could have spent a little more time going over the benefits of a pool workout, especially for the extremely over-fat. Instead we saw too much dealing with box jumps again. Like I said before, it's a great exercise for certain training goals. As far as their use for fat loss training doing one jump onto an unnecessarily high box is not the most effective method.


It seems the Biggest Loser must be one of the biggest money makers for NBC. The networks site has 71 items for sale ranging from the obvious like workout DVD's and CD's, exercise equipment and cookbooks to the not so typical like aprons and golf balls. Now the show has jumped into the interactive console game arena with products for Nintendo's Wii and DS units. The show also is gaining ground on the "Law and Order franchise" here in the states. Worldwide 14 countries have their own adaptation of the show. Now NBC is developing a new show "Losing It with Jillian Michaels!" Chosen families will have Jillian move in and kick their butts in shape. Yikes!! Kind of like a Super Nanny meets Renovate My Family with a little The Ultimate Fighter mixed in is my guess. Hopefully she will not drop too many F-bombs in front of the kids.


And speaking of arena, let's not forget the main challenge of last night's episode. The contestants had a head to head weigh in challenge determined by the winning team of the show's opening challenge. If you didn't watch and don't know which team won that challenge I'll give you one hint: Tracy. For entertainment value the challengers were paired up and stood toe to toe inside of a boxing ring. We can add Everlast to the growing Biggest Loser affiliate/sponsor list. As the contestants stood eyeballing their opponents a "tale of the tape" was displayed then each had a segment to speak their minds about the match up and their predictions. I was highly disappointed. Not with the match ups. Not with the outcomes. Nothing like that. What disappointed me was no one, not a single contestant, neither trainer, or any show writer used the moment for the perfect quote from Clubber Lang of Rocky III. Well not wanting it to go to waste I'll take advantage of the opportunity. I have been singling Jillian out in practically every Biggest Loser post I've made. But let me make it clear. "I don't hate Jillian....I pity the fool.


For Tracy: I look forward to going to the gym, and I love to workout. That's who!

 

Is Costco Creating Over-fatness?

Obesity is becoming an epidemic, or already is to some, at least here in the US. Not a day goes by that I don't see a television segment or read an article concerning the rising percentage of the population that is becoming obese. There are fingers being pointed too: Physical education being taken out of schools, junk food vending machines being put in; Electronic technology keeping people on their butts all day and limiting physical activity; High fructose corn syrup, sugars, soft drinks, and fast food. But there is one culprit I feel is contributing to the race to reach the biggest waistline who has been flying under the radar - Costco.

Costco Warehouse

If you are not familiar with Costco it is what is called a membership warehouse club store. It happens to be the largest in the world going by sales volume. Just about anything you may ever need (and I mean anything) they either sell it under their roof or provide a service that helps you get it for a good deal.

I shop at Costco and I like the place. The main reason I shop there is for some of my groceries. It is the one shopping trip that all my kids usually want to accompany me on, for one reason - the samples. If you plan your shopping trip at the right time you can consume enough calories to count as a meal, and I think that is what some people do.

But my point of Costco sharing some of the over-fatness blame is because of the package and portion sizes of most of their food items. It's like every item has been training for the "World's Strongest ________" competition. A muffin from Costco is big enough to share among four people. I've seen grapes as big as kiwis and steaks so thick that I honestly don't think Bobby Hill could eat one in a single sitting. Beyond the actual item size is the package size that I think leads to the greatest consumption of excess calories. I believe that for some people they would not eat industrial size servings if the food was not coming out of an institutional size package.

BobbyHill

Thankfully it is just a matter of self discipline. One fitness marketer, having just visited Disney World with his family wrote about how many obese people he observed during his vacation. He asked his subscribers if theme parks should be forced to eliminate some of the unhealthier foods they serve. My response was 'no'. I know how to practice self control, but if I decide I want to have something not normally on my regular menu I should have that option. Especially on a special occasion. A trip to Costco may not be a special occasion but the point remains the same. If someone knows they have a problem with portion, calorie, or fat control they need to take personal responsibility. If you know you cannot resist the urge to taste do not visit during the hours they hand out samples. Realize that a package of 48 should last 8 times longer than the standard 6 count package. If you don't have the self control to stop eating because more is available do not purchase the large packages. Practice self control and discipline.

So even though we (I) could say Costco is contributing to the obesity epidemic like McDonald's and Starbucks I don't think it needs to change. It serves a great purpose, especially for families like mine with growing teens. Some of their shoppers need to change.

 

Before You Sign Up For a Gym Membership...


 It seems 'getting fit' and 'start exercising' have become synonymous with 'joining a gym.' So is a gym membership necessary for getting in shape? In general the answer could easily be no. But since we all have our differences it is not that simple. Let's look at the advantages of joining and using a gym or healthclub.


healthclub
* Access to a variety of exercise equipment: A gym, healthclub or fitness center will in most cases have a wide selection of both cardiovascular and strength training machines, free weights and accessories plus other types of exercise gear and fitness equipment. This is probably the biggest reason most people purchase a membership.

gym

* Instruction and guidance: A membership could possibly include group classes at no extra cost or the option to hire a trainer in addition to your monthly dues. If you choose the latter you have the opportunity to see the trainers in action, assess their styles, expertise and professionalism, and determine if their personality suits you before making your decision. Pay close attention to detail though, some gyms require lengthy commitments when signing a personal training contract. At the very least your club should offer a complimentary equipment orientation so you have an idea of how to use some of the equipment properly and safely.

* The social aspect: Some people just enjoy being around others, even if they are doing their own thing. The feeling of community should be a critical factor in deciding which gym you choose. If you don't feel comfortable walking through the doors and working out for whatever reason then the membership is probably not your best choice. If you sign on the line most likely you will find reasons not to go.

Personally I have had a gym membership or access to some sort of training facility most of my adult life. My reasons for belonging are because of my exercise goals, preferred exercise mode and limited space to build a home gym. It is more convenient for me to pay what averages to $8.34 a month to use the gym's equipment  rather than invest in everything I would need to build a suitable home gym. The gym I belong to is very small with an even smaller member base. The majority of us know each other on a first name basis. It is less than a ten minute walk from my home and it's accessible 24 hours a day. If my only option was to join one of the larger gyms here in San Marcos I would seriously consider building and equipping my own home gym.

So before you decide to join a gym first determine if your goals require the use of the equipment found in a gym or could you do a suitable workout without all the machines and weights. Second, consider your preferences- do you like exercising around others? Do you want access to group classes? Do you enjoy exercising on machines and having the choice to use a variety of equipment?
Also consider the factor of convenience- Is the gym located along the way to or from work or school? Is it close enough to home or work? Can you comfortably afford it?
Most importantly when you walk through the door do you sense a feeling of belonging?

 

The Biggest Loser Season 8: The Black Teams Visits Home

The show got right into the game with a contest between the two teams for a mystery reward. It turned out the reward was a week at home, winner's choice of who got to go. The Blue team won of course. Tracy's on the blue team remember. They sent the black team home, counting on the strategy of one week without Jillian's threats, cursing, and unsafe training practices to put Bob's team ahead. They were right.

Drill Instructor Michaels

In typical Biggest Loser fashion the camera crews followed the black team members from the King Gillette Ranch to their respective homes and then (except for one) to what seemed to be the typical American family style restaurant that helped them get over-fat in the first place.

With all but Danny it showed the difficulties they had trying to fit in and still make wise choices, something most folks battling the bulge have to deal with. Danny was the smartest and took charge of his situation and prepared his own meals at home. He proved he is focused and committed to improving himself. I hope he finds and keeps a proper balance once he is done at the ranch and after being declared this season's biggest loser. Hopefully he will get some help with proper exercise form and progression. It appears he is not ready for some of the exercises he has been assigned to perform. But that is not his fault. We know whose it is.

As for some of the other teammates my question is why did they go back to those restaurants? Shay was upset watching the kids eat what they were eating because they were following her past example. Same with Dina. My advice would be to follow Danny's lead- stay home and make your own meals. What Shay and Dina should know by now is that someone needs to decide for themselves that they are ready to make a change for the better. You can't decide for them. Advice and knowledge are free. It is only useful to those willing to accept it and in most cases they have asked for it or expressed a desire. These ladies should have made it clear to their loved ones that they need their support and HOW they need it. Don't just assume or expect.

David and Daniel

My big question is where was Daniels' former season 7 teammate David Lee? Are they no longer friends? Was he just unable to make it for Daniel's visit? Did he lose so much weight that I did not recognize him standing there? Or was he unfortunately not a biggest loser but sadly a biggest failure and the producers did not want him on camera? Hopefully he'll come around and lead and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Maybe when Daniel gets sent home they can become workout partners. But first they will need proper training and instruction. I fear that Daniel is learning too many unsafe practices from his current trainer. A major part of a trainer's job is to ensure client safety. One way of doing this is by spotting the client. This means the trainer is in position to help the client in case of breakdown or failure. The trainer should be able to catch the client or weight to hopefully prevent injury from occurring. Even following a properly designed program consisting of entirely safe exercises a mishap can happen in an instant. The trainer needs to be ready. That cannot happen when the trainer is putting the client at risk by standing on them.

I have questions for you:
1. If you had to choose between Bob or Jillian as your trainer who would you pick?

2. Who do you predict to be this Season's Biggest Loser? I've already told you my pick. Let's see who gets it right.

 

Honest Experience

There is quite a bit of confusion regarding the topic and subtopics of fitness. Whether it is weight loss (which should be FAT LOSS), functional training, bodybuilding training, reasons not to train like a bodybuilder, machines versus free weights, multiple sets versus single sets or continuous cardio versus HIIT you will find differing opinions. For someone trying to figure out the right thing to do it's enough to make their head spin. The unfortunate thing is that most of this can be blamed on us trainers. For the most part I think they (we) all mean well. We will gladly give our opinion on what we believe is the best method to help someone get fit, or fitter, and to get them to achieve their goals. Some will bash and criticize methods they don't agree with simply because it is not their preferred training style. But others are just plain being dishonest, usually because someone is trying to make a profit. Whether it is an infomercial marketer making outrageous claims about the latest ab exerciser, or a trainer or group pushing the newest fad program our industry is full of exaggeration.


I browse many fitness sites. Some I bookmark and visit regularly because they have great info. Others I find by clicking on ads when web surfing or checking my email, like the Google ads you see over to the left. Some of the sites happen to be for other trainers or training organizations. One thing that miffs me is the exaggerated years of experience that I have seen claimed. I do know the organization I am certified by requires you to be 18 before taking the certification exam. Maybe some organizations don't have that limitation but I have not researched this. Maybe there are some who's requirements are only "If you can read and fill in the answer you can take the test, but your mom needs to wait in another room." I have seen people claiming to have 25 years of experience who appear to be at most in their early 30's. Maybe it's the exercise that just makes them appear years or decades younger than they really are. At least some will make the distinction between years of being a trainer and years of exercise(fitness) experience. That's still not right as far as I'm concerned and trainers should not do this. What's even worse some will add the two figures together and lo and behold they were training before Jack Lalanne. Think of other occupations or professions trying to get away with that. Imagine a pilot that looks like he's fresh out of high school telling you he has 16 years of experience flying, because a radio controlled airplane he flew since he was 6 counts as experience, right? Or what about a doctor counting back from the first time she/he remembers putting a band aid on their own knee. No good. Every educator can tack on at least 16 more years of education experience by following this example. So just because someone has been exercising on their own it should not count as training experience. People have different needs when it comes to training. It is not always a one size fits all, and not everyone has the same goal. I know that what works for me won't necessarily be best for a client. When looking at a trainer's bio, do your homework. Exercise experience is NOT the same as training experience. If it was I could claim at least 42+ years experience, and that's not including just walking.

 

The Biggest Loser Season 8: Control


 The first thing I want to do is clarify that the exercise Jillian described during the first Trainer Tip was a "Stiff Leg Deadlift", not to be confused with the exercise called only a "deadlift." She was correct in the execution and benefits of stiff leg deadlifts, just not accurate with the name. Bob's tip about push up progression was right on the money. Now only if he would use that kind of progression with the show's morbidly obese contestants. More on Jillian later.

The theme for last night's show was control, or lack or loss of it.

The contestants were presented with a chance to spin a wheel for an opportunity to choose the members and trainers of the newly formed black and blue teams. It was little surprise that Tracy won. She should buy some Powerball Lottery tickets when she leaves the ranch. I'm not sure of her tactics for choosing the teams as she did (splitting up all but two of the original pairs, one being hers') but it was her choice and ultimately she hurt quite a few feelings on both teams. Former brown team's Danny declared it was "Game On". It has been Game On since they partnered up and put on different color shirts. Let's never forgot there is a quarter of a million USD on the line. The only change is that now people are pissed off.

And speaking of pissed off I'll come back to discussing Jillian. She was quick to claim that Tracy did not form a bond with Bob, Tracy only picked Bob to avoid the butt kicking Jillian was going to give her in the gym. Well, maybe if Jillian looked at the first word in her profession's title she might have a clue. Personal Trainer. Add "ity." Maybe that was the basis for Tracy's decision. It does matter that the trainer is experienced and qualified, but a huge factor in choosing a trainer is compatible personalities. Not everyone is motivated by screaming, cussing, threats and belittling. For some it can be a distraction from the training and add negative stress to an already stressful situation.

As usual there were plenty of tears shed. Mostly because of the way the original pairs were split up. Rather than letting it get the best of them all the contestants should have used it as a positive learning experience- support is great, dependence is bad. When they leave the ranch they will be relying on others for support so they should get used to not having the same teammates and trainers quick. It will help them succeed and stay successful long term. The trainers should have taken advantage of the switch to explain this.

There were two prominent situations that I felt both trainers were not following standards of true professionalism. A big part of our responsibility is client safety. Liz passing out on the treadmill is ultimately Bob's responsibility. He may not have been personally training her at the moment but he should have made her well aware of exercising at an appropriate level of intensity. Bob did do a good job educating his team on their shopping trip. Hmm... did you read my post last week?

Once again, if there was a non-exerciser watching and considering starting an exercise program there is the possibility they may have been scared away after seeing Jillian push Amanda to the point of losing her cookies, or Granny Smith apples I believe she said. Strike 2! Another instance of disservice to the fitness training profession courtesy of the National Broadcasting Company.

My last rant is about Dina's failed attempts at doing box jumps. First I'll say that plyometrics are not only a highly productive form of exercise, they can be extremely fun- for some. For others they can be terrifying as in Dina's case. I have experienced it with a client myself. But since it was not a requirement to do them we simply switched to an equally sufficient exercise the client was more comfortable with and moved on with the workout. No cameras, no drama, no message of overcoming one's fears, no wasted time. Just a safe, effective and productive workout without making someone feel inadequate or resistant to exercise.

 

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Friday the 18th.