I would like to commend Amanda Vogel on her article “Weighing in on The Biggest Loser” which was recently published in the IDEA Source Magazine.
The article was informative and she did a good job of presenting both sides of the story. I, on the other hand, don’t need to be so diplomatic
I think there should be a disclaimer at the beginning of the show that states “This show is for entertainment purposes only. Both the participants and the personal trainers depicted are not real.”
I disagree that the show has been wonderful for our industry and “given personal training more exposure.” Unprofessional, uneducated and negligent behavior might be entertaining and the show might purport to promote health and fitness but it is not the portrayal of personal trainers we need to gain legitimate respect in the health care profession. A previous fitness reality show with personal trainers had the owner, a personal trainer herself, “making out” with one of her employees. Although this might get ratings, it does not show us in the best or most truthful light.
It was also very interesting how AFAA evaded the certification validation issue. They are a business and know free advertising when they see it. I would love to question either of the trainers on anatomy, biomechanics, physiology or joint structure and function. Now that would be some entertainment! It just might be as fun as questioning Kristie Brinkley and Chuck Norris except they, at least, don’t profess to be personal trainers. It’s a shame the show chose personal trainers with very little education or experience when there are so many deserving fitness professionals. Don’t get me wrong. It is not the trainer’s fault. They are merely taking advantage of a great financial opportunity.
I’ve always contended that the Biggest Loser insulted and intimidated the exact demographic it intended to inspire. The Australian Study included in Amanda’s article confirmed my suspicions. I’ve always felt empathetic or embarrassed for the contestants as they were forced to stand bare-chested or in a sports bra before a national audience and then be voted off the show!
Last night I couldn’t sleep and was appalled at how many fitness infomercials there were promising fast results with little or no effort or promoting the idea that weight loss can be achieved by eating anything one desires. It should be illegal to make such negligent claims. Look at where this mind-set has gotten us.
Anything that appears on television is somewhat glorified or accepted. The Biggest Loser plays into this type of mentality. In my opinion, this show lowers the benchmark as to what is acceptable in our society. With the current health care system dragging us into economic ruin, the benchmark should be raised not lowered. We should be spotlighting people who, despite life’s trials and tribulations, have managed to keep a healthy body weight and fitness regimen, not people who have consistently made bad health decisions!
How far is the entertainment media going to go in order to caricaturize personal trainers just for the sake of TV ratings and what does this say about the American public amused by such unrealistic situations? I like to watch Spiderman and Batman but I know they are not real. The public needs to know this is not real and, although it is frustrating, sometimes it is up to us to enlighten them. Good job Amanda!