THE BIGGEST LOSER: MY TAKE ON THE NEW TRAINERS
By now I’m sure you all know I’m not a fan of NBC’s hit weight loss show The Biggest Loser. You can read my full thoughts in my piece, Why Biggest Isn’t Best, but in a nutshell my main reason for disliking the series is its complete lack of reality, and the fact that it’s a TV format trying to disguise itself as a show about fitness.
So here we are in season 11 and the show has added two new trainers to the cast, partly to cover Jillian’s upcoming departure at the end of the series. The duo are Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronova. During the episode the contestants were given the opportunity to choose teams of trainers, either opting for Bob and my ‘favorite’ (note the sarcasm here) Jillian, or the “unknowns”. Those that chose the newbies received 4 weeks immunity.
Throughout the show the producers teased the audience with the identities of the new trainers – showing them in silhouettes and using camera angles that masked their faces. They interspersed clips of the “unknown” trainers off campus workouts and truthfully, they looked like your standard Biggest Loser workouts – i.e. too much too soon.
For full disclosure, I actually submitted myself to be considered as a trainer for The Biggest Loser, like pretty much every trainer in America it seems! But I was very honest in my thoughts on the show and told the producers I didn’t agree with their methods. Surprise, surprise I didn’t get the gig – but that’s cool with me because I have Angry Trainer Fitness now! So hah!
So are the two new recruits up to the job? Brett has quite a resume and is an amazing athlete himself. He looks great, has celebrity clients, impresses people with his acrobatics, and on paper, certainly looks the part. Cara on the other hand is a Golden Gloves boxer, an actress, and…. that’s it. There may be more – but that’s all I could find via an online search. Both are attractive individuals and speak fairly well. So what does this all mean, are they good trainers? More important are they qualified?
My money is on Brett being a winner for one simple reason – he lives fitness everyday and clearly it’s his passion. The last time we saw a trainer who actually embodied what they were trying to instill in contestants was when Kim Lyons was a trainer, and I actually though she was the best trainer to date. I’m not so sure about Cara, as it’s not a given that an athlete knows how to coach or mentor, even though they’ve been coached or mentored themselves. Taking direction and giving it are two different things.
That’s not to say she can’t be a great trainer, or that Brett will be. With so many different certifications available, the piece of paper that says “certified” means nothing to me. Being certified doesn’t mean you’re qualified to train another individual. It just means you took a test and passed. Most people aren’t aware that in many states you can’t cut hair, or polish nails legally without passing a state exam, but in the personal training industry anyone, anywhere, certified or not, can open and train people in a gym. That’s crazy and hopefully one day we’ll see some standards set forth. I’m more interested in whether or not a “trainer” lives a fitness driven lifestyle, and if in their own life they try to educate themselves on a constant basis.
Which brings me back to the Biggest Loser. I don’t dislike Jillian because of her questionable fitness credentials; I dislike her because she’s a poor ambassador for my profession. Believe it or not, the training regimens on the show are not earth shattering. It’s quite simple actually, keep people moving 6 hours per day through various modes of exercise and combine that with a calorie restricted diet. Guess what happens? People lose weight. But the mental and emotional approach the two new trainers take to motivate the contestants is what most interests me. I’m hoping we’ll see more Bob style compassion, empathy and sincerity rather then belittling and screaming at people.
I’m never going to agree with the process that happens on the Biggest Loser campus – you simply shouldn’t be losing that much weight that quickly. But it would be great to see some trainers that treat this job like what it is, and that’s a viable, credible, profession. I’d like to see the days of people associating personal training with Jillian style screaming over. One thing is for sure, I won’t miss seeing those flared nostrils once they’re gone!
But what do you think of the shows new trainers? Do you think they’ll be as good as Bob and Jillian? Start weighing in people, I know you have an opinion!
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