Ah yes. Here I am writing another post regarding Ms. Michaels and her role as ‘The America’s Toughest Trainer on NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser. You all how much I love Jillian!
So what’s all the controversy over this time? Well it seems that Jillian gave her team caffeine pills, which is against Biggest Loser rules ONLY because she didn’t consult the show doctor before giving it out, not because caffeine is banned. According to Jillian on her Facebook page, prior contestants have used caffeine supplements. I bet most people didn’t know that – I didn’t.
Who could’ve guessed what would happen next…
I actually watched the show this past Tuesday and unfortunately Jillian’s team was penalized for her choice and assessed a four-pound penalty at weigh in. It turns out that Craig, one of her team members would later go home but truthfully I’m not sure if it was the penalty that cost him his spot on campus.
And it doesn’t really matter, because I’m not writing this post to give you a play by play of the episode.
What I want to talk about is the aftermath of Jillian’s actions and what people are saying.
I accidentally stumbled upon a few tweets that said something like ‘my image of her is shattered’ and ‘her fitness suggestions are all tainted now’. One said ‘I’m surprised she’d risk her career…’ and I saw one other that said something along the lines of inferring immoral, unethical and unprofressional behavior. One person even went so far as to say ‘ I wonder would what else she would recommend’ in a very suggestive context.
Ok. Seriously? Are you people kidding me?
Listen. I’ve had my fair share of critiquing the show and Jillian’s methods in years past. But people, it’s a caffeine pill for Pete Sake! In her defense, Jillian was quite eloquent in her response saying she stands by her choice and that she’d rather see her people take a caffeine supplement than drink endless cups of coffee.
I have to agree and I’ll also admit that I’ve used caffeine pills and pre-workout supplements that contain the ergogenic stimulant as well. Millions have. Caffeine use in sports performance is nothing new.
I’ve said in more recent posts that I’ve become a fan of Ms. Michaels, but that wouldn’t cloud my judgment on this matter. She may have broken Biggest Loser rules, but to say she’s tarnished or ruined her career or acted in an unethical manner is just stupid.
In fact the contestants may have taken in LESS caffeine by using the pills in place of coffee! How so you ask? Most caffeine pills are either 100 or 200mg doses. Whereas a cup of coffee can range from 200 – 400 or more mg! In fact the Venti Bold I get from Starbucks clocks in at nearly 450 mg.
And some days I drink two!
So if Jillian had bought everyone a round of Starbucks (without doctor approval) everything would be A OK, but because she suggested a caffeine pill she’s being chastised? Give me a break.
Caffeine has been proven safe for use in healthy individuals and has long been used within the athletic community and fitness industry as a stimulant to promote fat burn in addition to alertness. It works especially well when the trainee is in a fasted state or in low blood sugar. It helps to increase endurance, reduce fatigue through sparing glycogen for fuel and it helps the process of releasing free fatty acids into the blood stream for use by muscle tissue.
The IOC – International Olympic Committee and World Doping Agency removed caffeine from the banned list of substances in 2004. AND it’s LEGAL. Olympian and professional athletes can legally use it in sport and so can the Biggest Loser contestants WITH the doc approval. But when watching the show it was made to seem like Jillian had done something very wrong and that she had cheated.
Even the FDA – Food and Drug Administration has classified caffeine as GRAS; Generally Recognized As Safe, because most people who consume caffeine take in 500 mg or less per day, which is far below what would be considered a toxic dose.
Now that we know the truth, Jillian isn’t looking so unprofessional now is she?
Hmmmm…sounds like there may be merit to its use, especially on a show where contestants are working out for hours per day and trying to lose bodyfat!
Are there risks? Of course. There are risks anytime you ingest a chemical into your body, but no more than drinking coffee. And how many of us do that? Is there potential for abuse? Sure. Just like the people who drink coffee non stop all day long.
I wonder if creatine usage is banned or if the doc needs to be consulted? Surely there’s no harm in boosting creatine levels for better strength and performance. Do you see my point?
If we found out that Bob suggested creatine to his team without doc approval would we be seeing the same result and firestorm of idiocy?
I highly doubt it.
I’m not condoning or suggesting that anyone run out and use caffeine. And if you do, I urge you to do your own research and evaluate whether it’s right for you. Heck, I’ll go a step further and say that you should consult your doc before taking caffeine or any other substance.
There. I covered all of the bases. Right?
What do you think? Did Jillian go to far?