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Biggest Loser's Marathon

Friday, September 23, 2011

I just wrote a long comment on a thread about the new Biggest Loser season. I've watched only part of the first episode...so far. (I just haven't had time to finish it yet.) A lot of us are very disturbed that they announced that ALL of the contestants will participate in a marathon...in the desert...at the end of the show and the winner will get to be one of the finalists. Here's my response.

I just started watching BL last season and found it incredibly inspirational...especially as I was just starting on this journey myself! And, no, I didn't have to lose 100+ pounds. I lost 25-30 and am now a size 8. But, I was starting from 'the couch' and I cried almost every week watching the contestants overcome obstacles! The show challenged me. Even as I was running, or whatever, I thought...wow! If they can do 'x', then I'm not pushing myself enough. (Very reasonable things...like how fast they were moving on the treadmill.) And, the day several of them overcame their fear of heights spoke so much to me! I want to conquer my fears, too!

On the other hand, I was disturbed by the first episode, even though I've so far only watched about 1/3rd of it. The marathon idea appaled me...and it'll be in the DESERT!!! And, I believe last time they did a marathon it was only the 3 or 4 final contestants.

Another thing that I found very hard to watch...and very wrong...was their first workout. They were yelling at them & telling them they couldn't drink water. (I need a lot of water...more than most, I think, when I'm working out!) And, these people are obese & haven't been doing anything. One of them had to do 10 pushups...when I'm not working on mine, I can't even pull out 10 pushups! And, I just kept thinking, I'm in 'good shape' and that workout would be HARD!!!! Incline of 12%!!???!!! I've only done 6! (Then again, that is a challenge now calling my name!)

But, after watching last year's season, I know that probably half of these people will be in GREAT shape when the show is over. And, they did ask for this. And, they are being monitored.

As far as the marathon, I did my first half marathon 5.5 months after getting off the coach. I was 40 & had never ran before. I struggled with 30 seconds at first. But, I did the HM at a 2 min run/1 min walk interval. It took me almost 3 hours. And, I could have kept a steady pace and done a marathon I think. No, I couldn't have RUN an entire marathon, but I could run a little walk a little...it was really easy. In fact, 5 days later, I did 8 miles. I just felt GREAT & set out to do 4...then did 5...& 6...

I haven't decided if I'll continue to watch or not. I love watching the contestants emerge from frustrated, obese people who feel so ashamed & pitiful, to confident, in shape people who have conquered so much! It is very inspiring to me.

No, they don't use the best methods. (Do they even get rest days???) But, it is evidentally possible...because they keep doing it & keep changing lives!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Maybe we can all do the MCM next year. :)
    3580 days ago
    First of all I love your background picture.... love the smile...love the #1 you are wearing... it's awesome!! I agree that I always am shocked to see that they are going to push these people to run a marathon...and I too was disturbed that they are doing it in the desert (although it looked quite breezy....) and I heard the no water comment too and thought WTH?? But I do love the show and will definitely continue to watch it.

    I love to see the transformations... but I also know that probably only half of those people will actually keep the weight off in the long term... if they don't change their mind set and lifestyle it will never get easier for them...

    I do believe editing also gives the show an extra dramatic spin. I've never heard of contestants saying they wish they DIDN'T do the show - so I have to believe they are helped in many ways overall!

    I can't fathom the thought of running a full marathon - so it's inspirational to see these completely obese people getting to the point that they can.
    3594 days ago
  • BILL60
    I think it's great!! Desire overcomes many obstacles. Most of these folks have been cuddling themselves for years and need many "wake up calls". Your body can withstand more than we think. My first marathon was done with 2.5 months of preparation. I finished and survived. Hang tough and don't cuddle yourself.
    3594 days ago
  • I82MUCHB4
    I have been watching the show since the first season and I know that their methods of weight loss are extreme and unsafe. So I am going to agree with you there.

    The water thing.. I think was just showing that the lady was trying to find reasons to take breaks and not work as hard as the trainers knew she could. At least that's how I took it.

    Running a marathon wouldn't even be a possibility for me because even at 98 lbs I had trouble with shin splints so that would have made me mad knowing that if a marathon was my ticket back in, I wouldn't have a chance!

    I still enjoy watching transformations mentally and physically and it serves its purpose for entertainment for me. In some ways the show can be considered a gift, but those contestants have to be ready mentally by the time they leave the show to keep off the weight or it was a waste of their time.

    Unfortunately, most of the nation doesn't know this and they are watching and forgetting it's literally a game. These 'losers' are using their bodies to win money. They may say it doesn't matter to them, but c'mon... who wouldn't try a little harder and pop a few laxatives while they were at home trying to suprise everyone when they step on that scale one last time!

    This got kinda long.. so I'm sorry. But when the topic is B.L., I feel somewhat compelled to get my 2cents in!
    3595 days ago
    I was shocked at the marathon announcement as well! I have watched BL from day one - only missing while I was deployed. Crazy!

    And, when you decide to do your marathon - let me know - I just may join you.
    3595 days ago
    I came across your blog and I cannot say that I agree with anything more than what you wrote.

    Running a marathon after 3 or 4 months is crazy and unsafe. The fact that your heart literally breaks down after running one is enough to make anyone think twice. And even with all their working out (which I hear they do about 8-9 hours a day of it), they still most likely have not built the kind of endurance, energy, and cardiovascular muscle needed to safely cross the finish line.

    But mostly, it bothers me because it gives people unrealistic expectations of what they should be able to accomplish after 4 months of working out. I even heard my friend, who is about 300 pounds, tell me that she signed up for a marathon two months from now. She cant run 30 seconds yet... let alone a mile. I told her to try to shoot for a 10K, but she pointed how the Biggest Loser contestant can do it, so can she. Yikes.
    3595 days ago
    I even had a problem with the BL marathon when it was just the final 4. Almost all running coaches will advise that you have at LEAST a year of running under your belt before you start to train for a marathon. It's not about your fitness level at that distance, it's about what your body is used to. The amount of stress put on a fit and healthy body during a marathon is still pretty huge, and those athletes who don't do high-impact sports just don't have the body composition to withstand so much pounding on the pavement! Never mind asking a very recently obese non-athlete to do it! Even competitive runners don't always want to do a marathon - it's something that could be quite hateful if running long distance isn't your "thing"! I love being a runner, but I get that it's not for everyone. It bugs me that lately everyone feels they *should* run because everyone else does it. I don't love swimming, so if someone told me I had to do a 4-5 hour swim I would absolutely dread it!
    3595 days ago
  • DRB13_1
    I made the same comment to my BFF yesterday, that doing a marathon even with training is not for everyone. David Goggins, my inspiration, is an ultramarathoner who mentally pushes past pain, and his first major event ended with broken bones in his feet and a degree of kidney failure.
    We'll see what happens!
    3595 days ago
    That's the thing about TV. We only see what the producers want us to see. I've read many articles on BL over the years and not it's probably not the greatest program. These people workout like it's their job (hours and hours) because it is. They give up everything to come there, no job, no reality, only working out and working on their own issues. I can't say that I've agreed with their methods over the years but the outcome is awesome (if they maintain it). I doubt the trainers are really depriving them of water though. I saw the particular segment you were referring to and I think it was that person's way of stopping exercise or not doing what they were supposed to do. I could be wrong but it was my perception.

    A lot of overweight people I know won't even watch the show because they feel it's so unrealistic. Last year they tried to change that and had some contestants doing the program at home. I still think that being "on the ranch" is TOTALLY different than doing this on your own. I've never had hundreds of pounds to lose so I can't speak from experience. I do know that I'm often inspired by what they can and do accomplish and often think "if they can do X then I can certainly do Y". It is motivational in one way or another. It also has shown me that a lot of my food issues are more mental and emotional than anything. There are root cause to behavior and I've tried to dig around and find those issues and correct them in myself. My favorite episode is the makeover and I wait for it every year.
    3595 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2035636
    I find it asking way to much for these people and most people to do a marathon - look at the one older lady with the very bad knees - I can't imagine it would be healthy for her. I have read comments from past Biggest Loser contestants where the concepts they are feed is to not drink water before a weigh in so they will definitely be lower in weight. Not the healthiest - it is a "TV" reality show.
    3595 days ago
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