Is The Biggest Loser Dangerous


At some point in our lives, each of us has probably watched ‘The Biggest Loser’ at least once. The race to lose the most weight brings with it a lot of emotions and many hours of exercise, with some of the winners losing well over 100kg. However, what is the real cost of the show?


The Pros

Real Change

While it may be hard to believe, there are some benefits and positive outcomes from The Biggest Loser. For starters, some individuals who compete on the show can make real, and dramatic changes to their lives. These individuals have previously tried to lose weight on their own, but have been largely unsuccessful. The show provides both support and advice that the participants may not have had access to without participating. By shedding their significant excess weight, they are able to have a new lease on life.



For people watching the show at home, they may feel inspired and more accountable. Walking into a gym, overweight individuals may not feel inspired or be able to relate to who they see around them. It can be intimidating as an overweight person to walk into a gym full of ripped and fit people, in turn making them more demotivated as there is no one they can relate to and they feel out of place. By watching the show they may become more conscious about their dietary and exercise habits, and they are able to see ‘role models’ who are in a similar situation to themselves who are being successful at weight loss. These factors combined may be enough inspiration to lead them to overhaul their own bad habits and pursue a successful fat loss journey.


The Cons

With rapid and dramatic weight loss, comes quite a few drawbacks.


Intense Exercise

Firstly, the exercise the participants are asked to complete on the show is extremely intense and can cause injuries and illness such as rhabdomyolysis, a condition where your muscles begin to break down causing severe muscle pain. The participants on The Biggest Loser are generally individuals who have not performed exercise, particularly strenuous exercise, in a long time. This sudden increase in activity coupled with a high body mass can be a recipe for injury.


Unmaintainable Weight Loss

Another issue with the rapid weight loss encouraged on The Biggest Loser is it is most often not maintainable. The metabolism and hormones of the contestants are negatively impacted by the very low-calorie diets they are on in order to lose weight. As a result of these diets, the participants’ resting metabolic rate is often slowed, meaning they do not burn as many calories throughout the day before exercise. A slower resting metabolic rate will predispose the participants to regain the weight they have just worked so hard to lose. Additionally, once they leave the show they must go back to a regular schedule which can include structured work or education and other real-life commitments. This change in timetable provides a vast change from the whole-day exercise sessions the participants are exposed to on the show. Quite simply, the participants do not know how to assimilate back into normal, everyday adult life and balance their commitments with an exercise regime.


Unhealthy Body Image

Some anecdotes from previous participants on the show also reveal what really went on in The Biggest Loser household. Not only were participants often shamed by images of themselves decorating the house, but the competitive nature of the show encouraged dangerous methods for weight loss. By dehydrating themselves the participants could achieve rapid weight loss which was better for the cameras, but not their health. The focus on purely weight loss and not body composition does not reward individuals who started smaller than others and also does not take into consideration fat loss compared with muscle gain or muscle loss. The weight loss focus does not encourage a healthy, balanced lifestyle with fat loss and muscle gains, it promotes starvation.


So, What’s My Opinion?

It’s important to remember that the Biggest Loser is a TV show, and it isn’t true life. As mentioned above, the way the show is filmed can be manipulated to make people seem as though they are losing more weight than they are – and this form of editing is not unique to The Biggest Loser.

When embarking on a weight loss journey, remember that losing fat is not the only goal. Setting goals around cutting out bad food choices is a great way to gradually improve your eating habits without rebounding and binge eating. Setting performance goals such as learning to squat 60kg or running 1km can be so much more rewarding than hitting your target weight. Performance goals can be a much more encouraging way to motivate yourself through your weight loss journey other than purely aesthetic or weight-based goals. Also, the scale will fluctuate day to day, and is not always a reliable way to track your progress as gaining muscle may mean gaining the same amount of weight you just lost in fat. Taking photos, or even just noticing changes in the way your clothes fit you are much better ways of assessing your progress. Having looser jeans or starting to see your biceps pop soon become much more exciting than seeing the number go down on the scale.

It is also important to remember that because of the structure of the show, the contestants have a great support network. They cannot access the food they would normally eat, they are forced to exercise, and do not have to worry about real-life chores such as cooking a meal for the family, going to work, or getting children to various commitments. Therefore, it is important to take away from this that you cannot model your weight loss journey off what you see on TV. Being in such a controlled environment makes it easy to lose weight, and assuming that will work for you as well will not allow you to make realistic plans and goals. Instead, be inspired by the changes the contestants have made to their lives and allow that to fuel your decision to take your health into your own hands. Set yourself realistic goals and expectations, and organise your nutrition and training around your actual life schedule. The harder you make things for yourself, the less likely you are to follow through. Don’t expect the world from yourself, just get started!

Learning A New Skill

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence

Unconscious incompetence is the first stage of skill acquisition. At this point, the athlete doesn’t know that they aren’t capable of the skill, and also does not value the performance of the skill. For example, the athlete is unable to perform a muscle up, and does not see how it could be beneficial to their development as an athlete.

One of the most important steps necessary to allow the athlete to move to stage 2 is to teach them the importance, relevance, or benefits of the skill. Until the athlete understands these, they will not dedicate the time and energy to improving their abilities in order to attain said skill.

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence

During this stage, the athlete begins their skill acquisition journey. The athlete is a true beginner, understanding the relevance of the skill but they do not have the ability to perform the skill. Additionally, the athlete is interested in progressing further and developing the skill. For example, the athlete wants to learn how to do a muscle up but knows they currently do not possess the skills to do so, and in turn, they seek an experienced coach who can guide them in learning the muscle up.

One of the ways individuals can progress to the next stage of skill acquisition is under the guidance of an experienced coach. Without this external guidance, the athlete will find it difficult to gain competence in the skill.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence

This stage of skill acquisition is when the athlete is midway through their journey. The athlete is beginning to learn the skill and is now able to perform it successfully. As the name of this stage implies, the athlete is very conscious of their actions within the skill and will be unsuccessful if they are not focused

This stage is where practice is extremely necessary, especially conscious and focused practice. Through repetition, the athlete will be able to move to the fourth and final stage.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence

The final stage of skill acquisition is where the skill has become somewhat automatic as if performing the skill is second nature. The athlete no longer has to think about how to perform the skill, they can simply execute it with less effort required. A benefit of this level of skill development is the athlete can now perform multiple tasks at the same time. This may involve performing a muscle up, and communicating with a team mate to let them know they should be prepared to start the next task.

One feature of this level of development is that it also needs to be maintained. Frequent practice of the skill is necessary to ensure it remains second nature to the athlete, otherwise, they may slip back into earlier stages.


What is the ‘Asian squat’?

You may not have heard of the term ‘Asian squat’ before. It is essentially a squat where the individual is able to sit in an extremely deep squat position while keeping their heels firmly planted on the ground. Often the individual feels this position is quite comfortable, and some people can stay there for prolonged periods of time while performing activities such as eating, taking photos, playing with children or yes, even going to the bathroom.


Why is the ‘Asian squat’ so predominant in Asians?

As you may or may not know, squat toilets are fairly predominant in Asian countries. They are often deemed to be more sanitary (although this may be debatable depending on the condition one finds these toilets in) as there is no bare skin and seat contact. In addition, lots of people see the squat as a great way to sit and prefer it to using chairs as it can be performed anywhere. In comparison, Westernised countries have adopted the upright seat-style toilet that we are more familiar with in Australia, and use chairs far more frequently. In this case, the saying is true, practice has made perfect with the Asian squat.

However, it is not exclusive to people of Asian descent. I have seen people who do not have Asian heritage and are able to sit into identically deep and comfortable Asian squats. I have seen people with Asian heritage who have never used a squat toilet and can still sit into a perfect squat. I’ve seen people of Asian descent who cannot squat deeply. Also, I’ve seen toddlers able to sit into squats more easily than most adults, regardless of race. So, if the Asian squat isn’t exclusive to race, what makes it so easy for some and so difficult for others?


What allows for a deep squat?

One of the most important factors for a deep squat is ankle flexibility, and unsurprisingly this isn’t exclusive to people of Asian descent. Having flexible calves allows you to sit into a deep squat while pushing your knees forward. If you’d like to get technical, Bryan Ausinheiler measured the ankle flexion angle of his one day old daughter, which was 70 degrees. The majority of people in the West have approximately 30 degrees. If you do not regularly mobilise this area of your body, as some people do when they are using the bathroom daily etc., this area will tighten up and make it difficult for you to a deep squat. This problem is even more pronounced in individuals who wear high-heels on a regular basis, as regularly having your heel higher than the ball of your foot can cause the calf to tighten up. As for Asians who have never used a squat toilet and have been born and raised in Westernised countries, they may have adopted the position by copying their parents and other relatives throughout their life.

Essentially, we are all born with the flexibility for an Asian squat, but it’s a case of use it or lose it!


Are there any benefits to a deep squat?

Being able to perform a deep squat is a great display of flexibility. Being flexible, to a point, is beneficial to your overall health and movement. There is a small tradeoff between strength and flexibility, however. Having too much flexibility can create instability in your joints, increasing your risk of injury. Also, there is an optimal amount of stretch in muscles which facilitates the greatest amount of strength and power output. Sitting in too deep a squat can be a great way to limit your 1RM or maximal squatting strength.

Additionally, squatting while defecating has been theorised as a much healthier way to go to the bathroom, due to a more optimal positioning of the muscles within the pelvis although this is still somewhat debated. Most Western toilets do not allow for squatting, but you can purchase products online which imitate a squatting position without the use of an actual squat toilet. Whether these are a bit of a gimmick or not is somewhat unclear, but whatever helps!

Hip osteoarthritis (a condition regularly associated with advanced age) is very rare in Eastern countries such as India and Asia, although knee arthritis rates are similar to Western countries. While there may be genetic or other factors (diet etc.) that play into this, the regular performance of deep squats may also play a part. Additionally, maintaining strength and a larger range of motion can allow individuals to stay more independent for longer at an advanced age.

To Roll Or Not To Roll

What are the benefits of foam rolling?

Foam rolling has recently increased in popularity within the athletic community, used as a method to aid in recovery as well as in preparation for a training session. It’s an inexpensive alternative to sports massage and can be used to sort out small niggles before they become big problems. But have you ever wondered what foam rolling actually does? How does it actually benefit your performance?

Reduction of DOMS

It is believed that foam rolling after a training session can help to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) experienced in the following days. Foam rolling helps to relieve one possible cause of DOMS, the inflammation and tightness in the connective tissue of the muscle. Massage by a foam roller can potentially promote improved blood flow to these areas as well as reduce tightness, thus attenuating potential pain. Indeed multiple studies have found that when compared to a control group, foam rolling reduced muscle pain and tenderness, with the benefits continuing as participants continued to foam roll daily for up to 48 hours post-exercise.

To help reduce any DOMS you may feel from your exercise session, aim to roll out the main muscle groups you used. If you can, continue to roll out each day following your session to continue to feel the benefits!

Effects on performance? Debateable!

It’s also believed that foam rolling before an exercise session can help to improve performance. When performed before a training session, foam rolling does not provide any benefit over other similar exercise preparation methods for athletic performance. However, when performed after a training session as a method of recovery, the results are both positive and negative. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why this may be the case, but as foam rolling has been found to reduce the severity of DOMS the lower muscle pain levels may allow athletes to achieve greater performance.

Another argument for the benefit of foam rolling on performance may actually stem from your ability to perform more sessions in a training week. As you experience less muscle pain and fatigue, you are more likely to attend the gym for another session, get another workout in, and therefore improve your performance.

There isn’t a single argument for or against foam rolling to benefit performance. Its effect will depend on whether it is performed before or after a training session, having both short and long-term effects.

To foam roll, or to not foam roll: that is the question…

In summary, the benefits of foam rolling are clear. Foam rolling can be used as a method to improve your recovery and ensure you are able to perform at your best in your next training session. However, it does not appear to be superior to any other method when used as a warm-up and mobility technique. If you don’t already, try it out after your next training session and see if you can feel the benefits!


Teams of 3
For Time (30 Minute Cap):
600 Meter Run With Plate (everyone carries) (45/25)
140/100 Calorie Row
100 Hang Power Cleans (115/80)
80 Thrusters (115/80)
60 Cleans (115/80)

11 Ways to Curb Your Bad Eating Habits


1. Hide Your Vices

This step seems fairly simple and obvious, but having tempting foods sitting in front of you on a regular basis does not make it easy to avoid them. Try to avoid buying these foods altogether, but if you must have them in the house-place them somewhere you will not see them very often. Out of sight, out of mind!

2. Make Small, Manageable Changes

It can be a little overwhelming to completely revamp your diet all at once. This method works for some people who are ‘all or nothing’, but if you’ve tried this method and failed you may want to rethink your methods. Try making small changes, such as drinking more water one week, cutting out soft drinks the next, and including a vegetable in each meal the week afterwards. These smaller changes are easier to adapt to, meaning you can use this method to gradually cut out each bad habit and replace them with new ones.

3. Write a Shopping List

Look through your cupboard and fridge before you leave home, and work off a meal plan if possible, so that you can buy the exact foods you’ll need for the upcoming week. You will not waste money on buying excess food that you do not need, and you’ll have all the ingredients on hand for your meals. This means no last minute dinner plans (which are usually unhealthy choices) because you don’t have ingredients. An added bonus is that you won’t find yourself strolling down the tempting food aisles as you try to remember what you needed because these usually spell disaster for sticking with healthy eating!

4. Don’t Shop Hungry

This is a simple and effective tip. When you shop hungry, you’re more likely to buy items you are craving such as simple snacks and junk foods. Eating before you shop will make it easier to stick to your shopping list and make healthier choices.

5. Practice Mindful Eating

Eating while distracted can cause you to mindlessly overeat as you do not allow yourself enough time to feel full. This same principle applies when you eat food on the run such as in the car. Instead, try eating at the table without distractions such as TV. This can lead to some great bonding time with family and friends, and also allows you to eat more slowly and mindfully.

6. Change Your Plate Size

It’s amazing how we can trick our mind with plate sizes! Placing your food on a smaller plate or bowl can make the same portion size appear a lot bigger, leaving you more satisfied with your meal.

7. Avoid Sugary Drinks

Calories from sugary drinks such as soft drinks and juices can add up even though we are not aware of it. Instead of consuming these excess calories in the form of a drink, try to limit yourself to primarily water. By doing so, you can eat those calories rather than drinking them which will make you feel more satisfied and help you stick to your weight loss goals.

8. Drink More Water

It is important to keep hydrated throughout your day, otherwise, your body can struggle to function. However, drinking water also has another benefit. The water will fill your stomach without the same calorie burden as a snack and can help hold you over until your next meal.

9. Don’t Eat Out of the Bag, Look at Portion Sizes

Have you ever actually measured out the portion size on the packet? You would probably be surprised how small the serving size may actually be. You may think that you are being very virtuous by choosing a snack with a small amount of fat and carbohydrates, but instead of having 1 serving you eat 4. All those servings add up! Instead of eating straight from the box or container, try measuring out a serving size and placing it in a separate bowl. This will help you understand how much a serving size actually is, and stop you from mindlessly eating more servings than you intended.

10. Meal Plans and Prepped Food

Meal prepping is a great way to stick to your diet. When you come home at the end of the day, you might be too tired to bother cooking a healthy meal. Instead of ordering a pizza, why not pull out your already prepped healthy meal and microwave it? Try cooking multiple servings of a dish, and place them in storage containers either in the fridge or freezer. Some foods keep better than others, so keep this in mind when you are prepping.

Another tip is to try and have things already cut up. Really want a snack but can’t be bothered to cut up carrot sticks? Try and cut up several carrots at a time, and then store away what you don’t need for your snack. This can help you make better choices.

11. What’s Your Trigger?

Lastly, look at WHY you are eating what you’re eating. Is it because you had a bad day and you feel like rubbish, so you feel like you deserve that chocolate? Using food as a coping mechanism does not benefit you in the long run, and can cause more problems than it solves. Start to be mindful of what triggers your bad eating habits, and try to use alternative coping methods. For example, sometimes when I have a rough day I would really like a chocolate, but I know that I will feel worse after eating it. Instead, I try to get out in the fresh air for a walk or head to the gym and exercise. Both of these activities help to release endorphins, which makes me feel much better afterwards.


Finally, it’s good to remember that if you slip up on your diet and make a bad choice, it isn’t the end of the world. The day isn’t a write-off, and you haven’t failed. If you do end up cheating on your diet, accept it and move on. Don’t throw out your eating for the rest of the day. Each meal is an opportunity for you to make good choices. Nobody is perfect and eats clean 100% of the time, we’re all human!


1) Push Press – Build to a heavy set of 10

2) AMRAP 12:
2 Push Presses (115/80)
2 Toes to Bar
2 Box Jump Overs (24/20)
4 Push Presses (115/80)
4 Toes to Bar
4 Box Jump Overs (24/20)
Up by (2) reps until the finish.

Winter Is Just Around The Corner

It can be difficult to find the motivation to train during winter. Not only is it often dark and cold, but you’ll often be wearing thick, concealing clothing. No one will see if you put on a few pounds, right?

Stopping your training during winter means you have to fight so much harder to get back to your desired body shape and fitness in preparation for summer. It’s much easier to maintain a healthy routine than to try and break bad habits. Additionally, training helps to keep you both physically and mentally healthy, which is a year-long priority!

So how can you keep yourself motivated and maintain your training throughout winter?

Lean On Your Group Of Friends

We’re heavily influenced by the people we associate with in everyday life. That’s why it’s important to find the right group of people to train with. A friend group will help motivate you on days when you’re struggling to find the motivation to train and you can hold each other accountable to a regular training schedule. It also means you can look forward to having some fun and a good laugh when you get to train together! If you prefer a more personalized approach, a personal trainer can help you keep motivated and working towards your goals during the colder months. Yes, we do personal training here!

Finding the right motivation for you to keep you accountable to your training during winter will help you stay consistent in working towards your goals.

Prep Your Gear the Night Before

Try organizing your clothes and gym bag the night before your workout. If you train in the morning you could try sleeping in your gym clothes, meaning you don’t need to motivate yourself to change in the cold. If you train at night, having your gear prepared and with you at work or university means you can head straight to the gym after you’re done. If you have to go searching around for your gym gear or have to head home before you go to the gym, you’re less likely to get out the door and get a training session in.

By having all your gear prepared and ready to go, you have one less excuse holding you back from your training.

Brighten Up Your Morning

Waking up on a dark early morning can be demotivating, and it becomes very easy to decide you’re too tired to train. There are alarm clocks which are designed to mimic a sunrise by gradually increasing their brightness as it gets closer to your pre-set wake up time. This way you don’t need to shock your body by flicking on your bright lights, and you are able to wake up gradually as if the sun is rising. Some smart lightbulbs can be programmed to perform a similar feature. These can usually be installed in your existing light fixtures and lamps, and controlled via your smartphone.

By waking up in a brighter environment, you can make it less of a struggle to get yourself out of bed and into the gym.

Reshape Your Warm Up

Wearing multiple, thin layers to the gym is also a handy tip. By doing this, you can arrive at the gym in comfort, but gradually remove the layers as you warm up. This way you can arrive at the gym nice and warm, but not have to sweat it out in thicker winter clothing during your actual workout.

It doesn’t need to be stated that it gets cold in winter. Because of this, you may find that you feel stiffer than usual. Your muscles become stiffer, and blood flow is reduced in the extremities to help preserve your core body temperature. Try warming up for a bit longer, and increasing your mobility time in winter. This will help increase your blood flow to your muscles and increase the elasticity in your muscles. Not only will this prepare you physically and mentally for the workout, but also helps prevent any unnecessary injuries you may get from an incomplete warm up.

Suck It Up!

Training during winter can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Equip yourself with the right tools and mindset to ensure you get the most out of your training during the colder months. Keep consistent with your training and continue to work towards your goals!

2017 Holiday Schedule

Closed on January 1st.

May 29th 10am only

July 4th CLOSED

September 4th CLOSED

Closed November 23rd and 24th

Closed December 25th & 26th







Stop Making Excuses!

Stop making excuses and do something about your fitness! Now is the time to get started at CrossFit MHz. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell a stranger! We are offering a BOGO for the new year: pay for January and get February for free! Either that or choose 1/2 off for 2 months. We are the best deal in CrossFit. If you think that we are still too expensive then check out the new CrossFit gym in Boulder for $235 / month! Call Justin at 360-241-4644 to get started today!