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Biggest Loser Contestants Run a Marathon: Inspirational or Irresponsible?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
On a recent episode of NBC's "The Biggest Loser", the 4 remaining contestants were given their final challenge: run a marathon. They had 60 days to train, and although the episode doesn't discuss the details of their training program, we assume that they did most of the training on their own. Maybe some people found inspiration by watching the contestants struggle through the 26.2 mile race. But as I watched the episode, I just became more and more frustrated. Am I the only one?

Let me say up front that I am not a fan of the show, as I think it sets viewers up for unrealistic expectations about how much weight they can safely lose in a certain amount of time. I watched this episode online after it aired. I know a lot of people draw huge inspiration from the show, and it has encouraged some people to take the first steps towards changing their lives. And that's a good thing. But running a marathon with just 60 days to train? I think that's irresponsible.

Having run 5 marathons myself, I know what kind of training is involved. Most training programs are 16 to 18 weeks in length, and assume you've been running an average of 12-15 miles a week for a year before you start. They are a long-term commitment, because it takes your body a long time to safely build up the endurance to tackle such a distance. But if you train properly, it can be an amazing experience.

The episode didn't talk much about how the contestants trained for the race. One person commented that the farthest training run they did was 15 miles. I'm sure it would have been difficult to do more with only 60 days to train, but that can make for a rough race (both physically and mentally) when you've only trained for a little over half of the distance. They also didn't say whether they were coached about other options like the run/walk method. It seemed like they were just told they were going to "run a marathon". The run/walk method would have been a great option for them, perhaps running for one minute and then walking for a minute, following this pattern for most of the race.

I love running marathons, and get very excited when others decide they are ready to tackle the challenge for the first time. But I felt like this episode put marathons in a bad light (completely grueling and not at all enjoyable), and also gave viewers a very unrealistic idea of what it takes to successfully train for a race of this distance. To me, it's dangerous to take someone who's only been exercising regularly for a few months, give them 2 months to train, and then send them out to run over 26 miles. It took at 2 of the contestants over 7 hours to complete the distance. At that point, you've stressed your body for so long that I'd begin to worry about the health of the participants.

I know this blog will draw some heated comments from fans of the show who don't agree with my opinion. (And that's fine, as long as you post your comments in a respectful way.) But am I really off-base when I say it's irresponsible to have the contestants do this?

What do you think?

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I've run eight marathons in the last three years. (Ran my first at age 50, after losing 76 pounds.)
My first marathon was the hardest to train for because I started when I was still 200+ pounds. It took immense dedication to train, but I did it and I believe the Biggest Loser contestants can do it too.
I have been a long distance cyclist, was on the original Face of America team (60 miles a day for 3 weeks--San Francisco to St Louis). I am also an RN. I totally concur that going the distance requires more than two months training. Some of the research is sobering: a marathon is demanding enough that nutrition alone is not enough; muscle is consumed and lost, including heart muscle, during the race. That does not mean don't marathon; it means that sufficient muscle development and health is a vital prerequisite. Report
I agree that it is irresponsible. Even if you CAN physically make it 26 miles, it doesn't mean you SHOULD. The body simply cannot and does not adapt quickly enough to be able to do it minus overuse injuries, which these people had, and without the potential for serious issues such as heart attacks. The Coach to 5K program starts people off very slowly to just run a 5k, even though many people could do more faster. The reason is that it does take the body time to develop the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone strength to be able to handle the stress of running distances.

After being a very successful cross country runner in high school and going through the winter with no training, I flew to Hawaii to run in a race that was 8.25 miles (the Great Aloha Run). That hurt like everything. I hadn't trained in so long that I couldn't make the distance anymore. I had been up to 10 miles, but then I could only limp into 8. It isn't like people can just up and run. It takes a lot of training, dedication, and mental fortitude to do that.

I think that they're asking for these poor people to drop dead! It's seriously dangerous to do some of what they're doing. It may also make people think that they should be able to go run a marathon after training for 2 months if those people on the show can do it. I'm less than half the weight of those people and I'm in decent shape, but without serious training for about 6 months I wouldn't be able to consider doing a marathon. Their accomplishments don't inspire me because I can't help but be afraid for their safety.

People are crazy in what they'll do for money! Report
I like the show, yes it does give people an unrealistic time frame to lose weight, but that makes good tv. I think its inspirational that they run the marathon, but it also gives a bad message to people out there that are overweight and think that they can do the same thing. I have ran 5 marathons myself and it does take more than 2 months to train for a race. When I train for a marathon its about 3 to 4 months and I am already at a healthy weight. People can get hurt or even die from running a marathon if they are not prepared and especially if they are overweight and not healthy. I wouldn't want to see someone trying to run a marathon because of the show and getting hurt. Report
I do watch the Biggest Loser and understand that their results are not reasonable or doable in the real world. I do take issue with the fact that they make people swear off certain foods forever and do not do a good job of setting them up to do this at home. That's why lots of contestants - even winners - have gained back large amounts (or even all) of the weight they lost.
However, it does inspire me to keep making healthy choices in my life and do things the right way. I am a marathon runner and I know the dedication it takes not just to train for, but to finish a race of that distance. Like another person said, it gives me motivation to keep going - if they can do it with so little training, I certainly can with all my miles logged. Report
I refuse to watch this show. I know others may disagree with me, but it really stands against everything I believe in. I'm exercising within my own limits. If my gut is bursting in pain because I didn't pace myself while swimming I wouldn't want to do it again.

I want to exercise because I enjoy it. That's what makes me go back. I really do hate running, but I'm hoping to slowly build up my endurance, so that when I get to the point where I can run 30 minutes straight, my body and my mind will be enjoying it.

I eat for enjoyment, I exercise for enjoyment, I live for enjoyment. All those things I should be doing responsibly.

If my body hurts, it's just a deterrent for me to do it again.

If my body hurts, I won't be able to exercise more.

If I pace myself, I can do anything. Report
Today was my long run-18 miles. It was hot and humid. I took the appropriate precautions-water, walk breaks, slowed down, etc, but on one of the many hills when I felt like quitting I pictured Michael running and thought "Well if he can do it I can too."
I saw this show for the first time this spring. The idea that this show presents is to think "I can do this, try don't quit." I think that we all have to have common sense, and recognize the limitations of the show. I am inspired by the people and their commitment to change. Report
I, myself, love the show. If anyone has some common sense, they will know that they cannot do this at the rate these contestants do. These people do not have to work every day at their jobs. Their job is to work out 6-8 hours a day, learn new, healthy lifestyles and concentrate on their goals. Most of us do not have the luxury of not having to work at a job. Obviously, if you devote every day to these things as the contestants do, you are going to lose fast, too. They have doctors there at all times, monitoring the health of the contestants, also. I find it very inspiring that people as obese as these are making healthy choices and changing their lives. If they can do it, so can I. Report
I've not seen the season that had the marathon in it as I live outside the USA, but I did see reference to in the series that is now airing here in the UK.
As a marathoner myself, I would like to say that training, and training for a marathon are two different things. I give myself the full 18 weeks to properly train and I didn't run my first marathon until I had been running for 2 years.
This episode reminds me of a BBC show that took a group of non-runners and in 4 months were going to train them to run the London Marathon. Some dropped out during the training, some didn't fair well during the marathon. The series illustrated falsely that a marathon doesn't require a lot of training. It only aired that one year. I feel it and the BL show can give the wrong impression to those who aren't knowledgeable about the proper way to prepare for a marathon.
It's a distance that deserves respect. If you don't prepare properly it will bite you big time! Report
What I find inspriring is to see really big people doing exercise, sweating, and getting into shape, in an environment where they don't have to feel self-conscious about being the only overweight person in the gym. In most gyms, the members are already thin, and it's hard to be the only fat person in the room. The show gives a different perspective, that we belong in the gym, that we have as much right to be there as anyone else.

I do think the show sets up unrealistic expectations. They do adapt exercise to each person's restrictions, and respected everyone's health issues but this is not always clear and obvious to the viewer. They also don't often mention that contestants do two, two-hour workouts a day, and have cadrio "homework" in the evening, so even if you do intense workouts like they do on the show, once a day would not even be enough to get the results people get on the show.
I can't imagine why you should get blasted for observing STUPID behavior. Something like a marathon should be a personal choice for personal growth or personal goals and maybe also for the sense of accomplishment.

I did it. It was an excellent opportunity to teach my kids on many levels. It even helped them in seeing an adult in their lives attempt a "huge" goal by breaking it down into weekly parts to try to accomplish this event. They were there at the Finish Line cheering me on. It was a cool memory in many ways!

It isn't worth being a form of torture to prove nothing. Report
I have commented about this show previously and stand by my views that it is unrealistic, cruel and irresponsible to put these people through such agonies in return for their 15 minutes of humiliating fame. These people are vulnerable and the show plays on that to gain viewing figures, not to seriously and compassionately help them towards a truly healthy future. Switch it off! Report
If only this were the ONLY irresponsible thing BL does for it's contestants. How about "force" feeding pies, doughnuts and other high fat high calorie "treats" to the person who fails a trial? Report
I watched this show for the first couple of years, but I was always hungry during or after the show because of the all the temptation foods they showed the contestants. Ha-ha-ha! It was strange.

I do not know how a person could train for a marathon in only 60 days. This would be very irresponsible if the show did not provide a doctor to monitor the contestants' conditions to make sure they were healthy enough to take on the challenge during the training days. I don't know how much professional supervision was or was not provided, though.

There was a documentary on PBS where a group of people, many whom were overweight, trained for a marathon over the course of several months. Some had to drop out because of injuries or an underlying medical condition doctors found. I thought this was a good program, which you might be able to watch online. Report
I never liked the show. I think some of the expectation of the trainers with the contestants is just over the top. Some of these people are in really poor condition, and to do some of the things they push them to do are way over the top. Contestants are humiliated and to go that far is unacceptable, and tantamount to bullying! Just my opinion. I like the concept, the idea to help those who are morbidly obese is great, but at what expense? What is human dignity worth? I am not a big fan of any of the reality shows... why would you put yourself on public exhibition like that? I think they would better serve everyone if they changed the "contest" and allowed everyone to stay and compete to the end. Kicking people off, what good does that do for those that get the boot especially early on? What new habits have they developed? Little to none is my guess? All that is for is ratings. People like to see people kicked out. just nasty stuff in that way.

some of what they learn is positive new behavior and it can only help to move them in the right direction. I just think the scale is tipped to far in the other direction - ratings... it is all about ratings! Report
I think we need to watch less television and exercise instead.... Report
Well, sorry, but I AM a FAN of this show, largely due to the fact I realized just how they lose so much weight so quickly....they begin right at the start with building muscle, something NONE of them had till they encountered Bob and Jillian.
As for training for the marathon, I believe they built alot of stamina all along with all the treadmill they did. They all had GREAT pride in themselves over their accomplishment. I would NOT ever take that away. Granted, none of them may ever want to do that again....but they DID really feel so proud of themselves....
You know, folks of the sizes of the last contestants....need encouragement not downer comments. Sorry that is just my opinion! Report
I've never watched the show -- only have seen the "promos" on NBC. As to your point -- I just think it's not wise to indicate to the viewing audience that 60 days is a reasonable time to train for a marathon -- without some kind of caveat that this isn't typical. Report
I too am a huge fan of the show and have been watching it since it started! I agree with others who have said you cannot watch the show a couple times and assume you know what is going on! This show is a huge inspiration to millions of people and to the people who have the opportunity to actually go to the ranch their lives are changed forever. I didn't see the marathon as irresponsible these contestants had trained and trained hard harder then most of us do in a gym on our own. They have tons of support and nobody tells them they cannot walk they are not even doing it to win they are doing it to prove to themselves that they can! I find this extremely motivating. I am also a huge fan of Jillian Michaels and yes she is tough but that is what these people need they have proven by being there they cannot do it on their own, they need to be pushed and pushed hard. I think the show, besides being a game, has huge positive messages about health and the correct way to do things. Yes, these contestants lose a huge amount of weight but they also are training with the best I do not expect those same results but still am extremely motivated by the show and am losing weight and changing my life because of the inspiration is has been to me! Just try watching the show while sitting on the couch doing nothing it is nearly impossible (for me anyways)! Report
Yeah, The show is pretty unhealthy to those who are ignorant about weight loss! Report
But am I really off-base when I say it's irresponsible to have the contestants do this?
YES, since they did it and showed the rest of us they could. Report
I do see where the marathon is a bit over the edge. I really do beleive if you look at the show at the angle........many obese people feel it is outrageous for the to excercise. What will people think? How do I look?

Well I think it gives them hope and makes them realise they can get up off the butts and get moving. I think our nation needs a good waking up and if this is what it takes to do it, God bless them for doing the show.

We all can sit back and have a negative opinion about anything, but it is timer to find the positives in this show.

They did a show "Where are They Now"? I was very happy to see many of these obese people are still fit and they are helping others acheive there goals at weight loss.

There are thousands of people that have lost weight because they were inspired by the changes in these peoples lives.

Realistic to think you can acheive it in a short period of time? NO! But very moving and inspirational to know that you can accomplish anything you want if you set your mind to it.

If you take a look at the at home players, many of the had dramatic weight loss too! There lives were forever changed also.

Thank you for letting me be a part of this conversation. I hope you read all of the posts. Report
Don't watch it - I rarely watch any TV.
But it is great to see how much common sense Jen has been blessed with!!! Report
The show's motivating, but a bit bonkers. Report
I have never watched it regularly. I feel it is unrealistic.
Sam Report
I think this is irresponsible. It gives people unrealistic expectations, and when they fail to reach them, they feel horrible. Report
I agree too. But who knows what help they had off the camera. My husband noticed that the girl in pink hadn't even broken a sweat when she crossed the finish line. Come on, really?

I do find the show in general inspiring in the joy that the contestants have. When they have had no where else to turn. I don't care for the drama or the yelling. I really just like to watch the reactions. Report
I think the show can be motivation for the average person that can set realistic goals for themselves and knows reality from "reality" TV. Unfortunately, there are far too many people who have a distorted image of themselves or a distorted view about reality and TV. There is so much about the show that is not aired and too many people don't realize this. So when these people see what is being done on the show and try to mimic it they are saddened by their results, non-results, or injuries.
I think there needs to be more information provided about what goes on behind the scenes. It would be interesting to hear how these individuals trained for a marathon. Report
I do watch BL and I do find it inspiring. If someone who weighs over 400 pounds can lose the weight and keep it off, then someone like me who only has 15 to 20 lbs to lose has no excuse not to do it, either. I don't care for the drama much or the game play, and I don't care much for the product placement. But people need to keep in mind that they start filming months before the show actually airs. Last season, for example, they started filming last May and the final four contestants had four months at home before they ran the marathon.

I do think that the marathon idea is irresponsible and I thought that the bike ride to open the new season was very irresponsible, too. One thing that they do need to take into consideration is that there is always going to be one person who is so competitive, they push themselves way too hard and end up getting sick or injured. This is what happened with Tracy, the girl who collapsed on the beach run at the beginning of season 8. She does bear some responsibility in that because her competitiveness got in the way of good judgement.

I am in total agreement with your blog with regards to "I think it sets viewers up for unrealistic expectations about how much weight they can safely lose in a certain amount of time." However, if it inspires people to get up and get active I am all for that just don't feel like a failure when you don't achieve the same amount of weight loss each week, etc. Report
I started watching the show part way into last season because so many Spark members love it. I'll have to admit, that it does inspire me to ride my exercise bike while watching it. That said, my husband and I both thought the marathon was totally irresponsible and we thought the premiere of the current season was also irresponsible and cruel. If the show continues in this vein, we won't watch it. I was surprised at how many contestants have married, had children and kept the weight off. Report
These contestants are actually being groomed to be athletes. I know it may seem unrealistic, but they have so many doctors on staff and people monitoring these contestants it is not even funny.

The choice is up to them how and when they train. If they choose to walk, they are able to. It is a test for them not only physically but mentally. Most of these people are so close to death now, that they are being given a second chance to learn how to live again. In a healthy way.

I have only begun begin a runner over the past two years. I have done half marathons, but I feel that if you have the patience and the drive to suceed, you can do a full in any amount of training. Especially if you are in the gym 4-6 hours a day as it is.

This was a great blog though, it is fun to see others opinion. Report
It took me six months to train for a half marathon. I can't believe most people could be ready for a full marathon in 60 days -- and nobody should be forced to train that intensely. Report
I can tell you do not watch the show....and although they had a short time to train for the marathon they had been training for months on the ranch 4 to 8 hours a day at the ranch and everyday after they arrived home. The Biggest Loser lesson is not that you will lose 20 lbs a week ...but that you get what ever you put into a workout regiment.....1 hour a week will get 1 hour results and 40 hours will get you more as long as you fuel the furnace for the work. I am also a little perturbed by people who see one show and then think they are a critic because they are in the fittness profession. For those who follow the show we know that instant results.....or unrealistic expectations is always a part of a mindset of a new, overweight, unfit, health a short time one realizes that it takes hard work and continuity. I also know if the results don't show on the scale it is easy to become discouraged and quit. For people who have never ever exercised, it is good for them to see how hard they must work.....a little stroll in the park is not going to get that kinda results. I guess you have figured out that I am a big (no pun intended)...Biggest Loser Fan. Grace Report
I like the show but I watch it only for entertainment purposes. I used to be completely addicted to the show but then all of the product placement (Extra gum, ziplock, and brita especially) started to bug me. Then it seemed like the producers were trying to make the show appear more dramatic. I agree with you though that the marathon is just completely irresponsible. Yes they have doctors there in case of an emergency but that also points out that they are expecting a problem to arise. What REALLY irritated me though was that the first challenge of this season (I could be incorrect in this being the first challenge because this was all I say of the premier) was to bike 26 miles! These people haven't trained in a long time...possibly NEVER and they are expected to do this. COME ON! People are watching this and thinking it is perfectly ok to go from a totally sedentary lifestyle to cycling a marathon. One woman was screaming in pain and nobody stopped her. She said that she gave birth and nothing hurt like that pain on the stationary bike. Report
I completely agree with MARLENEAKAMEME. As far as safe weightloss goes, think about how big these contestants are and how many health-related issues that they have! In my opinion, I don't think that anyone who has 100+ lbs to lose, as most of them do, is unsafe in losing 10, 20, or even 30 lbs in their first week on campus at the Biggest Loser. Their bodies NEED to get rid of that weight to save their lives!!! However, as they get towards the end and are closer to a normal weight, I agree that it is most definitely healthier to slow down. At that point, if you lose too much weight, in a short period of time, it can be bad for you. I have studied weight-loss, nutrition, and exercise physiology, and proper recovery FROM exercise for the last 10 years as a hobby and though I don't have a degree to back it up, I do not think that if there weren't doctors and experts there supervising everything about the contestants they would not make them do the workouts they are doing. As far as the marathon, I don't think it was irresponsible at all, considering the workouts the contestants have to endure. And I think it gives them an amazing sense of accomplishment no matter how long it takes them. Report
They do have injuries! They had a person collapse on the first day of the last season.. they have had several contestants break down.. it adds to the drama and shows just how far gone and how much they really need to be there.. my heart goes out to them.. as a whole I find the show inspirational and it inspired myself to take the first steps on my journey but yes I do feel a marathon was way way too physical for most of these contestants. I think a much more realistic approach would have been to access the overall fitness of each contestant and assigned them their personal race.. some should have only run a half marathon in my humble opinion. Or been forced to retire after a certain amount of time had passed.. I think running more than 5 hours is really pushing your body past it's comfort zone entirely and with 100 or more pounds of dead weight adding to the mix it had to be excruciating.. tears going down the face and a bum ankle are a pretty good sign you are pushing things crazy far so YES I think it was irresponsible. Report
It was inspirational to see how all their hard work paid off. If you go to the site and take a look at the application to enter the contest it asks about disabilities. And if you watched the show, you will see they have a doctor that does the screening and staff on hand for emergencies. As far as probing people to get them to break down, yes, a lot is for show, but also if you took inventory of yourself and emotions, you will find within that, there are things that will trigger your unhealthy eating habits. Also, the show may only air for a short time, but if you watched and paid attention, the actual time frame in which they are working on the weight loss, is longer than the running show. You can lose healthy weight in a short amount of time and it be safe. When you put the right foods and nutrition in your body, your body will heal itself..... As far as training for a marathon, think about the workouts they do during their time on the Ranch.... Report
I don't watch the show, but have seen bits of it from time to time. I consider it a contest (games show) more than a reality or weight loss program. It wasn't meant to teach you how to eat or exercise. That's why they don't show that much detail. It's all about the contest of who can lose the most the fastest. The same as with any other competition, example: a sprint or bodybuilding.The focus for those is never to show us how it all came to be. As for motivational. Is it ever!!! I believe it to be motivational for people to see that someone can actually lose 100+ lbs (I know this from experience. Everyone in my family is obese, save the few who are diligent about their diet. I was able to lose 120+lbs when I saw my cousin at a reunion after she had lost 100+lbs. I never would have thought anyone could really lose that much weight with diet. I thought surgery was my only hope. After seeing her I lost it in about 14-15 mo.) And it shows that if someone of that size can exercise 6hrs. than certainly anyone can exercise a measly 30 min. About the marathon and the extreme exercise regimen; I would find it hard to believe that the individuals aren't screened thoroughly before being aloud to compete on the show.The show would not let anyone compete if they felt they would be a liability. I'm sure this does have a lot more to do with concern for the show than the contestants. But it isn't a non-profit organization running the show so that's to be expected. I'm sure a law suit is something they don't want and would try to avoid at all costs. As for the people getting sent home, It is a contest and they know going in only one will be the ultimate winner. The reason for the personal digging is because there is always a reason for overeating. It's an addiction, and as with any addiction, the drug is used to conceal something you can't or don't want to deal with. So Jillian is doing these people a favor. The ones who return home and regain haven't come to terms with the reason or didn't keep up with the healthy eating. As I know to be fact, it's the food not the exercise that gets you thin. My cousin only ate a healthy diet with no exercise. I did both to lose mine. I was injured in an accident and was unable to exercise and still continued to lose. I also had a thought about the marathon and the ones who were concerned that there may have been "more deserving" people left out to allow the show contestants to enter. I don't know that to be the case or not. I couldn't find info to support or disclaim it. They could have simply been allowed to enter as extra with the original number of entrants just to get some publicity for the marathon. This has to be considered. And I can't bring myself to say that those who've worked-out harder than anyone on this planet to lose weight in a short time weren't deserving. Seems they packed in a year of work in a few months. This is all my opinion and I don't wish to offend anyone. This is off topic: For KARNENLEE271 about the extra sagging skin, I am dealing with it. I seen a plastic surgeon last year and for a total body lift, including breast lift / augmentation, arms, and a circumferential lift ( I have no fat only skin, so I don't require lipo which is extra) is going to be close to $25,000. Also it didn't include an inner thigh lift as he will refer me to someone else for that procedure. He said he can, has, and would do it if I want, there are 2 surgeons in NC who specialize in it and if it were him and he'd worked that hard to lose the weight, he'd want the best. So I agreed. LOL Needless to say,I'll probably be saving my entire life. LOL I exercised 7 days a week including walking 3 miles every morning after my routine, unless it was raining, so it really peeves me to be asked, "Can't you just exercise to tighten it up?" I want to choke them. But I just say to myself that it's my job to help protect the ignorant souls of the planet for they know no better. I suppose maybe if I wanted to look like Mayor of Hollywood I could fill up the skin with muscle. I don't know, but I prefer not to. I'll stop my rambling now. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and everyon who made them are keeping committed to their resolutions. Report
I agree that the marathon was not safe, most the the training on the show is not safe hence the disclaimer at the end. The show can be motivating; however, and I do a lot of Jillian Michaels video stuff. As a trainer I think she's really good, I burn huge amounts of calories when I do her videos. I don't agree with her probing into their personal lives so much which leads to all of the blubbering. I turn the channel when all the crying starts. That's the drama factor that most of the reality shows thrive on. Just not my cup of tea! Report
Totally irresponsible. I must admit, I do enjoy watching the show, and find it inspirational, but I can't believe they don't have some serious injuries with a lot of the things they do. Report
I ran a marathon in 2006 for the Team in Training. We trained for 6 months. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but the most rewarding. I'm 60 years old and I have to say my body hasn't been the same; did a number on me. I really can't say if it was the marathon or just the aging process. It was worth it. I feel the Biggest Loser was for ratings and no consideration for the contestants. I don't really like the show. I feel for those people. What people will do anything for money. Report
As a diabetic since my youth, I learned early on that being well-balanced in all I do is KEY to sucess. Simple lesson; a little common sense and being interested in the wellfare of others, as well as yourself; is sooo Key to sucess. There is only one questions left to ask now: Is this a well balanced program presented to these *big losers*? Report
I'm amazed that no one on that show has died yet. What on earth are they thinking?!?!?! And what kind of fitness professional has clients work out for 8 hours a day? Report
I don't watch biggest Loser as much as I used to basically because I don't care to sit still that long. BUT I did a marathon (of sorts) this past October of which I'm very very proud of and can attest that the training you have to prepare with is incredible. My marathon was an "Ultra Hike" called the MegaTransect in Clinton County PA. Presently it is open to 850 people and it's 25 unreal miles of hiking. At one point you are climbing huge car size limestone rocks, then your walking along a beautiful lake only to be greeted by a mountain climb called "the goat climb" and yes that's exactly what you feel like. 12 hours later my husband and I finished. It's a feeling I will never ever forget and either because I love hiking or because I'm foolish - I signed up again for this October! I have to add that this wasn't weeks of training it was months and even then I wasn't properly prepared for what it did to my body as far as the draining effect. We thought we had this nailed with the mountain climbs and hiking/running miles we were logging but the toll it takes physically is unreal. Again, though, the feeling of accomplishment is unmeasurable. Report
Being on a TV show does not give you the ability to train "faster" than anyone else. I have been running 5k 2-3 times a week for the past year, and I STILL get worn out when I'm in a actual race. I can't IMAGINE running a marathon with only two months to train! I'm not saying the BL cannot be motivational, but the motivation should come from doing things that anyone can do; not tackling the status of "athlete." Report
I watch and enjoy the show. AS for this past season's frist episode, I read a newspaper article (I forget which one) where the produce admitted pretty much it was a mistake.
If you read about this show or see interviews with the contestants, they admitt to working out 6 hours or more a day and have people prepare their food.
Which is frustrating because, I don't even get a modest amount of the "big numbers" weight loss in any of my weeks. Even when I'm in training for a 5k race.
But then again, you also see the ones who lose 3 or 4 lbs and think the the best way.
Probabely the best show of this season (or any) is the one where they went back to contestants' homes and the viewer see that soem of them gain some or nearly all the weight back ebcasue of their situations at home.
(One wife admmitted that her husband's weigth lost made her feel insecure so she pretty much wasn't supporting him).
I like to see more of that. Because that is real life. Report
RAPTUREBOY - I'm actually a bit peeved by your response, not at you, but mainly at the fact that Danny was granted admission into the Boston Marathon based on his star status.
Danny and Liz both finished their BL marathon in 6:55:22. I'm not sure if Danny has since actually run a qualifying race - but that isn't even good enough for a 90 year old time to qualify for Boston. Anyone older than 80 must finish in UNDER 5 hours to qualify. He didn't do that and he's not 80. I'm not sure exactly how old he is - But let's say he's 40. Well he'd have to run a qualifying marathon in less than 3 hours, 20 minutes and 59 seconds.

After watching a friend of mine's HEART BREAK, because she ran her marathon in 3 hours 41 minutes and 14 seconds... missing Boston by FIFTEEN SECONDS - this honestly makes me a little upset.

I'm sad to read that this guy gets let in - when so many RUNNERS get left out... because of these qualifying times.

Just like the triathlon community was quited miffed about the Biggest Loser winner Matt being let in to Kona's grueling IRONMAN - and not even finishing the race for a qualifying time, and never completing a qualifying race before hand. This is a big deal because people all over the world have to also complete a qualifying race, in a qualifying time and actually work hard to get those few covetted slots.

I do believe everyone should get their crack. But races that have to be EARNED to be entered, should not be tainted by star or preferrential treatment.

**steps off soapbox.** Report
AGREED! And I like the show, personally, and feel that if AFTER the show people are motivated to continue their journey by doing a triathlon, marathon etc, than that is AWESOME and INSPIRING.

This is STUPID. Do you see those braces, bandages and tape on their legs. Yes it is because of over-use injuries.. though the show rarely brings these things up.

Do you know how many people want to run a marathon in their life. A lot. They are called "The One - and Done" club. Running a marathon can be a wonderful event, and when you finish, no one can ever take that achievement away from you.

However, with charities, etc sticking their hands into the marathon movement, they tell people - YES YOU CAN.. in only 16-20 weeks, YOU TOO can be a marathon runner! Yes, that IS how long a training program is... IF you've been running 20-25 miles a week for a year. Truth is, a "beginners" or "novice" plan isn't for beginning MOVERS, it is for runners moving up to the marathon distance.

Now these contestants have been training for 2-3 months before given this assignment, a perfect time to tackle the half marathon distance.. and not the full distance. Some people can get away with less training before hand - they just have a natural ability - and others are injury prone. So someone like Tara - does great... where someone like Ron struggles.

I never would have had Ron do a marathon. EVER. NEVER. But he did. He finishes. No one can ever take that away from him. That is his victory, it is his success. I think if the show wasn't there, he never would have tried - though to be honest --- how much damage was done to his body - I cannot attest to that, as I am not a doctor...

but as a marathon runner myself - I far prefer people who leave it saying - this was awesome. I feel empowered, strong, and great. Not those who finish, struggle through every movement - and then swear off running ANY DISTANCE for good.

Put me in the irresponsible camp. Report
I watch the show occasionally and I find it pretty motivating. I think it all depends on the person. I watch the show and say if they can lose all that weight and workout for 6-8 hours a day then I can push myself to get up and do an hour. I realize that what they are doing isn't real. It is intense and hard and rough but they have the prize of a 250,000 dollars to spur them on and that much money is a big motivator. I also know that the season 3 winner of the show went on there lost like 250lbs and after the show was over he gainned it all back and now trying to lose it all over again. It is motivating in the sense that if someone 400lbs can get on that treadmill and run like that then at 200lbs I should be able to stop being lazy and get up and work.

I've never run a marathon or even attempted to do anything near that so I can't comment on the that aspect. But I know that it had to be alot of stress on their bodies and I can't imagine that that is a good thing in any situations. I can't do a mile without my knee being in pain and that can last anywhere from a day to a week depending on if I stopped immediately, if I was able to sit down with hot/cold packs and if I was wearing a knee brace. I don't want to imagine the pain of those people after that marathon was over. Report