I have written several articles in the past regarding why “The Biggest Loser” is a terrible program especially for those whose primary goal should be physical fitness and emotional wellbeing. Despite “The Biggest Loser’s” popularity the simple fact is that the program is misleading and harmful to its participants as well as its television viewing audience. “The Biggest Loser” promoted weight loss at all costs while having its participants subjected to barrage of emotional abuse in front of the entire country. So I was hopeful, yet skeptical when I saw the promos for A&E’s new program “Heavy”. After having watched two full episodes I can honestly say the two programs are worlds apart. “Heavy” is all about promoting physical fitness and emotional wellbeing through a positive and absolute lifestyle change.
7 Reasons why “Heavy” gets a big thumbs up from this fitness professional:
1. Instead of having participants compete against each other to see who can make the greatest weight loss (purely the number on the scale with total disregard for body fat/lean body mass ratio) each “Heavy” episode pairs the two program participants to become “accountability partners”. They share their struggles to gain control over their physical fitness and emotional wellbeing. There is no race to any program-induced imaginary finish line. The concept of accountability partners promotes support for both program participants through positive reinforcement as they become bonded in their struggle together.
2. “Heavy’s” fitness professionals provide appropriate and varied workouts that do not place the program participants in harm’s way and promote gaining muscle while losing body fat. I saw program participants doing aquatics and many other movements that put their already overburdened joints at minimal risk while promoting strength training as well as cardiovascular conditioning. There was no question those people were working hard. But at no time did I see any participant encouraged to perform movements where they were at risk for serious injury. The trainers were obviously very knowledgeable and cared a great deal for their clients. There was no screaming, yelling, degradation and yet “Heavy’s” participants remained inspired and motivated to reach their goals.
3. “Heavy’s” participants are given counseling to address their emotional wellbeing as these issues are often related to why their lives (and weight) had spiraled out of control.
4. Nutritional counseling is also of paramount importance to the assistance given to “Heavy’s” program participants. “Heavy” recognizes that unless someone learns what to eat, how to decipher misleading and confusing food labels, and how to eat in order to properly fuel their body that person will fail to attain and maintain physical fitness.
5. “Heavy’s” participants are given a full 6 months of support. A very limited span of that time (about a month) is spent in a facility where they are monitored around the clock 24/7. The program’s participants may choose to return to the facility any time thereafter in the following 5 months if they feel they need additional support or guidance. There is also support offered via telephone and a local gym membership with a qualified fitness professional to continue to guide them until the end of the 6 month program.
6. The focus isn’t merely on the number of pounds lost. There is also focus on inches lost. Fat weighs far less than fat but takes up a lot more space. I am very pleased that this important measure of progress is visibly employed on “Heavy.”
7. There is no cash prize as an inducement for participation in the program offered by the TV show “Heavy”. The only prize is a slow and steady, solid path to physical fitness and emotional wellbeing. This speaks volumes to me. “Heavy” isn’t about offering a quick fix or instant gratification for winning a dangerous contest.
I am looking forward to watching A&E’s “Heavy” develop and inspire viewers to take a proper path to physical fitness and emotional wellbeing and strongly encourage others interested in the same to check your local television listings for programming specifics. I can’t tell you all enough how pleased I am that someone in TV land has finally made it their business to provide the American public with accurate information about how to attain and maintain physical fitness and emotional wellbeing. “Heavy” …I am giving it two big thumbs up!
Here are links to the articles I’ve written regarding “The Biggest Loser”. After a quick review everyone will be able to understand exactly what I am talking about.