Five Unexpected Life Lessons from the Biggest Loser

As much as I have enjoyed the show the Biggest Loser over the years, this sort of extreme physical makeover comes with extreme consequences. And while most of us will never experience those “outlier-like” extremes in our lives, there are things we can take from what doesn’t work in real life from the show, and apply them to our lives.
Don’t look to an event, person or destination and think that it is the solution to all your problems. While at the time, that event, person or destination may feel like it is [the answer to all your prayers], an event always ends, a person (other than yourself) can leave, and a destination isn’t permanent. After all these go away, you’re still stuck… with you.
Don’t think you can un-do a lifetime of bad habits in a few short months. This is one of the biggest hooks, and problems with the Biggest Loser – seeing those amazing amounts of weight loss and body transformation over the course of the show is tantalizing… it’s incredible… it’s addicting (to watch). But don’t let that fool you. I’m pretty safe in saying that NOTHING of any value in your life you got in just a couple months. Sure, you might have attended a life-changing seminar, been on a crash diet, or attended an incredible event, but if for it to have resulted in sustainable change (that means not gaining the weight you lost, back), you actually had to do something about it for many more months or years – after the event was over. 
Don’t get trapped into thinking that weight loss alone is the path to happiness, health and well-being. Many things in life lead to happiness, health and well-being. As my good friend Mark Sisson (of Mark’s Daily Apple) once said, “Who says that that stress relief from the glass of red wine I drank with dinner doesn’t have a greater impact on my overall well-being than the hormonal impact of the sugar and alcohol in that glass of wine?” Of course, there is point at which your bodyweight alone causes the most significant threat to your life expectancy (this is the case with every contestant on the Biggest Loser), but for most of us, there are many choices that we make each and every day that while not having a direct effect on weight loss, will certainly have a big impact on our happiness and well-being.
Don’t be fooled – More isn’t necessarily better. If 15 minutes per day of exercise is good, doesn’t it stand to reason that means 30 minutes is better, or 60, or 90? On one hand you could say yes, to all of these – 90 minutes being the best of all. For today. But what about tomorrow? And the next day. And the day after that? This is the trap of the New Year’s resolutionary. Going full blast right out of the gate for a good 3-4 weeks because he or she feels and believes that more is better, is motivated, excited, and has made it a priority. But then the reality of life hits… and he misses a day, and that becomes two days, and a third, and suddenly he doesn’t know how he found any time at all each day to work out. I’ll take the person who commits to 10 minutes per day for an entire year… 10 minutes x 365 = 60 hours. Amazing how much you can get done in a year in 10 minute increments!
Don’t always be a tough-guy – pain doesn’t necessarily equal gain. While it is important to push yourself when you exercise (if you don’t, you’re body really has no reason to make an adaptation), knowing when to push is the key… and this only comes with experience. Remember the tortoise and hare? Slow and stead wins the race. At whatever your level, and whatever the workout, think “just slightly outside of my comfort zone”. This means in weight, duration, and intensity. Sure… there are exceptions. But if you keep making small gains, and don’t get greedy, it will pay BIG dividends in the long run. Oh, and one other thing – if it hurts in a joint, ligament, tendon or muscle, you should consider not doing it. Pain can serve you, and while human beings are incredible in our ability to overcome injury and pain, if you make doing that a habit, it will come back and bit you.
While some of these may seem like “no-brainers”, they are things that I work on with my private coaching clients all the time and traps that I see people falling into when I look around our CrossFit LA community. Stay alert. Keep your eyes open. Focus on the basics and fundamentals. Take small, incremental steps, every day… repeat for the rest of your life. The results will come. Promise.  

Wednesday’s Workout

“Franklin Hill 100’s”
4 Rounds on the 9:00
4x100m on the :90

And Coming Thursday

A) Toes to bar skill practice
B) 2 RFQ
20 Unbroken burpees
1min Rest
20 T&G DL (50%)
1min Rest
20 Unbroken wallballs to 10’
**2min Rest between rounds**

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