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Lessons from The Biggest Loser

Discuss the hit TV show Australia's Biggest Loser here.

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Lessons from The Biggest Loser

Postby A_Corner_Of_The_Earth » Sat May 26, 2007 9:07 pm

In Australia we've just finished the 2007 instalment of Australia's Biggest Loser competition. Chris, the winner almost halved his body weight, dropping an amazing 70 kg down from 149 to 79 kg in twelve short weeks. Is it really possible to get results like these?

Chris's 70 kg weight loss is more than impressive. If everyone could achieve his success, we'd eliminate obesity. But remember, the environment the Biggest Loser contestants are training, eating and sleeping in is not the usual slimming experience.

The challenge is to lift from The Biggest Loser the key diet and exercise elements of success and translate them into what you can realistically achieve.

Diet
Specifics of the Biggest Loser diet are sketchy, at least on the television. We see contestants eating lots of fruit and vegetables, but are given little idea of what makes up their diet.

The Biggest Loser contestant diets may be as low as 1200 calories, with the larger contestants up around 1800 calories.

So how do the numbers add up in terms of expected weight loss? For example, a sedentary 100 kg man has a predicted daily metabolic rate of around 2400 calories. Cutting this back by the generally recommended 500 calories a day deficit, to 1900 calories would place him on track for a ½ kg weekly fat loss. Half a kilo (actually a pound) of fat has 3500 calories (500 calories x 7 days).

However, the dramatic results achieved by Biggest Loser contestants come from a much greater daily energy deficit. Firstly, by the fact that most contestants have a starting weight well above 100 kg, and in some cases closer to 200 kg. Their predicted daily metabolic rate is much greater as metabolic rate is closely related to weight.

Secondly, they may knock off more than 500 calories from their diet, even getting down to 1200-1500 calories. Their energy deficit (how much less they eat than the energy they burn up) may be as much as 1500 calories per day even before they take their first step into the gym.

At this rate you'd expect a 1 ½ kg fat loss per week… But they still lose more!

Exercise

The figures and expected fat loss above are calculated before we add any exercise to the daily routine of contestants. So, now let's add four hours of moderate-to-strenuous physical activity each day. Four hours a day is the amount most commonly quoted for contestants during their 12-week stint on the program.

During four hours of brisk walking a 100 kg man would burn 1500 calories. Spending part of the four hours at a higher intensity could boost daily energy expenditure from exercise up to around 2000-2500 calories. And if we crunched the numbers for a 150 kg Biggest Loser contestant, you would expect total energy expenditure over four hours to be up around 3500 calories. So in theory, a single four-hour workout would burn off ½ kg of body fat.

Considering the 1500 calorie shortfall we already have from the calorie controlled diet, the total energy deficit is now up to 5000 calories a day or 35000 calories a week. That's close to 5 kg of body fat loss in just seven days. Wow!

Reality

Although The Biggest Loser is a reality TV program, it doesn't portray reality. The real situation for many people could be something like this.

Let's say you weigh 70 kg and just want to “shape-up”. You are doing 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous training with your Personal Trainer or by yourself at the gym. This activity burns around 300 calories, which you are very happy with when you leave the gym.

Unfortunately, because you are not on a calorie controlled diet, don't have all your food provided and don't have the 24-7 motivation offered in The Biggest Loser house, you pick up a chocolate muffin on the way home from the gym. This muffin contains 400 calories, which cancels out the calories burned during their exercise session and adds 100 calories. Instead of losing body fat you end up gaining it!

This example shows how important it is to control calories when you want to get into shape. Success will come, but with patience and a good plan.

Lessons from The Biggest Loser

Here's how you can use Biggest Loser concepts to get better results.

Diet Lessons
*Unless you control calories it's harder to get results and you may not get results in some cases.

*Be careful not to compensate for calories burned during exercise by eating more snacks, particularly after training sessions.

*Eating more protein may help you feel fuller for longer and limit calories.

*Cutting energy intake to around 1200 calories will result in fat loss for most people.

Exercise Lessons
*The energy cost of exercise is greater when you weigh more, so your best calorie burning will occur when you start your program and before you lose any weight.

*You may need to commit to more than 30 minutes a day to burn the calories you need to get results.

*The more time you commit to physical activity then the more calories you will burn.

*You need to be realistic about how quickly you expect to see results and the magnitude of your overall results.

The Biggest Loser programs show very graphically how the calories in - calories out energy equation works. And they did it without any slimming supplements or pills! Creating a calorie deficit is the bottom line for getting fat loss results. If you are not covering both sides of the equation start looking at how you can do this.



Article by Matt O'Neill
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GW1 - 70kgs
GW2 - 67kgs
GW3 - 60kgs
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Postby Chelle » Sun May 27, 2007 9:42 am

Interesting facts
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Sun May 27, 2007 4:44 pm

thanks for that jen what an interesting read! i like the part about being realistic with goals. a lot of people set themselves up to fail because of this.
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Postby BubbleButt » Sun May 27, 2007 7:41 pm

I know a girl who told herself over and over again til she believed it that all she had to do was eat right and exercise a couple of hours a day and she'd lose the weight like those on the Biggest Loser. It was horrible to watch as she fell further and further into depression because "it wasn't happening" and she was only losing anywhere between .2 - .5kg a week, then would gain more back a fortnight or so later and it was up and down and up and down.

I don't want to lose anymore than a maximum of 1kg a week. I think huge weightloss like on Biggest Loser without the assistance they have on the show is a recipe for disaster, both mentally and physically. Also I think sometimes the slower you lose the weight the better and more likely you'll keep it off.
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Postby ISparkyI » Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:23 am

Totally agree Bubblebutt.

The most important thing I think is making that life long decision to change your lifestyle.

The rewards are a Happier and more Confident you.

Can only imagine what some of those contestants went through when they didn't have that Day to Day guidance.

Great Facts anyway by the way and made a very interesting read.

Shaun
Nothing Ventured . . Nothing Gained . . .

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Postby RayK » Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:38 am

Hi guys,

Great article by Matt O'Neill. There's some great info there!

I actually trained both Adro and Chris in the lead up to the Finale, after they left the house, so know exactly what they went through.

We can't all exercise 4 hrs per day so the best way to do it is to just fit it in with your lifestyle as that's the only way you're going to stick with it long term.

Eat well, be active!

Ray
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:07 pm

great to see you here ray ;)
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Postby HappyBella55 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:53 am

Ray you trained chris? Wow he's the bomb - he is looking hot know :oops:

Has Chris maintained his weight?
Start weight - 77kgs
Goal weight - 53kgs
Current Weight - 50.1kgs


No more weighing, no more scales. My measurement is my success at health. It's an investment I make every single day. My priority: be healthy!
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Postby RayK » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:26 pm

HappyBella55 wrote:Has Chris maintained his weight?

I'm not sure. No one's heard from him in a while.
I still see and speak with Adro all the time though. He's doing great. He's really healthy and his weight is still exactly the same as when he last jumped on TBL scales!

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Postby soon2bayummymummy » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:36 pm

In the biggest loser book they say times ur weight in pounds by 7 to get ur daily calorie needs for weight loss.
i.e 87kgs X 2.2= 191.4 then X 7 = 1339.8 cals a day to lose weight.
Is that close to what calorie king has given anyone????????
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Postby HappyBella55 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:14 pm

soon2bayummymummy wrote:In the biggest loser book they say times ur weight in pounds by 7 to get ur daily calorie needs for weight loss.
i.e 87kgs X 2.2= 191.4 then X 7 = 1339.8 cals a day to lose weight.
Is that close to what calorie king has given anyone????????


Yikes I wouldn't follow this calculation. According to this I would need to consume 1170.4cals/day.

On calorie king they say never to consume below 1200 cals per day as it causes the bod to store fat when it senses a calorie drought.

Eating too little can slow down the weight loss process.

CK has given me 1400 cals to eat a day.
Start weight - 77kgs
Goal weight - 53kgs
Current Weight - 50.1kgs


No more weighing, no more scales. My measurement is my success at health. It's an investment I make every single day. My priority: be healthy!
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Postby kazy » Thu Nov 29, 2007 6:46 pm

I live in a rural area and dont get free to air channels, so unfortunately i have never seen biggest loser :cry:

But.. my mum bought me the book and i have been slowly reading through it.. its all making sense so far.. have seen anywhere yet that it says to have that low calories though.. t actually specifies not to go too low cos even resting erquires energy.. will look it up later and check it out :wink:
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